Home » Lifestyle » DIY Home Renovation: Our Home Renovation Journey

DIY Home Renovation: Our Home Renovation Journey

This post may contain affiliate links that won’t change your price but will share some commission.

Home Renovation Ideas – Our Journey Home

A two-story red brick house stands back from the road behind an expansive grass lawn. Trees frame the house that has a greenhouse on the left and white columns in front.

Our Personal Journey Home

The year 2018 has been the most exciting, emotional, frustrating, overwhelming, change filled and ultimately blessed year. Why? 2018 was the year we bought a house and all our home renovation ideas came to life.

To give you a little back story, my husband and I have been wanting to buy a home for over 5 years and have constantly had one unexpected problem after another move us away from that goal.

We didn’t understand why certain things were happening to us. Between financial troubles, multiple job losses that made no sense and my ongoing crippling health struggles, we often thought about giving up on the dream of home ownership entirely.

But God had a different plan.

I’ve come to learn one very important lesson that will answer every question you ever ask God when you don’t understand. God’s answer is never no. Instead, he always responds with 1 of 3 answers – yes, wait, or I have something better in store for you. And WOW, did he ever. But yet, he also picked something for us that requires us to continue to walk the path by faith and not sight.

When my husband’s calling came to be a teacher, we knew one thing for sure – I was now the primary breadwinner, which was and sometimes is still scary. Like I said, every day we have to wake up and believe that we will be provided for because let me be honestly this home remodel was decision made with wisdom but was not cheap. So on that note, let me proudly share my new home!

My hope for the rest of this article is that you will gather inspiration for your own homes and hopefully it will give you an idea of how to accomplish it!

The text "Home renovation, what does it really cost?" sits across indoor areas of a renovated home, dining room, kitchen. The design is white and clean, with light wood flowers.

Renovation Project List

Here is a breakdown of all the projects we had done listed out by the work we did verse what contractors had to do to follow code etc.

Our Project DIY List

  • New ceiling fans
  • Update electrical outlets
  • Remove drop down kitchen ceiling
  • New light fixtures
  • Demo kitchen
  • Demo 1 bedroom to convert to loft
  • Knock down ceiling (bye bye popcorn)
  • New paint (yes, everywhere my arms still hurt)
  • Kitchen/dining wall removed
  • Brand new appliances
  • New floors (Laminate and carpet in the bedrooms)
  • New base boards
  • Stone backsplash

Contractors Project List

  • Move master door down
  • Treads and risers for stairs
  • Rework kitchen plumbing
  • Install loft floors and drywall
  • New drywall
  • New headers and footers
  • Kitchen cabiniets
  • Quartz counter tops

The Cost

Yes, I know most of you are thinking, “dang, what did this cost?” You know by now I like to be transparent because I believe it can help someone else – maybe you plan your own home renovation project?!

Keep in mind this house had been untouched since it was built in 1990. All the floors, kitchen, appliances, paint, EVERYTHING was like a time capsule. This house need A LOT of TLC since it was nearing 30 years old. Not all houses will need this much work.

The cost for the total remodel including materials and all the work we did personally to save some dough plus contractor work and permits was $50,000.  We purchased the house for $295,00 at 3600 square ft, which turned to 3700 once complete! Total investment $345,000 which is the upper median price for central Florida.

Before Renovations

Although we knew that this house was meant to be ours, we knew it was not meant to be ours as is. Major work had to go in. So we grabbed an extra scoop of faith and jumping in with both feet.

The Kitchen

A sad outdated kitchen in a U-shape, with beige cabinets and walls, and a vinyl tile floor. In the corner is the word "Before."

Like most older homes, the kitchen was the biggest focus and priority. We knew from the start the kitchen had to be opened up and fully gutted. My family and I were moving from a 2400 square foot house into a 3600 square ft house and the kitchen was half the size of the smaller house. Go figure right?

A small outdated beige kitchen in a U-shape. White doors line one wall of this empty kitchen. "Before" is written in the bottom right corner.

There was a ton of potential here. In addition to a formal dining area there was a window breakfast nook. It just made sense  to covert that to part of the kitchen and let the light from those windows flow through the kitchen.

A different view of an outdated beige, empty kitchen shows a small in-kitchen dining area in the shape of a half-octagon. A lone round white ball-shaped light fixture hangs over the empty space.

After Kitchen Renovations

A renovated kitchen done in white colors with a marble counter island. Some counters and the sink have been moved into the in-kitchen dining space giving the kitchen more room and light. The word "After" is written in the lower left corner.

I’ve always wanted an island in my kitchen and it was worth every penny!

The half-octagon shape of this new kitchen now holds angled counters, shiny stainless steel appliances and open white windows. "After" is written in black font in the left bottom corner.

I think the nook looks so much better used this way. I can enjoy watching my kids play outside in the backyard while washing dishes! And did I mention the sunlight? I love natural light.

The Living and Family Rooms

The word "Before" sits in the lower right corner, showcasing the empty beige and yellow living room before Abbi Kirsten renovated the space.

While I can appreciate that some may want the division, it seemed so silly to me that living and family room were literally back to back. The only thing that made them “separate” was a big wall dividing them that you had to walk around. Right away we knew the wall coming down was on our top priority list.

A ceiling fan and a large doorway are the focus of this pre-renovated family and living room in Abbi Kirsten's house. "Before" is typed in the corner.

Furthermore, the downstairs master door was also centered in the family room, making it hard to style any furniture. I decided changing the placement of the door would create much more space to work with.

A full family room, full of white furniture, curtains, and rugs is merged with a living room. A TV hangs on the far wall while a large window occupies the left wall. The room looks clean, cozy, and open. Typed in the right corner is the word "After!"

Hello open space! We now have one large great room and its amazing! I even had a corner for the kiddos to play with their toys.

A combined living room and family room is bigger and still cozy with a focus on the color white and fully stuffed furniture. A TV hangs on the wall, and two large double doors to the outside bring in ample light. The word "After!" is typed in the lower right-hand corner.

The laminate floors were such a spotlight upgrade compared to carpet. Not to mention when you have kids, carpet is your sworn enemy! Mom friends I know your nodding your heads with me. 🙂

The family room is decorated with white furniture and a light-wood table behind the couch. A decorative white screen full of paper craft flowers is in the corner, and craft prints adorn the white walls. TV and other wooden consoles and end tables are also visble. The word "After! is in the lower right corner. This room is the after photo of a renovation of Abbi Kirsten's home.

Oh and by the way Wayfair is my new BFF. I will share with you guys in a different post all the pieces I purchased to style this room and you will even be able to shop my home!

The Dining Room

An empty dining room with light yellow walls and a large vinyl tile floor is ready to be renovated and refreshed. "Before" is in text in the corner.

Once again the dining room was closed off from the kitchen with a big wall. Maybe I have been watching too many home renovation ideas from Fixer Upper but you guessed it, down it came. I wanted open space!

A fancy dining room decorated in whites and creams next to an open-concept kitchen. The dining-room table has chairs and an upholstered bench.

Now we have a kitchen that we managed to double the size of plus it flowed straight into the dining room for a big open entertainment space.

An angled view from one side of the kitchen island to include a view of the renovated dining room. Both rooms are clean and cozy, and designed in creams and whites.

Extra seats at the island make the kitchen ideal for guests and family members!

A dirty yellow staircase goes to the second floor of a house in desperate need of a renovation. Next to the stairway is an open hallway to a well-lit back room.

The stairs were very outdated as well and I personally feel carpet on stair is a big faux pas plus it can be easy for the kids to slip on. And boy can you tell that carpet is old!

The open concept family and living room combo carries through a creamy color scheme. The staircase on the right has been stripped of carpet and is white and dark wood. The stairway reads "I love you every step of the way" in craft vinyl made using SVG cut files and Abbi Kirsten's Cricut machine.

Honestly the stairs were one of my favorite elements to transform because they are such a focal point in this home! They are facing my front door.

Future Remodels

The house has been transformed from a 90’s outdated time capsule into a fresh modern home. However there is much work still to come including a total remodel of our “stuck in the 20th century” 3 1/2 baths.

We have endless home renovation ideas for the exterior of the house such as fresh paint, landscaping and an entertainment deck in the back yard are on our list! While our journey is long from over, I am excited to see where it goes and share with you many DIY tutorials to make this a dream home.

If you could change 1 thing about your house what would it be? Tell me your dream home renovation ideas below! Remember a dream home isn’t about being extravagant but creating a space you can call home. 

A view of a corner house in a nice American neighborhood. Tall trees are on either side of a two-story red brick upper-class home. The sidewalk winds from the front to the side of the home.
The refurbished wooden stairway in dark wood and white paint show just one of Abbi Kirsten's home renovation ideas. The stairs say "I love you every step of the way." The text on the top of the image says "fixer upper before and after pictures."

More to Come

Abbi Kirsten Collections started out as a small paper flower blog years ago. Since then Abbi’s blog has grown into a full DIY, craft and home decor/ remodel blog. Abbi is opening her newest category, DIY Home Collections to share not just her creative work life but now her personal life projects to inspire you with more easy DIY tutorials!

A banner ad shows a woman putting a key that says "home" into a door lock. The banner says "DIY Home Collections at home with Abbi." Beneath that is a quote from Abbi that reads "The dream home isn't about being extravagant but creating a space you can call your own."
Abbi Kirsten's signature in black script font. Above her name is a pink "x" and pink and cream flower next to it.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. John Hayes says:

    This is a great!
    I admire how you guys do the DIY house renovation but I just want to ask if this renovation is only DIY or you need the help a contractor?


    1. Hi John, We used a contractor for the big things like the walls coming down and the kitchen cabinet install. We stuck with DIY on the floors, stairs, backsplash, bathrooms, paint, window valences and we also did most the demo. 🙂

  2. Michael Walker says:

    There are so many responsibilities for doing the kitchen renovation. Your post describes all the best possibilities in doing the kitchen renovation.

  3. CMR Constructions says:

    Good luck on your renovation and for sure the results would be awesome.