15 Things I’ve Learned About Taking on a Fixer Upper

October 29, 2015

I’ve actually learned…a lot. Maybe I’ve got a little more Joanna in me than I thought.  But I truly have enjoyed having Jordan teach me each little job I do before he trusts me with it.  And then mastering it….so to speak.  It’s neat getting to watch the progress and figure out how things are done. And wow. I am not one of those people that used to stop and figure out how something was made–that’s totally my husband. But maybe he’s rubbing off on me a little bit! 🙂 




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1.     Taking down a wall is relatively cheap. When you are relatives with someone who knows what they’re doing!

2.     Carpet takes longer to pull up that you think. Oh boy, does it. 

3.     When you knock a wall down, you can pull up the electrical cords into the attic and drop them down another wall. Viola! Cut a square out, and there’s your new light switch! I had no idea that’s how that was done. For all you contractors out there reading this (because I know there are probably tons), don’t judge this blog post. 

4.     Painting is exhausting in small armies. But I’ve sure gotten good at it! 

5.     Finding the right shade of gray is nearly impossible.  They all seem to be in the blue family! Thank you Allison for suggesting Colonnade Gray! It’s perfect! 

6. Speaking of paint samples. They’re cheap…until you accumulate 10+ of them.

7.     When there’s a hole in the wall, sheet rock!

8.     When you accidentally push a hole in the wall when taking up base boards, sheet rock!

9.     Tape, bed and texturing is quite a job! Thank goodness, we had the coolest guy come help us with it. 

10.  My husband and I are very different. A couple of those ways: firstly, while I am a get-the-job done kind of person, Jordan tends to be more of a perfectionist when it comes to our fixer upper jobs.  Secondly, my kind of organized is painting every room so we can see progress.  His kind of organized is painting a room, putting up the baseboards, fixtures, details, etc. to finish out one room before we start the next. These two obviously are different. Oh you know marriage, we’re always learning! 😉

11. Trips to Lowe’s are fun to dream and plan with Jordan.

12. I had no idea how much I would enjoy learning about what goes into building and demo-ing a home. It’s all kind of fascinating to me! I learned that about myself pretty quickly. Maybe because it’s just my home…

13. I enjoy getting really tired, dirty and down to the nitty-gritty when it calls for it.  I’ve got some designated paint pants and shirts now!

14. There will be setbacks. Eh, I almost thought we’d get away without any, but we hit our first bump, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty minor! We were really excited to lock in our favorite hardwoods at a sale price one night. The next day when Jordan went to buy them, we found out they had already sold them. Good news is: we were able to purchase more at the same price. Bad news: we have to wait 3 weeks for it to come in. But eh…this leads met to my 15th lesson learned.. 

15. I’ve learned that patience is a virtue.  The house and its work will be there tomorrow. Spending time together while looking at the walls isn’t necessarily quality time.  We may be excited to move in…yesterday, but patience will win the game for us in this journey, and taking breaks to just be together–go see a movie or talk while actually looking at each other–in this busy life these days is going to make this journey more memorable. 

And there you have it. Just like anything, patience is key and seeing things in perspective is important. I’m pretty sure our outlook on fixing up out home is more positive after we take breaks to see a movie or go on a walk.  Because if we weren’t careful, we’d spend every minute there trying to make progress.  And that in itself is something we learned quickly: the work will be there tomorrow. Patience. 


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Lindsay Davenport is a newborn and motherhood photographer + educator based in Dallas and available for travel worldwide.

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