Making our Home OURS

I was inspired by folks at Urban Compass, a fantastic site that helps people find a space of their own, to share my experience putting our personal touch on our first home. Their primary location is in New York City, and they focus on apartments and houses matched to an individual's personality.

When we bought our home in 2006, it was everything we could have hoped for:  Great neighbourhood, on the bus route, close to schools, and the "perfect size" (for us).  We even loved the way the previous owners had decorated it.  Despite all of that, we wanted to make the house "our own" rather than feeling like we were living in someone else's house.

After moving all of our things in the house, we decided to start by changing the kitchen and the bathroom.  Not that there was anything particularly wrong with them, but we decided these would be our first "personal touches" for the house.

The kitchen had laminate counter-tops.  These weren't the "new school" laminate which can be quite nice, this was the old laminate, that fit in with the original cabinets.  And given that our house was build in the early 1960s, we figured it needed some updating.  We also decided to take out the single sink, and put in a double sink.  Although it would take away some counter space, I always liked being able to put my dishes in another sink to dry after washing them.  We put a dark marble tile for the counter-top, a ceramic tile backsplash and the new double sink.  Not a complete kitchen renovation, but enough to make it look a little different.

Our big renovation came in the bathroom.  The previous owners had painted the bathroom a bright sunshine yellow, and had acrylic pieces for the walls and covering the bathtub.  Again, nothing particularly wrong with it, it was bright and cheery, we just wanted to put our own personal spin on it.

To change the bathroom, we painted the walls grey, and put in a new tub, sink and toilet, and surrounded the tub with white tile (with dark grout).  We also put up a new mirror to compliment the new colours.  This was my favourite change to the house.

Our most recent change came just a couple months ago when we pulled up carpet in our basement and put down laminate flooring and added a cozy couch and now it's a comfortable TV room.  It was a finished basement when we bought the house, but now, it has our personal touch.

Now, with these changes, our home feels like our own.  We'll be making even more changes this summer including painting the kitchen and residing the house, and putting in new windows!

Not all of our renovations went according to plan, and in some cases, didn't even go according to budget.  We've had contractors not show up, and we've had fixtures and supplies not work properly, but it's all part of the experience.

Putting your own touch on your space doesn't have to be as extensive as our bathroom renovation.  in some cases just a coat of paint, or some different artwork can change the whole feel of a room.  As we do more changes in our house over the upcoming year, I hope to share our experience and tips with you.

Have you done any changes in your own house or apartment to make it your own?  Share your experiences in the comments below.


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