Home Renovations: Tax Refund Style!

You know you’re getting old(er) when the first thought that pops into your mind when you think about your upcoming tax refund is not an exciting vacation or new shoes, but rather, home renovations. This year I had a list a mile long (okay not quite a mile) of all of the things I wanted to do around the house once we received our tax refund. True to form, Nathan got to work immediately once we received all of our W2’s and we had our refund in the bank before February. Once we had the money, it was time to get to work on our my projects.

Here is the original list:

1. Re-decorate our master bedroom and bathroom, including new paint, new bedding, and new wall art.

2. Build a raised bed in the backyard for my first ever vegetable garden, one of the items on my 30×30 list.

3. Frame the bathroom mirrors with stained wooden edges.

4. Add railing to the front of our front porch (it’s on the side but not the front). I want to put cute flower baskets on it and also prevent Annabel (and future kids) from falling off the edge.

5. Replace the exterior lighting on our house with bigger, fancier lights.

6. Stain the fence.

7. Refinish the front door and frost the glass.

So far we’ve completed three of the items on the list, and I believe Nathan has plans to complete a fourth this weekend while I’m out of town. The first thing we (and by “we” I mean “Nathan”) worked on was the front door. It’s wood and was starting to look pretty weather damaged. I wanted to buy a whole new door because our front door opens right up to our living room and the door itself has two large windows in it. I hate that people can walk up and look right in to see us sitting on the couch or even cooking in the kitchen that is just beyond the living room. Nathan said this was too expensive and set out to find a compromise. I’m so happy with how it turned out!

We had the glass “frosted”, but really it’s just a film that goes over the glass and can be removed anytime! This was a much more affordable option ($60) than a whole new door, and I love that it still lets some light in but doesn’t allow anyone to see inside. Then Nathan sanded and re-stained it.


Here’s the finished product from the outside:


And from the inside:


Next Nathan and his dad and brother re-stained our back fence. It was looking really rough and the stain makes such a huge difference!







And after:


After the fence came my raised bed. I was so excited about this project and I love the way it all turned out!

First Nathan and his Dad build the bed itself (with a little supervision from Annabel):


The following weekend we went out and bought all of our veggies and I got to work planting them (with a little help from Annabel):




And the finished product:


I planted tomatoes:


and bell pepper:


as well as zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, jalepenos, and banana peppers. Yesterday I noticed that we have a tiny green tomato growing already! Did I mention how excited I am about this?!

So. That’s where we are with the list. We wanted (and needed) to get the outside projects completed first due to weather constraints (in the case of the garden) and so that it wouldn’t be so hot out when the guys were working. Now it’s time to focus on our indoor projects, and I’m pretty pumped about those as well! The best part is that most of these projects are pretty affordable, so we can accomplish a lot and still put over half of our refund into savings. Win/win.

So what did you do with your refund? Put it all into savings? Pay off debt? Go on vacation? Buy new clothes? Go out to a fancy dinner? I want to hear!