Not only do I find a lot of inspiration from artists and creatives, I also feel so inspired when I see a beautiful home, especially one that was either built by hand or completely renovated by hand and is full of special, personal touches. Always wanting to know more, I have asked a few of my favorite designers to share their stories with me, and my first guest is Anne Davis, 51, from Kimberley, British Columbia. She blogs about remodeling her 1930s bungalow over at DesignDreams by Anne.
Anne moved into her place in 2010 and has been working on a full renovation. Before her purchase, she did subcontract work on a log home that she assembled with her ex, and some of their friends. She did all of the painting, staining, insulation and vapour barrier. She notched out holes in the logs for all the electrical runs, installed all the doorknobs and deadbolts, helped build the kitchen cabinet and hung all of the window treatments.
“I did all the landscaping by myself without the use of heavy machinery and that was the hardest project of everything I did! I landscaped an acre and a half by hand. I don’t recommend it to anyone!”
As soon as she found out that blogging existed, she wanted to start writing about her renovations and sharing them online. Her ex was against it, however, so after they separated, she decided it was time to start blogging!
“I was in a long-distance relationship that left me on my own a lot. Plus I had this house that I was decorating and fixing up so I thought it was the perfect time to share my adventures.”
She self-taught herself to do most of the renovating and repairing in her house, but she admits that that she will not touch rough plumbing or roofing.
“I don’t want to mess with something that could become a total disaster… Well worth the money to get someone who knows what he/she is doing.”
Anne loves building things with her power tools, and her favorite tool is her 18v Makita circular saw, because of it’s versatility and all of the stuff she can do with it. Her favorite things to build so far have been her baby greenhouse and her new potting bench, although she is most proud of her bathroom – which took her three years of working on it in her spare time to complete!
“The more practiced I become, the more I get into building really cool and beautiful things. Such fun!!!”
Anne describes her style as eclectic, and says that she likes so many different styles that she changes things frequently, depending on what she loves at the time. She also decorates her house with items she finds on the side of the road or in a dumpster, her favorite being an almost-new dining room chandelier.
Another hobby of Anne’s that pays off big time when she’s renovating is painting. She claims a paint addiction and has been painting and repainting walls since her first house, many moons ago. Her love for painting really came in handy when she started frequenting yard and estate sales and flea markets more and would repaint the found furniture a color she liked. She then moved on to paintings after she found paint sets at the Dollar Store for watercolor, acrylic and oils three years ago.
“I bought all three and started playing. It was such fun that I kept it up and now I’m in love with painting pictures. My fave is acrylics although I’d love to learn how to use watercolours properly.”
Since Anne works a full-time office job during the week, her play and renovating is usually restricted to the weekends. She notices that her projects run smoother when she isn’t forcing herself to do something, because she doesn’t have to think about what she’s doing.
“I plan to do something and then when I wake up on Saturday, I wind up doing whatever it is that I’m inspired to do – and it usually isn’t what I planned to do. I don’t force myself anymore. Go with the flow!”
Her house was recently on a home tour, where she gained a lot of followers, and made a lot of new friends. She says the first thing people say when they walk in is “nice ceiling!” something she laughingly says she had nothing to do with. Next she wants to tear down the wall between her living room and dining room, and she wants to rip off the “crappy little deck” she has in the backyard and build a new one.
Anne gets her inspiration from other bloggers, Pinterest, and sometimes just out the blue! She hopes her blog can be a source of inspiration for other people who want to do the same things she’s doing – without it costing a fortune!
“What held me back for years on my other homes was the cost of labour for the things I wanted done. Now I research the things I want to do, I view lots of how-to videos on YouTube and ask a lot of questions before I tackle something I’m not sure how to do. Then I take the plunge. This process has worked well for me. Once I believe I can do something, there’s no stopping me.”
She advises that renovations are stressful – even if you live alone – and if you’re not into what you are doing, it can only get worse. If you are renovating with someone else, make sure you are both on the same page with what needs to be done – and what the time frame is.
“Make sure whatever it is you are planning to do is something that you truly want to do or learn to do because otherwise you will be very unhappy with the process…If you aren’t both in agreement, don’t do it!!!”
Anne’a favorite thing about what she does is turning her house into the perfect living space at a fraction of the cost – thanks to salvaged materials, yard sales, dumpster finds, and of course – saving money on labor. She has done more than she ever thought she could, simply by investing in a few major tools that made for easier work. She says that when she first moved in, the amount of things she disliked about the house weighed her down, and back then, she didn’t think she could take it all on by herself.
“Now I walk into my home and feel a great sense of pride and enjoyment from how beautiful it is and that I did it by myself. It’s comfortable, beautiful, quirky and happy – just like me! ;)”
You can find out more about Anne’s renovations and see her full house tour on her blog, DesignDreams by Anne and find updates on her Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter for more home inspiration!