Bringing an old home back to life. And on a small budget.


So, here is the unveiling of our wonderful little hidden gem.  We only had $130,000 for a loan to work with and I found this HUD house, made a bid and God was kind, no one else bid on it that night so in the morning we were proud parents of a poor, neglected and abused home.  It had been abandoned for years and housing squatters.  It had some funky energy and smells, to say the least.  But with some of our savings, lot’s of scrubbing, soap, paint, and planting of trees and gardens…it is back to a wonderful life housing a loud and fun family.

We purchased the house for $135,000, closing costs were $9,000 and all the work and supplies along with hiring Leo, our carpenter, was around $15,000 give or take.  Total $159,000.  We used savings that came from 6 years of frugal living and we still have some savings left.  Our mortgage with insurance, taxes and MIP (mortgage insurance you must pay if you didn’t put 20% down) all included is a fabulous $918.02!  It took us 6 weeks to do the work with Leo working daily and my husband working after his job each day and his one day off.

Here are the rest of the before and afters.


The color is wild but it’s hard to see from those little swatches what you will really get.
























It still needs a little work here and there.  But this is the main chunk of the progress.  I look forward to seeing how this little house evolves over the years.

For those of you interested in getting out of debt and living a more frugal lifestyle for peace of mind and real freedom in life, check out my new book The Homemade Housewife.  I have every tip and advice that I have learned over the years from hundreds of other frugal hens and applied.  This frugal living was the only way we were able to purchase our first home because we live on one small income and have 4 humans and 3 furry family members to take care of.

So, if you want to get motivated get this book and have fun with the journey.  It cost less than a cup of gas station coffee.  I want everyone to have the joy and freedom I have found in living sustainably, frugally, and simply.



23 thoughts on “Bringing an old home back to life. And on a small budget.

  1. It all looks fabulous! I adore the bathroom floor. Just got your book. It’s excellent and very inspiring and the vast majority of it translates to the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderful! On the book translating that is. When I wrote the last two books I tried to keep in mind that I have some UK readers and others from other countries and have to keep it open and not to US specific as far as brands, stores, etc. I’m glad you are enjoying it. I love all the old goodies in my home, the tile, the built in cupboards.


  2. Wow! Your home is beautiful and perfect!!! I am not sure when you home was built, but our house was built in the 1940’s and we have the EXACT same white kitchen cabinets with those thin gold/brass handles. We also have the SAME black & white floor tiles in the bathroom. So similar for being on separate coasts! Your renovations give the house a lot of love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ours is 1941. That sort of tile is from the 30’s and 40’s. I love all the old stuff. Thank you for appreciating our work, I’m really proud of it all and so in love with this place I feel like I have another new born!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And it was the original back yard that I detested so much that I kept passing over the house when looking online for a home. There is a lot more of it but that will be photos for another blog.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the new color on the exterior! The white fence is terrific, too. We have similar tile as well, which is nearly indestructible. We eventually took our the bathtub and turned it into a walk In shower, but were able to keep much of the original tile.
    Hearty congratulations! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m reading your blog right now about Memorial day. I love peaking into other peoples lives. I like your tips and how you enjoy your days. You’re like me, the simple and wonderful home life is the best. I’m especially loving it with this new old house! I just love, love my days.


      1. Couldn’t agree more. We came very close to building a house once when we were young and bored. I came to the realization that it would be foolish to build a house when we were never home in the first place. Backing out of that saved us so much money. We are grateful for our small, 1940s house. It’s paid for, and you keep your kids close when there’s no place for them to hide (important in middle school!) Right now my DD and I are sitting face to face on a loveseat!


  4. I’m in the Midwest, Great Lakes region. We’re just getting the first taste of summer! I am glad you are enjoying them. I’ve written a lot about saving money, but lately I am broadening into more lifestyle, simple living and homemaking!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amazing transformation Kate … the house looks like if it could talk it would be tearing up saying “Thank you for seeing my true potential, I love you!”
    So proud of you dear friend … love and peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well you can always change the exterior to orange some day! For now, it does look beautiful and you have done a great job! I am so happy all your dreams have come true! And the proverbial ‘white picket fence’. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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