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  • Writer's pictureThe Jennifer Jones Team

What We Learned From Updating Our First Home

When we bought our first home in Georgina in 2019, I knew there would be a learning curve as first-time homeowners. Our home was spacious and had gorgeous gardens, but we knew we would still be making lots of changes to the home to really make it ours. Now, over 2 years since we moved in, here’s what we’ve learned along the way.

Have A Plan

Start a project book where you can write out all your brainstorm ideas, room and furniture measurements and any other details for your dream space. I started my book before we even moved in and have continued adding and checking off items. If you plan ahead, you’re more prepared to be able to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. We were able to complete a major update this year on extremely short notice, without compromising on our vision. if I hadn’t pre-planned out ideal layouts, measurements and finishes we wouldn’t have been able to accommodate such a short timeline.

Don’t Get Discouraged

When we first bought our house, I had many grand and extensive plans for the updates we were going to make. Everything seemed easy in the planning stage, and I naively assumed we’d be able to get to everything on the list in a few months. However, after factoring in time moving, unpacking and just overall life responsibilities, it was easy to see I’d had unrealistic expectations for our timeline. It was hard not to get discouraged staring at the long list of projects waiting to be completed. So we sat down and broke down our project list by priority and wrote out all the steps needed to complete each project. This made it more manageable to make progress chipping away at every opportunity.

Be Prepared for The Costs Of “Hidden Items”

A significant chunk of our renovation budgets over the last 2+ years have involved “hidden” items such as insulation, electrical, plumbing etc. Especially when updating older homes, or where there have been “DIY” updates done, it’s important to always plan for extra costs. While we work on a strict budget for any updates we make, it’s never wise to cut corners on the items working hard behind the scenes. Better to wait and do something right, than being forced into updates down the line as problems crop up from a temporary fix.

Think About Your Reno in Stages

A lot of our plans for the house involve costly and multi step projects like bathroom and kitchen remodels. Budget constraints mean that we can’t always make all the desired changes in one go, instead we focus on making steady progress by breaking things down into stages. By thinking of updates in terms of Stage 1, Stage 2 etc., I can enjoy the changes we do make rather that feeling negative focusing on what still needs to be done. We pre-plan what changes belong in each stage and get the satisfaction of a completed job when we’re done.

Written by: Sarah Park (

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