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Do you spend more on your house or your home?

15 years ago

We bought our house as an investment, so when it's time to repair or replace something, we tend to buy the best quality we can afford. So far we've replaced the roof, much of the flooring, a few of the windows and doors, almost all the decks, and more than half of the landscaping. We've also remodeled the kitchen; and we're planning to remodel the master bath and finish the unfinished part of the basement. And my husband has made lots of improvements to his shop including new paneling, cabinets, and lighting. Then there's the wood-fired boiler, the spa, and the thousands of trees we've planted. All these things add to the value of our house and property, but they don't make the house our "home."

We spend much less on making the house our home. I buy inexpensive bedding, rugs, and furniture. I decorate with photographs, my husband's handcrafted bowls and vases, candles, and even groupings of interesting rocks. I don't buy antiques, expensive draperies, or original artwork.

There are several reasons why we spend more money (and time) on our house than our home:

We don't plan to live in this house forever. Our next residence will be much smaller and possibly not even in this country. So it makes more sense to put our time and money into the house and property rather than things inside the house that we will be getting rid of.

I was raised by a single parent, and we had no money, so buying expensive furniture or decorative items was out of the question. Even when I lived on my own, I could never afford nice things. I learned to decorate on a budget, and I still can't break that habit.

I don't want to worry about expensive things getting damaged or stolen.


How about you? Would you rather spend time and money on the house itself or on the things inside? Or do you strike a balance?

Comments (34)

  • western_pa_luann
    15 years ago

    "We don't plan to live in this house forever.
    So it makes more sense to put our time and money into the house and property rather than things inside the house that we will be getting rid of. "

    But you ARE putting your money into what you are getting rid of... the house!
    Your treasures and mementos can go with you.

  • Oakley
    15 years ago

    This is the house I plan on staying in until I die. So I put in money for the house which in turn is my home. You don't have to have expensive furnishings and nick knacks to make it feel like a home, most of my treasured items came from garage sales or "heirlooms" from my family.

    We live on an acre in the country and we planted a LOT of oak trees and an orchard, now that they're fully grown, they're part of us. Which is one of the reasons we decided not to sell this house and build a new one. So we're adding on and remodeling the inside. After waiting all these years for our trees to grow, no way will I give them to someone else. lol

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  • Ideefixe
    15 years ago

    Since we now rent, I spend on upgrading those things that make a difference in the quality of daily life. Nice sheets, decent glasses, replacing junk with better quality. One of the most liberating things I did was to get rid of all the old, mismatched, chipped mugs, bowls, etc that we used for breakfast. I now have fewer, but nicer.
    I've always bought antique/vintage/second-hand, but in the last few years, I've pruned out the temporary and the make-do, and either figured out how to live without it or save up for what I really want.

  • laurmela
    15 years ago

    Well when we bought here 20 years ago, didn't realize we would be here this long. Now we are redoing mostly everything! It was a standard builders grade house. We have redone the kitchen all the bathrooms and have upgraded all the finishes in the house. New doors, windows and flooring. It is not the same house. But when we go to sell in the next 5-10 years it will be updated and worth more than if we just left it original. This is our biggest investment.

    Now to the home part. I have just recently started buying nicer items. I figure now that I can afford the nicer end items I want to enjoy them while I can. Mind you I still look for a bargin!


  • xamsx
    15 years ago

    My house IS my home and not an investment. I have to live somewhere and I want to be the most comfortable for my needs that it can possibly be.

    If you look on the buying/selling a home forum you will find many discussions as to whether or not your home/house is an investment. What tends to come out of those discussions is the people whose portfolio is largely (or solely) their home/house tend to think of it as an investment. Those that have portfolios where their house(s) are a small(er) portion of their investment tend to be less likely to think of their home/house as an investment.

    Saying that, no one wants to lose money when it comes time to move. :-)

  • awm03
    15 years ago

    We're on our third fixer upper. We fell for two architecturally distinct homes, and the third we're trying to make so. We just added new siding, roof, windows, entry door, interior doors & trim. We've always put our money into the architecture and landscaping, and financially this has worked out well for us.

    But as a consequence, I don't have decent furnishings, as there never was money left over after the improvements to buy them. It's a struggle to make our hodgepodge of stuff fit into our spruced up homes. I sometimes wonder if perhaps we should have bought new (if bland) construction and put the money into furnishings that could move with us instead of buying homes that needed so much work.

    Recently we were at a neighborhood progressive dinner. Our neighborhood's homes were built in the 60s and have dated exteriors (hence our renovation). The homes we visited at the party had lovely furnishings and paint/wallpaper, though only minor architectural improvements. On the inside, you didn't feel like you were in dated homes because the decorating was so nice. I confess to having left the party feeling a little frustrated, that my home's interior doesn't have a polished, pretty, pulled together look like these homes had.

  • Valerie Noronha
    15 years ago

    In terms of money, I'd have to say the house--though we do strive to have money to do both. A few years ago we debated moving versus remodeling since our house was too cramped for our family of five. We choose remodeling--which has actually allowed us to have money for both--the house and the home. We are saving over $6,000 per year alone just on property taxes--not to mention phasing in improvements (and decor) as funds allow has allowed us to have a much lower mortgage than we would have otherwise. Some of our friends who bought up do not have the money to make the improvements to their homes to really make it work for them--instead they are loaded with large mortgage payments and property taxes which suck up much of their monthly income making any type of home/house spending more difficult. Celebrating Thanksgiving in our home really drove home the wisdom of our decision--with our large family kitchen with mid/high end appliances--everyone had a great time gathering in the kitchen to help cook the meal--as do our children on a more regular basis. Putting in a third bathroom is also something we really needed so we now have separate boys/girls bathrooms. DH and I appreciate everyday having enlarged our master suite to include larger bathroom with room for separate toilet room and his/her sinks as well as the more recent addition of a built-in home office. We've also completely redone the HVAC, roof, stucco, landscaping, flooring, trim, doors and hardware. It was a 35-year-old builder grade house and sorely needed it. I will say though I feel we've put about as much money towards improvements as we should at this point. I don't know we could get full value out of this house that we put into it at this point, but we don't intend to sell at this point--nor have we financially strapped ourselves to do it. Then again, we've lost significant sums of money due to the financial crisis--so nothing is without risk--and at least we have something to show for it.

    As for decor, I've come to realize this is something that evolves over time and it is not really necessary to spend huge sums of money to have an attractive and comfortable home. I do try to buy quality when I can and often search for bargins on Craigslist--antiques I've found to be much cheaper than new, often of superior construction as well as better quality of wood. While I love art, I do not dauble in one-of-a-kind artworks from well known artists--my funds just do not permit that. Instead I fill my home with reproduction artwork.

  • awm03
    15 years ago

    Just reread my post. Maybe my real problem is that I'm a bad decorator! :)

  • bigdoglover
    15 years ago

    "My house IS my home..."

    Ditto, I totally agree. I do things with the thought of "what will this do for resale value" but do not let that steer all my decisions.

    Your "house" is an investment. It could be a house, a stock, a business. It just happens to be a house. If it were a business or a stock, it would not be so easily confused with your "home," and I think the fact that it is a house is why you think you have to scrimp on one in order to pay attention to the other. You can have a beautiful well-put together home, even though your investment is also a dwelling. I certainly am not the epitome of wise spending or investing by any stretch of the imagination, but would say without meaning any offense that you should love yourself and your family enough to make the things in your home of good quality and beauty as well. It sounds like you are a wise steward and good person, and you deserve to enjoy your home in the present moment.

    Again, this is meant out of friendliness.

  • lynninnewmexico
    15 years ago

    As far as I'm concerned, this is my forever home . . . although I dream of a summerhome on a lake back in Michigan someday. With things that we put into this building that is our home, we tend to buy quality items. For instance, just last year we had the kitchen totally gutted and redone. We bought quality cabs, lighting and appliances. The quality of our house really demands that we don't go basic or cheap . . . and I mean this is a very non-snobby way. Because of where our home is located, it would be like shooting ourselves in the foot to go that route instead. If we ever had to sell this place, those kind of changes would badly hurt our being able to sell quickly or for a decent price. The average home in my "neighborhood" takes 4-6 months (or longer) to sell if they're in great shape and in good economic times!
    As for furniture and accessories, I'm at the age where I want to invest in good quality pieces that will last. My just-married-let's-try-this-new-fad days are long past! But, that said, I have absolutely no hesitations (or embarrassment) about buying good quality, used pieces and hunting for great bargains before I buy. I pride myself in almost never buying any big ticket item at full price.

  • marthaelena
    15 years ago

    The thing is, you have to watch what you spend/invest in the "house" Most likely you will not get the money back.

    It is nice to have some balance in our life.
    I think you deserve to have nice "home" items, specially if you never had them.
    If your house interior decoration is not nice, maybe you'll have hard time selling it. That is why there are home staging specialists. It is very sad that maybe you have to pay someone to nicely stage/decorate your home for a total extranger.

    You remind me my DH. In our previous house (when brand new) he did not want to use the fire place, he said he wanted it to look "perfect/clean/new" for the next owner. It really upset me that he was more concerned for the next owner that for me to enjoy the fireplace. I think a fireplace looks a lot better when it is used. Thanks god he does not think that way now.

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    15 years ago

    Our house is 28 years old so we certainly upgraded it when we bought it two years ago. French doors and windows, central air conditioning, all new paint and wall to wall carpeting and area rugs for the parts that were tiled, curtains and drapes, etc. were all put in by us. The bathrooms had been redone by the former owners before they put the house up for sale with granite counters and new cabinets and they'd also gotten rid of those horrible popcorn ceilings. Fortunately I owned antiques and oil paintings already and so didn't have to spend huge amounts, although we did buy sculpture and Chinese porcelain that was fairly pricey. My husband is quite a good artist so we also have his drawings and paintings. I love beautiful objects around me and consider them essential to the quality of my life, which is not to say everything was expensive as I haunted antique shops and flea markets for quite a few years. We don't go out much or have boats or other recreational vehicles or other expensive trinkets. I also don't spend huge amounts on clothing and my husband lives in jeans and cowboy boots. Our home is what we love; it's so much more than just an investment. We're fortunate to live in the hills with no close neighbors and wonderful views so we also haven't spent much money on vacations. This place really has become our life and we have no desire to sell the house and move somewhere else. Where could we go after this?

  • daisyadair
    15 years ago

    I have no idea of how long I'll be in my home past when my youngest graduates from high school in 4 years. My husband works for an internation company and travels constantly, so who knows where we'll end up.

    Even with all the travel, my husband does almost all of our improvements by himself. When we do a project, I have to balance out how much time and effort he goes to in doing the work versus cost and quality of materials. It's so much more than just pulling out the check book. Therefore, we will always spend more on the house and strive to make improvements that will last. As far as spending money on the home - oh hell no, I don't spend more than I have to. It's not on sale if it's not 50% off, and I like to re-decorate too much to invest heavily in furnishings. No custom made furniture around here! Too many cats, kids and a dog to have to worry about ruining something expensive.

  • User
    15 years ago

    When my sweet DH found and bought this home of ours 7 yrs ago this week , he said this is going to be our forever home. It is , to us and our children.

    "This place really has become our life and we have no desire to sell the house and move somewhere else. Where could we go after this?"

    Ingrid's post could be mine. I am home....c

  • igloochic
    15 years ago

    I've been a banker too long to believe in the theory of a forever home. Things happen, homes change. With that in mind, the shell of my "home" the "house" is always kept at as high quality as I can afford. My electric and plumbing are top notch, I never stint on the stuff inside the costs more later.

    It's important to me that the shell be lovely, because that's the foundation for the rest of the house. We moved into a fabulous lake house...but it was an awful 1980's vintage mess. Now that it's finished, it's so much nicer to live here :)

    I can't say that I have as much spent on the guts as I do on the shell...but that's because we just spent a lot on two years remodeling the shell LOL BUt what we do have is all high quality. I would always do without before I'd spend a little on a piece of goober, which won't last long anyhoo. I'm much like one of the posters above....I never pay retail LOL Our home is a mix of antique and new, and I rarely have paid full price unless I really want something RIGHT NOW (I just had to do that with a card table and it hurt LOL)

    I couldn't lie in a lovely shell without nice things inside, even if they're sparing. I learned early in life that high quality lasts. I'd rather have just one set of sheets at 600 to 1000 thread count, than 5 at 100 or 200 thread count. The high ones will always last so much longer, and feel so much better. Even when I was poor I had a house full of antiques. You can get such deals in the lower 48. I remember a fabulous old iron bed we was $2 at a garage sale if I cleared the hay off myself.

    A well decorated home takes time. Even if it's just one piece at a time. I'd never go out and try to do a room all at would show! Homes, and Houses :) Should evolve over time. But they're where you spend all of your time....they should be as nice as they can be!

  • madeyna
    15 years ago

    This thread really hits home here. We bought this house 5 years ago and it was a 1915 fixer-upper. We spent 4 months remodling before we could even move in and have contenued to remodle every since. There is not much that we haven,t done here and we have tried to stay with quality products on everything that matters because the house deserves it. His job transfered out of the area so we will be putting it up for sale this spring. I get really depressed because for the last 5 years we have put all our time monney and effort into this remodle and almost none into decorating it. Amost all our furnature came from the last house and now that the remodle is done I will never get the opertunity to decorate this house and I have wanted to do that since we bought it. On the other hand I suppose the choices I have made like the roof and siding ,kitchen and bathrooms will be with the house longer than furnature.Still I am very tired of my old stuff and even though its quality , don,t want to have to move it to a third house. But if the market keeps falling it looks like I will have to.

  • zeebee
    15 years ago

    There's a lot of overlap for us between House and Home - our current renovation includes replacing the steam heating system with a hot-water one, adding central a/c, gutting and expanding a bath and closets, upgrading some electric, full painting, plus laying new floors on two of three levels. Except for the electrical work (mandatory) and the new floors on one level (totally an aesthetic choice, nothing wrong with the old ones), the scope of work is to make our lives in the house more comfortable. So there are House considerations of infrastructure, and Home considerations regarding how we want to use and enjoy the house.

    As far as decorating the Home, I've always mixed higher-end, high quality with cheaper things. I do enjoy spending money for good rugs and classic furniture but there are some inexpensive, fun and well-made things at Ikea, West Elm, CB2 et al. that I'm just as proud to have in my home. I also love a good secondhand shop more than a pricey antiques emporium.

  • paint_chips
    15 years ago

    I would suffocate if I had to live in one place forever. Every place we live, we make better than the last because we have learned what we do and don't like.

    Improving and maintaining a house is done to secure our investment. Decorating is done as a hobby. Extra improvements are our entertainment, a fun thing we do together as a couple.

    I would go crazy in a too perfect house with too perfect things because it would take the fun out of the process.

  • IdaClaire
    15 years ago

    Gosh, I'm not really sure! I guess I'd have to say that technically we've spent more on the house - the structure - itself. We've installed central air/heat, a sprinkler system, a fence, new tile floor in the kitchen, and were forced to make significant plumbing repairs shortly after move-in. We already had most of our furnishings when we bought the house, but added significantly to the artwork and knick-knacks, to the point where I'm pretty much out of room to add anything new. Most of the furniture that we have is our "lifetime" stuff, and we won't be replacing it. Back in the days when I had the money to do so, I did buy quality furnishings, and I'm glad that I did because I wouldn't be able to do so to the same extent at this point in my life. Most of my artwork and other decor is highly personal to our lifestyle and interests, and nothing was super-spendy -- things bought on trips or from artists who sell on eBay who are "unknown", but who created items that really spoke to me.

  • User
    15 years ago

    When we bought our house it was a fixer, so it's the fixing we've been focused on. New roof, floors, painting, kitchen update, and right now the master bathroom is completely gutted. Much of it has been DIY and who knows when it will all be done. Our "real" treasures and belongings are in the basement, still boxed from when we moved here (from another state) over 2 1/2 years ago. So for now, we spend the big bucks on the house and with a little luck, eventually it will be our home.

  • mahatmacat1
    15 years ago

    You know, I've been thinking about your question and my answer keeps coming back to "do what you like". What I mean is that I know thoroughly accomplished, fulfilled, intelligent people who have a house that looks like a tornado blew through it, but who can put their fingers on any arcane item of their baseball card collection, say, or are experts in the organization of the *universe* rather than the insides of their kitchen cabinets :) Not everyone has to make the interior of their home a focus for their energies. Not everyone values interior design in the same way, either -- I know some folks who value a home based on how friendly it is for cats to explore and have places to hide, etc (my cat list folks). They'll spend money like you wouldn't believe to install outdoor protected areas, huge long walkways up high over doors, etc. That's what makes them happy, makes their house a home. I personally enjoy the hunt for things that I like for the home but they're usually not expensive and are not always "investments" to improve the bottom line. (I do like knowing that many of the things I've found I could sell for more, if I had to, but that's a side point.) I also know that there are other things I'd rather be doing, and sometimes the home is simply *not* the priority.

    You all have spent on your hobbies, for sure (at least your DH has), and you've spent on gardening and landscaping -- those things, I HOPE, mean more to you than just cold Scrooge-like investments, right? When all is said and done, life is more than a series of investments and whatever makes you *happy* is what you should spend your energies on, insofar as you can (and you all can, more than most :)).

  • Shannon01
    15 years ago

    I guess in dollars I would say house but home in heart value.

    We have been careful to spend money on the house "wisely", that is good investments that if we had to sell, would help it sell. We installed plantation shutters throughout (original owner only did half the house), rebuilt the oversized patio structure, installed family friendly pool and landscaping that would allow it to be changed easily (this was done by installing sprinkler system that could be used many different ways), whole house fan, ceiling fans, and our favorite thing the energy efficient/environmentally efficient fireplace insert.

    Because taste changes I have been frugal about the home aspect. I try to get the nicest at the best price. I did splurge on super soft towels. The first day my DH wiped his finger with acne creme on it on the towel. Bleached it horribly. Luckily I got them on a super sale with garagesale money so it was not that bad. I have friends that comment on how huge and fancy my house is but then I remind them that we "got it on sale or I would never have bought it". Actually, it was way too high and the day we asked to see it the owner dropped the price because it had been on the market for so long. I could not afford to pass up on the deal. My friends know me well, if it ain't on sale, I don't buy it.

    So, because this is my forever house for now I will make it my home but also make sure it stays nice so that when I do move on it is sellable.

  • mahatmacat1
    15 years ago

    shannon, slight hijack, but not really: could you share some details on the fireplace insert? TIA.

  • bungalow_house
    15 years ago

    House. It has been here a long time and will be here a lot longer if we take care of it. The stuff that goes inside is usually so temporary by comparison. And ditto what the OP said about never having had enough money to spend on decorating, so it's hard to get in that mindset. I think if I won the lottery I still wouldn't be able to do it.

  • mistybear11
    15 years ago

    We have been in the spend more on the house stage. Our last home we spent more money than the market could take. While trying to make our house a home, found out that no matter how much money you spend, the location and neighbours have a lot of importance. We had neither a good location nor good neighbours. In this house, we built with the "staying here for long while" thinking. (Although lately we are planning to move to a place like uxorial's, I can't believe that you would ever leave your paradise. but I am getting sidetracked.) We upgraded the shingles, siding, flooring,windows and electrical. Anything that could be changed fairly easily at a later date we used builder's grade. The things that would make this a home would be the fact that I was adament about having black fixtures in both bathrooms. Teal green carpet that I chose for the bedrooms to be later regretted, not the colour, just the fact that it is carpet. Rimless folding mirror doors in the bedoom and front hall entrance. A butterfly sink in the kitchen, knotty pine baseboard and trim along with knotty pine kitchen and bathroom cupboards. Oak stairs and railing. Dark gray tile floors on the entire main floor, bathroom and hallway upstairs. Installed sliding doors off the kitchen even though we have garden doors off the family room. We have built a deck that takes up one third of the yard that connects both sets of doors. Built not one but two ponds that take up another third of the yard and ripped out the grass and layed down mulch on the last third. Entirely ripped out the front yard and layed mulch there. And now there is the gray paint colour that I have on all the walls. So for now I will spend more on the things that make it a home for us.


  • sergeantcuff
    15 years ago

    We did not buy our house as an investment, but as a place to live. It is a modest colonial from the 1930's that has been taken care of, but not modernized, over the years. We have some nice things, things we really love, but they have been accumulated gradually. I have no plans to move, but these are antique, quality items that I would take with me. I wouldn't want anything cheap in my house unless it was free. I'll use a cardboard box and save up for something that I really like. We are finally remodeling the kitchen after living with it for 10 years.

    Many might say that too much of our money goes towards "living well". Food, wine, books, plants, etc. As for the kids, we spend lots on travel, music lessons, camps, instruments, camping, fishing, good bicycles, etc. As my sons get older, they notice the things that their friends' families have - home theaters, SUVs, giant houses, multiple video game systems. It's getting difficult to explain that these are not the things that are valuable to us.

  • pamghatten
    15 years ago

    I am also in my forever home, have been for almost 12 years now. I've spent more money on this home, and 20 acres, than it cost to buy it in the first place ... and doubled the size of my living space.

    Interesting that the previous home I had, that I knew was an in-between home, only had the necessary things repaired/replaced. I was only there 5 years.

  • TxMarti
    15 years ago

    As I see it, every quality thing you do for your house also improves it as a home. If you put in crappy windows that let the air blow through, your home wouldn't be warm & snug and you wouldn't be happy.

    We put money into quality items when it is something that will last a long time, whether we take it with us, or it stays with the house.

    oakleyok, a question. Do you have a septic system with lateral lines on your acre? If so, where did you place your trees?

  • dgmarie
    15 years ago

    Would you rather spend time and money on the house itself or on the things inside? Or do you strike a balance?

    I don't think you can separate the two. You live in the house. It is your home. If you live like you are planning to move any day now, there isn't much motivation to do anything but keep it broom swept and start planning the open house.

    That being said, I am a saver. In money that is. I have the funds to do as I please but rarely buy anything unless I have to. We've furnished one room and then I lost the motivation. Pretty sad, huh?

  • liz_h
    15 years ago

    I found this thread by accident, and it touches on something I'm struggling with right now. Our house is our forever home. I realize that nothing is guaranteed, but at our ages and retirement status it's highly unlikely we'll be moving elsewhere. We put a lot of money into the house itself, designing it to suit us, and using quality materials to minimize maintenance and utility costs. But for a lot of reasons, it ended up costing more than anticipated. By the time we moved in, we were very stressed out over the prolonged building process and a bit shell-shocked over the cost. It took awhile to get comfortable with spending much more money on anything!

    Then there's the whole issue of having always tried to buy things at seriously low prices - that it just doesn't feel right to spend much money on things. I (and we) are having to thing through just what is worth spending what it takes to get what we want, and in what areas it's worth settling. At any rate, after being in this house for 2 years, I'm finally antsy to get it looking as nice as it should.

    One area where I'll probably settle is the bedding for the guest room. I could spend $500 and get just the look I want, or $100 on eBay and get something almost as nice. One thing I won't do is spend one dime on something that I'll look at and regret. I've done that too often in the past.

  • angelcub
    15 years ago

    "How about you? Would you rather spend time and money on the house itself or on the things inside? Or do you strike a balance?"

    I'd much rather spend on things inside. Way more fun. : ) But overall I'd say we've spent more on the bones of the house than any of the furnishings or decorative objects. We had our home built from our design almost 19 years ago and have spent the last 5 years or so replacing things like windows and flooring, a more custom kitchen, etc. - things we couldn't put the money into during the build due to the collapse of the real estate market in the early 90s. The bank decided at the last minute they wanted more $$$ before funding the final loan so wood floors throughout became a distant dream.

    But everything we did do was the best quality we could afford and we have no regrets. Well, except I wish I would have never given in to the GC's advice to save money and go with the polished brass of the time. I never liked it and wanted chrome even if everyone said it was so plain, plus it was pricier because it was so hard to find. Now it's everywhere! lol!

    "One thing I won't do is spend one dime on something that I'll look at and regret. I've done that too often in the past."

    I so agree with this. Get what you love even if you have to wait longer to achieve your goals. I have a lovely sofa that I paid good money for but it really doesn't suit my relaxed cottage style. I settled for lack of finding what I really wanted and being impatient. Good thing my DH likes it because it would probably be on CL. ; )

  • txnewmommy
    15 years ago

    My husband spends on the house, I spend on the home.

    We would like to move in the next 5-10 years so this is NOT our forever home. We have chosen to make some basic improvements to the house(painting, extending the patio, upgrading some lighting, adding can lights, etc) but we will not invest serious capital into knocking down walls, major kitchen renovation, etc (not that we feel they are needed in this house).

    The "home" is up to me. I cannot afford to fix up our home all at once (at least not to the level/quality that I desire) but I do a little bit here & a little bit there as funds allow. I enjoy knowing that these things our "ours" and that we can take them with us to the house.

  • robin_DC
    15 years ago

    In this house, we've spent a lot more on the house than furniture & decor. I bought it as a starter house four years ago, then after we got married (two years ago) and started looking for another house, we realized we were in love with the neighborhood and our street in particular, and decided to stay. It will not be a forever house, but realistically we should be here for the next 3-5 years or so, maybe longer.

    There are still many more expensive 'house' projects to be done. I replaced most of the flooring before I moved in, and all of the appliances. The heart of pine floors in the living room need repairs which require an antique floor specialist and I fear will be very costly. And we plan to remodel/expand the second story within the next year, which will be a huge expense. So we could put all of our extra money into the house indefinitely.

    But late last year I started working more on the 'home' aspect, because I was tired of feeling ambivalent about the decor, and tired of having so many rooms that are about 80% 'done.' Of course with the economy, my timing couldn't be worse! Since I thought I'd trade up in a few years, and had spent so much money on flooring, etc., I only purchased a few essential pieces of furniture, and otherwise used things that I'd had in prior rentals. So there are still quite a few gaps to fill, although several of my friends who do not care about decorating think the house looks quite 'done' and don't understand why I'm dissatisfied (and I suspect that DH agrees with them to some extent!).

    One thing I've learned with some of my recent purchases is that furniture can solve some of the functionality problems that the house has. Storage pieces can be very expensive, but they're worth it. And even the scale of our non-storage furniture can change the way that the rooms function, not to mention layout & furniture placement. So that makes me feel more comfortable spending money on the 'home' aspect, because some of these changes have really made the house much more comfortable to live & entertain in.

  • lorriekay
    15 years ago

    Def .. my HOUSE. It's a mess, a real fixer upper. We do as much as we can bit by bit but money is the issue.
    It needs to be replumbed. Needs some *more* electrical work.
    Needs a new roof.
    Needs wood siding repair.
    Needs major bathroom plumbing fixes.
    That said.. I have spent a lot of time making this my home. Painting.. decorating. Doing my best with what I CAN do.
    Refinishing the kitchen cabinets etc.
    So hands down.. more money on the house *bones* part.
    But a lot on making it homey too.