There once was a young newlywed couple and their baby girl living in a 720 square foot apartment in Raleigh, one they could barely afford. But, they dreamed and dreamed of owning a piece of land they could call their own. Then, one day, the husband said to the wife, “I think I found the perfect house for us! Its way-way-way out in the country in a little town called Holly Springs… Its kind of run down, but we can fix it.”  The doe-eyed wife looked at her husband, as only a newlywed could, and thought… Oh, I just love him SO much.

…. then she saw the house.

before renovation picture of front of first flip

Honeymoon Over.

It was a 3 bedroom 2 bath ranch with rotten siding, faux brick linoleum flooring, marbled blue laminate counter tops, and ungrouted 12 x 12 tile in the MASTER BEDROOM. It was in the middle of NOWHERE. She turns and looks at her husband with disgust … seriously?? “Kind of run down”, he says, “we can fix it”, he says… please.

… But he loved it. So they bought it.

closing table first flip holly springs

Notice the excited smiles – so naive.

So… that’s our story… the beginning of our story. Over the next 4 years, Uriah transformed that dump of a house into something beautiful. To this day, it is still my favorite house. Maybe because it’s the house of all the firsts.

Living through this level of a renovation is no joke, especially when finances are slim. We pinched our pennies, saved for materials slowly and bought them as cheap as possible, most of the time utilizing craigslist. Uriah worked hard at renovating our space, spilling blood, sweat, and tears… mainly my tears. He did this all while carrying a full time day job.

Documenting the progress was not my forte back then. I was a bit busy preventing toddler related injuries on jobsite that was our home. However, I did find some pictures so you can see what the house used to look like.

To give a better idea, here is the main floor layout – not to scale.


Notice the faux brick linoleum? I know, classy. It was everywhere: kitchen, living, dining, bathrooms, bedrooms. The outdoor carpet in our entry way, where our little girl is standing: there’s a story about that.

flooring flip holly springs renovation

This is where our daugher learned to walk!

You see, when we bought the house, the flooring at the entry and down the hallway leading to the bedrooms, was non-existent. It was just plywood. In order to close, our lender required material of some sort.

So what did we do? We went and bought that horrible blue outdoor carpet and installed it ourselves, allowing us to close on our fixer upper.

This awkward shot gives you a sneak-peak of the kitchen in all of its faux beauty: faux brick lenoleum, faux ocean blue countertops, and fo-real ugly cabinet hardware.

fixer upper before holly springs renovation first flip inspiring investment

… and the fan, oh that fan.

That wall color was inspired by Young House Love! Jon and Sherry’s blog was my go-to back in the day for DIY and budget-friendly design ideas. We still follow them today.

hall bath before renovation holly springs flip house

Oh yes, the ocean blue laminate countertops continue: hall bathroom before

Old Deck Boards Before Repair Flipping the Boards

You can sort of see the original condition of the deck in this picture. It was awful and fairly unsafe.

Want to know how we brought this deck back to life – on the cheap? You don’t want to miss {this post}

In part 2, we will share photos of the completed renovation of our first house. We won’t do this with every project, but if you continue readying, you will also find out just how profitable this “flip” was to us. {Read Part 2, Here}

Our intention is not to boast, but hope by sharing this information, you leave inspired to think differently about the potential you could have in your own home, if you buy it at the right price, at the right time, and imrove in the right places.

Would you live through a renovation of this scale? Leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.