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I’m Karen, and along with my husband, Mike, we bought our starter home in 2005 but due to the expensive Northern California real estate market, it’s turned into our forever home. We’re trying to make the best of it by remodeling as the years go by. We don’t have huge budgets so we try to tackle most projects ourselves, although we do hire the pros when necessary. We make mistakes but we learn from them along the way.

For our big projects, we mostly work on the weekends so it takes us longer to complete them. The advantage of this is that our budgets are spread out over a longer period of time. We also make use of home improvement store credit card offers and discounts.

I’ve always hated how ridiculously low the costs are shown on home remodeling TV shows so I share the true cost of everything we do. I also think homeowners should pull any necessary city permits for all remodel projects – whether done by yourself or by professionals. I agree with Mike Holmes’ advice on permits.