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Making A Starter House A Home

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

For other first-time-homeowners looking for renovation, we recommend that you make a list of all the things you want to do, then prioritize. Also, take your time on projects.

Photos by Hillary Ehlen

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

Hello! I’m Danyel Moe, a Fargo native, Co-Founder of Ladybosses of Fargo-Moorhead and Content Specialist at Concordia College Marketing and Communications. My husband, Gavin Moe, is a Corporate Communications Specialist at Corelink. Together, we have created a small family of four–us and our two cats, Tamari and Tahini.

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

To be honest, we had no intentions of buying a home in 2018. Then, in the middle of the summer, my boss found a North Fargo house that fit my style and criteria. She quickly sent me the Zillow link, and to say I fell in love is an understatement. It was five days between my boss sending me the link and us putting an offer on the house. When we toured, it simply felt like us – the bones of the house had so much potential and it was the right amount of space.

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

– The Responsible Decision –

Even though we weren’t in the market (our plan was to rent for a few more years and save up), once we crunched the numbers and compared renting to owning, it seemed like the responsible decision. Our realtor was Ryan Rettig from Beyond Realty in Fargo, and our Home Loan Officer was Peter Johnson at Town and Country Credit Union, who was absolutely incredible! He explained everything without making us feel like we were asking dumb questions. Gavin knew our realtor, Ryan, from high school days playing basketball against him. It was so awesome to have that connection throughout the process. We were so well taken care of!

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

– Our Spontaneous Wish List –

  1. Old, family-friendly neighborhood with large trees
  2. Within walking distance of Downtown Fargo
  3. Historic home (This house is just under 100 years old! It was built in the early Roaring 20s) that is also structurally sound (We got an A- on our inspection. We’ll take it!)
  4. A large backyard filled with plants and trees that would be perfect for bonfires
  5. Simplistic, classic design that can stand the test of time

Beyond our aforementioned criteria, the three-season patio was a bonus. We had no idea this was even on our wishlist, but now that we have it, we can’t imagine daily life without it. It’s the perfect space to drink morning coffee and hang out with our cats as they watch the cars go by.

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

– The Previous Homeowners –

Before we start talking timelines and renovations, I want to say a huge thank you to Heidi and Troy Reisenauer, the previous owners of this house. They were so excited to have us purchase their home because we shared the same understanding of how special an old home can be. They even gave us celebratory champagne and a list of all the odd things to know about the house when we moved in.

– Our Timeline –

We closed on the house on June 20, 2018. Our lease on our unit at Woodrow Apartments ended on August 31, so we were completely moved into our new space by August 30. By September 15, all of our large home renovations were complete.

We had a housewarming party with 30 of our closest family and friends on September 15. It was originally supposed to be on September 1, but it turned out that we were a bit too optimistic on our home renovation timeline so it had to be pushed back a couple weeks.

– Renovations –

Before we started the renovations, I went crazy on Pinterest. I was pinning photos daily, looking for patterns in the pins that I would save–color schemes, textures, architectural styles, etc. I have a total of 1,200 images saved to my “Home” board and, in the end, I think I stuck pretty close to it.

– Kitchen –

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

This was probably our largest project of them all. We installed all new appliances, freshened up the walls with some white paint, tiled over top of the old linoleum, replaced the existing backsplash, installed new butcher block countertops, installed new cabinets, built open shelving and added a new light. Needless to say, it was a lot of work! The only thing we contracted out was plumbing. (You don’t want to go wrong there, especially in an old house! Laney’s did a fantastic job.)

– Bathroom –

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

For the bathroom, we ripped down the stained plastic shower walls and replaced them with square white tile all the way to the ceiling. We added new brass accessories and re-painted it white. The original cast iron tub and floor tiling we decided to keep and just reglaze.

– Living & Dining Room –

These rooms were the most ready-to-go when we moved in. We changed the wall color to “Sleek White” by Behr, added new lights and curtains and called it done.

– Master Bedroom –

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

This room is quite simple and small, so we updated it with a simple coat of paint and finished the windows with some curtains.

– Upstairs Bedroom & Office –

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

Upstairs was the only place that had carpeting. We decided to remove all of the carpet and put down faux hardwood to make the space feel more open and clean. Other than that, we simply repainted.

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

– Three-Season Porch –

We re-painted the floor and window trim to from it’s original blue-gray to a warmer khaki color to go with the rest of the house.

Danyel Moe talks about the renovation done on her new home

– Landscaping –

So far, we have mainly tackled indoor projects. This fall, my dad has volunteered to help me with landscaping. He is a master at landscaping and plants in general. My parents’ home is known in their neighborhood as the “lollipop house” for my dad’s ability to form trees into perfect spheres. I’m excited to learn from him and to place some perennials to come back next summer.

– What We Learned –

For other first-time-homeowners looking to renovate, we recommend that you make a list of all the things you want to do, then prioritize. Also, take your time on projects. You don’t have to do everything in one go! (We didn’t really follow our own advice on this one, but I still think it would help would prevent mental and physical burnout.) Homeownership comes with more responsibilities than renting, but for us, the benefits outweigh the struggle of the homeowner learning curve.

You can view our full home renovation process in my Instagram Story Highlight “Our House” on my profile: @danyelmoe

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