Let’s do it ourselves! A couple tackles a home improvement project during COVID-19

Who knew that spending time quarantined during the coronavirus could result in so much home improvement productivity?

Since the start of COVID-19, the world has changed and for some, that resulted in a job loss. I would know; I lost my job as a substitute teacher when the schools were shut down.

On that day, life as I knew it was over. So much had changed in such a short time, and I wondered, “What will I do with myself now?”

As I was home finishing up my college degree anyway, I had time to look around our house and at what home improvement projects that my husband, Nick, and I, still had left to tackle.

We bought our condo in the fall of 2015, and it wasn’t until we physically moved in that we realized the place was something of a fixer-upper. The floors were in terrible shape, the refrigerator died almost immediately, and we discovered that there had been a fire at some point prior to our occupancy.

We knew with this being our first home, there would be some renovations required, but we didn’t think it would happen so soon.

In the ensuing years, we painted every wall in the place (I somehow convinced my kindhearted husband to paint our bedroom my favorite color: pink). We also replaced the kitchen cabinets, installed pantry shelves, and addressed a host of other home improvement issues. I don’t think there’s a room, space, or nook and cranny we haven’t worked on.

Then there’s the basement, one of the least glamorous rooms in our home. Despite the washroom, storage closet, and home office it houses, we have always found this below-ground level spot to be a little eerie, even though it’s almost fully finished.

We have had ongoing problems with our electrical box, which was located in the washroom, so we decided to begin our “coronavirus quarantine home improvement project” there. We had to replace numerous breakers, and since Nick had had some electrical training and had read up on the subject, we were able to safely replace them ourselves.

Next, we decided to fix up the basement washroom (which houses the washer, dryer, water heater, and the rest of the piping to our house) itself.

For a minimal cost — roughly $200 — we were able to transform the washroom into a more attractive, efficient space.

First we installed the walls (seems silly to say) because all that was there were studs. We nailed some scrap pieces leftover from a previous project to the studs, thus creating a makeshift wall. Simple enough.

Then, we installed a ceiling and light fixtures (two from Walmart cost about $20 each, and Nick did the wiring). After that, a paint job completed the look and feel of a more functional room. We even installed an extra layer of wood in the middle of the wall to serve as a tool rack.

Once the washroom was complete, we decided to spruce up the basement stairs. With just a coat of black paint (Nick’s idea) and carpet squares, the stairs were transformed.

Now we’re almost done. A lot of care and planning went into designing this space, and although it has come a long way, we still have a bit more work to do (when you’re working with a husband who is a perfectionist, these things can take a little longer).

The best part of these home renovations has been working with my husband. Transforming our home together into something beautiful has been rewarding. I couldn’t have picked a better partner. Nick is patient and meticulous, and people often ask us who we hired to do the work!

I know that someday, when we decide to move from our condo to a house, we’ll look back and fondly remember our first home, and the memories — both good and bad — we made here. That’s life, after all.