Jou Fixer Upper – Recap Part 2

Another Jou Fixer Upper Update

Jou Fixer Upper Recap Part 2 via It's Jou Life blog - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-1hg

There’s a lot to catch up with our Jou Fixer Upper and it’s hard to keep up. Our previous recap post focused on the repairs and installation behind the walls. This installment will touch upon our design style, inspiration, and a couple project repairs.

More Of What We’ve Been Up To Since…

Design/Inspiration

Wayne and I share the same aesthetics and design style. I guess you can best describe it as mid-century modern meets Scandinavian with a laid-back vibe. The architecture of our house doesn’t naturally lend itself to mid-century, so we have show our style through furniture and design elements by incorporating clean lines and minimalistic details. Our color palette falls within white, grey, a pop of color, and natural wood elements.

We’re definitely channeling our fave fixer upper couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines!

We’ve been eyeing these Evan Dining Chairs from Room & Board and Wayne wants to make a similar dining table. We’re also currently installing a similar modern base trim throughout the house.

Continue reading

Jou Fixer Upper – Recap Part 1

Fixer Upper Update

Jou Fixer Upper Recap via It's Jou Life blog - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-1gS

It’s been a hot minute since we’ve last updated on our fixer upper. We’ve been spending our weekends and weeknights giving it much more than a facelift. In the beginning process, the majority of our time was spent in demo-mode. We had some #demofail, but made some progress with removing the carpet, kitchen appliances, and countertop.

So this is what we’ve been up to since…

We hired licensed professionals to do big projects: asbestos removal, all new repipe/plumbing, all new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), all new windows, installing drywall, and all new main floor tiles and bathroom tiles. It was nice to hire professionals to do these projects because they would finish in a few days to a few weeks. Since the majority of our budget went to those big projects, it leads us to DIY the rest of the projects. And DIY = takes time.

Removing kitchen Soffit

We guess back then it was the style to have a dropped kitchen ceiling for the soffit lighting. We wanted a more open feel, so we raised up the soffit lighting area to be flush with the ceiling.

Jou Fixer Upper Recap via It's Jou Life blog - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-1gS

Before // The kitchen ceiling soffit is lowered compared to the rest of the kitchen/dining area.

Jou Fixer Upper Recap via It's Jou Life blog - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-1gSJou Fixer Upper Recap via It's Jou Life blog - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-1gS

Jou Fixer Upper Recap via It's Jou Life blog - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-1gS

After // The kitchen ceiling is now flush with the rest of the room.

Removing Drywall

We call this OCD drywall demo. It took months for us to remove all the drywall from the exterior walls of the house. Removing the drywall from the exterior walls enables us to install insulation and keep our home energy efficient. We also discovered an unexpected surprise: termite damage on some of the wood studs.

Jou Fixer Upper Recap via It's Jou Life blog - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-1gS

Living Room // OCD drywall removal

Continue reading

Demo day part 3 // Kitchen edition & challenges we faced

Out with the old – Kitchen demo days

Demo day part 3 - Kitchen edition via It's Jou Life Blog - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-1aZ

BEFORE // The original kitchen cabinets, appliances, and tile counter. Who remembers those automatic can openers attached under the cabinets?

Demo day part 3 - Kitchen edition via It's Jou Life Blog - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-1aZ

AFTER // What kitchen? Removed almost everything. It was hilarious rolling the old school kitchen stove, microwave, and dishwasher to our sidewalk for bulk pick-up.

After taking a break to handle the landscaping, it was time to get back to demo. Up next was to completely gut the kitchen. This includes removing all of the cabinets, lighting, sink, and appliances.

We didn’t have a full-size sledgehammer so we weren’t able to just smash everything like they do on TV. That probably worked for the better since we were forced to take things apart piece by piece, therefore minimizing the amount of debris flying around the house. Even with our small 3-lb sledge, we were a little timid about swinging it. It was definitely a ‘gentle’ demo at first, but soon after making very slow progress, we started swinging the hammer with more gusto and it sped up the demo process.

Our biggest kitchen demo challenge

Continue reading

DIY Landscaping

ITSJOULIFE Landscaping & co

One of the big changes of owning a single-family home is having to handle all of the landscaping. At our previous condo, all of the landscaping was managed by the HOA so we didn’t have to worry about fixing sprinklers, mowing the lawn, or trimming the hedges.

Using the reel mower


We decided to take a break from the interior of the house to mow the lawn and check on the sprinkler system. I grew up mowing the lawn at my parent’s house so it wasn’t anything new to me. But J had never done it before and wanted to give it a try. We purchased an updated version of the old school manual reel mower since our yard is small and doesn’t require something more powerful. The reel mower is also very quiet since there is no motor. After showing J the basics, I let her finish up the front yard while I watched. Back and forth she went, occasionally mowing the same area over and over and over, but overall, a great job for the first time.

Continue reading

Planning an IKEA Kitchen & 15% off IKEA Kitchen Sale

A glimpse into our kitchen’s future

IKEA Kitchen Plan - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-17Y

We created mock-up of our kitchen using IKEA’s online planning tool

When we purchased our home, we knew we wanted to update the kitchen. That said, our second major demo project is to clear out the outdated (very old and possibly original) appliances, vent hood, and cabinets. We looked at a bunch of cabinet inspo on Pinterest and Houzz, but kept coming back to the simplistic and budget-friendly ones at IKEA. To our luck, there’s an IKEA Kitchen Sale going on. We did some pre-planning before making the trek over to our local store. After browsing the kitchen showrooms, we found what worked with us, and we started the process of planning our new kitchen. 

Bonus: Keep reading for details on how to save 15% on your kitchen with the IKEA Kitchen Sale going on (now through April 8, 2018)! Continue reading

Demo day part 2 & unpleasant surprise

Demo Day Ready!

Demo Day, Part 2 via It's Jou Life https://wp.me/p7RBMP-17U

After our first failed demo day, we were itching to start working on the house. We decided our first demo project would be to remove the old carpet since it would be fairly simple and would also make it easier to work on other projects in the house. However we came to find a not-so-pleasant surprise and it set us back a few weeks. More details below.

Demo Day, Part 2 via It's Jou Life https://wp.me/p7RBMP-17U

It wasn’t difficult but since there was carpet throughout the entire house, it took us several days to cut, remove, and roll up the carpet.

Continue reading

Demo Day FAIL!

Where’s The TV Magic?

Demo day #FAIL // https://itsjoulife.com/2018/01/08/demo-day/

According to HGTV, the first thing that happens after getting the keys to a older house is always demo day. After having watched countless hours of home improvement shows, we planned to have demo day the first weekend after we got the keys to our new home. Saturday morning rolls around and we excitedly head to our storage unit to gather our tools to begin our big project. But by the time we finished moving everything around to get to the tools that we packed in the very back of the storage unit, we were both sore, exhausted and ready for a break. After we finally packed everything in to the car, half the day was already over and we hadn’t even seen the house yet. Where’s the TV magic?? Continue reading

We bought a Fixer Upper!

We Bought a Fixer Upper! via It's Jou Life https://wp.me/p7RBMP-16V

It’s been a whirlwind with this Fixer Upper

The past few weeks have felt unreal. Not only did we buy a home in our ideal neighborhood, we bought a fixer upper! This is a big deal. We are huge fans of HGTV’s hit-show, Fixer Upper, and we can finally swing a sledgehammer to things and design beautiful and practical rooms. Big thanks to our realtors, Derek Hirano andJohn Capellaro for helping us get this dream of a home.

We really love working with our hands and these projects not only represent home improvements, but craftsmanship filled with love and purpose. For those who don’t know Wayne, his dream is to have a fixer upper home. He’s happiest when working with his hands.

Whether it’s designing the entryway bench or woodworking on the walnut coffee table or out in our community garden tending to the persimmon tree–he builds things and grows food with joy, intention, and purpose.

Over the next few months you better believe we’ll be channeling Chip and Joanna Gaines. One thing we know for sure–we have our work cut out for us. It’s just the beginning. Handling a fixer upper will be a process–it’ll be messy, it’ll take work, we’ll be tired and sore, the dollars will add up quickly, and can get downright frustrating at times. However, we’ll learn a lot and we’ll get to make this home our very own. Ready for this epic of projects!

Welcome home 🙂

Farewell home tour

We sold our condo

Farewell home tour - https://wp.me/p7RBMP-17e

We’ve officially sold our condo! It was on the market for less than a day before we accepted an offer. I loved our first home together and just had to document it with a farewell home tour.

In the home tour, keep your eyes peeled for our DIY projects and Wayne’s creations:

  • We did our own kitchen backsplash with white subway tiles
  • Shelving system Wayne built in the laundry room (I call it Costco)
  • Pull out drawers Wayne built for all my snacks in the kitchen cabinet
  • The fabulously customized walk-in closet system Wayne assembled
  • Mid-century modern walnut entryway bench & coffee table Wayne built. (He also welded the legs!)

Farewell home tour


To make sure you don’t miss more posts like this, subscribe to It’s Jou Life! Enter your e-mail address in the upper right column of the page to stay updated and receive e-mails whenever we post. We promise we don’t share your personal information with anyone.

Selling our condo. Goodbye to our first home.

Selling our condo. Goodbye first home. https://wp.me/p7RBMP-16g

Yup, we’re selling our condo. Our first home together in Los Angeles.

There were so many magical memories associated with buying our first home several years ago. I remember we got our keys and moved in the week before getting married. (Boy, was that a whirlwind of a week!) Two huge steps to real adulthood–Mortgage & Lifelong Commitment.

We love our home. It’s our favorite place to be–with people we love.

God has really blessed us with this place to call our first home and given us the opportunity to share this space with loved ones. We’ve cooked countless holiday feasts and shared intimate meals, held meetings for groups we serve with, adopted our first dog to bring home, played bed and breakfast for family during our wedding, and even had as many as six people stay in our 2-bedroom condo. Our home was like a retreat for many.

Even though we bought new, over the years we loved having little home improvement projects to really make it our own. We installed our own subway tile in the kitchen (a recap post on that to come), built pull out drawers in the large kitchen cabinet (see photos below), created shelving and a shoe rack in the once empty pantry, and built out a fully customized walk-in master closet. We really love working with our hands and these projects not only represented home improvements, but craftsmanship filled with love and purpose.

Continue reading