First House Vs. Current House

Last Friday on this post we got this comment and thought it sounded like a good time: “I love your videos and it’s crazy to see the difference in YHL style from the first house to this house! If you wanted to do a side-by-side of rooms past and present, I wouldn’t hate it :)” – Sarah

I decided I wouldn’t hate it either. So here we go. It’s a battle to the death. First house vs. current house. Cue the dramatic music and picture me in a Gladiator outfit. Of course it’s kind of an unfair fight since we’ve been in this house for eight months and it took us four and a half years to finish our first one (and we definitely expect this one to take us at least that long since it’s bigger and we have crazier plans). So think of this as finished vs. in-progress (aka: cut the current house a little slack). Oh and we stole most of the current house pics from our House Tour page, hence the big “progress” label on the bottom. Anyway, it’s on:

The Front Yard, First House:

The Front Yard, Current House:

Winner: The first house. That’s an easy one. It took us over four years to upgrade it from this disaster, and we still need at least three more years on our current one, since from other angles it looks like this unfortunate mess.

The Front Porch, First House:

The Front Porch, Current House:

Winner: The first house. We actually would give the front door win to our second house (we loved the red but we lurrrve the yellow). But we still have big plans for boxing out the porch columns and staining the concrete and doing about a million other things at our new digs – and the hanging ferns and tan-and-cream stripes on the first house’s porch were a few of our favorite things.

The Living Room, First House:

The Living Room, Current House:

Winner: Our current house. This might be a controversial choice since our current living room is nowhere near done (and still looks like a hot mess from certain angles), but we never really used our formal living room in the first house (we had a den for TV watching and chillaxing). So we feel tons more at home in the current living room where we can sink into our giant sofa, play on the cushy rug with the bean, and even eat by the big window at the pedestal table in the back (sometimes while watching TV, we’ll admit it).

The Kitchen, First House:

The Kitchen, Current House:

Winner: Is it lame to say it’s a tie? The first house’s kitchen made our hearts go pitter patter when it came to the granite counter, shiny white cabinets, and the stainless steel appliances… but it was tiny. The new kitchen, although extremely early on in our big makeover plan, is nice and spacious, with a fireplace and room for an eat-in area. And once we knock a huge opening to the dining room, get new appliances, paint the cabinets, and upgrade our old table for something built-in, we think the current kitchen will take the win, hands down. So I guess it’s a tie just because the last one was full of loveliness but pretty small, and this one is full of space to spread out and some serious promise.

The Hallway, First House:

The Hallway, Current House:

Winner: Current house. We’re so thankful to have a nice wide, light-filled hallway. And the giant family gallery of frames makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.

The Spare Bedroom, First House:

The Spare Bedroom, Second House:

Winner: The first house. Duh. Although this picture is stolen from an old post about how messy the playroom was before my mom helped me clean it, once again it looks almost this ca-razy. So yeah, the clean little room with a daybed and a desk was a lot less hive-inducing.

The Nursery (Formerly The Third Bedroom), First House:

The Nursery, Current House:

Winner: Current house. But it was a hard call. We loved the room that we took Clara home from the hospital to so much. It just was such a sentimental space. But the bigger closet in the current room (which Clara now uses as a reading nook) gives her current room the edge.

The Master Bedroom, First House:

The Master Bedroom, Current House:

Winner: Current house. Even though it’s only about 20% done, sleeping under that big chandelier which reflects perfectly in the mirror that we hung above the sink makes us geeky-giddy. And of course having a walk-in closet and a master bathroom that’s actually connected is a huge step up. Although the built-ins that we created with doorless Ikea wardrobes to flank the bed in our first house (and provide some much needed storage) always have a special place in our hearts.

The Master Bathroom (located in the hall), First House:

The Master Bathroom (actually attached to our bedroom this time), Current House:

Winner: First house. By a mile. We loved that complete bathroom gut job more than words can say. And we haven’t really touched our new one. But we can’t wait to update things (check out that bisque toilet). We’ll probably love this one more someday, since it’s attached and doesn’t have to be shared by everyone in the house.

The Office/Guest Bedroom/Playroom, First House:

 The Office & Guest Bedroom (which are now separate rooms), Current House:

Winner: Current house. The office in our first house was such a great multi-tasking space, but it was teeny and it made us feel a little cramped when we were all in there (just look at how small the desk that used to take up a whole wall looks in the new office pic to see what we mean). And when guests came to town it was hard to do blog stuff (which definitely doesn’t stop on nights and weekends) since the office was occupied by family & friends. So although our first home’s office/playroom/guest room was such a fun space, it’s a lot more functional to have our own cheerful guest room (with its own attached bath) for guests. Although we wholeheartedly admit that our current office situation “ain’t got no alibi, it’s uggggly (hey, hey) it’s ugly.”

The Den, First House:

Winner: The first house. 1) Because our current house doesn’t have a den, and 2) Because our first house’s den was one of our favorite rooms ever – so cozy.  Although the room that we call “the living room” in our current house could have been a den (but instead we opted to turn what used to be a formal living room into a spacious dining room to accommodate our huge family who couldn’t squeeze into the dining room behind it, which we made into the office). We decided that one huge casual room for TV, reading, playing, & hanging out was more than enough, so we didn’t need a second formal living space in the front (especially because we didn’t use the first house’s formal living room much at all).

Dining Room, Current House:

Winner: Current house. 1) Because those curtains are my babies and we’re enamored with the dark teal color that we painted on the back of the built-ins, and 2) Because our first house didn’t even have a dining room (it just had a dining nook in the corner of the living room). Well, originally it had a small dining room off of the other side of the kitchen but we closed off that doorway to turn it into a third bedroom which later became the nursery since we needed that space far more. It’s all much more clearly explained here.

The Laundry Area, First House:

Laundry Area, Current House:

Winner: The current house. We love our new laundry space. Even though it’s narrow and we don’t have a surface for folding, it just feels happier. Plus we don’t have to fight all of our normal human urges to resist clutterering up a big long counter near the door like we did in our first house (it was always full of incoming or outbound stuff). And it’s more fun to fold laundry in front of the TV on the sofa in the living room anyway.

The Hall Bathroom, First House:

Hall Bathroom, Current House:

Winner: First house? The stripes and the fun glass chandelier were so charming. And we loved the pedestal sink and the pocket door too. But the new hall bath isn’t just a toilet – there’s a tub in there, which is where Clara takes all of her baths. So maybe the current house wins for function but the first house wins for sweetness? Either way, that blank slate of a bathroom in the current house is begging for some love. But we’ll count this as a point for the first house until we tackle the new one, since that was our first instinct.

The Sunroom, First House:

The Sunroom, Current House:

Winner: First house, all the way. We have about ten million things on the list for the current one though, so maybe in four years it’ll give our first one a run for its money…

The Patio, First House:

The Patio, Current House:

Winner: Current house. Just because it’s more spacious and cozy/shaded. But most of all because we did it ourselves (we hired out the first house’s patio since we were three weeks away from our backyard wedding and worried that if we tried to DIY it we’d get married next to a half-finished mud pit).

The Basement, First House:

The Basement, Current House:

Winner: First house. Because we’ve obviously spent a little more time on the first one. Haha. But you never know what we’ll do down there with our current one someday…

The Backyard, First House:

The Backyard, Current House:

Winner: First house. We still miss that lovely flat grassy area surrounded by pretty woods. Someday we’ll get there though (after lots of transplanting, to hopefully make a little grassy spot for Clara and Burger to romp).

So there you have it. I think the final tally is 9 to 8 (with our first house in the lead). But I guess in fairness we should revisit this whole comparison thing when some of the spaces in the new house have actually been updated a bit more. That was a really fun little comparison though, Sarah. Thanks for the suggestion. It’s interesting to see how our style is gradually evolving, although we always have a soft spot for the tone-on-tone look of our first baby- er, house. What do you guys think? Have you ever looked at photos of your current house next to photos of a previous house to compare what you liked or disliked about them? Isn’t it funny how a new house is a chance to completely reinvent yourself, yet you’re usually working with a lot of existing furniture, so it still has “glances” of your first style going on? The evolution is definitely all part of the fun.

Psst- Check out a full source list for where we got nearly every last item (and what paint colors we used) in our first house here (we’re still working on one for our current house).


  1. says

    OK, fantastic idea for a post! Kudos to the reader who suggested it. It is so interesting to see the differences in the spaces. One thing I’m noticing is that with the first house there was a very similar feel in all the rooms, and in the current house I feel like while everything is very cohesive, every room as it’s own personality. I like that.

    And is it a bit stalkerish that I have a suspicion that you guys are working on a big project right now? I only say that because Sherry’s been posting a lot and not John, which leads me to believe John’s in the middle of a big project. Which is not to say that Sherry doesn’t do big projects, it’s just that big projects usually start with John tearing something apart so we don’t hear from him for a bit.

    • says

      Just the cabinets for the office! There’s lots of prep work to sand and stain them (and build them up a few inches) so we hope to have that to share next week! Haha. I think we just go back and forth about posting (last week almost every last post was a John post, so I’m making up for that this week- haha).


  2. says

    I like that your style is changing! It would be so boring if you turned this house into your old house. Besides, if you don’t like it a can of paint is cheap. There are certain parts of your old house I love (like the den and the hall bathroom) but it must also be nicer to have a bigger kitchen and bathroom in your bedroom!

  3. says

    It’s so hard to pick on some of them! I love the formal living room and dining nook in the first house. It’s small, but I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration out of it because I have a similarly tiny space to work with while trying to make two (well four, since we have living, dining, kitchen, and office in one room-ish) very different functions fit cohesively into one room.

  4. says

    We’re about to buy our first house and I can’t wait to do some of these side by sides once we get settled in! I have such big visions for the new house. It’s pretty amazing how your style can just subtly shift each year until your house looks totally different!

    This was a fun comparison!

  5. Randa says

    Seriously, the bright yellow door of your current house is so amazing!
    Loved the side-by-side comparison. Kuddos to Sarah for the suggestion.

  6. Liz says

    I have to say, I think I like your first house better. I have a soft spot for small homes, and it just seemed to cozy. Although there are details of the second house that I absolutely LOVE – like the hallway, the color of the kitchen/laundry room, and the dining room. Is there anything looking back at your old house that you wished you had done, or anything you would change?

    • says

      I really don’t think so. We loved that house with all that we have and probably always will. So we don’t wish we changed a thing because it was so perfect for our little family for those years that we spent there. Sappy but true. Haha.


  7. Melissa S says

    Do you know rough dimensions of your first house living room/dining room? My fiance and I are currently looking for a house and I love the way you divided the space but it didn’t feel too cramped. I was just curious for our own purposes for when we look at houses without dining rooms. Thanks so much! :) Love both houses by the way…I can’t wait to see how you continue to change the new house. Have to admit though the den is by far my favorite room out of all of them. It looks so inviting. I just want to curl up with a blanket and read a book with the fire going.

  8. Petra says

    Lovely! For the hall bathroom, do you plan to create a space for Clara, or more of a guest oriented bathroom?

  9. Linda says

    This makes me wish I had more photos of my homes through the years! One thing that I wish blogs would include are the dimensions of the rooms. I live in a small home, so my idea of what a large or small room is different than if I lived in a large home!

  10. says

    I’m a new reader and not sure if you’ve ever done this before, but I would love to see a comparison of both houses floorplans (or is that too intrusive? sorry if it is). Anyhow, just curious!

    I love both of these houses. I live in CO and we have our own much different style houses with not nearly so much yard or so many trees. These remind me of Nashville where I went to college. Very nice. CO will always be home, but I do envy others their trees!

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