This house was love at first sight for us… even if the sight of it might have been a little unnerving to other buyers (think blue trim, wallpaper everywhere, lumpy carpets, and a leaky roof). We had dreamed of getting into this sweet kid-friendly neighborhood – always hoping a house that needed lots of work would come up for sale, since we couldn’t afford any of the already-renovated ones. After seven years, one finally did! So here she blows.
Note: We like to take our time on houses (our first one took 4.5 years!) so we were just getting started here (these before & afters were about 1.5 years in) but here’s a floor plan and a video tour to help you get your bearings.
– The Front -
This is what it looked like when we first laid eyes on it.
And here it is more recently on a nice sunny day, after getting some dangerous trees removed, replacing the leaking roof, adding a new coat of paint on the freshly repaired trim & siding, and painting the front door. We also got the yard leveled and then seeded it, so that’s coming along slowly.
- The Garage -
The side of the house with the garage wasn’t bad to start with at all.
- The Foyer –
Here’s the foyer as it looked on move-in day.
And here it is after we removed those dark heavy doors to the kitchen, stripped the wallpaper, painted the blue trim white, and gave the walls a fresh coat of paint. We also hung a new light fixture & art, painted the ceiling, and dealt with the dingy grout.
- The Foyer (Facing The Kitchen) -
Here’s what it looked like during one of our first walk-throughs.
And here it is from the same POV after a whole lot of wallpaper stripping, painting, grout cleaning, and art-hanging. Someday we’d love to lay new flooring that runs all the way from the front door into the kitchen (some of the foyer’s slate is damaged and the faux brick vinyl sheet flooring in the kitchen isn’t our favorite) so that should make for a nice seamless look.
- The Stairs -
Our stairs started out with blue trim and balusters as well as an old stained stair runner.
We love them so much more after a little overhaul (new trim paint, spindle paint, stain for the railings, and a new runner to name a few).
- The Half Bathroom –
Here’s the half bathroom before.
And here it is after we removed the old wallpaper, painted the trim and walls, finished painting the vanity, hung some art and a secondhand light, replaced the faucet and hung an old yard sale mirror. We’re planning a deeper room makeover down the line (perhaps with a tiled accent wall and new floors?) but we’re glad we could find some cheap secondhand charm in the meantime.
- The Dining Room -
The dining room is full of more wallpaper and blue trim.
All we’ve done is plop down our furniture and remove the wallpaper, but we’d love to update everything from those corner built-ins to the walls down the line (and we need a nice big light fixture too).
- The Living Room -
Here’s our salmon pink living room as it looked when we got the house.
So far we haven’t done very much. We just painted the salmon walls and whitewashed the brick. Next on the agenda is to paint all of the wood trim a glossy white color to lighten and brighten this whole room (along with adding curtains to cozy things up). Adding coffered beams and perhaps a soft blue tone on the ceiling is on our wish-list too. And maybe someday we’ll even build out a new mantel flanked by benches like this and add a gas fireplace.
- The Office -
The office is a room that gets great light and we loved the bay window from first sight.
Here’s how it looks after removing the curtains, cleaning/sealing the original hardwoods, painting all of that blue trim, adding a secondhand desk, painting the walls, and adding some bookcase/storage. We also added a floor outlet under the floating desk along with an overhead light and new chairs. Then we layered in some woven blinds from Home Depot, simple white curtains, and some benches from Target. We planned to put the living room rug in here but the chair wheels didn’t play nice with it, so a faux cow-hide rug from Joss & Main a while back works for now (it’s machine washable, so it’s kid-art friendly).
- The Kitchen -
The kitchen was a really dark room with wood everywhere (on the cabinets, the walls, and even around the fluorescent light on the ceiling!).
We like to live in a house for at least a year before doing any major kitchen or bathroom gut-jobs (to see how we use a space instead of rushing into anything right away). But we love making inexpensive interim updates with things like paint, which we call Phase 1 (more on that here). So far we’ve removed a few cabinets, snagged a crazy-deal of a table, painted the trim & paneling, painted the walls, patched/painted the ceiling and replaced the lights, hung some open shelves, painted the upper cabinets, and stained the lower cabinets. Then we applied Ardex concrete to the existing counters and sealed them. We can’t wait for a real renovation down the line (those faux brick vinyl floors kill us), but in the meantime some comfy craigslist chairs (we’ll reupholster them soon) and old rugs from our first house’s kitchen & spare room add texture.
- The Master Bedroom -
All of the rooms upstairs had old stained and threadbare carpet, so the master wasn’t feeling very masterful.
So far we’ve painted the cream trim and doors white, and replaced the old carpeting with hardwoods that we laid right before we moved in along with painting the walls. Then we hung some curtains and some art over the bed along with adding a chandelier. The bench at the end of the bed was a HomeGoods find, and the raw walnut wood makes us wish our side tables were that color too…
- The Master Sink Nook -
Beyond having a bathroom with a tub/shower/sink/toilet, there’s an additional sink out in a nook that’s off of our bedroom. Here’s a before shot:
So far we’ve ripped up some old carpeting along with painting the walls and trim, hanging a nice big window-ish mirror, stenciling the floor, and updating the vanity by adding shelves and new hardware along with refinishing it.
- The Master Bathroom –
Things in the master bathroom looked like this when we moved in:
So far we’ve removed the glass shower doors, hung a curtain nice and high, removed the wallpaper, prepped the walls, and then painted them along with adding a border of molding for a pop of color on top. Eventually we’d love to combine the choppy sink nook and master bathroom to make one spacious room with a nice large double sink (instead of having a wall that divides one small sink from the other).
- The Master Closet -
Here’s what our closet looked when we got the house.
And here it is now, with a $5 yard sale mirror and a hand-me-down dresser along with some fresh paint on the walls and trim (and of course those stenciled floors since it connects to the sink nook). We’d love to add some built-in drawers and shelves to really customize it so we can store a lot more in there down the line.
-Upstairs Hallway -
The upstairs hallway is one of the most unrecognizable areas of the house, so here’s the before:
This is what it looks like after tearing up the old carpet, painting all the blue trim and doors, laying new hardwood floors, painting the walls, and getting new light fixtures. Next we’d like to add some substantial wainscoting along the bottom half of the wall, hang art, and do some crown molding – maybe even some cool decorative wallpaper on the upper half of the walls like this…
- Upstairs Hallway (The Other Way) -
The other direction of the hall is even more of a change since it used to be “the dark side” (as in, there wasn’t a window on that end – it just terminated with a laundry closet at the end of the hall).
In our biggest floor-plan-changing move to date, we took some pretty amazing inspiration from a reader named Lesley, and managed to gain a full fledged laundry room instead of just a closet. Plus we now get light (glorious light!) in that end of the hallway thanks to a new glass door that we added. It leads to a storage room that used to be accessed by a side door, but we’ll eventually be converting that space into to a family/media room for the kids when they get bigger.
Here’s the before from further back:
And the after from that same POV:
- Clara’s Room -
Clara’s bedroom had old carpeting and more of that blue trim going on before.
Here’s the room now that we painted all the blue trim, laid new hardwood floors, and hung some curtains. We also painted the walls and the ceiling (along with Clara’s closet), made a canopy for over her bed, and added crown molding. Then we added some colorful painted raindrops along with a playful pink closet door and a wall of fun for her to interact with. We also adapted an old dining room chandelier.
- Clara’s Closet -
This deep pitched-roofed closet always felt like it had the potential to be a little hideaway within Clara’s room. First we ripped up the old carpeted floor and laid hardwoods, and then we painted the walls the same soft pink as the ceiling of her bedroom.
Then we brought in her dollhouse to create a little play area in the back, and upholstered that back wall with fabric. It was such a fun and easy project, and it’s one of her favorite spots in the house.
- Teddy’s Nursery -
This room started out with more old carpet and mauve trim and doors.
Here it is now that we painted all the pink trim, laid new hardwood floors, got a rug, added built-ins, tackled some baby bedding, hung extra thick crown molding, filled up the built-ins, added a cabinet for open storage / diaper changes, made a mobile, painted the closet door & hung art, added a few last touches, made a T-wall for behind Teddy’s crib, and converted a lamp into a ceiling fixture.
- The Guest Bedroom / Craft Room -
This was another room with dingy cream trim and old carpeting like our master bedroom.
Once again we painted all the trim, laid new hardwood floors, and plopped down our furniture. Then we hung the curtains from our last house’s dining room and painted the walls and hung some art and a yard sale mirror that we had on hand. Then we switched that mirror for this one from HomeGoods (the old one ended up in the half bathroom downstairs). Next we’d love to add crown molding, upgrade to a more substantial headboard, and get an overhead light.
- The Hall Bathroom -
The hall bathroom upstairs boasts two shell shaped sinks (we have five of those total in this house), along with some old damaged floor and shower tile.
So far we just added some white faux wood blinds for privacy and some new mirrors (nothing says “don’t stare at the cracked tile” like some gilded mirrors). We also hung the shower curtain nice and high, which helps to cover up some of the bad tile in the shower. We’d love to fully renovate this bathroom someday – maybe with a wall full of tile behind those mirrors like this?
- Laundry Nook -
This is the laundry nook at the end of the hall as it looked when we bought the house.
Next we got new appliances and later reconfigured the entire layout, turning the washer/dryer hookups and stealing space from an unfinished storage room so we could gain an 8′ x 7′ bonafide laundry room (and adding a pretty glass door at the end of the hall where the old washer & dryer once were that leads to a future family/media room). Here’s the post full of finishing touches/details, and this one links to most of the previous steps of the project.
- Unfinished Storage Room -
This is room we’d love to finish eventually to create a family/media room for our kids down the line. In the meantime it’s pretty great for storing holiday stuff and extra ceramic animals.
- The Veranda (said ironically with a fancy accent) -
This space started out as a fishbowl-feeling sunroom full of old carpet. Nearly every sliding door was broken, so it sealed us off from the deck, and the glass doors were constantly fogging up to obscure the view.
We realized that opening it up to the deck would add a lot more function for our family (now there’s a shaded area with easy flow to the rest of the outdoor space), so we ripped up the old carpet and removed the old broken doors. We also raised the ceiling and got some electrical work done, as well as installing a blue beadboard ceiling (plank by plank), hanging two fans, and laying some outdoor-friendly tile. We got/made some outdoor furniture, but still need more to fill out the rest of the room. And someday we’d love an outdoor fireplace…
- The Back Deck -
The deck was in rough shape when we bought the house.
First we had to get the perilous tree outta there (we would’ve loved to save it but the inspector and an arborist friend said it had to go). Next came painting the trim and siding, patching the hole left by the tree, and then stripping and re-staining the deck.
- The Back Of The House -
The back of the house was pretty brown looking thanks to the rotting roof and the cream trim & siding.
We love the new darker roof, white trim, and putty colored siding for making it feel more dimensional and balanced to us. We’ve been talking about the possibility of adding black shutters to the sides and back of the house like the ones in the front too.
- The Backyard -
The backyard was a little lacking in grass when we moved in, so we knew we’d have some leveling and seeding to do.
We also wanted to add some more year-round privacy when it comes to the woods that border our yard (all of those trees lose their leaves in the winter and the house feels a lot less nestled). So we leveled the yard and seeded some grass along with planting some privacy-providing evergreens that should fill in like a nice dense fence. Eventually we’d love to redo that old cracked walkway and reseed the grass so it comes in nice and thick.
In summary: we’ve got big plans for this baby. And thankfully we’ve learned that we’re hopelessly in love with the act of upgrading a house, so the journey is even more exciting than the destination (more on that here). We’ve also learned just to take things one day/project/victory at a time to avoid getting too overwhelmed. And seriously, is there anything more fun than crossing things off of a giant list? (NO. The answer is NO).