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. We’re not finished yet, but we’re inching closer every day.
Note: We created this Shop Our House page to help you hunt down any furniture/accessories that you see in our house, along with our paint colors.
– 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 we 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 FINALLY SOLVED our dingy grout issue.
– Side of Foyer / Stairs –
This is the side view of the foyer with the dining room in the background as it looked when we first moved in.
And here’s the same view now, after updating nearly every nook and cranny.
– The Stairs –
Our stairs started out with blue trim and balusters as well as an old beat up stair runner. We love them so much more after a little overhaul (new trim paint, spindle paint, stain for the railings, and installing a new runner made such a difference).
– The Half Bathroom –
Here’s the half bathroom before.
And here it is after we finished updating it. First we did an easy and affordable Phase 1 makeover to hold us over a few years before the real deal (we removed the old wallpaper, painted the trim and walls, painted the vanity, hung some art & a secondhand light, replaced the faucet and hung an old yard sale mirror). A few years later we tackled our deeper makeover, which involved switching out the sink/mirror/toilet as well as repainting the walls and adding a glazed finish, which is info that we covered in our second book, Lovable Livable Home.
– The Dining Room –
The dining room was full of more wallpaper and blue trim when we moved in.
After over a year, all we had done was plop down our furniture and remove the wallpaper, but we knew that some paint, furnishings, accessories (and some work on those corner built-ins) would add up to a room that’s a lot more peaceful & functional. We even added some DIY art (not pictured) and made over some secondhand chairs along with splurging on a new rug and chandelier that totally make the space. You can find all the makeover details (and shopping info) in our second book.
– The Living Room –
Here’s our salmon pink living room as it looked when we got the house.
We blogged about painting the walls and whitewashing the brick and later ended up painting all the dark trim & paneling to lighten things up even more. We brought in some color by painting the ceiling (and the built-ins on the other side of the room, not pictured) along with the addition of a colorful rug. Some textured pillows, window blinds, and accessories added interest, and we gleefully tackled a complete fireplace/mantel overhaul. You can get all the makeover details (and shopping info) in our second book.
– 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 cleaning/sealing the original hardwoods, painting all of that blue trim, adding a secondhand desk, painting the walls, and adding some bookcases for 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, simple white curtains, two wood benches, and a light little metallic rug.
– 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, 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 are killing us softly, and we’d love to open the room up to the living room more).
– 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/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 Master Sink Nook –
Beyond having a bathroom with a tub/shower/sink/toilet, there’s an additional sink 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, and prepped/painted the walls 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 –
To upgrade our closet a bit we brought in 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 –
Our 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, getting new light fixtures, and adding some wainscoting to give it a little more interest.
– 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” (there wasn’t any natural light 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 formerly unfinished storage room that was accessed by a side door, so after moving the doorway, we converted it into a bonus room.
– Clara’s Room –
Clara’s bedroom had old carpeting and more of that blue trim going on when we moved in.
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, 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 and later updated everything with a bigger bed, side tables, and a storage piece we built.
– Clara’s Closet –
This 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, laid hardwoods, and 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 Room –
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 and 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 painted the walls & hung some art that we had on hand. A little while later we dove back in and added crown molding, hung some swing arm sconces and a new mirror over the bed, upgraded the headboard, and created a craft/sewing area on the other side of the room so that space is used more often. You can get all the makeover details (and shopping info) in our second book.
– 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.
First we 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, and added a fresh coat of paint to the walls and the existing cabinets. We’d love to fully renovate this bathroom someday down the line (a new counter with nicer faucets would be so nice), but in the meantime small coups like a fluffy white shower rug, new cabinet hardware, and some colorful art and accessories have cheered things up.
– Laundry Nook –
This is the laundry nook at the end of the hall as it looked when we bought the house.
… but that part of our house looks like this now, since we shifted the laundry area to the right (behind that closed door you see below) to give it more space and create a bona-fide room. This also allowed us to transform the unfinished storage space above our garage into an awesome family bonus room, which you access through this pretty glass door that we added. But we’ll get to that room in a minute.
Back to our laundry room. Before we shifted anything it was a small closet at the end of the hall.
Then we got new appliances and decided to reconfigured the entire layout. Here’s a post full of laundry room finishing touches & details, and this one links to most of the previous steps of the project.
– Bonus Room –
This was the bare unfinished storage space that we started with, which lacked obvious necessities like insulation, drywall, and flooring (the door used to be here in the back corner of the room).
When we moved our laundry room, we suddenly had much easier access to this room from the end of our upstairs hallway, and you can read more about how we finished this room here (with walls, hardwood flooring, and a much bigger window on the right side). We’re loving that we gained 360 square feet of livable space, and were able to add extra function with some built-ins and shelving in the nook, and a wire-free TV wall across the room. Here’s a post with all of the other decorating details about the space.
– The Veranda (said ironically with a fancy accent) –
This area 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, 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 both said it had to go). Next came painting the trim and siding, patching the hole left by the tree, and 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 the house feel more dimensional and balanced to us. We’ve also been talking about the possibility of adding black shutters to the sides and back of the house like the ones in the front.
– 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).
Psst- Wanna know where we got something in our house or what paint colors we used? Just click on this button: