We moved into this house on the Florida panhandle in May of 2020 after a fast, furious, and long-distance three month renovation (during a pandemic no less!). So here’s a look at the progress that we’ve made on it so far.
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.
We kept all of the same cedar siding, black metal windows, exterior doors, and metal roofing…
… but updated the decking, railings, front steps, and gave everything a fresh coat of white paint! You can see this post for more photos & details on the exterior renovation.
Here’s the side of the house as it looked when we bought the house:
And here it is all painted, with new railings on that second-floor deck. We have more plans to landscape and hardscape around the exterior, as well as to create a private courtyard outside this bank of french doors.
The kitchen involved some large renovations and some small projects to get it to its current state. This is what we were starting with:
We gradually updated the room in a few affordable ways, like painting the dishwasher, hanging new lighting & shelves, and painting the cabinets (you can also see a full tour of how our kitchen is organized). Then we scored an awesome deal on secondhand appliances & tweaked the room’s layout a bit.
This room is deceptively large, so along with having room for an eat-in kitchen table, we opted to use the extra space on this side of the room to create a casual hangout spot.
It’s essentially a bonus sitting area with lots of storage, thanks to that coffee table which has two big storage drawers hiding on the sides and that comfy loveseat under the window. You can read more about the sitting area here.
The stairs that lead to our upstairs family room and second-floor deck had cool vertical planking and got lots of natural light thanks to a window above them in the family room. But the wood treads had some finish issues after we had them redone, and it didn’t match our wood floors downstairs (more on that here).
We ended up adding a really nice textured runner (and painting the treads to solve the finish issue), which gives our dog Burger some much-needed traction. It’s an indoor/outdoor rug, so it’s super durable (more on that here).
The Family Room
The only room upstairs is this large living area that we use as a family room, home office, and kids’ crafting area (now thanks to the pandemic it’s a virtual-learning spot too!). It’s by far the largest room in our house (two 8 x 10 rugs can fit in here without touching!) so it’s awesome to all get to enjoy it – and for it to perform so many functions for our family. Here’s how it looked when we bought the house:
And here it is more recently, after some simple floor refinishing and a fresh coat of paint (those big windows and cool paneling were already there!). You can see more of this room in this post – and see a few updates we later added in this post.
Here’s the other half of the room as it looked when we bought the house:
And here it is more recently, although we’ve hung more art and even some hanging wall planters since these photos were taken – so we’ll have to take an update photo soon.
The Upper Deck
Right outside the living room is a large upstairs deck that we all use as an extension of our living area. It was hugely improved by replacing the rotting deck, railings, and rickety pergola.
This is what the deck looks like now, thanks to the magic of new decking, railings, and a whole lot of white paint. We’ve also added some more seating, a dining area, and some string lights to make this one of our favorite hangout spots! You can read all about the details of this space right here.
Here is our bedroom as it looked when we bought the house. This house only had one bedroom with an actual door that you could close when we bought it, so we converted this into our bedroom by closing the large opening to the kitchen and adding a door to the smaller opening.
We refinished the floors, gave it some fresh paint, and then it just took some comfortable things like curtains, furniture, and a cozy rug to make this feel like a welcoming retreat. You can see how we added a lot more storage to the room in this post – and see how we rearranged the room and closed off 2 of the 8 exterior doors (yes we really had that many) and added a closet (storage, glorious storage!) right here.
Here’s a view of the bed wall now, since it’s hard to see in the photo above:
We have eventual plans to create an attached bathroom in an existing underutilized corner of the room (you can see that here). Sharing a bathroom hasn’t been as bad as we thought – so we’re not in any rush.
Note: the most common question we get about our house is why we didn’t make that large upstairs family room into our bedroom. The short answer is 1) we all prefer to sleep on the same floor 2) that room upstairs is nearly twice as big as this bedroom so we’d much rather share the biggest room in the house than take it for ourselves, and 3) we’ve learned it’s helpful in a smaller home if the two common areas aren’t right next to each other (someone can watch a movie upstairs or do a zoom call for virtual school while someone else is downstairs at the kitchen table working undisturbed or reading in the sitting area). You can find more layout tips for a small house (& other general downsizing info) right here in this post.
Here’s another before shot of our bedroom back when we bought the house:
Here’s the same angle now:
Our house only has one bathroom – and it didn’t even function when we bought it! The sink and vanity had been torn out, there were leaks festering in the walls behind the drywall and the tile, and the toilet couldn’t even be flushed due to the absence of a sewer line. Here’s what it looked like back then:
Before we moved in, we had basically everything replaced (except for the window!) to make this space functional. I gotta say, as much as we like the fun floor tile, and the cheerful accessories, a toilet that flushes really is the best part of any bathroom. You can see more of the room in this post.
The Laundry Closet
We converted a (weirdly double-sided) closet right off the front door into a laundry closet, which actually reminds us a lot of the laundry nook that we had in our very first house.
In addition to the new appliances, we built some nice deep shelves and added lots of hooks to make it extra hardworking.
Our Daughter’s Bedroom
Some of our favorite transformations in this house are our kids’ bedrooms, since we were able to vault the ceilings in both rooms – making these spaces feel so much bigger and brighter than they used to feel.
Yup, this is the same room, from the same angle. Crazy the difference that ceiling change made, right? It wasn’t structural (the roof already had that slope, so we essentially removed a drop drywall ceiling, added insulation, and just followed the slope of the roof with the planked ceiling). You can click here to see more photos (and get a DIY channel headboard tutorial).
You can also see this room in particular had a very colorful past…
… which we embraced by hand-painting a large mural on the newly vaulted wall across from our daughter’s bed.
Our Son’s Room
We were also able to vault the ceilings in our son’s room to follow the slope of the roof, as well as adding more planking and beams to the ceiling, which adds character and some nice dimension. Here’s the before:
And here’s what it looks like these days:
This super cozy room is one of our kids’ favorite spots to hang out together (ever since the beach house bunk room they’ve loved quiet time together in a small space). We built in the bed by creating a simple DIY wraparound headboard, which they hang out on kind of like a daybed.
Every inch matters in smaller spaces like this, so the built-in bookshelf we made is really functional too. That foot or so of floor space along that wall works so much harder for us now! You can also see that we added some horizontal planking along that side wall and painted it a bunch of fun colors. You can see how we did that entire project right here.
The Outdoor Shower
We weren’t quite sure what to make of this space when we bought the house because it felt pretty grody with so much grime going on…
… but after some pressure washing, resealing the cedar with teak oil, and adding lights, plants, and new shower fixtures, it has actually turned into one of our favorite spaces. The whole family prefers this shower to our indoor one! You can see more of it in this post and we just kept adding more plants from there (so you’ll see that it’s a lot more lush in this updated photo below):
While we’re talking about the outdoor shower, area that leads to it is kind of like a covered side porch, and this is what it started out looking like.
It has come a LONG WAY, thanks to removing the mildewed screening around it, replacing the rotten floor, rebuilding the railing with a modern horizontal design (like the one we added up on the second floor deck) and a whole lot of paint. And for anyone wondering what our secret is to avoiding mosquitoes without screens – it’s that ceiling fan we added! They hate flying into moving air, so when we’re out there we flip it on and they don’t bother us. You can read more about our side porch update and how we built the hanging daybed.
We also have a covered porch on the other side of the house, which looked like this when we bought the house (we nixed that rickety old staircase in front of it in favor of a big uninterrupted balcony up above it).
Now looks like this, thanks to lots of paint and a hanging swing that both kids love to lounge on (ok, us too). You can read more about this space here.
So that’s our progress so far, about 8 months in. We can’t wait to take some updated photos and share the other ways that this house evolves for our family over time. In the meantime, you can check out these related pages for even more info, details, project tutorials, etc:
- If you’re wondering what paint color we’ve used or where we got a certain item of furniture (or a specific curtain or planter pot, etc), please check out the Shop Our House page for all of that info.
- To read about how we feel about so majorly downsizing, and what it has taught us, here’s a post full of details.
- To see our house all decorated for the holidays, here’s a post with lots of photos.
- And to see before & afters of our last house, here’s a page full of those. You can also see our beach house’s before & after page, as well as one that we made for the duplex that we renovated.
P.S. And to see the entire makeover of our house in chronological order, this category has you covered!