My goodness, I can't believe I'm finally sharing our home with you. The way-too-long promised documentation of our renovations and transformations. It's here. It's alllll here.
This place really has been our love child. After 6 months of house hunting failures and 10 fallen offers, it was the house we landed. And of course the one I liked the least. It was ugly and dated and cold and dark. And 75 years old. But it was on a great lot in a charming neighborhood with an amazing location. So we decided to make the best of it. To make it ours. So it was 3 relentlessly exhausting months of blood, sweat, and many tears of messy and ugly and dirty renovations (most of which we did ourselves, all in the midst of prepping for the wedding – yes, every bit as rough and painful and worth it as it sounds). 3 hard and fast months of renovations. But also 21 more months of curating pieces we loved and creating a space we could truly cherish. 2 years of taking something so lifeless and dark, a house that was little more than a structure, and truly breathing life in to it.
Instead of breaking this all out into befores, project details, + decor links, I just decided to pack it all in to one deep-dive post for you here. All the deets below!
We knew we wanted to update as much as we could, but we were also a year out of college and planning a wedding and a honeymoon (lol at our insanity)- being financially conservative had to be our top priority. And we knew from the start this wouldn't be a forever home, so we had to think about what the general market would want when we sold it. So we focused on the basics: making the layout more functional, choosing classics that could speak for themselves, and investing in timeless pieces that would carry with us through different styles and seasons. I think this was such a big reason I stuck with all the neutrals. I hardly used color and instead just focused on mixing textures and materials and patterns. The timelessness of this has been and forever will be the core of my design, but it definitely was the focus of this home. And in all modesty, I think we nailed it.
So I'll walk you through all the big changes we made and sprinkle in our decor photos as well.
We updated the flooring. We tore up all the tile because it just made it all feel so industrial and cold. We put in waterproof laminate wood floors that brings that gorgeous wood look with some great durability for a pretty killer price. If you can't tell from the photos, I love all things light and bright. I wanted to do a lighter stain wood, but this was basically the one thing Casmir was insistent on. And considering he let me make most every other design decision (praise for sweet husbands), I caved and let him have his dark wood floors. And they're beautiful. They add a great contrast to my otherwise soft decor. And we used them everywhere other than the bathrooms & laundry room because I just love the fluidity a good floor can bring through a whole house.
We opened up the main living space. This house used to be so closed in and so far from functional. It had a separate rooms for the kitchen, the dining room, the living room and the entry way. We knew knocking a few walls down would completely transform the space, and that it did. We raised the step down in the living room to make it one even floor, we took down the wall + water heater cabinet in the kitchen and opened up the weird diner-window so we could extend the countertop for a bar, and we tore down the half breakfast wall that separated the dining room from the kitchen so it had a much more open feel. I'm absolutely obsessed with our living space. It's everything it should be – beautiful, cozy, comfortable, functional, and perfect for hosting.
We redid the kitchen. I'm actually really proud of this one. How much of a difference we were able to make on only a few changes. Ok fine, we made a lot of changes. But I think we worked really well with what we had. We kept the cabinets but spent hours and hours and hours sanding + painting them white. We also added some wood fronting and extra trim above the cabinets to bring them to the ceiling, a small change I think makes such a massive impact on opening up the space and bringing your eyes up. We ripped out the outdated countertops and put in a gorgeous and bright River White Granite (not quite the quartz I was hoping for but still a gorgeous, durable option for a killer price). We just did an easy and cheap subway tile for backsplash and we kept the same appliances, adding in a microwave. Oh, and a dishwasher. We added a dishwasher because this 1942 home didn't have one and this nutritionist wife wasn't going to survive without one.
We painted the walls. Of course we painted the walls. They were salmon. Salmon, people. We messed around with a lot of different grey colors and I'm SO glad we went with the one we chose. We landed on Sherwin Williams Light French Grey, but we did it at 50%. And my god I'm so glad we did. I loved this color because it brought in some cooler blue tones instead of warmer beigey colors and it gave me more to work with as far as incorporating all different types of beiges to the decor. But, I'm also so glad we went with 50% instead of the full color because I know anything else would have been too dark. The natural light in this house isn't great, but it always feels pretty bright because of the walls.
We added a mudroom. Well, we call it a mudroom. There was an awkwardly large hallway that wasn't quite a room between the kitchen and the master bed that also has doors into the laundry room and the door to the backyard. So we used it as Gunner's room and a random utility room. Casmir put up beadboard up the walls and then we made this storage bin bench + coat hooks for extra storage. It was a simple weekend project and it really made a great impact!
We redid the master bath. Only recently did we finally get around to this. Which means yes I did live for 2 years in that ugly outdated bathroom, but I secretly kind of loved it because it always reminded me how hideous this house used to be and how much magic we worked in the rest of the house. We pretty much took this one to the bones. We removed the tile on the walls, took out the old one-piece shower tub and removed the vanity. We installed a new tub, did a basic subway tile with 1/8″ spacers in the shower, put a hexagonal small white tile on the floor, and put it in this absolutely drool-worthy vanity. I really let the vanity steer this project; I normally wouldn't go with chrome features but I just loved the timelessness of it on the vanity so I added it everywhere: the sink faucets, the old-school tub faucet/shower head, the lights.
This home really has been the one that started it all. The one that sparked our love for transforming places and creating spaces. It's been the project that has given me such a deep, deep love for homes. The power of a home to ease the soul and encourage the spirit. The power of a home to truly help us find our centers and grow deeper into our best selves.
I get so sappy thinking about all that we built with this place and all the ways it has blessed us. It's where we spent our first night as a married couple. It's where we woke up on our first Christmas. It's where we brought our fur baby home. It's where we've hosted our favorite people with yummy meals and long prayers and heartfelt tears and so so so many laughs. It has truly been where we built the foundation of our lives together. And I'm so sad to leave it. But also equally excited to chase after all the other adventures the Lord has in store. And all the other spaces I'm going to get to transform and mold and create. More spaces, for more blessings to come.