Brad and I have been dragging this dreary 1950s ranch, kicking and screaming, into some semblance of shape since July 2012.
We started with beige walls, smelly green carpet, small boxy rooms, and a whole host of other problems. This place was BAD. After a renovation that included removing walls, tons of new windows, a lot of demo, and new floors, we have an improved floor plan that includes a great open area in the front between the kitchen, dining room, and living room:
You enter right into the kitchen, where we’ve cobbled together a “deconstructed entryway,” with a spot for shoes and mail right by the door, a cabinet for notes and mail across the room, and our coat closet behind it in the hallway.
In our renovation we opened the kitchen up, so it now has no wall dividing it from the dining room. Believe it or not, this used to be a tiny room with yellow walls, yellow counters, yellow back splash, and yellow and orange vinyl floor.
New bamboo floor now helps it flow with the rest of the house, and we’ve installed a new laminate counter in blue-gray with a hint of shine, and also a new faucet.
The backsplash is a temporary solution (using renters wallpaper) while we figure out what to do with the cabinets, which are in rough shape and have handles right in the middle of the doors IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T NOTICED I SURE HAVE. We’ll eventually also get new appliances and lighting, as well.
But for now we’re just really happy that it is open and bright.
The kitchen flows right into the dining room, which we now imagine is a very large and luxurious eat-in kitchen. This used to be totally closed in with a wall of built-in cabinets and shelving dividing it from the kitchen, and another cabinet blocking it from the living room.
Although there is not enough space to put in an island in the middle, I love the “enforced open space,” which lets me cram stuff into the other rooms without the whole house feeling cramped.
This is pretty quickly becoming my favorite room as I have been finishing up the decoration in here. So much storage, pattern, and color!
I’ve picked out a new chandelier, turned a salvaged school science room cabinet into a console table, picked out new furniture, and so much more.
The built-in is one of two original to the house, and we kept this one safe from demo during our renovation for storage and to provide some separation between the living and dining rooms. Now that it is painted white and is no longer symmetrical to its “mate,” I love the lightness and interest it brings to the space.
Next to the dining room is the living room. This used to follow the same beige and green color scheme, and was super dark with an old porch blocking a lot of the sunlight.
We knocked down that porch and installed new windows, and have overall just tried to brighten up the space without going too crazy (which I have a tendency to do).
Both the couch and rug are from Crate and Barrel. We spent a ton of time (like over a year) living without a couch trying to find one that we loved that could be made without flame retardants (which are quite toxic). The red chair was a gift from my parents from Circle Furniture and the bookshelf was a gift from Brad’s parents.
I love that we can bring a lot of art into this room. On the bookshelf, we display sentimental items, some of Brad’s awards, and many items from his collection of Zuni Fetish carvings. In front of it is the Ibis Table Lamp by Cyan Designs, which I had stalked on Pinterest for years before Brad got it for me as a gift. It is the fanciest thing I own.
In our gallery wall we have pulled in many memories and traditions, which come together to really express the bright colors we are trying to infuse throughout the house.
The master bedroom is really just the same size as all the other bedrooms, but is the one we picked to put our bed in. It started with the nicest floors in the house, a light oak in small boards.
We added a bay window here during the renovation, so it is just flooded with light, and it is one of the few rooms that I actually consider “finished.”
It is also home to Brad’s antique dresser, our star furniture item.
I love the details in here!
The other bedrooms aren’t quiet as polished, but they are coming along! The first started very… green.
We painted it a deep teal, which is really fun against the yellow doors that I have throughout the house. I plan on toning it down a bit with white curtains, more art, and some lighter furniture in the future.
We’re not afraid of color but in most of the house we’re choosing colors that are pretty easy to live with, like blues and grays with pops of pattern and brighter colors. But I wanted to have one room where I could bring in something a bit crazier. I mean, it’s just paint!
I love coat racks, but it can get messy if one is kept by the door. Instead, I use my old IKEA coat rack to hold scarves, hats, and purses.
The final bedroom is a library/guest room, which is still unfinished but has come a long way. It started out with a strangely smelly brown carpet, which we’ve since removed in favor of new bamboo floors.
It is currently home to a lot of our “leftover” furniture, including an old green sofa with pullout bed which we use for guests. We are wavering between replacing this with a real bed and turning this into a guest room vs. continuing on this path of library/sitting room.
We also haven’t yet done much with the bathroom. It started out in pretty good shape (or at least in non-offensive neutral colors, which in our house we call “good shape”).
We replaced the window during the renovation, dealt with a perplexing issue of symmetry, added ventilation and lighting, painted, and added a new shower curtain which I designed myself, but the rest remains to be done!
The pretty white tiles you see are actually salmon pink ones covered in white enamel, which is noticeably peeling off in many places. I can’t wait to overhaul this with new tile, fittings, floor, and everything. It is the only bathroom on the main floor so we want it to be really nice and functional.
Finally, we’ve got a three-season porch, heated by a wood-burning stove.
It is in rough shape currently, but has a ton of potential. The floor is just underfloor painted rust, and everything is pretty beat-up. Also, there are no windows facing toward the backyard, which is the best view in the house. But I have visions of cool painted floors, a cozy built-in couch, and maybe even a slate mudroom with French doors leading to a luxurious back deck. Um, eventually.
Finally, the basement is dark, but also has a lot of potential.
The ceilings are relatively high for a basement and there are a few windows, so we could definitely finish it in the future.
It already has a small office framed out. It also has the washer/dryer, a utility sink, and a three-piece bathroom which is ugly and dark, but at least already has all the necessary plumbing in place. That bathroom is also super useful when we are doing work on the one upstairs, obviously!
The garage is narrow and long, but great for storage.
Having a place to put your car is really awesome in New England, where it would otherwise get covered in ice and snow and need to be shoveled out. ALL. THE. TIME.
I’m looking forward to fixing up this space by re-coating the cement floor, painting, putting on a new door, and adding some good storage.
We also have a great yard – one of the real selling points of this house.
It’s a ton of space and most of it is still in its “potential” stage, but we have done some work. We planted a bunch of bushes and trees along the front to block the busy road, and have planted a few new flowers and bushes around the property.
For the whole story, you should check out my yard tour.
There you have it! We’re about 4 years from the original state, so while there has been a lot of improvement, there are still a lot of projects to come.