Brad and I have been dragging this dreary 1950s ranch, kicking and screaming, into some semblance of shape since July 2012.
We started with sickly beige walls, small boxy rooms, and carpet that was a particularly smelly shade of green. 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 and dining area, where we’ve cobbled together a “deconstructed entryway,” with a spot for shoes, mail, and a few coats right by the door, a cabinet for notes and mail across the room, and our true coat and shoe storage closet behind it in the hallway.
The dining area is the biggest change from the renovation, because it used to be surrounded by decrepit and claustrophobic built-ins, which made it cramped and dark. The flow between the three front rooms was terrible.
Now, it is my favorite room in the house!
I feel like that picture describes my entire decorating style. It is one of the few truly “finished” rooms in the house, and I did a wrap-up post of everything that went into getting it to its current state.
Among a lot of projects, I picked out a new chandelier, turned a salvaged school science room cabinet into a console table, picked out new furniture, and so much more.
And now that the built-in is painted and doesn’t have the matching-but-slightly-mismatching one opposite it, I love it! The strange, blocky back to it is now a fun detail, and its pattern speaks to the panes on the divided-light windows.
Next to the dining room is the kitchen. 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 didn’t notice. We’ve definitely noticed, and once you see it, you can’t unsee it.
We’re soon going to do a full renovation in here: new appliances, lighting re-facing the cabinets, and maybe more, but for now we’re just happy it is livable and bright.
Also up front is the living room. his used to follow the same beige and green color scheme as the dining room, 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.
That said, there is still a lot of work left to do to get this room to its final state, and I’m looking forward to delving into that after I take care of more pressing issues (like the kitchen).
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.
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.