Sam and I bought our house in September, 2014, and we’re still in the middle of the makeover journey. I know it’s not quite ready to be featured on the cover of House Beautiful, but just keep in mind that every disastrous room means more to blog about. (UPDATE: Our stairwell makeover appeared on the front page of the House Beautiful website, so essentially all my dreams have come true. We should just quit while we’re ahead.)
Before getting to the photos, here’s a floor plan of the space so you have a sense of how it all fits together:
Our house is on a bit of a hill, so the view from the front sidewalk has you looking upward pretty significantly.
Here’s how it looked when we bought it:
Since then we’ve done exceedingly little, except trimming away some of the ivy growing across the front (it’s not good for the siding, and it’s like a red carpet from the ground to the siding for bugs).
We actually don’t use the front door very much, though, because the driveway accesses from behind the house. Which brings us to…
~ The Back~
Here it is when we closed:
And here it is now:
So far we’ve removed the satellite dish, planted a hedge on the open side of the yard, planted some new flower beds to add a little color, purchased new patio furniture in what seems like a major Home Depot loophole, set up the grill that my father and stepmom gifted us for the winter holidays, built a deck on top of the old patio, painted the shed, and built a trellis on the shed. We still have lots to do, like impatiently wait for the hedge to grow, and do all the things in the five-year outdoor plan we developed with the help of my awesome landscape architect friend. Wish us luck.
Any any case, let’s continue. The back door opens into…
~The Sun Room~
Here’s the sun room the first time we saw the house:
During that time, the only thing we did was install keyless locks (for the back, front, and exterior basement doors). We love them, and I’ll post more about them in the future.
But recently there have been some big changes, and now it looks like this:
In case you can’t tell, we did a massive renovation of the sunroom to turn it into a dining room and opened it up into the next room over, which is…
The kitchen before:
It took us a full year of projects, and even though we still have a few finishing touches we’re considering it 99% done! Be sure to check out the wrap-up post summarizing all the projects and final budget breakdown.
Next to the kitchen is the….
~The Living Room~
Here’s the living room to begin:
This is one of the rooms where we’ve done the most work — painting it (the day we moved in), putting in a sectional, adding colorful accessories, creating a gallery wall, and sewing curtains. In addition, we’ve added two thrifted chairs, I built a colorful modern coffee table out of raw steel and plywood, and I also built mid-century sconces. Here’s how it’s looking now:
~The Front Hall and Stairwell~
This is where the front door enters, but in addition to it not being convenient to enter through the front because of the driveway around back, the front hall is pretty small and wouldn’t make a good entry point.
Here’s the front hall when we moved in:
In Phase I of the project we painted the hallway walls, trim, and doors, and removed the doors on the pantry to create colorful open built-ins, in Phase II we painted the stairwell and used fabric to add some pizzaz to the risers, and in Phase III we wrapped it up with all the finishing touches including new light fixtures, art, and painting the front door. It took awhile for such a small space, but it’s one of my favorite projects so far — a major improvement from all the dark wood and cream walls:
Looking to your right, you will see…
The makeover in this room was a…collaborative effort. It involved painting the walls and trim white and building a hanging shelf and desk system for one wall, plus making some inexpensive geometric art with adhesive vinyl:
Then we added some comfort items (TV and recliner) to the other side of the room, and hung a colorful rug as artwork. It’s a fairly minimal space, which is exactly what Sam wanted.
Going back out into the hall and taking the next door on the right finds you in…
Here’s how it looked before:
Conveniently located next to the bedroom is…
When we first saw it:
The lime green just wasn’t doing it for us, so we painted the walls and ceiling a dark blue-gray. I think it brings out a better look in the brown tile, which isn’t a tile I would have picked myself. We also swapped out the towel bar for hooks, and added some inexpensive art with custom photo mats we cut ourselves. There’s still some work to be done like possibly painting the vanity and changing out the lighting, but the paint and artwork makes a big difference and was exceptionally budget-friendly.
~The Guest Room~
Here it is in its original state, with our furniture:
We furnished it with a bed frame left behind by the seller, a mattress from a close friend, a dresser I found at a yard sale, and some assorted (very unattractive) lamps left behind by the seller.
We’ve since made it over entirely, starting with painting all the walls white and then adding accessories and furniture we mostly already owned (including a map mural wall, curtains, art, an overhead light, and a yard sale dresser that I painted green).
The guest room has a door to a large closet/storage space, which is where we’re storing things like suitcases and our extensive game collection:
Across the landing is…
~The Craft Room/Guest Room~
Here’s how it looked when we toured:
The walls still give the impression that you’re trapped inside a watermelon, but I’ve done a lot of work to organize it into a functional craft room where I can store all my craft supplies and décor and work on projects, sew, etc. It also doubles as a guest room when needed, hence the bed.
And that’s the whole upstairs. One day we’d like to put in a dormer to accommodate a second bathroom (the bathroom on the first floor is the only one), and make the craft room into a master suite. Adding a dormer will allow us to gain a lot of square footage that we currently lose under the sloped roof.
Two levels down is the thing that really sold us on the house, though…
Here’s the basement on the day we toured. Imagine us huddling in the corner with our realtor and telling him we had to have the house:
Most of the work has been focused on putting in a home gym with bench press, squat rack, treadmill, wall-mount TV, and free weights, plus an aesthetic overhaul of the gym space that included painting the walls, adding large wall mirrors, and building floating shelves for displaying some of our favorite photos. I’ve also started to create my basement workshop — including working with my dad to build an awesome workbench and installing storage racks — though I’m planning to relocate it to a new corner of the basement. We haven’t touched the laundry area, and the fourth corner of the basement has just been an accumulation spot for all the furniture Naomi and I keep acquiring. There’s still a lot of work to be done – I dream of more efficient storage, a fully stocked workshop, and a hygienic-looking place to do laundry….