Like anyone who’s ever lived somewhere other than solitary confinement, I believe a decorated space is never really finished. I’ve been dragging my feet to even post a “House Tour” given the ever changing nature of things. But, if you’ll forgive me occasionally swapping out the “After” pics, then here’s a glimpse at our suburban abode.
The first thing we did when we bought the house was give the ol’ girl some breathing room. Bye bye enormous yew bush in front.
We also had to replace the roof, rebuild a crumbling chimney and repaint. And yes… we knew all this when we bought the place.
The landscaping still has to fill in a bit, but we got an amazing deal on some wholesale plants at the end of the season which was the ONLY way we could have afforded to fill in what we did.
UPDATE: We’re adding a bedrooms over the garage… hurray! Construction is scheduled to be finished in late September, so for the time being, this is how the house is looking. Much more balanced and proportional if you ask me…
Just like much of the house, the front was dated, unkempt and… unkempt.
A new coat of paint on the front door, new house numbers and a new walkway makes ALL the difference.
Yes, this is an historic home and yes, the previous owner managed to install a skylight before the establishment of the current historic district commission (Coincidence? I think not…). The record will show there were many, many, things that needed to be done to this house, but the seller was only willing to concede that the skylight leaked ‘a bit.’
Adios leaky skylight.
With the skylight gone, we hung a pendant light that we had in our apartment in the city, painted, and tried to provide as much storage as possible to hide the clutter of day-to-day comings and goings. You can’t see in this picture, but we also swapped out the brown louvred doors on the closet and replaced them with some simple paneled white ones from Home Depot.
UPDATE: We’re now in the midst of a one bedroom addition over the garage which also means reworking the foyer area to give us some mudroom storage (yay!). So for the next few months… THIS is view from our family room:
MAIN FAMILY ROOM
Wall to wall carpeting was the trademark of this room. And the maroon accent wall. 10 points to anyone who can guess what decade this addition went on. Oh, and more brown shutters…. those, the seller took with her. We did not complain.
The two club chairs were the first things I bought for the house… They were striped and $125 for the pair. I found these old coffee sacks on eBay and asked the upholsterer to mix and match with the ikat fabric; they’re two of my favorite things in the house. There were also a set of dated sliding glass doors that were so drafty we had to tape up the joints for the first winter we had the house. Pulling up the carpet and putting down hardwood brought this room into the 21st century.
UPDATE: I finally got around to hanging this amazing flea market map which fits the space much better.
We loved the living room because of the lovely bay window and the amazing light that comes pouring in these big beautiful windows.
The living room is really the only room that we didn’t need to do a thing to besides paint. I fell in love with the fabric on the chair under the window and we picked our colors around that. I took down the wispy curtains that were left for us and we’ve slowly been adding furniture here and there.
A quick swap for another little pop of red and this view is slightly different.
UPDATE: Check out our living room featured on Apartment Therapy!
Are you sitting down? The previous owner had blocked over a window in here to make room for a whole wall of shelves.
We had our contractor open that bad boy up immediately. The plumbing up to the 2nd floor is hidden along the right side, so we had to leave a little niche.
Once that room had an extra window it became bright and inviting. (So much so that I still haven’t figured out how to take a good picture in here…) We had our electrician run a line for a pendant light that I found at a local consignment store, but it didn’t take much elbow grease to transform the space from depressing office to delectable dining. The rug is from FLOR and was on deep clearance, and the table was a hand-me-down from my parents. I found the chairs on eBay and recovered them.
We loved the built ins and the cozy feel of this front room. Despite the wooden shutters. Oh, that’s a fax machine, kids. F-A-X.
No more wooden shutters, a coat of paint on the back of the built ins, and a new light makes this little reading nook the most relaxing room in the house.
There’s a closet off the den (with a window!) that I reclaimed to become an office. Which really means a place to store all my junk.
1st FLOOR LANDING
This space continues to plague me as it’s too big to be a pass through area, but too small to be a real room.
Still trying to figure it out, but this arrangement was here for a while:
Next, I found these cane chairs on Craigslist, so we had this going on:
Currently, it looks like this:
DOWNSTAIRS POWDER ROOM
This bathroom opens onto the dining room. You read that correctly. I’m standing where our dining room table is. In fairness to the previous owner, she was using this space as her office, but still… it’s weird. Wanna come over for dinner sometime? Awkward.
One day this bathroom will move over to the space that is my office because a window is a nice little feature for a bathroom. Bottom line, we didn’t want to go crazy with upgrades (i.e. we added a mirror and replaced accessories). But…. I did what the How-To manuals said not to do and decided my first foray into wallpaper would be a bathroom. From afar it looks fine, but I’m thrilled this bathroom is slated to be demolished.
Another head slapping moment… the staircase came with this solid wall completely disjointed from the era of the house (1900s). Oh, and more lovely carpet…
Bringing our old staircase back to the land of historically appropriate was one of the best upgrades we made. And, bonus, the railing is now up to code! See how I hung the photos here. We’d like to paint this wall (or maybe even a grasscloth wallpaper), but it’s a tricky space so we’re pretending not to see the smudges until we can get the pros in.
2nd FLOOR LANDING
When you walked up the stairs before, this is what greeted you. That’s our bedroom door on the left.
I tried my hand again at wallpaper which makes all the difference in warming up the landing. This is a basic Ikea dresser with the knobs swapped out, and we use it for our sheets.
The kids room is a tricky room to furnish because of two lovely (but low) windows and the bathroom wall. It’s taken on many different iterations, but this latest configuration feels like the best use of the space so far.
Stripes on one wall, some homemade Roman shades, a refinished Craigslist dresser and a simple carpet give this room a comfortable and unisex vibe for Eleanor and Oliver. A few color blocked shelves for storage and it’s a sweet little shared room for these two!
Again, nothing wrong with their bathroom, but nothing great. We’ll give it a facelift when they’re old enough that they’re using it. It doesn’t have a bathtub, so it’s pretty much a place to hide when we play hide-and-go-seek.
Eleanor went through a Harold and the Purple Crayon phase, so we added a little shout out to our favorite draw-er on one of the walls.
Again with the carpeting (and lack of paint!) in here.
We were hoping to simply pull up the carpet and reveal the hardwood underneath, but the hardwood was in terrible shape and it turns out the adhesive they’d used for the carpet was impenetrable. Hence the purple. Down go new hardwoods.
I found this carpet at a remnant place. The curtains are Ikea, the bedside tables are painted Craigslist items, and the headboard was a DIY project. There’s actually another window blocked over right behind our bed… but there’s no easy place for the bed if we open that up. Still trying to figure out a way to do both.
I finally swapped out my mini dresser for this larger repainted grown-up sized dresser which is right when you walk in the bedroom.
3rd FLOOR PLAYROOM
Say it with me: wall to wall carpet. We had our contractor pull up and remove the carpet since they were already taking care of it in the rest of the house. It’s a finished attic space so we have these lovely exposed beams. We had to replace this beautiful window because the wood was all rotten, but went with the same design.
Once the carpet was up and the floor was prepped, we painted these sweet yellow and white stripes with porch paint. It was a team effort as my brother and parents got suckered into the labor. The rug was a gift from the Design Gods as it was marked down from $2000 to $400. It’s big and colorful and amazing. There’s not a color that doesn’t work with it, and it’s perfect for a kids space. The sweet little couch was $45 on Craigslist and I had it recovered.
Because those windows let in so much light, I had to DIY some no-sew curtains for the window. We also swapped out the loveseat for a pair of Craigslist chairs that I had recovered in this lovely green fabric; the two chairs are better when we have playdates as more than one person can sit and watch the kids.
It’s always been nice to have a little bed in the corner for when Eleanor needs a break from her brother or for when friends bring their children to stay for the night.
We priced out built ins, but they cost a fortune, so the toy storage is simply the Expedit series from Ikea. Cost maybe $200 all in; we had the baskets already from Land of Nod. (And normally I wouldn’t opt for a ginormous TV in the kids’ space but we had an extra when we moved from the city…)
When you come up the stairs, there’s a low wall immediately to your left that I recently used to set up an art station. It’s a BIG hit with everyone and makes use of that otherwise tricky space.
And just for fun, we added these stencils to the stairs going up to the playroom. (I couldn’t bring myself to end on “13” so I just left that step alone.)
3rd FLOOR GUEST ROOM/ NURSERY
These three little windows are the ones you see under the point of the roof at the front of the house.
Mark pulled up all the carpet nails and the trim so that we could prep and paint the floor ourselves.
This is a sweet little space that doubles as a guest suite and Martha’s nursery. We took the doors off the closet to make room for the dresser that was dislodged when the crib and changing table had to find a place up there. The quilts are from Homegoods and have been the springboard for many of the colors in this room. And my random framed needlepoint collection is up here too.
UPDATE: I painted all the frames of my kitschy artwork so the whole display seems a little more streamlined!
This is our biggest makeover of the house. Behind our house, what we bought was… bamboo. Lots and lots of bamboo. And a pair of railroad ties under each sliding door for us to step down onto the pile of dirt.
And a look towards our back fence:
Who knew there was land back there! Bamboo is near impossible to get rid of and the only way we read to tackle it was to dig it up, roots and all. We had our tree guy cut the bamboo down and then had our landscape crew dig it up roots and all.
With the help of our cousin, Kristina, this backyard is officially 1,000,000% better than it was.
Hopefully this gives you a sense of where we’ve taken things around here. A floorplan is next on my list to give you a better sense of how things relate to each other. When I feel like I have so much to do around the house, it’s always a good reminder for me to check back to the Before pictures. We’ve come a long way, baby!