Today I wanted to give you an idea of our ever evolving style by showing you some pictures from our first house. We put a lot of DIY sweat into putting our touch on each room, and I loved and was very proud of what we had done when we left. We always said that if we were able to pick up our house and put it on a bigger lot we would! We were VERY picky when we first house hunted- I knew what I wanted, and I did not want to compromise much. In the end, I think that’s one of the reasons our “starter” home lasted us 10 years!
The kitchen had lovely orangey-oak cabinets that I painted white. This was one of the very first projects that I tackled on my own, and probably the one that had THE MOST impact in our entire home. It completely changed the feel of the house from dark and dated to light, bright, and white. The color I used was SW Greek Villa. I also re-painted the entire main living areas from the dingy gold that I loooved when we moved in. That was a big project because it was on EVERY wall, and we had a two-story entry way with awkward windows and small spaces to squeeze a ladder, but made such a difference when I was finished. The main color is BM Shaker Beige, color matched to Behr’s Ultra Paint and Primer in one.
The tile was the hubs first big indoor project, and our first taste of living through a renovation- meaning our fridge was in the living room for 6 weeks while he worked=). He had tiled a little before, but being a perfectionist and NOT a professional, one of the hardest parts of the job was deciding where to start the first run of tiles. We had a sweet neighbor who lays tile for a living stop by when he saw what we were doing and offered his expertise. Such a small gesture really was a tremendous help. I loved the way this upgrade helped the house feel a little less builder basic, and really gave the downstairs a nice flow because it ran from the front door all the way to the kitchen. The laminate we had before had a small entry way patch, a pathway of carpet off the living room that divided the entry from the kitchen, and then laminate in the kitchen/dining. When we ripped up the carpet “pathway” it was so dirty from all the traffic- and was only 3 years old! EWW!
When we bought the kitchen floor tile, we also bought granite tiles to replace the counters. We had some burnout after finishing the floors, and life and kids and careers and and and, we didn’t finish the counters until almost 6 years later! I LOVED them, and my only regret was that we didn’t finish them sooner so I could have enjoyed them longer. My goal for this house is not to wait so long on some of these great ideas we have! I will always be tweaking things, but want to enjoy some of the fruits of our labor sooner rather than later!
We also modified our sink base cabinet to house the Ikea Domsjo sink (I say we, but I really didn’t have much to do with it other than to say-“I really like that sink- we can do that right?!”). It turned out beautiful all thanks to my hubs. We replaced the faucet, and had started upgrading a few of the appliances at a time (so ignore the glaringly white stove). Aaaahhh- I really did love what we did in our kitchen.
I started gaining a little confidence after I built our entertainment console, and decided to tackle the fireplace. I looked at my sisters fireplace to model what kind of mantle I wanted to do. Hubby helped me use the router for the first time (so fun!), and it just added a little something extra to our family room.
The backyard was our first real labor of love. We extended the 10×10 patio that came standard with the house to stretch the length of the house. Then the hubs and his uncle built this massive pergola. For a southwest facing backyard, it made such a difference to provide some shade during our hot summers while the boys played outside.
The powder room downstairs ended up being planked twice. This was a DIY disaster that I was too confident about and rushed through. Of course, I bit off more than I could chew- trying to hustle and finish before my sons birthday party and I made some big mistakes. I tried the pinterest planking tutorials that are everywhere using thin sheets of ply ripped down at Lowe’s. But they were all uneven widths, they bowed in funny places on the wall, and were just a bit too rustic for our taste. I tried to squeeze them behind the toilet tank, and ended up cracking the tank, which was filled with some royal blue dyed cleaning tablet. YUCK. But that wasn’t all- in my rush to finish, hubs offered to help caulk- I reminded him to use PAINTABLE caulk, like I had read in all the tutorials, he shrugged and said “sure” like I had no clue what I was talking about- fast forward to me trying to paint silicone caulk!!=) Just beading up paint in every corner, along the baseboards- everywhere. UGGGHHHH. The sweet guy the night before the party ripped everything out, found a solution (I think it’s just a wood paneling) and re-installed the entire bathroom while I wrangled the kids! Amazing guy I tell you, he puts up with all of my big ideas!
We didn’t do as much to the master as we had once planned- he did build me an amazing custom closet organizer that maximized our tiny “walk-in”, but I don’t have any pics of that. We did a few minor upgrades to the upstairs kids bathroom- we did our trial for the granite tile counters here, painted the cabinet, new backsplash and DIY’ed a rustic mirror frame.
All in all- it was a great first house. We loved our neighbors, loved creating our home, loved walking the boys to school. It was very sad to leave the only home our kids have known. But we feel very lucky to have the opportunity to move just a few blocks away, gain a little more space indoors, a lot more space outdoors, and start making a new place home!