Three months in and all is well!
I keep putting off doing house tour updates because there’s always about ten things per room that I think I’ll get done soon and it makes sense to wait to do the house tour until after I’ve painted or hung art or bought a rug or moved a bookshelf blah blah blah. I finally decided I needed to just do a series and move on since this house is going to be under construction for years. Plus, it’s always fun to come back with bright shiny updates!
Here are comparison photos from when I first looked at the house to what it looks like today. Both were relatively gloomy days (we have sun, I promise!) and both are relatively messy so I don’t think anything is going to end up in Domino’s next issue but personally I like seeing how people really live instead of just clean empty shots. Also, this will help you guys give me decorating advice!
Front room: when we first looked at the house, it felt very awkward because they had their dining table right in front of the front door in the small front room with a few other pieces of furniture up against the wall. I’m assuming they just didn’t use that room much, which is crazy since I spend most of my day in this room. It’s kind of hard to tell, but at some point someone tried to strip wallpaper and gave up part of the way through leaving all of the paper backing a few strips of decorated paper so that’s why the walls look so weird.
I fully intended to strip the remaining wallpaper and re-paper or paint before we moved everything in but after a couple of weeks trying to squeeze around unpacked boxes we decided to just put our stuff away and worry about the walls later. Of course now we’re all lazy and the cooler months are coming so I think we might keep this slumhouse-chic wallpaper remnant look going until next Spring. We did add a mirror and changed out the curtains, though, so the room feels a lot lighter!
Side note – original hardwood floors (yay!) that they left a huge scratch in when they moved their stuff out (boooooo!) so at some point we have to restore those. Let’s take bets on how long it will take me to get around to that…
Hallway: no before shot here because we haven’t done anything to update this sad hallway beyond putting some of our crap into it. I want to change the paint and the boob light but I do love how much storage there is so I wanted to include it in the tour. Those cabinets are deep enough to hold storage tubs or bad four year olds.
Our room: We took the smallest room in the house because we figure we need to the least amount of space in our bedroom. We really only spend time in there when we’re sleeping or getting dressed whereas the kids are in their rooms all the time. Of course, the baby is also in our room and Calvin is alone in what is designed to be the master bedroom so maybe we just fell victim to some kind of Calvin mind control.
When we first looked at the house, this was the baby’s room.
We’re desperate to paint in here and finish scraping the stickers off of the walls/door but we’re at a bit of a standstill until we stop sharing the room with the baby because there’s not a convenient time to not have him be able to go into the crib. Plus, we’ll be moving the furniture around once his stuff is out.
We downsized Felix’s space from his half-nursery to just the mini-crib (which I still adore ten months later) and a Metro Commercial storage table that we use to hold everything baby-related. It’s nice because that big basket is perfect for toys and blankets and now that he can pull himself to standing he can get his own things out. His clothing is in an under-the-bed plastic bin that we popped on the shelf just to make things easier and we store extra packs of wipes and diapers underneath. I thought I was going to hang his artwork, etc., above the changing table but I have to admit that he feels more like a temporary visitor now that we’re closing in on his first birthday so I’m kind of thinking we’ll hang his art up in his room.
Boys’ room: The boys have ended up in what is actually the master bedroom because it’s almost twice the size of our room and therefore big enough to hold two big boy beds and a bunch of toys. This is another room that we want to paint but we haven’t gotten there yet.
We have the bunk bed from the old house but we were having problems keeping Calvin from jumping off of it and I never really liked how it seemed to take up so much space so we ended up thrifting these two twin beds at a garage sale. They have shelves in the headboard and one came with a set of drawers to go underneath (they’re designed to be bunk beds) so that was perfect. They definitely need some TLC but I like how friendly and solid they are.
At the moment, this is pretty much Calvin’s domain but we moved Felix’s bed and a few pieces of Felix furniture in right from the beginning to ward off any power struggles that were going to come up when Felix actually moves in. It’s probably going to be a while yet before we actually move the baby since we’re not using a toddler bed this time and he’s still way too little to navigate his twin bed, but he spends a lot of time in here in the day.
Eva’s room: Eva’s bedroom was the easiest because it already had a wall color that she liked and we knew right from the beginning that it would be her room because of the placement in the house. Sadly, they damaged the walls when they moved out so we probably need to repaint anyway but that will be far down the road and in the meantime I’ve told Eva that we can hang a ton of artwork.
Of course, she’s waiting on me to hang art because I told her I wanted to hang her giant mirror first and that was about two months ago and she’s still waiting but what can you do? So her room looks more unfinished than most of the house but it’s all hers and it’s the first time since she was a baby that she’s had her own space so she loves it.
Kitchen: The kitchen is not a high point of the house and when I first did the walkthrough tour it was almost enough to make me think this house wasn’t for us. It’s old but it’s also an awkward layout because it’s long and skinny with strange cabinet placements. This look was complicated by the fact that they had the fridge all the way at one end, far away from the sink (which left no room for a table except in that front room).
We changed things around before we moved all of our stuff in by shifting the fridge up to the end of the kitchen where the rest of the kitchen-y stuff was, which created enough space to put a table. Kyle hung a pegboard for me over that weird floating counter but I don’t think anything is really going to rehabilitate this kitchen until we do some serious painting and we change out things like the lights and the hardware. In a perfect world I’d also like new appliances, new dining chairs, new art…someday…
Backyard: If the kitchen almost made me pass on the house, the backyard is what locked us in. I love this yard. It’s very large compared to a lot of the yards in this city and it’s completely fenced in, unlike our last house.
We haven’t done a lot out here because it was so hot all summer and now we’ve kind of run out of steam, but I did put together a mud kitchen for the kids so they spend a lot of time in the yard being totally gross. We also ripped out the fire pit (Eva’s asthma) and put the sandbox where it used to be.
The area that used to hold the trampoline was all good dirt so Kyle tilled it and planted things right when we moved in. Now we have a crazy crop of veggies and a ton of pumpkins coming for next month. We’re going to actually plan out the garden next year now that we know how well everything will grow! The two trees are apples and cherries and we have grapes growing along the fence, but I haven’t worked myself up to eating homegrown fruit yet. My fear of worms is strong.
Laundry/Utility room: the laundry room is a good size and the previous tenants used it for storage which is super tempting because who doesn’t need a place to put random crap?
We decided we didn’t need that much room for storage, though, since we do have a garage (finally!) so we initially turned the empty space into an art studio for the kids. That was fun for the summer but when we started talking about rabbits I knew that I wanted any bunnies we got to have plenty of room to stretch their legs and this utility room has a painted concrete floor with a drain so it’s really easy to clean. So, the room is now one third laundry, one third mudroom storage, and one half bunny poop paradise.
We’re using a standard dog fence to keep the bunnies where they need to be and the kids go in there and hang out with them since bunnies aren’t allowed in the rest of the house without parent supervision. I have big plans for the bunny area though. It’s going to be epic…
Guest room: our sad little guest room was even sadder when I first saw it because it was all full of icky carpet that was not welcoming at all.
We switched the carpet to laminate and added a rug but we haven’t done much else with the room. The entire basement was paneled like this and we’re painting the rest of it but I almost like the paneling enough to leave it in this room. Undecided.
In a perfect world we would open that window way up to create an exit in case of a fire. Definitely something we’re going to need to save up for if the boys ever want to split up and have their own rooms because this is the last of the bedrooms.
Basement: the basement was absolutely epic when I first saw the house. It was a magical disaster. I can’t even describe the carpet to you because these bad cell phone pictures don’t do justice to how vibrant the casino colors were. Add to that the shiny ceiling, the wood paneling everywhere, and the bizarre rock wall that was full of dirty kitty litter and I just don’t know what exactly happened here.
The basement was the first big thing we tackled when we moved in. The carpet, which was soaked in dog pee, had to go and the floor had to be leveled before we could put vinyl flooring in. We painted the brick mantle and the paneling with a white primer which was supposed to be covered up by real paint two days later but I had trouble picking a color and now it’s been three months so that’s another thing that will probably happen next summer.
My brother and sister-in-law knocked down that horrible rock wall and hauled all of the pieces away and my stepdad wrapped the remaining support pole in carpet so that opened that part of the room way up. I still have no idea how they were living with all that stinky sand unless they couldn’t smell it over the dog pee. I feel like I could still smell it in the air days afterwards.
The basement is shaped like a big “L” and we’ve sort of divided the long part into three spaces. The first is a play space for the kids, the middle is what we use for a TV-watching area, and the third is an open space that will soon hold a table and chairs for playing games and doing projects together.
The little part of the L is our (my) office and it’s currently a mess because I’m waiting on a desk that I inherited from my great-uncle. It’s also housing the last of the moving boxes and some equipment from a freelance job I recently finished so right now I don’t spend any time down there. It’s going to be great once it’s set up, though, because it’s weirdly soundproofed by being around the corner.
Not exactly sure what to do with the wide mantles. Right now they’re holding part of our ever ridiculous book collection but they could theoretically be extra seating or something? Not sure. As for the fireplace itself, I don’t even know where to begin if I wanted to update it. It doesn’t work at the moment so I think it will probably be the thing I ignore for a while.
House dreams: we need to paint and paint and paint. As far as new stuff, at some point we should probably invest in a larger TV and an entertainment unit for the basement to hide the weird water pipe coming out of the wall. We also need a few random things here and there like lamps or chairs and I’m looking forward to replacing hardware all over the house in one big push.
In a perfect world I’d want to redo at least once of the bathrooms (probably the basement) because we only have one tub and it’s underwhelming for a tub person like me. That being said, I love this house. LOVE it. I feel so at home here and don’t want to leave for years and years so we have plenty of room to make it more our own a little bit at a time. The neighborhood is great, the schools are great (if we needed the boys to go to the local school), the commute time for Kyle is great…very very happy here.
I just need some paint!