Our first house

This is a tour of our first house which we bought in November 2006. In June 2013 we began renting it out and moved to our current home. Here’s a quick tour of all the rooms in our house as were when we moved out. To help out I’ve included a quick plan of our entire property which is about an acre.

Our floor plan made using floorplanner.com
Our property

And here is a close-up of the floorplan of our house. We used floorplanner.com (a free service) to make the layouts.

Floor plan of our house 1500 sq ft
Floor plan of our house 1500 sq ft

Front Yard

The house was seriously lacking in the curb appeal department. The faded Williamsburg blue shutters were dated, the wood windows were peeling, and the landscape consisted entirley of azaleas lining the house. I liked that the house was brick but the red was a little brighter than I would have liked.

Before Front yard

We painted all of the shutters black and added 3 black window boxes. We tore out the azaleas in front of the porch and replaced them with a boxwood hedge. We also added a pea gravel path to  the mail box lined on both side with gardens. All the windows were replaced.

front after

We loved the size of the front porch but that was about all we loved about it.  The blue outdoor carpet was disgusting, the wood door was pretty banged up, and all the spindles just didn’t seem to match the architecture of the house.

before porch

The porch got a big makeover. Out went the blue carpet and in went a neutral outdoor carpet.  All the old spindles were done away with and we encased the original posts with new chunkier square posts. The front door went bright red and a new light fixture, house numbers, and door bell update the space.

Porch after

Living Room

The major draw to the living room was it’s size. The carpet was blue (seeing a trend yet?) and it was probably crappy carpet when it was installed 20 years ago. I also loved the large window overlooking the porch but it was drafty and those blinds were doing nothing for it.

Living Room Before

We repainted the walls in Benjamin Moore’s Monroe Bisque and Blue Blood, added a large rug we found on sale at Lowe’s, built a coffee table from reclaimed wood, and beefed up the original bookcases. We also flip flopped the seating arrangement.  The previous homeowner’s had the TV on the wall shared with the Master bedroom which opened up the room but meant that every person who walked through the room had to walk in front of the TV. It didn’t make for a very intimate space. Living Room After

Living Room After

Living ROom After

And here’s the dresser we refurbished as a credenza which makes a nice landing spot in our non-existent foyer.

After: A $20 Craigslist dresser gets a new coat of paint and new hardware to become a living room credenza.
After: A $20 Craigslist dresser gets a new coat of paint and new hardware to become a living room credenza.

This is the view from the entryway looking towards the back of the house.

View from the entry



The kitchen was original to 1960 complete with two layers of flower and teacup wallpaper. It also had completely nonfunctional cabinets with blind corners and a dishwasher on wheels. We knew that the kitchen was going to need a complete remodel the second we saw it. Not only was it small but hanging cabinets separated the dining room from the kitchen.

kitchen before   before kitchen

We replaced1/4 of the cabinets with new functional Ikea ones and painted and refaced the rest of the cabinets to match. We installed new butcher block counter tops, new lighting, and new built in dishwasher, new fridge and stove, a new sink with a garbage disposal, a built in microwave, and removed the cabinets that hung between the kitchen and dining area. We were going for a modern cottage look.

remodeling a kitchen on a budget

In the below picture you can see the new cabinets we installed (the drawer unit and corner unit to the left of the stove and the upper corner unit to the left of the stove).  We installed a new over the stove microwave which freed up a ton of counter space. Also notice the now missing upper cabinets that used to separate the kitchen from the dining room.

MOdern cottage kitchen remodel with ikea cabinets

This wall was too narrow to put any cabinets on so we compensated with this wall unit from Ikea and a narrow buffet we picked up at an unfinished wood retailer. black kicthen buffet with Ikea wall unit

We left the doors off the upper cabinets on this wall to display our white porcelain china and give the room a more cottage vibe. WHite kicthen with open shelves, beadboard, and butcher block

Dining Room

dining room before It’s not much of a dining room, more of an eat in kitchen, but it’s the only one we have. This room didn’t require much, just a new light fixture, paint, new floors, rip out the old base board heating, and curtains and art. The new light fixture is from Ikea. It came in gun metal grey so hit it with some teal spray paint to added a little color to the room. The wall color is Benjamin Moore Monroe Bisque. Dinig Room After with teal chandelier

View into the kitchen from the Dining Room.

View from Dining room into kicthen
View from Dining room into kitchen

Master Bedroom

The Master Suite was only about 10 years old when we bought the house, so it was in pretty good shape. It had been carved out of what used to be a bonus room.  The worst part of this room was that all the molding including the crown molding was painted this greenish cream color that looked like it should glow in the dark but didn’t.  It took 3 coats of paint to cover it all.

master bedroom before

We carried the wood floors into the master bedroom and painted two tone vertical stripes in the wall in taupe. We painted the stripes before we even moved in and it’s the only room we haven’t since repainted. Cody made the headboard out of left over molding and a piece of MDF. The bedside table are thrift store finds that we refinished, while the lamps were repainted and adorned with DIY sisal shades. The bedding is from Pottery Barn.

Master bedroom in taupe and teal with sisal lamps
Master bedroom in taupe and teal with sisal lamps



This dresser was unfinished when we bought it. We gave a coat of glossy black paint and changed out the hardware.
This dresser was unfinished when we bought it. We gave a coat of glossy black paint and changed out the hardware.
Ikea Hemnes dresser
Ikea Hemnes dresser

  Master Bathroom

Our Master bathroom was only about 10 years old when we bought the house, so it was as ugly as the Hall Bathroom. It had been added when the entire left side our home was renovated into a master suite. It was however, starting to show it’s age with outdated fixtures, cracking floor tile due to inappropriate installation, and a too small shower. For details on this remodel click here.

Master bathroom before

We painted all the cabinetry a high gloss black and replaced all the fixtures and faucets with new brush nickel ones. The vanity top was switched out for a solid white marble and the old ceramic tile floors made way for large rectangular carrara marble tiles.

Master bathroom remodel black and white

The old fiberglass shower stall was too small and dated so we ripped it out and built out a new custom stall. This was by far the hardest part of this renovation. We poured a new concrete shower pan and tile the floor in a hexagon carrara marble tile with a black marble border. The walls got white subway tile with a mosaic glass tile accent that is carried around to the tub backslash as well.

custom shower stall with subway tile and glass mosaic

Hall Bathroom

The Hall bathroom was originally the only bath in the house so it was surprising large. Unfortunately, it was also untouched since 1960 and came complete with teal tile and a teal cast iron tun.

Before: 1960 Teal Bathroom
Before: 1960 Teal Bathroom


We were going for a clean and fresh vintage cottage feel for the bathroom all our guest would use so down came all the tile and up went bead board. We re-faced the old vanity and gave it new hardware, replaced all the finishes, and tiled over the old floor.

  cottage bathroom

The original tub was cast iron and would have been a beat to remove so we choose to re-finish it in white. All the old tile came down and new white subway tile went up along with new fixtures.

After: A re-finished cast iron tub and white subway tile add to the vintage feel.
After: A re-finished cast iron tub and white subway tile add to the vintage feel.

The old linen closet was huge and seemed a waste of good space so we removed it and replaced it with a cabinet and counter top that matched the vanity. Above it we place floating shelves with baskets and towels to create a more open feel in the room.

cottage bathroom

For more on this renovation including the budget break down click here.


The room we choose for our office is the smallest of the bedroom and originally had white walls that looked like they hadn’t been painted since 1960 and hideous hunter green carpet. before office

We replaced the carpet and painted the walls a light grey with a grey and white chevron accent wall behind the desk. The new larger DIY pellet box picks up on the teal accents in the room. We also ripped out the old baseboard heating and replaced the window and doors.

Office After: Grey and white chevron with teal accents and Ikea desk and chairs
Office After: Grey and white chevron with teal accents and Ikea desk and chairs

The desks are Ikea Finnvard legs with the Vika Gruvan top, the chairs are Snille, and the lights are Forsa.  We lined the right wall with Ikea Lack floating shelves that hold my fiction book collection as well as some additional storage. Above the shelves is our art and photo gallery. The couch below the shelves was a hand me down (hence why it doesn’t really match) and acts as our dog’s bed. We haven’t figured out a great solution for the couch yet.

Ikea shelves line the wall providing storage for books with an art gallery above
Ikea shelves line the wall providing storage for books with an art gallery above

We also finally got around to framing our college diplomas (6 years later) and great a small display with some graduation pictures.

Diploma arrangement
Diploma arrangement

Sophie’s Room

This room was probably in the best shape out of any in the house except that it had that same terrible greenish cream trim as the Master Bedroom. Otherwise it already had new windows and doors so all the changes in this room were purely cosmetic.

before sophie

Sophie moved into this room when she got kicked out of the nursery to make way for Baby Lizzie. We wanted a room she could grow with so we picked a full size metal bed and a modern Paris theme. This room was the easiest room in the house to redesign as all it needed was new carpet. The paint color is Valspar Crystal Aqua. For more on designing this room click here.

Teal, Black, and White Paris Girl's Room

Baskets under the bed and a toy box at the end of the bed help contain clutter.

Teal, Black, and White girl's room

SInce we don’t have a seperate playroom right now, Sophie’s room plays the part. We included a media are with a small TV, book shelves made from reclaimed pallets, and a shelf that holds movies and coloring equipment.

Teal Black and White Paris girl's room

Lizzie’s Nursery

Lizzie’s nursery was originally Sophie’s nursery ( as seen below) but we decided that a new baby deserved a new design.

Yellow, green, and pink nursery with stripes
Yellow, green, and pink nursery with stripes

 We kept the wainscoting that we had installed for Sophie as well as the furniture layout, but decided to go with a red and teal color scheme. I made all the linens myself as well as the mobile. Most of the art came from etsy.

Aqua and red nursery with DIY nursery bedding

Rather than waste money on a changing table which has such limited use, we bought the Hemnes dresser from Ikea and added a contoured changing table mat to the top of it.

Aqua and red nursery with birds

We already had this very cozy white chair so I simply dressed it up with a new pillow I made.

Cozy sitting area for feeding the baby.
Cozy sitting area for feeding the baby.

Back Yard

The backyard is huge! It was one of the selling features of the house since in the suburbs large yards are hard to come by. The yard was also a blank slate. It seemed like the previous homeowners never even ventured back there. In fact if you squint and look at the right side of the picture below you can see that the gate was actually on the wrong side of the back door forcing you to go down the steps and open the gate to even get into the yard. the back of the house was lined with overgrown bushes that blocked a lot of light from getting inside.


This was the closet thing to a deck the house came with. Oh look more blue carpet!


This picture gives you an idea the size of the yard. I’m not a huge fan of chain link fences but we were really glad that the whole yard was already fenced in. You can also see the detached garage.

backyard before


Honestly, I think the garage was the main reason we bought this house. I know it doesn’t look like much, but most of the homes we had looked at didn’t even have a garage and then we found this one with a 3 care detached garage. The outside of the garage was in great shape but the inside was missing a ceiling and looked as if it had been pieced together.


You can really see all the different wall coverings in this picture. Also the workbench that came with the garage.

garage before






5 thoughts on “Our first house”

  1. Stephanie you and your husband have done an outstanding job decorating your house. And what a lot of work! All I can say is the previous homeowners must have been st least 100 years old when they finally moved out because I haven’t seen some of your “befores” since I was a kid growingnup in the 60s! Loved the rehabbed rooms . . . and I will definitely be checking out that wooden moose head you show on your home page.

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