Jimmy and I bought a house in May of 2009 and closed on it about a month after getting engaged. After graduation, I bought a condo in downtown KC and lived there by myself. I loved the "city life" for the most part, but with my previous job I was only in town on the weekends, so having a condo was easy and nice. After we decided that we were probably going to get married...I knew my condo had to go. It was awesome, but at only 655 sq ft and on the 5th floor, we were in a world of trouble if 2 people and 3 dogs lived there permanently. With the real estate market (especially condos) not doing too well, I put my condo on the market early to give us some time in case it didn't sell fast. Well, as luck would have it, I put it on the market on a Sunday and after one showing that afternoon, there was an offer on Monday morning. I sold it and then we were left looking for a house to buy! And what a process that way- especially doing it with someone else.
We started out by making a list of everything we wanted in a house:
- good location
- 3 bedrooms and 2 baths
- 2 living spaces (we don't like the same tv shows- haha)
- backyard with a 6ft fence
- 2 car garage
- island in the kitchen (I wanted that)
- wood paneling (and that would be Jimmy's pick!)
After working with our realtor and looking in lots of different areas of Kansas City, we put an offer on a house that we thought we loved. It was completely remodeled and at a great price. But the inspection proved differently- it was in terrible shape and the remodeling was poorly done, so it was back to the drawing board. Jimmy found a house online that looked like it met our "qualifications". However, after one look at it and the fact it had been on the market for over a year already...I was ready to walk away. There was SO much work to do! I would never want to take that on. Well, never say never I guess :) In the end, we decided on that exact house because it had everything we wanted...just needed some TLC and some handy people with good attitudes to move in! After lots of negotiations, it became our first house on May 22, 2009. And the changes began immediately. Below are some pictures of the before and after of all of the rooms in the house. We have painted every room, gutted and renovated the master bathroom, transformed an outdated family room, updated the kitchen...and have a few more projects still on our radar. I have included some posts that I wrote, so feel free to explore the blog to get some ideas, tips (on what to do and what NOT to do!)...and enjoy!
The summer months in 2009 included lots of time outdoors to transform the front of our house and give it some "curb appeal". Since the owner had no lived in the house for a year, it was quite the neighborhood eye sore with overgrown bushes that hid the house. We transformed it by adding a porch (built by my dad), ripping out all the railroad ties that lined the walkway and putting a new retaining wall with 3 flower beds and a brick walkway, ripped out all the bushes, and soon after painted the shutters black. We also got a new garage door, that is on the side of the house. The before and after is truly amazing, especially after adding some awesome landscaping, that pulling into our driveway can always put a smile on my face!!
Entry way to the house. Not much has changed here except a fresh coat of paint, a new light fixture and some furniture!
To the left of the entryway is the living room. Our big draw to this house was that it had 2 distinct separate living spaces. This living room is literally everything that was in my condo...it kind of looks like we just picked it up and moved it to Kansas because we even used the same neutral paint color on the walls.
This room creeped me out the most when we saw this house for the first time because instead of a TV between the two bookshelves, there was just a vanity type thing that I imagine little girls sitting at in the Laura Ingalls Wilder days and brushing their hair 100 times at night. And then the maroon backed built in shelves were full of miniatures and dolls. SO- I immediately had a game plan to transform this room by painting the inside of the shelves black and having my day run a cable line for the TV. As you can see, we decided the exact TV and TV stand that were in my condo looked best in here vs. the bigger TV. While this is a little more "formal", it's nice to have an extra TV and seating space!!
Finally, my aunt was SO kind to literally transform our living room by making and installing these beautiful curtains. They literally pull the room together and make it feel like home! And with new blinds, it looks so clean and like a new room!
Next you would walk into the dining room. Since this was the only dining area in our house, I knew this had to be great. We decided on a richer paint color (actually was a color that I wanted to paint my condo, but didn't work out because it was such a small space) that complemented the living room. We bought an awesome counter-height dining room table off of craigslist, bought a china cabinet off of craigslist, my aunt added some awesome curtains- and now, I think it's great! Here are a few more views with updated decor.
If you cannot tell by the below "before" photos, our kitchen was really stuck in the 90s. Probably because it was remodeled in 1997 by the owners before the one we bought the house from. So the cabinets were in good condition, but the wallpaper HAD to go. That was off and painted green within the first week of moving in, but the rest took time (mainly $$). But we made it. We have installed new knobs, put in a brand new tile floor, got new granite countertops and finally...invested in all new stainless steel appliances. I love it and absolutely love cooking it..and organizing it as well. However, the thinking never stops and there will be more updates/changes to the kitchen coming soon- so stay tuned!!
We'll skip the downstairs for now to the more not so exciting part, but the hallway to our bedrooms got a fresh coat of paint that really brightened and cleaned it up! Along with the picture frames, it's a great hall to walk through :) I also installed all new door knobs throughout the house- that was pretty fun- check out more about that power tool!!
First door on the right...we are 99% sure this was a kids room. However, an older woman lived in our house before- so maybe grandkids? Not quite sure, but it was awful. The border was horrible to get off, even worse than a whole wall of wallpaper. And best yet, the painted the trim around the windows and closet a wonderful green color- and painted it so the windows wouldn't open. This posed quite a challenge and was transformed into our office and houses our 2 dog kennels for our 3 dogs. I love this space, with the desk and I have organized all our wrapping paper and my craft project stuff so they are easily accessible. Our biggest asset in this room? The daybed that is now in it, which used to be my daybed when I was a kid! It provides us with an extra 2 twin beds that guests can sleep in if lots of folks are staying over, but doesn't take up too much space the other times to give us a great office!! Take a full tour here.
Next comes what is now the guest room, but what used to be my wonderful roommate, Lauren's room. Lauren and her mom took lots of time to paint over the blue walls and put the wonderful yellow/cream up. It looked gorgeous with her room color scheme and still looks great with the furniture and bedspread I put in it after she moved out. This furniture used to be in the master bedroom, but after acquiring some new furniture- our guest get to enjoy the space now. Take a full tour of this room and the decor here!
Just across the hall is the master bedroom. When I moved in, I was stuck on having the walls of my bedroom a light brown. That is what color they were in my condo bedroom and I loved the color and had a comforter that matched. Enter Jimmy. He hates brown and apparently it makes him think of poop. Well, I won that fight and the walls are brown! I used to have the guest room furniture in my bedroom, but after we got married we decided to get a king size bed and all new bedroom furniture. We were also blessed to get an amazing comforter from my bridesmaids at our wedding that looks great in the room and I painted the art above the bed to match. Overall, our bedroom has turned out just the way we like it!! However---we could use some more closet space :)
Also a part of the master bedroom is the master bathroom. This was a must, but very hard to find in older houses and in this area. But we knew if we were going to stay in this house for a while, we had to have this! Now, this master bathroom renovation is our pride and joy. After my dad ripped it down to the studs (by our surprise)....we had to get to work on building a new bathroom. With a few setbacks, one included Jimmy falling through the ceiling to our family room (oops!), a leak Which included a new vanity (after much indecisiveness)
And as if you didn't want to see ANOTHER bathroom, but this is just back down the hall and is our guest full bathroom that is upstairs. It's a great size and the current decor wasn't THAT horrible, but still incredibly outdated. I tried my best to update it, as we only have so much money, time and resources to renovate our house. So I put in a new light fixture, put a new shower rod in, Lauren bought a great shower curtain and I replaced the hardware on the vanity. Oh...and the biggest thing was that the wallpaper was gone. Gross. However, our summer project this year is renovating this bathroom just like the master, so good things to come :)
It's funny when a room can be an eye sore to one person but a complete dream to another. Well, that's exactly how our downstairs living room was for Jimmy and I. He instantly fell deep in love with it because of the wood paneling. I instantly hated it because of the wood paneling, but Jimmy did NOT agree. I even posted about my dream of painting it!! After LOTS of discussions, mini-projects like the mantle and painting the fireplace and changing the fireplace cover,
Take a full tour of this room here to see all the decor I have added :)
The final "room" is the 1/2 bath that is in the family room down the stairs. It's kind of nice because it looks like a closet, so it doesn't stand out, but when Jimmy and his friends are downstairs watching a game, they can just stay in that are!! Wall paper was the first thing to go and Jimmy picked the paint color. I call it construction orange. You really don't need to turn the light on in there, even at night. Haha, it's not that bad, but it's much better than what we started with!
Right out the back door, is the backyard! Like I mentioned above, a big backyard was very important to us when we were looking for a house. This one had a great concrete patio poured that the family room led out to, but there was a lot of underutilized space right out the 2nd back door off of our dining room. My dad had a brilliant idea to get rid of the stuff that was growing there and lay down some fancy bricks to make a patio. After lots of work, leveling, a short break because he was in the hospital, it was completed and we couldn't love it more! We moved the table and chairs and grill up there and we have had several people over to enjoy an outdoor meal with us :) Thanks dad!!!
Here is a shot of the patio that the family room goes out to. We didn't pour new concrete on this, but there are hopes of putting on a little sunroom someday on this. We shall see about that, but it would be awesome! A dog door is something that we really want and we would have to put down here, but in the sun room it would be even better right?
Finally, what you can kind of see from these pictures below was the biggest backyard transformation. One thing on the inspection was a few termites in the railroad ties that were in the front and backyard. So we ripped them out. Correction, my dad, Jimmy and his friends ripped out the railroad ties. Check out the demolition that went into this!!! And then we had someone come out and pour a new set of concrete stairs to the lower patio, a new sidewalk and steps to the house. It turned out great and when my dad put in new mulch and the upper patio, we are officially in love with our backyard!
As you can probably guess from most of these posts, my dad is SUCH a huge help with all of our projects. He's got a bit of a craze for organization too...which is why he worked so hard with Jimmy to organize and make the best of the space in our garage. It's amazing how shelving, a tool bench and some great ideas on hanging yard tools up can give you so much more room and make the garage an incredibly functional place!!
So that's it. From start to finish. Whew. I'm exhausted typing all this, but really, it's been a wonderful DIY journey and we love reading other design and house remodel blogs to get new and cheap ideas to spruce up our house! Keep checking back for more updates- we still have lots of ideas!!!