Before & After: Part 1

So if you follow on insta, the cat is out of the bag…we have moved! Again! I hope someone out there is saying Bless her heart because moving and remodeling two homes in two years is, well, hell. BUT. Things happen as they may and here we are. Before I dive into our new adventure too much, I wanted to share some before and afters of the remodel we said goodbye to. Anyone interested in moving to the lovely little town of Edenton, this little gem of a house will be for sale at some point.

Front Exterior

This was her original curb appeal. Not bad. We redid the landscaping, planted lots of grass, etc.

We bought this house sort of on a whim. We like to do things like that. It is in one of the best locations downtown and has great water views. So anyway, we felt it would take a couple months and we would whip her in to shape. HAHAHAHAHAHA. It took 7 months. SEVEN. Oh yeah, and about half way through…guess what I’m pregnant! Anyway, it was sort of a nightmare but we all made it through.

Why did it take seven months you ask? I’m not even really sure. We had a dreadfully cold winter. It snowed multiple times (in eastern NC this is abnormal). The electrical work was a bear and it took a while to find someone to do it. Our carpenter worked after hours. We did a lot ourselves. Needless to say, it was a learning experience. Let’s get to it.

BEFORES – I don’t have that many. We start demo pretty much the first day we got the keys.

Before - LR Wall

Immediately we knew this wall had to go. BuhBye.

Before - Living Room

The glorious living room. Note: Covered in wallpaper. All cornflower blue trim. Everywhere. Positive note: good floors.

Before - Kitchen

Oh that kitchen. It is making me nauseous thinking about it.

Before - Middle Room

This is the other side to that wall we removed. SO MUCH WOOD.

Before - Sailboat Room

This wood was actually really pretty heart pine. I love the warmth of wood, but can’t handle the darkness.

So this isn’t the most enormous post ever. I will do the other half of the house later. Now for the good part.

AFTERS

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To our surprise, there was a full chimney behind that wall so we knew we wanted to have it exposed. Because this was a load bearing wall, we had to have a new beam with some supports.

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Mike and I did all the wainscoting ourselves. Our carpenter added the crown molding. We refinished the hardwoods and stained them a darker color. Wall color is SW Sea Salt.

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We added french doors to open into our tiny office.

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We wanted a totally open floor plan so we chopped off the bar from the original kitchen and added an island. Island was purchased from IKEA.

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I installed the backsplash myself! Granite is Blanco Gabrielle and I loved it. A great mix and warm and cool tones so really versatile.

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We added recessed lights throughout. We painted our existing cabinets SW Agreeable Gray.

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New appliances of course. We had a tv mounted over the fridge where cabinet doors used to be. Since we never use the cabinets over the fridge we used a scrap section of wall we had cut out from somewhere else to close the cabinets off. We added a door on the side to still have some storage and added outlets inside the cabinet to make everything appear wireless.

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This is the one room where we kept the natural wood. It gets a ton of natural light and I loved the traditional feel it gave the house. That pendant light on the left was over a small table where you could eat and gaze at Queen Anne’s Creek.

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Standing in the kitchen looking toward the front of the house into the living room.

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Unfortunately there were not hardwoods throughout the whole house, so we had to do something different behind the fireplace. We used one of the many new types of laminate flooring that look a lot more expensive than they are. Will I do laminate again? Probably not for my main living area. While it holds up incredibly well to dogs, I would still rather have real wood.

So that’s the main living area. I kind of miss it! Especially my kitchen. New kitchens are just the best. Next post I’ll share the rest of the house!

Lessons Learned, Part I

Call this a retrospective of sorts. As the renovations finally come to a close and we plan to finally move in this weekend, I have been processing the process. It has been a long one (7 months!) with many peaks and valleys, but I feel pretty confident that such is how renovating a house goes for everyone. I have never heard “oh we did that once, it was so cheap and a total breeze, stress free, fun, a joyous bonding of husband and wife…” Regardless, it was a learning experience. I thought I would share some of my lessons learned with my few wonderful readers. I started this as one big post, but it got looooong, so I split it into two parts.

1. Communicate with your sub-contractors. And then communicate some more, label everythingย you buy in detail, write down exactly what you want and then read it to them, demanding full comprehension. Never assume your outlet will be put in the obvious place, because obvious to you is not the same obvious to the electrician. Since we could not be there all the time to meet everyone, to walk everyone through every job, it was inevitable shit would get screwed up. And indeed it did. Nothing major, but things that could have been avoided if we had communicated better. I was especially horrible at this. I suppose this is why people hire contractors, but that just wasn’t for us. Lesson learned.

2. Shop smart. You can spend as much or as little as you want when re-doing any part of a house. Don’t get the “average cost” too stuck in your head, because it has never been true for us. So let’s talk about fixtures. Light fixtures, bathroom fixtures/faucets/whatever you want to call them…they are not cheap. You feel defeated because everything at Lowes and Home Depot is not even close to all those images you pinned from Veranda or House Beautiful or Domino. You unfortunately have one of those pesky things called a budget which don’t seem to exist for our friends on instagram. Those pins and that budget rarely work in harmony. First, identify what you want, be specific or just a general style. Do some research and more often than not, you will start to see that one or two brands typically carry styles more in line with yours. Then start searching those brands on ebay, Amazon, etc. I found almost every light I bought cheaper+free shipping by searching for it on those sites. Like I saved hundreds of dollars. Read all the return policies very carefully. I bought my faucets using this same search method. For those things that you are able to save on, you can afford to allow for a must have. Which leads me to my next point…

3. Know what you have to have. Be realistic of course, but put your foot down on those things that you just cannot budge on. If that means a major compromise somewhere else…such is life and marriage. For me, I really wanted the granite we went with. It was in the top tier of granite pricing, and Mike definitely wanted to buy what was on sale {which was gross}, but eventually we compromised on other things and my granite I got and it is the highlight of the kitchen fa sho. Mike is a lighting nazi. Everything on dimmers and recessed lights everywhere. Okay I say.

That’ll do it for now. I’m hoping to post Part II maybe mid-week. I would love to hear your experiences and advice as well! Do tell.

A guest room, revisited.

The guest room is always “my room”. As in, I can decorate it however I want without any major husband input. It is, therefore, the most fun room to decorate. I knew immediately how I wanted our guest room to look: all white, kelly green doors, white bedding, white headboard, some bright pillows, and our collection of New Orleans art we’ve collected from our trips.

A very quick little inspiration board:

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There are two closets and imagine the closet doors and door casings painted kelly green. Imagine more art and framed photographs to bring in the color. Imagine black and white ticking stripe fabric cornices and bamboo shades on the two windows. Imagine an old wooden dresser…hopefully you are getting an idea of my idea.

Ok. All set. Nothing too expensive or hard to accomplish. Amazing finished product. Here is where life happens and now amazing said guest room is requiring some additional thought. There is just no way a bed AND a crib will fit in the same room. And what guest wants to sleep in the same room with a baby? Since my brain could only handle so much at one time, I decided to keep with the white walls (specifically Sherwin Williams Westhighland White) and green closets (SW Grasshopper). The rest is TBD. Stay tuned!

Updates

As you learned in my previous post, it is hard to stay connected in this world without internet and good cell service. I am once again lounging at my empty in-laws house. They are away for the week and I would like to say we are house sitting as opposed to squatting. Either way we are making ourselves at home, and I am so thankful they do not mind. Our biggest challenge being keeping Rolo from destroying something. Last time, he ate their Direct TV remote. Whoops!

House update: The painters have come and gone except for a few remaining touch ups. I was so excited only to be disappointed by their quality of work. And supposedly one of them got bit by a brown recluse spider while at our house. Geez loueez. Our final electrical inspection is today, and hopefully that means we will have power back on tomorrow. Our countertops are being installed on Thursday. Things are happening! Every single light fixture is finally purchased, all the paint colors have been picked out, my sofa & chair are being dropped off at the upholsterer this week…it feels good. Next up: choosing new hardware for the kitchen cabinets, finally deciding on new floors, getting our gas lines hooked up, more painting.

Product update: I’m still using Cetaphil moisturizer from head to toe and my skin has never been better. Recently, I switched to a new oil facial cleanser and absolutely love it.

Garnier Nourishing Cleansing Oil

I wasn’t really looking for a new face wash as I was happy with Cetaphil, but saw this and decided to give it a try. It takes off ALL eye makeup in an instant and leaves my face feeling hydrated and clean. And it smells good, and after using so much bland no scent Cetaphil, it is a nice change.

Add to Cart update: With all the house expenditures, I have reeled in my shopping like never before. However, I have made two rather large purchases recently.

Rachel Pally ‘Jazz’ Maxi

I bought this for a friend’s January wedding. I loathe being cold, so I started searching for long sleeve dresses and ended up finding this gem. It is so fantastic and I got a ton of compliments. Right now it is on major sale via Amazon. You can expect the same comfort level as with any Rachel Pally number and it is plenty long for you tall girls.

Rag & Bone ‘Harrow’ Camel booties

These booties are in no way new as I have been longing for them for a couple years now. Unfortunately they rarely go on sale and spending $500+ on them was just not in my budget. When visiting my bff in Atlanta, I decided to try them on and they were so comfortable and definitely the most flattering bootie this short, stout legged lady is ever going to find. But again, not on sale. So I have stalked them on eBay and the web in general, basically just giving it up because I really only wanted them in camel. Until one day last week I see some chick on Instagram had just bought them and decided to check out the company she bought them from {Emporium DNA}…long story made long is that they were 50% off and had my size. SOLD. They still have a few sizes left on the website {36, 37, 37.5 — FYI these run almost a full size small}.

I think that is enough for now…have you scored any good end of season deals? Do tell.

House plans

My lack of blogging has been extreme. Thank goodness for Instagram!

So. House renovating is hella stressful. The quirks and complications with taking an old house and trying to make it awesome come with a lot of dream crushing. Like I can’t have an awesome light fixture there because there is no attic access because the area did not formerly exist. Or, we cannot run electrical wire down this wall because it used to be an external wall, and there is all kinds of stuff in the way {or something like that}. Or ‘hey, why is the ceiling wet?’ Or ‘hey, I don’t think this is going to pass inspection.’ Or ‘HOW MUCH?’

Anyway, a few surprises here and there, but eventually I do think it will be awesome. I decided to share with y’all my vision for a couple of rooms.

House Reno Bath KitchenGuest Bath: Black & white hex tile floor with black hex borderย  | White subway tile shower surround | Wall mount sink | Chrome fixtures

Kitchen: Grayish cabinets | Granite countertops pictured | White herringbone backsplash | White island with wood top

Shattered Dreams: Pendant lights over island – not electrically possible for some reason | White marble countertops – not budget appropriate or practical…but oh so beautiful | Probably not farmhouse sink – Only the Ikea version is in our budget and is too deep for our existing cabinets | Console sink for bathroom – STUPID expensive

Thoughts: My dad is a tiling wizard and he is going to help me do all the bathroom tiling and backsplash, so we will be saving some loot in that department plus I will be learning a trade. My husband wants super fancy carpet in our bedrooms which makes me laugh…and happy. Half of the house has existing wood floors which we plan to refinish, the other half will need new wood floors. Have you shopped for wood floors lately? There are so many crazy options for prefinished wood, engineered wood, and laminate. Exciting but overwhelming. Why is choosing and agreeing on light fixtures so hard?

A New Chapter!

The offer accepted, the contract signed…that’s right my friends, we are going to be homeowners again! While we haven’t closed yet, everything is in the works and I just couldn’t keep it a secret any longer.

After our first home, I said I did not want to have to do a lot of renovations again, yet here we are. And even more than our last house. I’m looking forward to it though, as I feel the house has some hidden character that with some elbow grease and dolla dolla bills, we can make it our own. Who doesn’t look forward to the screaming matches that occur between husband and wife during home renovations?! Haha, I kid. Not really.

Like a lot of old homes, it needs work in kitchen and bathrooms, is adorned with knotty pine paneling, and has some unsightly paint, wallpaper, and blue shag carpet. I have already been pinning away and since the house has a water view, I really want to make it a fresh, breezy space. Lots and lots of white.

Here are my favorite inspiration pics. I’m sure the first of many as I plan to catalog all my thoughts on this here little blog.

Kitchen and Floors:

I can’t decide between white or a more gray color to the cabinets. I love both looks. The countertops and backsplash are currently white tile and not awful. We will probably keep it for now.

I’m pretty obsessed with darker hardwood floors. I know my husband, and everyone else, is going to fight me on this because the house is very small and everyone thinks dark colors make everything feel smaller. I beg to differ and love the contrast and richness of a darker floor. Especially if everything else is white. I am the one who knows what I’m talking about dammit!

Living Room and Den: So the house has a “formal” living room which is basically my favorite room in the house and one that is never used. The den is narrow and long, and I am still struggling with how to position furniture. More on this in the future.

Bedrooms:

For the guest room, I am obsessed with this image. I even want to paint the floor, but I already know that is not a battle worth fighting. The guest room has two added closets with louvered doors, which I am envisioning painted a perfect kelly green with the all white everything else.

For the “master” (in quotations, because it is insanely, ridiculously small), I am wanting to do my dreamy, dark, moody bedroom palette. I’m not even sure our bed is going to fit in there yet…the thought of moving furniture just made me queasy. Hate it.

Bathrooms:

I’m still undecided about the bathrooms. I love this:

But I also kind of want to do something fun and crazy. Like this:

So more thinking required on that. Luckily, the master bathroom was added in the 80s and isn’t in the worst shape ever. There is an interesting wallpaper in place, which I will share with y’all soon. I don’t really hate it, it is kind of grandma floral, but not in a revolting way.

Can’t wait to share as things progress! We don’t close for another month, so for now it will just be loads of inspiration!

All images via my Pinterest boards New House & Bedrooms.