The day has come, my friends, to show you our final home tour on our little cottage in the city. It is definitely bittersweet to share this post and video with you, since so much love and hard work has been poured into this home. We were definitely never intending to sell it only a year and a half after we purchased it (if we had known, we never would have bought it in the first place), but opportunities much too grand to let pass by came up that we just had to jump on for the future of our growing family.
I explain in the video a lot of what we did as well as why we finished the basement right before selling, so watch that if you would like more detail.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the video with before photos, an emotional update, and a full home tour of the house at the time of selling.
Upstairs Floor Plan Before and After
Back Bedroom Upstairs
Front “Master” Bedroom Upstairs
Stairway Down to Basement Family Room
Basement Floor Plan Before and After
Basement Family Room
Basement Full Bathroom
Back Basement Bedroom
Front Basement Bedroom
I hope you enjoyed the final home tour! We are very sad to leave this home, especially now that it is almost exactly how I envisioned it would be for us over time as our family grew, but it is just a house and now someone else can enjoy it. We would greatly appreciate prayers for a quick sale close to asking price so we can move on to a new home hopefully before little Celia arrives.
Remember my big plan for our dining room after the board and batten was installed? I planned on adding a gallery wall above the board and batten as well as finally adding some curtains and changing out the chandelier. Before we did the board and batten, I made a Photoshop rendering of what it would all look like:
Last time you saw the dining room, it looked like this:
Of the three things left to do, we can check two of them off the list: adding a gallery wall and curtains!
It now looks like this:
We ended up going with simple navy curtains after trying out quite a few in this space. I found some that I loved (finally), but realized that the standard 84″ panels were just too short. The curtain rod would have sat right across the trim at the top of the window, which just looked horrible. I have learned years ago about hanging curtains high and wide to make a window seem bigger (and to let in more light), so I definitely wanted to go that route. It’s funny that we don’t have tall ceiling but somehow standard curtains do not work for us. Maybe our windows are higher than normal? I’m not sure. We ended up going with my favorite and most affordable option – Merete curtains from Ikea. They don’t seem to have the navy panels online, but they were in the store. They are actually the same curtains we used (only in white instead of navy) in our living room that I painted stripes on. I like the style and the way they lay. They were about $30 for two panels, which as a huge deal compared to the other ones we were looking at!
The reasoning behind the gallery wall is simple. I loved our gallery wall we had in our hallway right when you entered our last apartment. I would stare at it often. It was such a beautiful reflection of our marriage and life together. So, I really wanted to add one to our home. Why the dining room? Well, first of all, the wall opposite the buffet has two eyesores on it: a vent and a smoke detector. Not exactly beautiful, and definitely not easy to work around. Sure, we could have painted the vent, but it is not recommended to paint smoke detectors, and the positioning of them made it nearly impossible to spread any other kind of art out in a way that would look nice on the wall. So, instead of working against the eyesores, we worked with them! By filling the wall up with frames, the vent and smoke detector go unnoticed by most who enter our house. We plan on changing the smoke detector out for a white one (it is currently cream) so it blends in even more, but it works for now. We also decided to do this in our dining room because it is the center of our home. It connects the living areas (kitchen and living room), it is where we spend a ton of time, and it is visible from most places in our living area. We love that where we come together to spend time together houses a beautiful collection of photos, art, and special keepsakes that we adore.
Now for more photos!
I’m not going to go through every piece of art, because most are photos from our past, our wedding, or photos I have taken. Some were cut out from magazines. Some were created by me in Photoshop. Some are paper goods from our wedding. Some are stock photos I found online for free and printed. Some are special pieces I bought for San. Some are pieces of art or greeting cards we have accumulated over the years. There really is no way for me to source everything, but if you have a question about something you see, ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction!
At the center, I placed a wide, thick frame I believe we picked up at a garage sale years ago. I thought it would be the perfect frame to have in the center and to build all the other frames off from (if it looks uncentered in other photos, it is simply because I used a wide-angle lens and am shooting at an angle – the frame is centered on the wall). I thought it would be fitting to create an “established” sign with our last name and the year we got married since that is what this wall is a reflection of – our marriage. I simply measured the frame, found some nice fonts and created a document in Photoshop. I then sent it to Staples to be printed for $7. It’s perfect and we love it!
As for the frames, they are mainly Ikea, but many are from dollar stores and garage sales. I simply bought some Krylon white spray paint that can be painted on any surface and gave them all a couple coats so they wold match. I love the diversity of size, shape, matting, and design.
In our last apartment where most of these hung previously, I used the method of measuring the space I was using, laying all the frames out on the ground to see what they would look like, and then hanging newspaper cutout replicas of the frame on the wall to make sure the sizes would work on the wall. This time around, I didn’t bother laying them out on the ground first. Instead, I traced them all with newspaper again and assigned them all a number. Then, I hung all the cutouts on the wall, shifting, adjusting, and rearranging as I went. Then, starting in the middle, I started hanging them. I started in the middle because I knew for sure I wanted that long frame there, so if frames didn’t end up looking good next to it, I could change them before getting half way through with the whole project and having to start over. I changed a lot as I went, so I’m happy I did it this way so I didn’t have to feel locked in to a certain configuration. At the end, I looked for gaps and then measured those areas and searched for cheap frames to fit. The dollar stores and stores like Menards and Home Depot were great at helping me gather the last frames (some of them very small) without spending a ton.
We just love how it turned out! We have plaster walls, so I have been intimidated ever since our renovation about hanging anything on them for fear that they will just crumble to pieces. An employee at Menards tried to convince me that I would need to anchor every little frame, even the tiny, light ones since I was working with plaster. I’m so glad I didn’t listen! I simply used a picture nail for most of the small frames and anchored only the larger, heavy ones. For the small ones that were likely to shift, I cut the Command picture hanging velcro in half (so each strip could be used twice instead of using two strips on one frame) and stuck it to the bottom center of those frames and the wall to keep them from shifting. I haven’t had to adjust any of the frames even once in the two months since I tackled this project!
Since photos are great, but a video is much better for showing what a room actually looks like, I’ve included a video!
Where do you keep your sentimental photos/keepsakes? Do you display them or keep them hidden away for safe-keeping?
I don’t know how most decorators or just decorating-lovers plan their projects, but I have learned over the years that I am a very visual person when it comes to designing a room. I usually have an idea of what I want, but it really helps me if I draw out what I want, make a mood board, use tape to “sketch” my idea on the wall or floors, or look at photos online of something similar. I’ve been lucky enough to have used Photoshop for many, many years, starting in high school when I just had a hobby of making fangirl art of almost-celebrities like Jesse McCartney (facepalm). Yeah . . . lame, I know. However, this dorky teenage phase turned into something useful when I started my photography business because I already knew my way around Photoshop pretty well. Now, when I really want help figuring out what I want to do with a room or a certain nook of our home, I turn to Photoshop and play around!
For example, I really wanted yellow-striped curtains for our living room, but I was really worried about how they would look with everything, so I Photoshopped them into a photo I had of our living room!
Pretty cool, right? It was the encouragement I needed to go ahead with painting them. here is the after with the real curtains:
Obviously, they aren’t exactly the same, but that would have been nearly impossible. For fun, I also changed out the ottoman with a gorgeous wooden coffee table and added a navy lamp to the console behind the sofa (with the fake rendered curtains):
Here’s a little before and after gif so it’s easier to see the difference:
I’m so excited to add some wood into this room because I just feel it makes it feel more cottage-like, adds warmth, and is just so beautiful!
Before we added the board and batten in the dining room, I played around with it in Photoshop as well to figure out the spacing of the battens. Here’s the Photoshop version:
And here’s the real deal:
Pretty crazy, right?
Originally, we had meant to paint the dining room a darker gray than what was in the living room because we thought it would balance out all the white, but through color matching certain colors, the color ended up being almost exactly the same as the living room color (it is virtually impossible to tell the difference without knowing they are really two paints from two different cans). Before we added the board and batten, I also tried out adding a darker gray paint color to see what it would look like along with the gallery wall I want to add, some curtains and a different light fixture (just for fun – we still aren’t sold on any curtains or chandeliers yet). White curtains:
And gray curtains:
We decided against the darker gray after seeing these renderings and after installing the board and batten. We really like the lighter gray with the white (since the white pops so much more with the walls than it seems to in these renderings).
So, for fun again, here is the room with the lighter walls, the gallery wall, a fun chandelier, and different colored curtains. Blue curtains:
We also plan on switching out the black chairs for white x-back chairs and possibly upholstered chairs on the ends of the table, but for now it is just so fun to play around with all the possibilities!
I’m seriously slightly addicted to this! I’m working on one right now for the exterior of our house to plan out some of the landscaping, but that’s not a project we plan on tackling any time this year, so I’ll probably share it later after stewing over it for a while.
So, what do you think? Are you a visual decorator? What direction would you go in the dining room?
Last time, I talked about the pros and cons of our original kitchen (before we touched it). Today, I am sharing our inspiration and our plan for the kitchen (at least when it comes to aesthetics). As we talked about in our post about our dual decorating style, we like kind of a modern, bright, cottage feel. We like classic touches with some fun, quirky, colorful pieces thrown in there just to make it more comfortable and fun.
Our kitchen is a galley, so we looked at lots of galley kitchens to see what directions we wanted to go in. Here are some inspiration photos of galley kitchens that we really liked followed by what we really liked about them.
What we love:
- Of the three major appliances (fridge, stove, and dishwasher), we like two on one side and one on the other (for balance and a work triangle)
- A decent gap between the two sides of cabinetry
- Netural cabinets because they are so close to each other (not a ton of color everywhere)
- Light and bright to open up the space so it doesn’t feel or look cramped
- Lots of light coming in
We also looked through our Pinterest boards to see what paint colors, hardware, light fixtures, and other kitchen-related items we were naturally drawn to. Here are our favorite photos and what we liked about them.
Kitchens We Were Drawn to:
What we love:
- Dark or gray countertops
- If gray counters, then silver colored hardware
- If dark counters, then dark hardware
- Gray or aqua/turquiose-gray walls
- A modern classic feel with vintage/retro details
- Some open shelving to add personal touches and to break up all the white
- White cabinetry
- Classic hardware
We took what we loved from these kitchens and applied it to our kitchen. Here is an inspiration board I created to give you just a taste of the final kitchen (I used the exact products we used as much as I could). This doesn’t include the fun accents, art, and shelving items, but it gives you a taste of the more permanent finishes we chose.
- Benjamin Moore Aura Satin paint in Cloud Cover (for the cabinets)
- Benjamin Moore Regal Eggshell paint in Stratton Blue (for the walls)
- Oil rubbed bronze hinges (since our cabinets are old school and the hinges show)
- Oil rubbed bronze cabinet handles
- Oil rubbed bronze classic drawer pulls
- Black granite sink
- Vintage-inspired faucet
- Black Alicante formica countertops (this was a low-budget kitchen upgrade – one day we will have solid stone countertops)
- Nautical light fixture
- Ikea white shelf with bracket
Looking at the inspiration board, it looks like there will be a lot of black in the kitchen, but really, because the cabinets will all be white, the black is there to balance it out. The Stratton Blue wall color paint was taken from the inspiration photos (it is used in the third and fourth photos in this post) and it is so pretty! It’s the perfect color and just reminds me of Cape Cod, which totally fits our vintage coastal style that we love.
We can’t wait to show you the final kitchen (when it is complete), but stay tuned for many progress photos of how we are getting from the inspiration to the final product.
I’ve always been a decorating nut. When I was in elementary school, I dreamed of buying an A-frame house that I would decorate with boat-shaped bookcases and giant wooden bear statues. Thankfully, over the years, my style changed, but my obsession with the art of decorating has only grown stronger.
I learned early on in our relationship back in high school that San likes joint decisions when it comes to anything pertaining to our relationship. Truthfully, we knew we would get married even back in high school (which seems kind of crazy now), so we often talked about what our kids’ names would be, what dog we would get, and what our house would look like. Before Pinterest, I hoarded images of beautifully-decorated rooms in a Photobucket account. When I would see San, I would show him the newest photos I had saved and he would often utter a polite “yuck” or “ew” to every one.
I grew up in a home where my mom made the decorating decisions, my dad tried to talk her out of them because it meant work for him or change, but eventually he would come around and love whatever she did. My dad is not a guy who cares about aesthetics, so my mom got to choose the decorating style she wanted and he never complained once it was done. I was quickly learning that San would not be like this and that I would have to cater to his likes as well.
The longer we dated, the more our decorating styles started to mesh together. Then, once we were married, we decided we both had to agree on every decorating decision we made. We quickly learned what we both liked and what we didn’t and eventually we found a “style” that would work as our dual decorating style even though our individual styles are pretty different.
A few years ago, I gravitated toward pretty feminine rooms like this:
It’s pretty funny looking back at these because I wouldn’t consider them my style at all now, but I showed San rooms like this all the time while we were dating. Poor guy!
San used to, in return, show me photos of rooms he liked, such as these:
I think as we make decisions together, our style has grown closer and closer together, which is remarkable considering how far apart they were to begin with. As you will see as we get further along in the renovating and decorating process, we gravitate toward rooms that look like these:
After looking at lots of photos, pinning away on Pinterest, and shopping together a lot over the past few years, we have learned that there are certain things that we really love when it comes to decorating that define our style.
Our style includes:
- Lots of white, grays, and other neutrals mixed with bold pops of color
- A retro vibe
- Vintage elements like old signs, vintage pop cans, old fruit crates, etc.
- A few modern touches (especially geometric patterns and some crisp lines on furniture)
- A homey, cottage feel
- Some quirky touches (like a bingo card-turned-decorative-dish, a ceramic flying pig, etc.)
We like to say our style is like a bright, modern, cottage because we love lots of vintage elements, but we also like the room to feel updated and timeless. We hope that made sense! Our aim is for our home to be youthful, casual, inviting, and a little quirky (like us). We have learned to decorate using things we both absolutely love and when it all comes together, it works because we are drawn toward alike things. We can’t wait to get to decorating and will be sure to show you lots of inspiration that guides us along the way!