As if this year needs any more craziness, we have gone and added some more crazy to our lives.
We are very excited (and slightly overwhelmed) to announce publicly that . . .
That’s right! We are moving! We grew up in a small town a few hours from where we currently live. We have thought about moving back closer to our families before, but the opportunity had never presented itself. That is, until about a month and a half ago when San received a text from a previous coworker asking if he would be interested in a position as a Sous Chef with another company.
A couple interviews later and now our entire lives are upside down! The end result will be completely worth it, and being pregnant is what really motivated us to jump on this because the idea of raising our daughter and any (hopeful) future children near family is important to us, but the timing is a little less than idea. What about this year has been ideal, though? I’m learning to trust God because he’s just doing some amazing things and I don’t want to stand in his way!
San already started the new job next week and has moved in with my parents who we are so grateful for! They have a large house with a finished basement (which definitely doesn’t feel like a basement at all) that we can call home with a little kitchenette (a small fridge, a sink, and a mini dishwasher), a living room, a bedroom, and an exercise room. The dogs will be quite at home with us down there. As a nanny, I couldn’t just give the standard two week’s notice (well I could have, but I didn’t feel right doing that), so I gave about 5 weeks’ notice. I have to find a job now in the new city, so that is my biggest concern right now. I have a little over two weeks until I am done.
We met with our wonderful realtors a couple weeks ago to run through a few market analyses to see what our home would sell for given different scenarios. Basically, the price we could sell our house at right now with no changes would be about $11,000 more than what we bought it for, but after all the fees of selling, we would only be left with about $2,000. We put a lot more than that into the renovation, so it’s not worth it to us to not make anything back. Plus, we would love to be able to have some extra money to put toward our next house.
We ran a few scenarios, but we ultimately decided on the whole shebang: finishing the basement, and bringing the upstairs to a “finished” standpoint. When we renovated the main level of our house, we turned a legal bedroom (that made no sense – had four doors in it – and was being used as the dining room) into an open dining room to make the floor plan open. By doing that, we took our house from a technical three bedroom/one bath home to a two bedroom/one bath home.
To the main level, we will be:
- Painting all trim/doors/windows white (finished in the kitchen, dining room, and most of the living room)
- Replacing the chandelier in the dining room (finished)
- Replacing the lights in the kitchen (finished)
- Painting the second bedroom walls
- Painting the exterior of the front door a fun color (we are thinking navy)
- Replace the outdoor lights (finished)
- Hire someone to refinish the original hardwood floors
- Patching all holes and repainting certain walls (like the wall that hung the gallery wall, the stair way, and where the shelves and file cabinet were in the entryway)
- Using as much of our own items to stage the house
When the basement is finished, the house will have about 600 or so more square footage, another bathroom, a family room, and two more legal bedrooms. It should sell for A LOT more than we paid for it, and even with the cost of finishing the basement, we should have made our money back and then have plenty extra to put toward a new house.
Here is what the basement floorplan is currently:
The laundry area is on the back wall of the house under the dining room and the utilities (furnace, water heater, etc.) are positioned right about where our upstairs hallway is. There are currently two “bedrooms” already sheetrocked, but they are not legal because only one has a closet, there is only one entry into that area, and there are no egress windows.
Here is the plan for the basement when we are all done with it:
Under our current upstairs living room will be a family room. Behind that will be the bathroom and behind that, the storage/laundry/utilities area. We will add a little hallway off the family room to the two bedrooms. The front bedroom will use the closet that currently has a doorway into the back bedroom (which will be closed up). The back bedroom will then get a brand new closet with only one bifolding door since the electrical panel is on that wall. The two windows on the back of the house have been replaced with the same size vinyl windows. The two windows in the bedrooms that are on the right side of the floorplan will be replaced with 36″x36″ egress windows. Thankfully, our house sits up high, so not much digging will need to be done to add the egress windows – just a lot of cutting cement blocks.
The list for the basement seems almost endless, and I think it’s pretty obvious by the changes in the floorplan that there will be a LOT of work. Thankfully, it is in an unused space and there is not a lot of altering the existing structures, which is what made the upstairs renovation take so long.
I’d like to give a shout out to my amazing parents, by the way! Whenever I say “we will be _____” what I really mean is, “my parents will be _______ and San and I will be helping as much as we are able.” My dad is a contractor and together, my mom and dad have turned an Amish house into a beautiful farmhouse (with added electricity, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, etc.) and have built a house from scratch, with countless other house projects under their belts that I haven’t mentioned, plus all the work my dad has done during his 30 years of carpentry experience. They feel very strongly about helping us live the “American dream” of owning a home, and have helped us build equity through renovating our home. We could never have done the initial renovation without them, and there is no way we could ever even attempt the basement renovation without them. We are very lucky they are not only letting us stay with them, but they are working as quickly as possible during their own spare time to help us make money off our house.
Wish us luck as we get to this new chapter in our life! We hope to update as much as we can, but it certainly won’t be as often as we had been.
Many people have asked me how I am able to customize my Filofax using printables I find or make. Usually, people have trouble print, cutting, and punching the printables to fit in their planners exactly how they want them to. Every page in my Filofax, besides my monthly calendar, I have printed, cut, and punched to fit into my A5 Aqua Malden Filofax. It took a little trial and error at first, but now I feel that I am a pro! I whipped up a video for those of you interested. Keep in mind that I am showing you how I do a week’s worth of my daily pages (plus an action list that I use at the start of each week to write down things I need to get done before I plan each individual day), so your printables might be different, but usually the method will be very similar. This video can also still help you if you are using a size other than an A5, but you will simply need to figure out the measurements on your own (or search online) for exactly how much to take off on each side for your page to be exact specifications for your planner and for all the pages to line up perfectly.
I apologize for how quickly I was going through everything in this video. I had limited time to film it, but wanted to make sure I got it filmed so I could help those who are struggling with this. If you have further questions, please leave them in the comments section here or on the video and I will be happy to help you out further as much as I can!
Products Mentioned in the Video:
- Rainbow Planner (none of the pages shown in my video are from the actual Rainbow Planner download, but check it out if you like the design of the pages I showed)
- Daily Page: I can’t find it, so I’m thinking I must have downloaded it from a private FB group and it is unavailable now (I customized it anyway, so you can’t find anything close to what I have in the video anyway without doing it yourself)
- Tasks Kit (I use the first page of this kit for my action list at the start of each week of daily pages)
- Swingline Paper Cutter
- HP LaserJet Pro 200 Color MFP Printer (M276nw)
- Adjustable 6-hole Punch
It’s definitely been far too long since we have posted, but this has been a very crazy year! We wanted to update with posts for every step along the way during our renovation, but since that took up our weekends and many of our nights, there was really no time to update. Instead of going step-by-step through the renovation (which we might break down a little more in the future if anyone is interested), we are instead showing you the “final” (right, it’s never finished) tour now that the renovation is done and we have it decorated for the holidays.
In this video, I explain what we did as well as what we are planning on doing, because there are still tons of things on our to do list. Coming up soon, we will be posting a rundown list of all the projects dealing with our house, both finished and left to do. Trust me, there are a lot more “to dos” then there are “finished” at this point, but most of the major stuff is out of the way!
Before you view the video, let’s recap what the floor plan looked like when we bought the house:
And this is the house after the renovation:
What we did:
- Removed the stairs between the kitchen and dining room and added new stairs in a “u” shape in the entryway
- Closed in the doorway to the kitchen from the entryway
- Removed part of the wall between the living room and dining room
- Closed in the bathroom-wall closet in the dining room (which will get added to the bathroom later), closed in the dining room doorway to the bedroom hall, and opened up the entire wall between the old stairs and the dining room to make it more open to the kitchen
- Added a buffet where the old stairs used to be
- Added two new cabinets to the kitchen as well as a dishwasher. Painted the cabinets. Replaced the sink, faucet, and countertop.
- Painted all the walls in the living area
- Removed the carpet in the living area
Please don’t mind the random music in the middle of the video. I’m not sure how that happened and didn’t realize it until it was already uploaded.
We are so excited to finally share the results! We have tons of projects planned for this year, but will be tackling them at a slower pace so we hope to update as we go this year!
We would love to know your thoughts on what we have done and what we plan to do. I love being inspired by other people’s ideas and love getting input from others!
I hope you all had a merry Christmas and have an amazing new year!
When we first saw our house, we really liked it, but we had some reservations. The main drawbacks were that it did not have a dining area that made sense, one of the three bedrooms was very awkward (one door to the kitchen, one to the hallways closet, and two more doors to two different closets), and the basement was not finished which meant the square footage was only around 1,000.
Here was the original floor plan on the day we bought it (the basement is not shown, but it is pretty much an empty shell besides two framed and sheetrocked “bedrooms” that are not currently legal.
The house had two original dining areas, one right beyond the front door and one beyond the kitchen cabinets in the kitchen. Both of which were WAY too small, cumbersome, and awkward. The bedroom off the kitchen had a chandelier in it, so we know that the previous owner used it as a dining room, so that was our main option. However, with four doors in a fairly small space and no easy access to the kitchen or living room, it made for a layout that just wasn’t going to work for us.
However, as we started planning out the space, we talked to my parents who have a ton of renovating experience from my dad’s 25+ years of carpentry experience and my mom’s experience renovating and building a few houses. They suggested that we go for some big renovations straight upon move-in to make the most of the space and to make living in our home easy for the longest time possible. We agreed that it doesn’t make sense to buy furniture, organize, and start decorating right away only to renovate and mess everything up in a few months.
Now, we totally stand by the “live in your house for a while before doing anything major” rule that many people follow. However, this is something we thought about a lot in advance and knew it would be the perfect choice for us. We also have been doing everything on the weekends and started with the kitchen, so we lived in the space for almost two months before anything major was knocked down or put up.
So, with my parents help, we came up with a plan that would make the most of our space. This plan involved a few different renovations:
- A “Phase One” kitchen renovation where we would work with the existing kitchen cabinets to make the kitchen more functional, modern, and beautiful while we plan out and save up for a full kitchen renovation (if we ever get to that stage)
- Knocking out the wall between the dining room/bedroom and the living room to make an open layout to the rest of the house
- Closing up the closet and doorway on the bathroom-side of the dining room
- Building a new u-shaped set of stairs going to the basement from the front door, in the area that was originally a dining space that ended up just becoming wasted space. This also includes closing up the doorway between the kitchen and the living room.
- Removing the old stairs, adding a floor where the stairs were, and knocking down the stair wall on the dining room side to enlarge the dining room and make it more open to the kitchen area (which will still be somewhat closed off until we (or the future owners) gut the whole kitchen and open it up to the dining room.
In case that is confusing, this is the layout that we are working toward:
We will definitely be breaking down each step of the process the best we can so you can see exactly what we did. It’s important to note that we know we are getting rid of a legal bedroom, but we have plans of finishing our basement and making the two sheetrocked non-legal bedrooms into legal bedrooms (by adding egress windows) while also adding a bathroom and family room.
We really love how this new floor plan will make use of the open, unusable space in front of the front door, create an open living area, and make going to the basement much easier. It is not fun to cart laundry through the dining room, and into a cramped space with the back door, the basement door, and the dining room door all competing for the space. It will be much easier to go through the living room.
If you noticed the closed in closet in the dining room that is on the same wall as the bathroom and thought we were crazy to leave a hollow space, we have big plans of knocking down those closet walls in the bathroom so we can have an extra long vanity and much more open bathroom than we currently have, but that’s not on our list of things to do for a while.
I’m sure we missed some of the details, but we will be chronicling the whole renovation in many different, detailed posts, so you won’t miss a beat.
Have you drastically changed the floor plan of a house? Ever closed one doorway only to open up another? Ever move your stairs?
I’m pretty sure shows like House Hunters and Property Virgins have made it clear that no house is ever perfect, especially a person’s first house. I mean, even if we had unlimited funds, I don’t think I could design a “perfect” house because so many of the things I like are contradictory (love the functionality of a rambler but love the look of a two-story, want a neighborhood where future kids could run around with other friends but also would love to be out in the country with lots of space, you get the idea). Every house has its pros and cons, just as each room does in a home.
Since we are in the process of some serious renovation, I thought I would share with you where we started at in the kitchen. I’m kicking myself for not taking better photos of the house when we first bought it, but I just couldn’t wait to move in and change everything!
Before we get to the lists, let’s remember the layout of our house when we first moved in:
And, here are a couple photos:
The photo above shows the view from the living room/front door. There are cabinets on both side of this door way (although only one side is seen from this angle) and there is a very small open space that makes this kitchen considered an eat-in kitchen, even though that space was definitely not big enough for us, our table, as well as a walkway to the basement stair that were just around the corner.
Pros of Original Kitchen:
- Good work triangle (sink on one side with fridge and stove across from it)
- Lots of light (one normal-sized window above the sink and one huge window in the back of the room)
- No cottage cheese ceilings
- Room to add extra cabinetry (there was a very small eat-in area where cabinets could be added to make the kitchen more functional)
- Cabinets to the ceiling (we love how they look and could use the extra storage)
- Updated flooring (laminate flooring that we don’t love but don’t hate either)
- A floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinet
- A perfectly sized gap between the cabinets on either side of kitchen (some galley kitchens are super tight, so we are glad ours has room to breathe)
- Galley = functional kitchen layout (no running around corners or across a huge room to grab an ingredient)
- Solid wood cabinets (perfect for painting)
- Plaster walls (pro because we could sand and repair when dents were found)
- Gas stove (San is a chef and loves a gas stove)
Cons of Original Kitchen:
- Awkward space between fridge and stove (there was extra space between them but no cabinet)
- No dishwasher
- Plastic sink with scratches
- Cheap, plastic holders and dispensers nailed directly into cabinets (like a paper towel holder and a dixie cup dispenser)
- No fan above stove
- 60 years of grease on everything (especially ceiling and area surrounding stove – due to previous bullet)
- Old formica counters
- Outdated light wood cabinet color
- 60 years of not very thoroughly cleaned cabinets (ew)
- Only two small areas with open counter space that is surrounding the sink
- Trim was replaced with foam trim that won’t stay nailed in
- No eating area that makes sense (the eat-in area is way too small and the dining room wasn’t functional as a dining room)
- Sloped wall in back of kitchen from bump-out
- Cleaning closet that has water issues and isn’t that funcitonal (right next to back door and awkward to get into)
- Plaster walls (con because they were easy to dent and scratch)
- Two layers of wallpaper
- Very outdated large, dirty light fixtures
- Very few outlets, and a few of them don’t have three prongs
- Stairs to basement cut off flow to the rest of the house
- Very plain cabinet fronts
- Outdated (60 years old) hardware
Whew! That’s a long list! Although we had a lot of cons to work with, I must say that there were a lot of pros for a sixty-year-old kitchen. I will reveal that we are almost done with the kitchen part of our renovation, but we will be sharing over the course of many blog posts so you can see how it all went down. Now that we’ve seen the transformation, I’m happy to report that we were able to remedy almost all of the cons! That’s pretty good considering we definitely did not gut the whole thing and start over. We worked with what we had, and even added a few extra bonuses in there! I can’t wait to share over the next few weeks!
Check back on Friday to read about (and see pretty inspiration photos) our plan for the kitchen!
In the meantime, I’m wondering what are the pros and cons of your kitchen?