We live in a suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota in a quaint, little neighborhood with quaint, little sixty-year-old houses. Our house was built in 1953 and has pretty much had no substantial changes since it was built. It was a blast from the past, but we have loved making it over!
Here is it so far. I apologize for the “at closing” photos – I did not have my wide-angle lens with me at closing and these are the only photos I have of the rooms completely empty. The progress photos are much better (technically and because our house has been seriously updated).
At closing, our house was just under 1,000 square feet. It has a one-car garage and a nice, large basement that is semi-finished. It had two bedrooms sheetrocked in in the basement, but they are not to code (the windows aren’t egress) and will be updated down the road.
Now, the living area is much more open. We relocated the stairs to the entry way, opened up the wall between the living room and the dining room, and made the dining room an official dining room (not a bedroom) by removing the closet and doorways to the kitchen and hallway. Although the living room has less livable space, the place where the stairs are now used to be wasted space. I’m so happy with the way we were able to maximize the space.
HOME TOUR VIDEOS
Photos are always fun to look at, but to get a true feel for our home’s layout and decorating, check out our past home tours.
Our house has the original wooden shingle siding that has been painted an orange-y tan. It has the original brick/stone that is a variation of different oranges and tans. The original stairs to the front door have been replaced with a little deck that was painted to match the house. The windows were updated at some point and are fine, but are definitely not the windows we would have chosen. I will admit, I don’t like the corner windows in the bedrooms because they look weird on the inside and outside of the house, but moving them would be costly and we would not get our money back. The roof still has a couple years left before it needs to be replaced. The landscaping was very minimal. We do have a very large front yard for this neighborhood, but our backyard is pretty small.
Now, we have relocated the stairs to the basement to this location. The pocket door that led to the kitchen is gone and we now have a u-shape staircase and a half wall that makes this area feel more like an entry way than part of the living room.Don’t mind the wood-colored trim. It will all be painted white soon enough. We also added Carrera marble in the landing. We will probably be covering the particle and chipboard on the stairs with scrap carpet until we finish the basement and add brand new carpet to the whole basement and stairway.
Our living room was definitely one of the main rooms that sold us on this house. It is long (25 feet) and has beautiful, original coved ceilings. Don’t we feel fancy! We love its large picture window and the versatility it allows for with the long dimensions. It was closed off from the dining room/bedroom, however, which made it feel cramped because it wasn’t connected to anything besides through doorways.
Now that we added the stairs and opened up the dining room/bedroom to make it an official dining room, everything is much more open and brighter since we have light pouring in from both ends of the house. So far, we have added recessed lights, painted, and ripped up the carpet.
At closing, our kitchen was visible from the front door (with its doorway just across from the front door). It had original, solid wood cabinets, 60-year-old hardware, and pretty much very old everything else. Wallpaper, items nailed into the cabinets, a plastic sink with deep scratches, and old formica countertops round out the kitchen at closing. It definitely was not a looker, but it had a nice, wide functional galley layout with room to expand the cabinets. Plus, it had a lot of light with a giant window on the back wall, so we could work with it. The kitchen also contained a doorway to the basement stairs, a door to the dining room/bedroom and a door to the backyard.
Wow, what a breath of fresh air the kitchen is now! We added a dishwasher and an extra cabinet along the outside wall and also added another cabinet between the stove and fridge. Open shelving was added above the extended countertop which is probably my favorite thing in our whole house right now. We painted just about everything (ceiling which was nasty, cabinets, walls), removed the wallpaper, added new hardware, replaced the countertop and sink, and closed in the pocket door that used to lead to the entry way (where the chalkboard is now). The lights are still original, but we will be replacing them down the road.
DINING ROOM (PREVIOUSLY A CLOSED-IN BEDROOM USED AS A DINING ROOM)
Off of the kitchen was a legal bedroom (it had two closets), but it was used as a dining room, complete with a very old brown flower-covered chandelier. It also had another door that led to the bedroom hallway. It was the most chaotic room because of the four doorways and the walkways across the room in all directions those doorways created.
We tore out the stairs, ripped out the wall separating the stairs from the dining room, so now it is much bigger. We added a buffet where the stairs used to be, opened the wall to the living room, and closed in the two doorways (a closet and a door to the hallway) that were on the right wall in the photo above. The dining room now has open access to the kitchen instead of going through a door. We haven’t decided on what to replace the chandelier, so it is a reminder of how our home used to look. We also added the beautiful board and batten to the walls so it feels less bare.
When we closed on this house, this hallway had five doorways! It’s a small hallway, so that was pretty chaotic. By making the dining room/bedroom a formal dining room, we removed the doorway to this hallway and now have the pretty blank wall in the photo above. The hallway still has four doors to the bathroom, linen closet, second bedroom (all three pictured in the photo that is two above), and the master bedroom (which is around the corner in the photo two above so it is not pictured). The attic access used to be in the closet above the old stairway, but since we didn’t want it to be in the dining room ceiling, we moved it to this hallway.
Our home, at closing, had only one full bathroom. It was definitely outdated with a dirt-covered vanity, brown vinyl flooring, and tile almost everywhere. There was no exhaust fan and the toilet “refreshed” after each flush by adding blue water (which we hated especially with a dog who might try to lick out of the bowl).
The only changes we have made so far is replacing the vanity and faucet, adding a different shower curtain, adding an overhead light/exhaust fan, painting the walls Valspar Belle Grove Sorbet, and adding hooks for towels and toilet paper. It still has a long way to go. The bump-out next to the vanity is actually a hollow, closed-in closet that we took the doorway out of in the dining room. We will eventually be knocking out the bump-out and adding that space to the bathroom.
Next to the bathroom is the second bedroom. It had two windows in the corner (which we don’t like, but can live with) and a little closet. We have now switched it into a temporary office until a little one comes. We might make it a nicer office if we don’t get pregnant soon.
The master bedroom shares walls with the second bedroom and the living room. Like the second bedroom, it has two corner windows, which make functionality difficult, but we’ll live with it. It also has a very small closet, which we hope to fix in the future. Right now, San uses the closet in the second bedroom and I use the closet in this room. It is slightly bigger than the second bedroom which makes it the perfect size. We are thankful we don’t have a huge bedroom to decorate!
We have ripped up the carpet, painted the walls Olympic Canyon Trail, and added the built-in Pax closet systems, but that’s about it so far.
Some features of the house as a whole are its berber carpet-covered hardwood floors. The carpet was outdated at closing, but liveable for a time, but we could not wait to uncover the original hardwood flooring! We removed it in the living areas but nowhere else first, but now have ripped it up for good. We also loved that the house had pretty beefy, ornate trim (nicer than a normal builder-grade trim) that we will eventually paint white.
A couple downfalls we learned about the house are its plaster walls which are notorious for crumbling when trying to hang anything from them, and the lack of recessed lighting (or really any nice, bright, lighting) in any of the rooms. We are thankful for a very well-kept air conditioner, furnace, and water heater, a working washer and dryer (in the basement), and the ability to add a dishwasher into the kitchen.
We cannot wait to update you with all the progress along the way! We started renovating almost the day we moved in, so be sure to check back often for progress photos.