Well, I’ve been saying for a long time that I would post photos of our house remodel and finally we’ve gotten to a point where most of the work is done, and I feel some sense of completion. Our journey began about 3 years ago. With the birth of our second son, Chris and I knew we were going to outgrow our already cramped 1400 square foot house. So, the hunt began for a larger house, which was much harder the second time around. I didn’t just want a larger house; I wanted a house that reflected our style. You see, I’m a homebody. I love being home, and there is no other place I’d rather be. I have more passion about my home and its design than the clothes I wear (I’m a jeans, boots and t-shirt kinda gal anyway), the music I listen to, the food I eat, etc. If I weren’t a photographer, I would love to be in home design or some related field (interior architecture has always interested me).
When we started looking at houses, I soon realized that I simply wasn’t going to find a house with the finishes I wanted, and I didn’t want to pay a premium for another person’s remodeling. So, the most important thing was to find a house that had the “bones” we needed, and then we could fix it up. Easier said than done. We looked for so long. Houses were either out of our price range, in a different school district (we didn’t want to move Elliot), or didn’t meet our needs in terms of size or layout. Our wish list was to have at least three bedrooms and an office. I really needed a floor plan that had a room near the front of the house to accommodate meeting with my photography clients. Hardest of all was finding a house that didn’t have travertine tile, granite counter tops, limestone exterior, and beige walls and beige carpets (of which I have a strong aversion to).
After looking for almost two years, we found the one! Let me tell you, this was a real fixer upper, but that’s exactly what I wanted. This little gem came up on the market. Well, I say gem: my realtor literally told us to run the other way. But, I saw so much possibility in our new house. Of course, we had no idea we would end up having to do as much work as we did. They always say when it comes to remodeling, plan to go over budget, and let me say, that is the absolute truth.
We expected to do a lot of cosmetic work, but once we got started, the snowball grew exponentially. I would have loved to have kept a blog throughout the past year with real-time updates, but as a full-time working photographer and mother of two boys, who also wore the hat of contractor and designer for this whole project, blogging was just not a possibility. Anyhoo….let’s get to the pics. I hope you find these images fun to look and even inspirational! Just a heads up: my style is a little bit eclectic. Sort of a blend of modern and traditional, but most importantly, full of soul. I don’t like things with too much “slap you in the face” trendy. Many of the things I have in my house, I’ve had for quite a while. If I bring something in the house, I want to make sure it will last awhile. It’s borderline simple, but with my life being so busy and full, that’s the way I like it.
Let’s start with the “After”…
To say it was hard for me to find the right colors for the house (interior and exterior) would be the understatement of the century. I had made so many trips to Home Depot, that by the time I was done the Behr rep actually asked to come to our house to see how it all turned out. None of the colors I ended up using were Behr formulas. They were all hand mixed by me combining many custom samples. I’ll admit, it was a little ridiculous, but the end result was just what we wanted. Hey, I’m a photographer so I’m allowed to use the “I’m sensitive to color” excuse. The exterior is a combination of a medium warm blue and grey.
The interior of the house is mostly a very light “warm dove grey”.
So this is kind of funny. Well, I thought it was funny, but my painter was extremely patient with me on this one. Let’s just say that my little painted sample turned out way more green than we wanted. Yes, we painted our house (3/4 of it) twice to get the right color. Here was the first attempt. Too green and to me and a color that was just too predictable.
The “before” of the kitchen doesn’t look too shabby, but trust me, in person it was really bad. The tile was cracked and the floor was uneven. The cabinets were 30 years old, painted white and hardly functional. The counter top was homemade “Granicrete”. So we pretty much tore everything out. To achieve a more open concept, we raised the header and doubled the size of the doorway to the dining area. In the dining area, you’ll notice there was a fire place, which is now gone. It also needed a lot of work and we decided we wanted to use that space for a dining area instead. I know it sounds loco to tear down a fireplace (a decision we wrestled with for ages), but it was the best decision we made.
I could write an ENTIRE post on how much I love Caesarstone counter-tops and this “zero radius” sink. Ikea was having a great sale and we got our counter tops 40% off. They are no-fuss and SO easy to maintain. The color is “Rosemary” and could not be more perfect against the white cabinets. Still working on back-splash tile. The best part about this sink is that is is a whopping 16 inches deep! So what? That means I can have tons of dirty dishes in the sink and that don’t pile up above the counter. That is pure heaven for me. This photo also shows the trim we used throughout the whole house (around the windows and baseboards). It’s simply 1×4′s, 1×6′s and 1×2′s. Love the simple clean lines. Probably because we have so many toys and stuff around the house, I gravitate towards finishes that are very minimalist and not too busy.
There was a another doorway on this wall that lead to the formal dining room. We closed it off and that room is now my office.
Fireplace gone. Added drywall to the loft area. Designed a wood “screen” structure to keep kiddos safe. Our good friend Jonathan and woodworker extraordinaire made it for us.
A few of my favorite things. I don’t have a lot of “things” in my house (my boys take care of that department), but a few meaningful favorites of mine are 1) Joyous tea cups Chris bought me. 2) My “Grey Lady” painting. Been in my family for over 50 years. I was given it when my Grandmother passed away. Makes me so happy. 3) My dresser I bought an an estate sale for $20 over 15 years ago. Vintage wasn’t all the rage back then, so they were basically trying to “get rid of it”. Lucky me. It’s absolutely most piece of furniture in the house. 4) Cuckoo clock Chris bought me for my birthday. 5) A large original photograph of my grandfather and great aunt. Frame is also cool for being over 90 years old. 6) An original print with my favorite colors.
I know…they’re just stairs. But if you knew how hard it was to get these done you’d know how much they mean to me.
The best part of the hall bath is the ginormous drawers this sink vanity has. Holds TONS of stuff.
Half the master bath.
Just had to throw one of Milo in here. He followed me everywhere throughout the house while taking pics and gave me some great poses.
Front entryway and hallway.. Who doesn’t love driftwood? Picked these great pieces up on a recent trip to Colorado.
Phew!! That’s it for now. Hope you’ve enjoyed. Love to hear your thoughts! Pics of the office coming soon. Feel free to drop me a line if you need any remodeling advice. From appliances, windows, siding, HVAC, to hardwoods and counter tops….I have learned a lot and am more than happy to share. Peace.