Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How we're living now

I've been meaning to do this post for a year now, but never managed to make the time. Story of my life, right?

When we bought the house and knew we were going to be living in it while renovating the first floor. And while the upstairs was technically fine for temporary purposes when we bought it, I felt strongly that it needed a bit of a face-lift for the time being, and I'm so glad I did. I didn't want it to feel like we were living in someone else's space, you know? It cost us a few hundred dollars and countless hours of priming and painting, but honestly, it's made all the difference in the world! Even though the entire downstairs looks like a disaster zone, we have our spaces to retreat to that feel like ours. I really think it's been the one thing keeping us sane through this whole adventure, and that's priceless.

Let's look back at what we started with... Starting downstairs, here is what the bathroom looked like when we bought the house:

And here's what it looks like now!

In here everything got a fresh coat of paint, in addition to removal of the shower doors. Adding a curved shower curtain rod really made that tiny tub tolerable for the time being. 24" isn't wide enough for anyone to shower, I don't care how little you are! We also put down a new stick-on vinyl floor when we replaced the toilet, so that was a nice little face-lift too. It feels like an all-new space!

I made the decision not to replace the doors on the upper portion of the cabinet so we have easy access to pantry items (since we don't have any kitchen cabinets we are using this as our kitchen storage for the time being) and I added the Ikea shelves for storing my hair & makeup products.

I still need to paint the medicine cabinet (Ryan built a surround for it to enclose the open space between the cabinet and light that was originally there), and we just got a new door to install once Ryan finishes framing out the wall. And this one will even swing the right way, what a novel concept!

The stairs haven't had as much progress, but we removed the bifold door & the carpet, and I recently stripped and sanded down the treads. The next step will be to spackle the risers & strings and paint them white. I think the contrast of the "reclaimed" treads will look nice with the bright white trim, and the color of the treads will play nicely off the color of the hardwoods we'll be installing.

Here is a before & during of the stripping & sanding process. There were many trials & tribulations involved in removing the multiple layers of paint (including but not limited to use of toxic stripping liquids & a heat gun, used separately). The upper-most tread in the bottom photo is closest to the "finished" look I was able to achieve on all stairs. The other treads still had icky brown paint to be removed. Boy was that process a pain!

Then we had this built-in shelving at the top of the stairs. I tore out the shelving , added trim at the floor and corners and we hung our coat rack there for the time being, as well as the framed silhouette of Ryan's boxer.

As you can see we have temporary "doors" in the form of sheets hung in the doors in a feeble attempt to keep construction dust out of the 2nd story spaces. They're not very efficient, but they're better than nothing.

If you go right from the landing, this is the larger bedroom, which we're using as our living room for the time being. Here are the changes in that room:

Big difference, right? It's such a calming space now, it's a perfect escape from the chaos downstairs.

Off this room is the big storage closet. No changes in here other than, you know, storing stuff. Totes on the left, and shelves on the right. I never realized we had so much stuff!

If you go back to the landing and go to the left, this is currently our bedroom.

This room is on the back of the house and doesn't get much light, so I thought I would try to brighten it up with a sunny color. It's my first time ever painting a room yellow, and so far I still like it. When we move the living room downstairs, this room will be the guest room and we'll move our bedroom into the bigger room. I have an idea what direction I want for this room, it's just a matter of pulling the pieces together slowly, but it will get there in time.

As you can see we replaced the carpets in both rooms upstairs, with what was originally the downstairs carpet. We re-used it up here since it was in fairly decent condition, and was only a temporary solution for the upstairs anyhow. They work for now, but I would like to sand and finish the hardwoods up here at some point.

Through the bedroom is the attic space above the kitchen & dining room. The only changes in here are one missing chimney and more junk being stored, but someday this will be a lovely master bedroom!

So folks, that's how we're living now! It isn't much, but it's ours, and I wouldn't change a thing. I'm loving every minute of this little adventure we've embarked upon. :)

walls: Valspar Sparkling Lake; cabinets: Sherwin Williams Taupe Tone; trim: Valspar Ultra White
Large Bedroom:
walls: Sherwin Williams Taupe Tone; trim: Valspar Ultra White
Small Bedroom:
walls: Behr Caribbean Sunrise; accent wall: Behr Charismatic; jewlery display: Valspar Tropical Oasis; trim: Valspar Ultra White


  1. Outstanding! Loved reading this and watching the transformation. I recently bought a house in Aug of last year and I love being able to make it my own. Great inspiration!

    1. Thanks Alex! I'm really enjoying the process and it's nice to be able to keep all my long-distance friends & relatives in the loop this way. :)

  2. Looking good. That wood paneling just HAD to go!

    1. Oh yeah, no wood paneling survives with me around!

  3. keep it up girl, what a transformation! xo erin

    1. Thanks Erin, lots more changes to come! :)