When I moved into this house in February 2013, Paul was deployed and Ellerie was still on the inside (I was about 27 weeks pregnant). SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED IN THOSE TWO YEARS. Of least importance is the fact that we got the house decorated and functional.
Today I thought it would be fun to share a side-by-side of how it came together and talk about some of the changes we've made. This post is going to be obscenely long. I apologize in advance. But splitting it up seemed lame and I think the before shots are fun to compare.
You might remember (from yesterday's post) that this house had recently been flipped when we bought it. It was freshly painted, the carpets and travertine floor was new, the windows were new and the bathrooms and kitchen were recently remodeled. We loved the bones of the house and were lucky that they matched up with our style. Most of our "improvements" have just been hanging stuff (frames and shelving), adding furniture and switching out a few lights.
The hardest part for me to visualize was how I could use all this open space. Originally I had our big bookshelf room divider in here (it was the first thing you saw when you walked in) and it was terrible. I decided to keep things open and low and am glad I went with that decision.
We ended up creating three little rooms out of this big room. The TV area, of course. Then the nook by the windows. And then the dining area.
The only change we made to the kitchen was to change out the light fixture.
We love the kitchen. It's spacious with plenty of counter space. The cabinets are all Ikea and have held up wonderfully for the past two years. The black countertop looks good but it's HARD to keep clean. Every swipe shows. Every crumb shows. If we ever did a kitchen ourselves I would not go black. But the subway tile I'd do again and again.
I'm fairly certain that the best improvement to the whole house was swapping out that awkward chandelier for a giant bentwood pendant lamp.
As you can see the light hard-wiring was off center of where I wanted the table, so we just looped it with a chain. Works well! The table is World Market and the chairs are Crate & Barrel. We had some inexpensive ones from overstock.com and they were a complete bust, literally. That was my biggest furniture mistake and I had to upgrade. Frames are Ikea, photos are Tara Whitney. Black stools are Ikea.
The backyard looks massively different! I hardly remember this! With the drought, we had to get rid of the grass. More on the backyard update in another post.
This area probably wins for most-improved. We turned a strange little section into a cosy room. That shelf (which is just a piece of stained wood on Ikea brackets) totally makes it. Funny story about the shelf... Ellerie pulled it down off the wall last summer. It collapsed and I lost six years of my life. She was fine, thank God, and we switched to sturdier brackets and added a third. No further issues. Chairs and little table are West Elm. Rug is Crate & Barrel.
We took the grate off the fireplace which was a subtle but helpful improvement. We never use the fireplace so it's not a safety issue. You can see we have bumpers around the concrete. So far no head bonks though she did face plant into our coffee table on Wednesday. (Another three years lost.)
Our TV set-up is pretty simple. Couch and chair! My dad and I built that media stand and we still love it. The coffee table was an old Elise and Paul DIY. That wood and leather chair is my favorite craigslist find ever. Not cheap at $280, but seriously amazing.
I'm not in love with the wall of shelves, but that corner needed something. Right now it's sort of kid central over there. Which is great. The kid needs a central. To orient yourself, the door on the right is the garage and the hall on the left leads to the bedrooms.
Straight ahead is Ellerie's room which is well-documented on Instagram.
The furniture and tissue paper pom-poms are holding up well. It's never this clean, obviously.
The bathroom got a small makeover. Aside from the palm trees, we removed the sliding door and installed a simple curtain. It makes Ellerie baths much easier.
Sill loving the palm trees and our Ikea cabinets have held up well.
At the front of the house is my office, which has seen a lot change. We replaced the carpet with travertine to match the rest of the house and added cabinets.
The room feels HUGE now and so much more functional.
Since I took off the mirrored closet doors, it feels even less bedroom-y. Sidenote : obviously having three bedrooms is a selling point for this house. When it comes time to resell we have the mirrored closet doors ready to be reinstalled and if the new owner didn't like the cabinets, they could be removed. I'm not a big fan of "worrying about resale value." I am a big fan of "making your space work the best it can for YOU."
Last we head down the hall to the master bedroom.
The biggest projects in here were the rug covering, the curtains and the sliding door. All of these have helped to "finish" the space. I still have that silly mobile above my bed! I never thought it would last, but we still love it after two years.
This room has the most DIYs of any room. 15!
Our tiny bathroom is still tiny. But adding some art and plants has helped for sure.
And that's it! Our house! Our home! I've said this before and I'll say it again, but the BEST part of the military lifestyle is we have to move a lot so we have to re-figure out how we're living a lot. I'm finally getting down to just the stuff that I love and just the stuff that makes sense. That's a good feeling. Thanks for letting me share.
further reading : our home buying story, quick tips on how to move and the last townhouse we lived in. To find complete posts about all the shown DIYs click here and for links to where most of the stuff came from click here.