I always tell people that I accidentally bought a house….I was renting, and not really looking or interested in actually buying, just browsing online for entertainment. A quick drive by of a house I’d seen a few times online, my mom convincing me to call the realtor on the sign….and a week later, I was signing an offer and talking about closing dates. Say what?! What a ride it’s been since then! Though it was not well captured with pictures, when I bought my house five years ago, it was a pretty much a mess. Holes in the walls, moldy carpet (even in the bathroom!), missing doors….and that was just the inside. I am pretty sure my family and friends thought I was crazy, but I saw potential somewhere in the disaster.
Along with patching holes, removing wallpaper, painting and a LOT of cleaning, replacing the floors was my first big project. The carpet was the grossest thing in the house – ripping it out was literally the first thing I did after signing the paperwork.The laminate that was in the house was not terrible (you can sort of see it in the photo above) – not something I would have chosen, but definitely livable. Unfortunately for my bank account, a huge section was ruined when the house was un-winterized. Since patching 14 year old laminate was really not an option and I had to replace flooring in the bedrooms, I started shopping for new options (carpet, tile, laminate). I settled on a 12mm thick medium toned laminate from Lumber Liquidators.With the help of some VERY generous friends and family, I installed it myself. Here’s what it looks like now!
The tile stayed for a few years, until I re-did my master bathroom….
Before I moved in, I pulled down the wallpaper in the bathrooms, and painted them in an effort to distract the eye from the lovely 1990’s builder basic oak cabinets and fixtures. After a year or two of saving, I was able to re-do my master bathroom. Here are a couple of before pictures.I wanted something with clean lines and warm wood tones, but durable and affordable. The biggest way I saved money was to keep the footprint of the bathroom the same – so I didn’t have to pay to move plumbing.I initially fell in love with a gorgeous travertine tile….but that bubble was burst when I found out how high maintenance travertine would be in a bathroom. I loved the look, but having to practically towel drying the walls of my shower to avoid mold, and sealing the tile multiple times a year was NOT something I was up for. Thinking about being budget minded, I considered white subway tile, but ultimately felt it was not the right fit for my house, and was not sure that the trend would stay around. After looking at a lot of tile samples, I followed some advice from a friend and went with a porcelain floor tile. The practicality of porcelain was very attractive, but I love the look too – it has a lot of movement and lines that actually resemble travertine. It was a good jumping off point for choosing a the other stone elements for the room. I choice a coordinating accent tile, and splurged on a marble countertop and rock shower floor – my tile installer tried to talk me out of the rock in the shower, but I stood my ground and could not be happier with it.Here’s an inspiration board that I created to get a feel for the look I wanted…
…and here’s the final after! It’s not exact to my inspiration since real life shopping is not the same as some of the inspiration pictures I found, but I think the overall feel reads. When shopping for vanities, I quickly realized that no one sold anything as long as needed. I considered going with two smaller 36inch vanities, but I didn’t quite have the space I wanted for that – plus as a single woman who was not sharing this bathroom with anyone, I didn’t need two vanities! I splurged on the custom 90inch vanity and marble countertop in the master. I found a few inspiration vanities from Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn, and had one built custom.While I was spending money on tile and living in a dusty construction zone, I decided to go ahead and do a mini-update in the hall bathroom. To save money I went with a granite countertop, painted the existing cabinet and updated the faucet, hardware and of course the tile floor. About a year and a half later, my dad and I planked the walls with these wood planks from Lowes.
Current state of affairs
Slowly but surely I made my way through the house. Big projects and small – buying furniture, moving furniture around, changing out pillows and other random items, painting rooms and even painting closets. The main area was previously painted Peanut Butter by Behr, and is now a soft gray that I mixed myself using leftover paint from my sister’s house and some white and tan paint I had on hand. I am sure that I will never be “done” with my house, or any house I live in; but here’s how it looks now!
As you walk in the front door, you see a “formal” living and dining room….though neither are actually all that formal in my house.
Adjacent to the living room is the dining room.
As you continue into the house, you enter the kitchen and living room, which are open to each other. Other than the floor tile, I’ve not done a lot of updates in the kitchen. First here are some before photos of this area — missing cabinet doors, no appliances, white(ish) walls, and that lovely faux finish on the fireplace…
And the kitchen. This is not a space that I’ve done any major updates to, aside from adding appliances! I’ve used black paint as a dark backdrop for the oak cabinets – it’s amazing that changing the wall color really helps the cabinets look a bit deeper, and less yellow. I’ve updated the lighting, and the floor tile is the same as the bathrooms. I’ve considered painting the cabinets, removing some uppers, updating countertops and backsplash (ugh – that awful bathroom tile!)…but for now, I’m loving it as it is.
While my house came a long way, I definitely believe a house is never truly finished. There were tons of other things I had in mind (kitchen remodel, backyard, more functioning office/craft room), but life had other plans for me, so they will be up to the next owner of my lovely little home on Rhythm Lane 🙂