We bought our house site unseen back in September 2014, and we fell totally in love when we did the walk through the day before we closed (We like living on the edge!) We immediately saw how it would work so well for our family, and we also could see huge potential for what we could do while we lived in it. It had been very well taken care of but was in dire need of some brightening up and a bit of refreshing. Since this house was at the top of our price range, we knew we’d be working with a very small “home improvements” budget.
I’ve been determined to increase the value of this house as much as we can before we move in 2018 while spending as little as we can, so consequently this is the home where I’ve learned a lifetime of lessons and skills about taking care of a physical house! It’s been gratifying, exhausting, frustrating, and a total blast all at the same time. Take a tour with me through our home and see what we’ve been up to!
Last summer we painted the entire exterior trim of the house, including door frames, gutters, and windows. We also painted the shutters and all three exterior doors.
My mother-in-law painted all three of the exterior light fixtures, and I replaced our house numbers with more modern ones.
Only a portion of our house has a privacy fence, but it had never been treated before. Last summer Jamie spent a few days spraying it with a couple fresh coats of paint.
The backyard desperately needed some landscape work, so we spent a good chunk of time manicuring this area around our side patio.
We painted the side door the same color white as we used on the trim, but we gave the back door the same pop of color as we used on the front door since we spend so much time hanging and entertaining on that back portion of the deck.
The garden area was completely full of rotten wood and out-of-control weeds, so Jamie and my dad tore apart the entire thing.
Jamie and I also tore up the additional landscaping near the garden and planted grass seed. We wanted less landscaped areas to maintain and more big patches of grass to run around and play with the kids.
We hired a handman to replace every single brown door with white six-panel doors and new stainless steel handles and hinges. I then began painting the brown trim white. I also painted the interior side of our front door. We were gifted a piano, but we had no place to put it but in our entryway. We’re hoping to have a better spot in our future home, and are also hoping that one or both of the girls will be interested in taking lessons one day (they love banging on it enough nowadays!)
Our fireplace is in such a unique spot, but we have grown to love it! I painted the walls, the mantel, the brass portions of the actual fireplace, and the tile around it.
Painting the kitchen was a doozy, but we are so thrilled with the outcome. Well well well worth the time and effort.
Our sunroom has been a dream. It’s absolutely my favorite room in the house! I painted the yellow walls so fast in this room that I didn’t even have a chance to take a before picture!
I also painted all of the windows, which was a bear of a project. We kept it as a sitting/reading room for a couple years until we realized that we were never going to use our basement as the playroom we always intended for it to be. So we recently moved everything out and transitioned it into the girls’ dream playroom.
Best decision we ever made regarding this house!
PS: We love love love this new set. It’s amazing!
In this room we painted the trim, the walls, and the interior of those two exterior doors (one to the side patio and one to the garage). I also sprayed painted a coat hanger left behind the previous owners and hung it in this space. So functional!
This bathroom used to be forgotten about since it was so dark and is tucked in the back of the house, so my main goal was to help make it feel not quite so gloomy. We painted the trim, the walls, the oak vanity, and the mirror. I even spray painted the toilet paper holder. Ha! We would love to replace the pinkish granite counter top, but I’m not confident that that’s on the priority list before we sell.
This room was one of my biggest projects during Jamie’s 3rd deployment, and it’s still one of my absolute favorite places to sit and be in. I painted the trim, my dad painted the walls, we put in a new light fixture, replaced the blinds, and put in three new doors and hardware. You can see the completed room here. It’s one of my favorites. 🙂
I remember feeling like Hadley’s room was one of the darkest rooms in the house, but throughout the last couple of years it’s slowly evolved into a space that we truly love and feel so happy in. The doors and hardware were replaced, the trim, windows, and walls were painted, the light fixture was replaced, and finally my mother-in-law replaced the window covering with a balloon shade. You can see the completed room here.
In Hadley’s and Sadie’s bathroom we painted the trim, replaced the door, painted the walls (and stenciled one of them), and finally painted the vanity and mirror. So much brighter and a much better place for two little girls to spend so much time. It’s funny to think about how this bathroom holds a load of special memories! Who would have thought? See the completed bathroom here.
Master Bedroom and Bath
This was the only room that had crown molding and that already had white trim and new doors (minus the entry door, as pictured).
All we have done in this room so far is paint the walls and replace the brown blinds with white ones.
This bathroom was a bear to paint, but that bright green paint was gone within a week of closing (I couldn’t staaaaand it!) This bathroom was completed just a few years prior, so all we’ve fortunately had to do to this space in paint the walls.
Isn’t it amazing what a little paint can do?
Basement Living Area
We originally thought that we would spend much more family time in this space than we actually do. We assumed it would make a great play room and that we’d watch all of our sporting events down here. This space just never shaped up that way.
All we’ve done in this space is paint the trim and replace doors and hardware. This is one of the only pictures that wasn’t taken this month simply because this space has become a bit of an organized “catch all”.
I couldn’t wait to tackle this room shortly after moving in. It’s windowless and tucked into a corner of the basement, but I knew it had potential!
I painted the built-in bookcase and incorporated a pop of color on the back. We painted the trim and the walls as well as replaced the doors and hardware. I found this desk at a thrift store for cheap and refinished it to make the perfect workspace for Jamie. You can see the completed room here.
Since all of our family and most of our friends live across the country, we’ve always gotten really great use out of our guest room. This room was such an eyesore when we moved in and I couldn’t wait for the right time to invest in new flooring and other elements to make it feel warm and inviting, while still working on a strict budget.
This walk-in closet is so much bigger than it looks in this picture, and the untreated shelving and rods combined with the random crayon all over the blue walls drove me crazy. I painted the shelving and rods as well as painted the wall.
In this “before” picture, we’d actually already replaced the brown door and painted the trim. We painted the walls, laid tile on top of the linoleum, refinished the vanity, replaced the mirror, and put up a rod and shower curtain to cover the shower.
This is Jamie’s favorite place to be. Ha! I actually wrote a post about how investing in pieces for his home gym was such a great family decision. He still gets to do what he loves, and his workouts take away almost no time from the family. It’s wonderful!
I painted the trim, his mom painted the walls while he was deployed, and other than that we just kind of threw his workout gear right in there. 🙂 We had all kinds of dreams for this space, but… priorities. 🙂
I’ve documented almost every step of updating this home throughout the last three years, so the chances are quite high that I blogged about the process of nearly every update you see above (i.e paint colors, how-tos, etc.) Just use the search bar to bop around, or please feel free to email me at WHIMSICALSEPTEMBER@YAHOO.COM to ask about anything. 🙂 I would love to hear from you!