House Tour 2020

May 18 is an anniversary of sorts in our family: it’s been one full year since we’ve lived in our house!

I thought it would be fun to do a complete “house tour” and document what every room in our house currently looks like one year into living here. Some rooms have been completely remodeled, some have only had minor updates, and others have yet to be touched (one hasn’t even been unpacked yet).

A small disclaimer: I wanted to show what our house really looks like and how we’re using it in each stage of life, but I obviously did clean up before taking pictures. I didn’t want to make it look like a picture perfect model home because that’s not our reality, but just as I like to clean up before guests come over, I also cleaned up before virtual guests come over. 😉 That being said, I decided not to stage rooms (for example, I chose not to do things like add pillows to Vi’s crib just for the picture) since that’s not really how we live right now, so it still feels very authentic and true to our life.

My plan is to do this every year as a way to see how our home changes over time. I love seeing the evolution of a space and how the rooms in our home adjust to our growing family. Here’s what our home looks like in May 2020, one year after moving in.

Basement

Guest Room

The guest bedroom in the basement was one of my top priorities to address when we moved in. When not in a pandemic, we have overnight guests frequently (1-2x each month) and I wanted a comfortable space for them to stay. The room did not have a window and felt very dingy and dark, so we set out to add a window and make it feel light, bright, and cozy all at the same time. I would still love to swap out the overhead light and replace the carpet eventually, but I’m thrilled with this room’s transformation! Read more about this room’s renovation here.

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Guest Bathroom

The guest bathroom was the first room that we completely gutted and remodeled. New flooring, expanded tile shower, new lighting and fixtures – even though the layout didn’t change, it feels like a totally new space! You can check out more details in this blog post.

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Entertaining Space

Most of the basement is one huge open-concept living space. We bought this house with the hopes to do a lot of entertaining down here, so I’ve been putting in some effort to freshen it up. I am by no means done with this space, but a little bit of paint and removing some decorate trim has made it come a long way (blog post on our simple basement update here).

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And in the interest of full disclosure, here’s what our “entertainment center” situation currently is. I’m brainstorming alternatives to the bent folding table, but for now, it works. I know I’ll be glad to look back on this in the future when we have something different there to see how far we’ve come. 😉

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The space behind the couch will eventually have a table and chairs for hosting meals and game nights. Justin is actually in the process of making a table for this space, but until it gets finished, we keep our treadmill and the donation piles from my de-cluttering spree here (I know I said I would show our reality but I’m still cringing over showing spaces like this ha)!

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The basement kitchen is my current project for the One Room Challenge, and even though it’s in a major state of disarray, I’m very excited for the progress happening here (see my most recent update post here) – it’s going to look so good when it’s finished!

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Rounding out the open-concept space is this area to the right of the kitchen. Someday we plan to put a ping pong table here but for now, it’s a workspace for painting and storing furniture that we plan to sell.

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Mudroom

The last part of our basement is the mudroom in between the garage and the living area. As you can see, it needs work. I envision a combination workout space + some cubbies for storage eventually but for now…it’s just a bit of a catch-all (cringing again!)

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Main Floor

Laundry Room

The laundry room is really more like a laundry hallway. The washer and dryer are squeezed into a small space between the garage and a bathroom. Eventually, I would love to take out the bathroom and expand the laundry room but those plans are far down the road. Other than moving in our washer and dryer (which barely fit!) this space hasn’t been updated at all.

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Full Bathroom

Directly to the right of the laundry room is a full bathroom that we haven’t made any changes to yet. Normally, this bathroom doesn’t get used – the only exceptions are when we have many guests stay with us or in the middle of a pandemic. Since Justin works in healthcare, he uses this bathroom to shower when he comes home from work. It’s super convenient since it’s right off the garage and only used by him. As you can see, LJ and I wrote a few little notes to encourage him when he gets home. 🙂

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Powder Room

The powder room on the main floor is the only room that wasn’t painted brown when we moved in. We haven’t done anything to it yet, but it’s nice to at least have a little pop of color!

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Office

One of the rooms that got me the most excited about this house is our office, although right now it’s a disaster zone. I joke that it is our Room of Requirement because if you’re looking for something random, it’s probably in there. All of our unpacked boxes of books and decor are stored here and it’s kind of a makeshift office/extra guest room for an air mattress if needed. It doesn’t look like much right now, but I have plans to make it into a dreamy office + library – imagine those French doors opening up into floor to ceiling bookshelves and a cozy reading chair tucked in by the bay windows! I’m hoping we can start that renovation in the fall.

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The dining area off the kitchen also had a ton of potential (those windows!!), but we haven’t put any work into it yet. It currently just has a simple hand-me-down table and chairs and a few faux plants, but someday, this room is going to shine!

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The kitchen next to the dining room is another room that we haven’t put any work into. We’ve brainstormed a few ways that we’d like to change the layout a bit and update the appliances, but since that is a project that we’re several years out from, we’ll likely do a “phase one” renovation and at least update the wall color and maybe paint the cabinets.

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The previous owners used the room connected to the kitchen and living room as a dining room, but when we looked at the house I knew it would be the perfect playroom. It was the first room we updated (see that renovation post here) and I’m so glad we did because it gets used every. single. day. We still plan to update the trim and baseboards, but we’ll wait until we’re ready to do it throughout the whole first floor.

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The living room is yet another room that we have put zero effort into. We plopped down the furniture from our last house and called it good for now. Again, so much potential (more dreamy windows!) but in our life with two little ones, this casual arrangement works best for right now.

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Rounding out the main floor is the staircase off the living room (again, so much potential there!)…

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…and my favorite seven square foot space underneath! See all the details of this little nook’s transformation here.

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Top Floor

LJ’s Room

While no extensive work has been done upstairs, when I was 8 months pregnant and in full on nesting mode, we did get the bedrooms painted (they were all previously brown like the rest of the house). LJ’s room got some color-blocked walls and simple decor that feels just right for a little boy’s room.

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Vi’s Room

Vi’s room was painted white and recently got a little scalloped accent wall to make it feel more girly and fun. I also finally got some art up on the wall (notice I’m still waiting on one picture) and the room is much cozier.

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Kid’s Bathroom

The kids’ bathroom has had a very minimal amount of work – all we’ve done is take down the sliding glass shower door and replace it with a shower curtain. Other than that, we haven’t touched this room.

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Master Bedroom

All we’ve done in here so far is paint the walls, and the room is definitely lackluster. Again, so much potential here (more bay windows!) but right now it’s just simple and functional.

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Master Bathroom

The en suite bathroom has gone through a phase one renovation. We eventually want to gut it and rework the layout, but for the time being we just updated the flooring, painted the walls and vanities, and switched out some fixtures. You can read about that renovation here.

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Outdoors

The property is one of the biggest reasons we bought the house, so we’re thankful for a few outdoor lounge areas. The previous owners left a porch swing on the main level porch, which is perfect for enjoying a peaceful evening looking out over the pond. I’d love to add a few plants to this space too!

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Our walkout patio on the basement level has room for a table and chairs and I also created a little lounge space in the corner of the patio. This year I’m hoping to add a few end tables string lights, and potted plants to the space.

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That’s our home. It’s a work in progress, and we love the process of transforming it into the home of our dreams, but we’re not waiting to enjoy it until it’s “done” (I mean, is a house ever even done?) We are enjoying it every step of the way and choosing to love where we live at each stage. ❤

Love for our 20 Year Old House

All this time at home over the past few weeks has me thinking a lot about our house.

I always thought I would live in an old house. I wanted the character, the charm, and the history that comes with old homes. I grew up in a farmhouse built in the mid 1800’s. My grandparents lived on a nearby farm (where Justin and I were married!) in a house that has now been in our family for over 100 years. My love for old homes runs deep!

But when Justin and I found our dream property, the house that came with it was not what I pictured for our forever home. 

Our house is 20 years old. Old enough to be dated, not old enough to be vintage. 😉 When we bought it, we had to look beyond the surface to envision our family here. It seemed like everywhere I looked were things that I wanted to change and it was a little overwhelming. But we could tell that the house had been well loved by the previous owners and I had a feeling that we could make this home our dream home.

I feel like homes built 20-30 years ago get a bad rap. The dated styles that scream “NINETIES” aren’t necessarily appealing and can be hard to look past. There’s lighting to update (just in the rooms pictured above, we have fluorescent kitchen lighting, boob lights [if you know, you know], and dated chandeliers), walls that I would love to freshen with paint, and an abundance of orange-y wood trim everywhere I look.

But if you can look beyond all that, homes built 20 years ago have so much potential and can be absolute gems. We have enjoyed slowly unlocking the potential of our home project by project since moving in last May.

Truthfully, even if we’re never able to change a single thing, I’m extremely grateful to have a home. Especially in the midst of this pandemic, having a safe space to socially distance is a blessing and privilege and I do not take that for granted. That being said, all this time at home does have me dreaming about a few of the updates I would love to make to the home, and makes me thankful for all the changes we’ve been able to complete so far.

Sometimes unlocking potential is is just a matter of re-imagining a room by removing window treatements, swapping out furniture and light fixtures, and changing up the walls like we did in our playroom.

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Sometimes it’s a full-blown gut job renovation to completely update a space like we did in our guest bathroom.

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And sometimes, it’s as simple as a little work, a fresh coat of paint, and shopping your own house to find extra decor to spruce up a dated space like I just did in our basement.

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I think it’s really important to love where you live. It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be brand new, it doesn’t have to be fancy . . . it should just be a place where you enjoy being. A haven from the outside world. When I think about our home, I want our house to be a beautiful, cozy place where my family feels safe and others feel welcome (when this social distance time is finally over!)

Our home will be the backdrop to my kid’s childhoods. It will be the setting for many of the sweetest times in our lives. Even though there is still a lot of work we want to do, we’re not waiting to make memories here. We are choosing to love where we live every single day while we enjoy the journey of uncovering its potential.

A Look Back on our Home

It’s moving week!

Justin and I officially close on our new home on Friday afternoon and Saturday is moving day! I can’t believe that it’s finally here. I shared in a previous post that we were not initially planning to look for another house until the fall, but we found our dream property and we jumped on it. We did a 60 day closing since it was a sudden-ish decision and this gave us some extra time to prepare (and the sellers extra time to move out) so it’s been a bit of a long process. Now that we’re down to the final few days, both Justin and I are getting super excited!

While we’re thrilled for this new adventure and truly looking forward to settling in to our new home and starting the next chapter of our family’s life there, it is bittersweet to be leaving our current home. We bought this home when we moved to Indiana 3 years ago and we put a ton of hard work into it. Justin ripped up old carpeting and tile by himself. We recruited family to come help us tear down old wallpaper, repair holes in the walls, and repaint every single wall. I painted all the trim and doors. We replaced some light fixtures and we had new laminate flooring and carpet installed. Our friends Jeremy and Bethany came for a weekend to help us install a new subway tile backsplash in our kitchen. Cabinets got painted, flowers got planted, a house became our home. We love this place and truly made it our own over these past 3 years. We love our neighbors, we love our location. We love the memories we’ve made here. We are going to miss this place.

I thought it would be fitting to share some before-and-after pictures today as a little tribute to this sweet little home of ours. It’s the first home Justin and I bought. It’s where we mourned the loss of our first baby and joyfully brought LJ home a little over a year later. It’s where we hosted fun backyard parties, where we shared our dreams for our family’s future. We’ll always remember it fondly and I am thankful we’ll take the pictures and memories with us.

Entryway

Foyer After

I love that Scout made a cameo in the “after” shot because that little landing has been his favorite spot in this house. He spends most of his day perched there. We think he likes it because he can see out the front door and windows and also keep track of us in the living room and TV/playroom. As you can see, we changed out all flooring, painted the walls, and also painted the railing. We also changed the light fixture although it’s not visible in the picture.

Living Room

Living Room Before

Living Room After

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The most dramatic changes in this room was paint and flooring. This was really the first room we tackled when we moved in. Justin ripped up all that old carpet and we had new laminate flooring installed.

TV Room/Playroom

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The previous owners used this space off the front door as an office. We initially thought we’d use this space as a dining room, but then we decided we’d get way more use out of it as a cozy den and it became a TV room (and then also a playroom when LJ came along – check out pics of this space on a typical day here). This became our favorite place to hang out as a family! Justin ripped up the hallway tile and laminate flooring here too and we had the same laminate installed as in the living room to make the first floor feel less broken up.

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Half Bath

Half Bath Before

Half Bath After

The first floor half bath was the only room in the house that had floor-to-ceiling wallpaper (and toilet humor-themed wallpaper at that) and I was all too happy to see it go. I chose a dark color for the walls of this small space and I love how it turned out!

Dining Room/Kitchen

Dining Room Before

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In my opinion, this space was the most dramatic transformation. The tile was in good shape so we left it but pretty much everything else changed. New paint on the walls, painted cabinets, new dining light fixture, new backsplash, new appliances – we loved how this room turned out!

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Laundry Room

Rounding out the first floor is the little laundry room off the kitchen. This wasn’t a big space, but painted walls and cabinets with a little bit of decor made a big difference!

Hallway Nook

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Our home is 3 bedrooms but when we moved in we knew we wanted to keep a guest room available for family and hoped to soon convert the other room to a nursery so I needed to get creative with finding space for a little home office. At the top of our staircase there is a fairly large landing with just enough space for a small bookcase and desk and it worked out perfectly for an office! The bookcase faced the stairway and the desk fit perfectly in the little nook – it was such a cozy place to light a candle and get some work done.

Master Bedroom

We rearranged the layout from how the previous owners had done things and I think it helped open up the room and make it seem much larger. Painted trim and walls gave it a fresh, relaxing facelift!

Master Bathroom

The “before” picture on the left isn’t great, but it gives you a small idea of our little updates. We didn’t do much in this room – took down the wallpaper border, fresh cost of paint, painted trim, and hung new towel rods.

Guest Room

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We took down that border wall paper and those shelves, which were a HUGE pain because they were all anchored into the wall. There was a ton of patchwork involved but after a fresh coat of paint the room was refreshed! We kept it pretty simple in here, just enough to make a cozy space for guests to stay.

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Guest Bath After

The hallway bath was mostly used as a guest bathroom since we just bathed LJ in ours. We painted the walls and cabinet (I actually love how the dark cabinet turned out!), added vanity fixtures, and took down the old shower door and exchanged it for a curtain rod.

Nursery

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Nursery After

My favorite room in the whole house! It was used by the previous owners as an office and we didn’t do much with it for a while. Then, when I found out I was pregnant, we started dreaming of a nursery. I would spend time praying in the room for the baby we would soon welcome into our home. Sadly, that pregnancy was ectopic and we did not get to meet that baby (read more of the story here). I shut the door and stopped dreaming to deal with my grief. Then slowly, I started going in there again. I painted the room before I was pregnant again, believing that someday a baby would need this room. I got this sign off Etsy as the first piece of nursery decor and when I got the glorious positive pregnancy test a few months later, I immediately hung it up by the door. This room has seen tears, rejoicing, preparations, and so many snuggles. I’m so thankful for this room!

And that’s our home. It’s been so good to us and we’re so thankful to have called this place home for 3 years. Now on to the next adventure!

My Coziest Spot

For the past six years or so, I have been following Mix and Match Mama’s blog and while I’ve always enjoyed reading her link ups, I’ve never participated. This year, however, she started a new monthly linkup with her friend Erika called “Let’s Look” where bloggers take a little peek at little things in your life.

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I thought this was such a fun idea! I plan to participate each month which means there will be an extra post some weeks. I hope you enjoy following along!

This month’s topic was “let’s look at the coziest spot in your house” and for me, this was a no brainer. The coziest spot in my house is right here.

This little corner of our oversized couch from Costco. Which, let’s be honest, most often looks like this. Just keeping it real around here – ha! 😉

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Our house does have a more traditional living room but when we moved in, Justin and I decided to use this little den space for our couch and TV instead of create an office or dining room. Now it’s also where we keep LJ’s toys and since we rearranged the ottoman and added a baby gate to block off the wide doorways, it’s become a playroom as well.

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This little room has become the hub of our family life at home and in this room, the chaise lounge is my spot.sheldon meme

The oversized chaise lounge means there is plenty of room for pillows and a huge cozy plush blanket. It’s the perfect place to lounge and read a book or cozy up and watch TV. It’s even big enough for Justin to have room to sit next to me when we’re watching a movie or Macie to snuggle up next to me while I’m reading.

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My spot is positioned next to a wide doorway so I can see this little table set up in our hallway where I often have a candle going. Is there anything cozier than a snuggly blanket, a book, and a candle burning?

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Actually, yes! Just add a Christmas tree. NOW it’s the coziest. 🙂 I so loved having this view all December and am just  sad I didn’t really take a picture from this spot until I had already taken most decorations down. (And the book recommendation also came from Mix and Match Mama – thanks Shay!)

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While not technically taken from the actual couch, here’s what my view often looked like this season. ❤

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Since we spend so much time in this room as a family, my spot is also home to LJ’s diaper caddy because who says a spot can’t be cozy and practical? It sure makes life easy when we’re all hanging out here.

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This spot is where I get lots of good reading done. It’s where I cry watching This is Us. It’s where I curl up when I need an afternoon nap. It’s where I get lots of snuggles when LJ isn’t feeling well. It’s even where I wrote this very blog post. It is my very favorite spot in the house and it is definitely the coziest.

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Even Macie agrees!

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What is the coziest spot in your house?

 

Halloween Procrastination

I am way late on yesterday’s blog post! After school, I hit the ground running with preparations for the Halloween party Justin and I are throwing tonight. After several trips to the dollar store (and, I confess, I even caved and went to Wal-Mart), I had plenty of decorations and ingredients for everything I needed!

Two things I love are the holidays and hosting people at my house. Put them together and I am one happy girl; however, the night before the hosted holiday party, I’m typically one stressed-out girl. This is mostly because I tend to procrastinate. One way I tried to cut out the most stress this time was with food preparation. Our party is after dinner so I knew I just wanted finger food and treats. My requirements for the food were: quick (due to procrastination), easy, budget-friendly, and able to be made ahead of time! I’m a bit of a procrastinator, so waiting until the day before limited my options, but I’m happy with the results!

Final Treat Collage

Let’s be honest. As much as I love things to look cute and festive, I also know my limits as far as time and skill. Decorated cupcakes and cookies look so great (and relatively simple) in pictures, but I know I just do not have six hours to figure how how to decorate them and then actually do the decorating. As as for the intricate decorations, my skill level would fall embarrassingly short. The simple process with making these treats was much more my speed.

Final Oreo Collage

I started with Oreo “mummies.” If you are an Oreo freak like me, these are going to be right up your alley.

Step 1: I purchased a package of Oreos (double-stuf of course!) and vanilla candy coating.

Step 2: Follow the directions on the package to melt the candy coating. For me, this meant heating for one minute, stirring, and heating for 15 more seconds. Then I dropped an Oreo in the goo and used a spoon to cover it with the coating.

Step 3: I lifted the Oreos out with a toothpick (to let the extra coating drip off) and placed them on parchment paper to cool and harden.

Step 4: I used white cookie icing and drew it back and forth to make the “mummy” wrap. I then put mini chocolate chips on each cookie for the eyes.

Step 5: Let the mummies completely cool and harden before storing.

See? Quick and easy!

I also employed a similar tactic to make super simple “ghost” cookies.

Final Ghost Collage

This time I did the same thing, but with Nutter Butter cookies. I added the mini chocolate chips to make eyes and a mouth. I think this could also be easily adjusted to make snowmen cookies at Christmastime!

From start to finish, this whole project took about an hour to make tons of cookies. The candy coating cools quickly and once they were cooled, I just put them all in an airtight container so they’re ready to go for tonight! I’m so excited! And the whole thing cost under $15. Yes!

Have a happy Halloween!

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Yesterday was so chaotic I had to just snap a quick photo at school.  It was an Express kind of day 🙂

10-30 Outfit

Sweater: Express

Ruffle Tank: Express

Cream Pencil Skirt: Express

Peep-toe Pumps: Lulu Townsend

Necklace: New York & Co.

I may as well post today’s outfit too since tonight will be party time! Since it’s Halloween, we were allowed to dress up. Comfy scrubs all day? Yes please!

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Label-less scrubs: From my husband’s closet 🙂