House Tour

Like anyone who’s ever lived somewhere other than solitary confinement, I believe a decorated space is never really finished.  I’ve been dragging my feet to even post a “House Tour” given the ever changing nature of things.  But, if you’ll forgive me occasionally swapping out the “After” pics, then here’s a glimpse at our suburban abode.

FRONT EXTERIOR

The first thing we did when we bought the house was give the ol’ girl some breathing room.  Bye bye enormous yew bush in front.

Before

Before

We also had to replace the roof, rebuild a crumbling chimney and repaint. And yes… we knew all this when we bought the place.

During

During

The landscaping still has to fill in a bit, but we got an amazing deal on some wholesale plants at the end of the season which was the ONLY way we could have afforded to fill in what we did.

After

After

FRONT ENTRANCE

Just like much of the house, the front was dated, unkempt and… unkempt.

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Before

A new coat of paint on the front door, new house numbers and a new walkway makes ALL the difference.

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After

FRONT FOYER

Yes, this is an historic home and yes, the previous owner managed to install a skylight before the establishment of the current historic district commission (Coincidence?  I think not…). The record will show there were many, many, things that needed to be done to this house, but the seller was only willing to concede that the skylight leaked ‘a bit.’

Before

Before

Adios leaky skylight.

During

During

With the skylight gone, we hung a pendant light that we had in our apartment in the city, painted, and tried to provide as much storage as possible to hide the clutter of day-to-day comings and goings.  You can’t see in this picture, but we also swapped out the brown louvred doors on the closet and replaced them with some simple paneled white ones from Home Depot.

After

After

MAIN FAMILY ROOM

Wall to wall carpeting was the trademark of this room. And the maroon accent wall. 10 points to anyone who can guess what decade this addition went on.  Oh, and more brown shutters…. those, the seller took with her.  We did not complain.

Before

Before

The two club chairs were the first things I bought for the house… They were striped and, I think $125 for the pair. I found these old coffee sacks on eBay asked the upholsterer to mix and match with the ikat fabric; they’re two of my favorite things in the house. There were also a set of dated sliding glass doors that were so drafty we had to tape up the joints for the first winter we had the house. Pulling up the carpet and putting down hardwood brought this room into the 21st century.

After

After

LIVING ROOM

We loved the living room because of the lovely bay window and the amazing light that comes pouring in these big beautiful windows.

Before

Before

Before

Before

The living room is really the only room that we didn’t need to do a thing to besides paint. I fell in love with the fabric on the chair under the window and we picked our colors around that. I took down the wispy curtains that were left for us and we’ve slowly been adding furniture here and there.

After

After

After

After

Update: Check out our living room featured on Apartment Therapy!

DINING ROOM

Are you sitting down? The previous owner had blocked over a window in here to make room for a whole wall of shelves.

Before

Before

We had our contractor open that bad boy up immediately. The plumbing up to the 2nd floor is hidden along the right side, so we had to leave a little niche.

During (Window uncovered!)

During (Window uncovered!)

Once that room had an extra window it became bright and inviting. We had to have our electrician run a line for a pendant light that I found at a local consignment store, but it didn’t take much elbow grease to transform the space from depressing office to delectable dining.  The rug is from FLOR and was on deep clearance, and the table was a hand-me-down from my parents.  I found the chairs on eBay and recovered them.

After

After

DEN

We loved the built ins and the cozy feel to this front room. Despite the wooden shutters.

Before

Before

During

During

No more wooden shutters, a coat of paint on the back of the built ins, and a new light makes this little reading nook the most relaxing room in the house.

After

After

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1st FLOOR LANDING

This space continues to plague me as it’s too big to be a pass through area, but too small to be a real room.

Before

Before

Still trying to figure it out, but this latest arrangement has been here the longest, so that counts for something.

After

After

DOWNSTAIRS POWDER ROOM

This bathroom opens onto the dining room.  You read that correctly.  I’m standing where our dining room table is.  In fairness to the previous owner, she was using this space as her office, but still… it’s weird.  Wanna come over for dinner sometime?  Awkward.

Before

Before

Our master plan for the house has that powder room relocated, so we didn’t want to go crazy with upgrades.  But…. I did what the How-To manuals said not to do and decided my first foray into wallpaper would be a bathroom.  From afar it looks fine, but I’m thrilled this bathroom is slated to be demolished.

After

After

STAIRCASE

Another head slapping moment… the staircase came with this solid wall completely disjointed from the era of the house (1900s).

Before

Before

Bringing our old staircase back to the land of historically appropriate was one of the best upgrades we made. And, bonus, the railing is now up to code!  See how I hung the photos here.  We’d like to paint this wall (or maybe even a grasscloth wallpaper), but it’s a tricky space so we’re pretending not to see the smudges.

After

After

2nd FLOOR LANDING

When you walked up the stairs before, this is what greeted you.  That’s our bedroom door on the left.

Before

Before

I tried my hand at wallpaper in a couple places in this house which makes an enormous difference.  This is a basic Ikea dresser with the knobs swapped out, and we use it for our sheets.

After

After

KIDS’ ROOM

The kids room is a tricky room to furnish because of two lovely (but low) windows and the bathroom wall. It’s taken on many different iterations, but this latest configuration feels like the best use of the space so far.

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Before

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Before

Before

Before

Stripes on one wall, some homemade Roman shades, a refinished Craigslist dresser and a simple carpet give this room a comfortable and unisex vibe for Eleanor and Oliver.

After

After

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After

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After

KIDS BATHROOM

Again, nothing wrong with their bathroom, but nothing great.  We’ll give it a facelift when they’re old enough that they’re using it.  It doesn’t have a bathtub, so it’s pretty much a place to hide when we play hide-and-go-seek.

Before

Before

Eleanor went through a Harold and the Purple Crayon phase, so we added a little shout out to our favorite draw-er on one of the walls.

After

After

MASTER BEDROOM

Again with the carpeting (and lack of paint!) in here.

Before

Before

We were hoping to pull up the carpet and reveal the hardwood underneath, but the hardwood was in terrible shape and it turns out the adhesive they’d used for the carpet was impenetrable. Hence the purple.

During

During

I found this carpet at a remnant place. The curtains are Ikea, the bedside tables are painted Craigslist items, and the headboard was a DIY project. There’s actually another window blocked over right behind our bed… but there’s no easy place for the bed if we open that up. Still trying to figure out a way to do both.

After

After

3rd FLOOR PLAYROOM

Say it with me: wall to wall carpet. We had our contractor pull up and remove the carpet since they were already taking care of it in the rest of the house.  It’s a finished attic space so we have these lovely exposed beams. We had to replace this beautiful window because the wood was all rotten, but went with the same design.

Before

Before

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Before

Once the carpet was up and the floor was prepped, we painted these sweet yellow and white stripes with porch paint.  It was a team effort as my brother and parents got suckered into the labor.  The rug was a gift from the Design Gods as it was marked down from $2000 to $400. It’s big and colorful and amazing. There’s not a color that doesn’t work with it, and it’s perfect for a kids space.  The sweet little couch was $45 on Craigslist and I had it recovered.

After

After

The day bed is too big for that corner, but it’s been a terrific extra bed when Eleanor needs a break from her brother or for when friends bring their children to stay for the night.  Oh, I should mentioned, yes… that’s a slide.  $20 Craigslist and intended to be outside, but we love having it up here!

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After

After

After

We priced out built ins, but they cost a fortune, so the toy storage is simply the Expedit series from Ikea.  Cost maybe $200 all in; we had the baskets already from Land of Nod.  (And normally I wouldn’t opt for a ginormous TV in the kids’ space but we had an extra when we moved from the city…)

After

After

And just for fun, we added these stencils to the stairs going up to the playroom. (I couldn’t bring myself to end on “13” so I just left that step alone.)

After

After

3rd FLOOR GUEST ROOM/ NURSERY

These three little windows are the ones you see under the point of the roof at the front of the house.

Before

Before

Mark pulled up all the carpet nails and the trim so that we could prep and paint the floor ourselves.

During

During

This is a sweet little space that doubles as a guest suite and Martha’s nursery. We took the doors off the closet to make room for the dresser that was dislodged when the crib and changing table had to find a place up there. The quilts are from Homegoods and have been the springboard for many of the colors in this room.  And my random framed needlepoint collection is up here too.

After

After

BACKYARD

This is our biggest makeover of the house. Behind our house, what we bought was… bamboo. Lots and lots of bamboo. And a pair of railroad ties under each sliding door for us to step down onto the pile of dirt.

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Before

And a look towards our back fence:

Before

Before

Who knew there was land back there!  Bamboo is near impossible to get rid of and the only way we read to tackle it was to dig it up, roots and all.  We had our tree guy cut the bamboo down and then had our landscape crew dig it up roots and all.

During

During

With the help of our cousin, Kristina, this backyard is officially 1,000,000% better than it was.

Smith rear terrace

After

Hopefully this gives you a sense of where we’ve taken things around here.  A floorplan is next on my list to give you a better sense of how things relate to each other.  When I feel like I have so much to do around the house, it’s always a good reminder for me to check back to the Before pictures. We’ve come a long way, baby!

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33 thoughts on “House Tour

  1. This is GORGEOUS. Help, what paint color is that green paint in your living room? I have about 10 samples on my bedroom wall right now – one of them may be yours – I’m willing to try yet another to see if it looks good.

  2. Wow – this is amazing! I found you from Apartment Therapy. I’m soooooooooo envious of the size of the houses in America (I’m in the UK). It seems you have 3 living rooms, not including the play room upstairs! Wow! And the hallway is huge! Weren’t you tempted to replace the skylight with a non-leaking one or was it against the regs?

    • Ha! I think that’s probably right… we loved this house because the older (smaller) home had this nice big addition on the back. We were worried about taking out the skylight because it did bring in some nice light but it didn’t suit the period of the house at all. We also have plans to add an extra room over the garage so that roof will become a 2nd floor hallway. One day! Thanks for stopping by!
      xo
      Charlotte

    • Hi Sandra,
      I can’t find the source, but its called Meadow Lark by Warner Wallcoverings. Comes in white also. Look around on google as I seem to remember finding it from a random place for a pretty good price. Good luck!

  3. Great job…love it all, but man I loved the skylight. It offered up so much light, which now feels dark and small. I like the mix of modern and old. To me it adds character. Other than than I’d say it’s lovely and I love that you’ve reused so many items.

    • I know… We have plans to add a bedroom over the garage and this foyer will be reworked into a more proper entryway/ mudroom, but we felt the same way when that skylight came out. (P.S. it was in ridiculous shape…. leaking at every corner and had to come out!)

  4. So inspiring! Thank you for the pics and the entertaining commentary. I love older homes with all their character – it’s great that you chose to renovate with period details in mind. But good lord, you must have been living in dust and construction guys for a long time. Kudos to you for getting through it!

  5. Great home! Inspiring as we have a early 1900s home as well. I love all the colors? Where did you find the playroom rug? And the twin bed with guardrails? Thanks

  6. Thank you Charlotte for your absolutely gorgeous house tour!!! I found your blog on Apartment Therapy literally a few days ago and just love it..!!! I am so inspired by your project gallery. I’m now determined to have a go at Roman blinds for my daughter’s room! Hubby & I with our 3 gorgeous kids, plus a crazy miniature poodle, squeeze ourselves into a small semi in Sydney, Australia. We have a view of the Sydney Harbour bridge from our backyard, so being in our location in the beautiful city of Sydney is great but one day we dream of moving to an amazingly ‘large’ house like yours. Thank you for your inspiringly gorgeous blog!

    • Thanks, Tash!! Maybe we can do a house swap on day as your spot sounds amazing! I studied abroad in Sydney and lived in a dumpy apartment right off Coogee Beach… I wish I’d lived in your neck of the woods to really experience the city! 🙂 Roman Shades were surprisingly easy… you can definitely do it! Keep me posted! xo

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