Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Home Renovation Journey

Today is the last day of February break and I've SO needed this past week to make some progress in this space before turning my attention back to teaching. I'll be honest in saying that it hasn't been easy juggling home renovations and school obligations (while also trying to fit in some fun and relaxation in an attempt to feel human/normal) but sometimes there are busy seasons in life and this happens to be one of them!

The past few months have been an incredible whirlwind between traveling for the holidays, starting a new semester at school (with new kiddos and new courses), packing up and moving out of my previous house, and moving into my new place. Luckily there was a three week period between when I closed on this new house and when I sold my previous house, so there was at least some time to get the renovations started before moving in. I'm also fortunate to have lots of extremely generous, handy, and helpful friends and family members! So much progress has been made in some areas and yet there also seems like there's still an incredible amount of projects left to complete (baby steps)!

First, some BEFORE photos of the new place...

Fixer Upper

The Exterior
When the Maine temps are a bit warmer, the exterior siding will be repaired and repainted and I'd also really love to add either a farmer's porch or at least a small covered porch over the front door. Garrison style homes are one of my least favorite styles of homes so I'll do what I can to add some curb appeal! One advantage that this home has over my last, is the garage! Although it's small, my car does fit (the very first thing I did after closing was drive my car into the garage) and hopefully next winter when the renovations are over, the garage will be empty enough for me to actually use it!

The Kitchen/Dining Area

Through the side entrance you come into the kitchen. The space was pretty dark and a bit cramped so my immediate thought was to tear down the wall between the kitchen and the separate dining room, which you can see through the doorway in the photo above. Removing the wall would allow more light into the space and would allow for a more open entertaining area.


Kitchen DIY

The layout of the kitchen would need to be reworked since the wall dividing the space is now gone, so I set my mind to designing a 'one wall' kitchen with a large center island and a walk-in pantry. The space is already so much larger and just makes much more sense for my style of living and entertaining.


Above is the view from inside the original dining room...the wall to the right has since been removed. Below is the 'before' and 'progress' views of the space with and without the wall. Hopefully by next weekend I'll have a partially functioning kitchen since I've been living off of a microwave and refrigerator for the last few weeks!


The Living Room
The sunken living room is really the space that sold me on this house (other than the great neighborhood)! I could see the potential in the brick fireplace, the built-ins, and the size. I also like that this space is right off the kitchen so it will make sort of one large continuous entertaining space. This is the room in the house that is the closest to being complete as I really needed at least one clean, happy place while everything else is in shambles! 

Here's a little sneak peek at the progress made so far:

The Front Room

Since the sunken living room was an addition to the house, the original structure also has a living room. Since I don't really need two full-sized living rooms, I decided to borrow some space from the front living room to add a walk-in pantry (accessible from the kitchen side). Although the brick chimney had to stay because it's hooked up to the boiler, the rest of the brick hearth was removed and the new pantry was framed in. I'm thinking I'll now turn the front room into a little office or reading/library area at some point. Below is a view from the kitchen where the door to the pantry was added (where those 2x4s are).


The Half Bath

The half bath on the main level also houses a laundry closet. The vanity & toilet have been removed and the tile wall has been demoed. New flooring has been added and I had the washer/dryer stacked. I also added paintable beadboard wallpaper to cover up all the imperfections on the laundry closet wall. A small cabinet with shelving above for some storage will be added to finish up the space.

The Full Bath

The bathroom was the first thing to be completed as I needed it to be up and running before I moved in. We had a two week time frame to get it all done! This space is a good size and since it's the only full size bath in the house I wanted to add a double vanity to make it more functional. After everything was gutted, the plumbing and electrical were moved and a new vanity (which I LOVE) was added. I chose to do a plank wall to cover up the wallpaper and the holes where the original lighting/electrical fixtures were. A new toilet, shower/tub, and new flooring have also been added. There's still some finish work left to do as well as decor (the fun part) but it's functional and looking good so far!

The Master Bedroom
 The master bedroom is a long and narrow space, the walls are covered in wallpaper, and the chimney runs up straight through one of the closets, so there were some design challenges. The first decision I made was to have one of the windows removed to better accommodate furniture placement. Other than right in front of the doorway, there was really no other place to put a queen sized bed! So, the window on the side wall was removed and then wood planks were added to the space to cover up the wallpaper (I gave up on my attempt to remove it). The chimney in the closet has to stay but it was painted white to better fit in! A new light fixture was added and the floors were refinished.

Progress so far...

The Other Bedrooms

The home has three other decent sized bedrooms (with great size closets, too)! Luckily, other than refinishing the hardwood flooring, there are only mostly cosmetic updates do be done in these spaces. The first room to get a makeover will be the 'pink room' which will be painted gray and turned into my office/craft room!


My plan is to do a separate blog post for each space in the house with lots of 'before' and 'after' photos and the details on each space. Be sure to check back in to follow along on this journey! I also post (almost) daily home renovation pics/videos on Instagram! Hope to see you there, friends!

Now, off to lesson plan for the week ahead!