The House’s Big Bad Before and After Post: The Exterior Edition

When we first bought the house on the hill, the landscaping left something a lot to be desired. The place had obviously been vacant for some time, and the surrounding foliage had gone wild.

The house sits on .4 acres, and all but a tiny sliver was actually usable to us. Drake would disappear in the underbrush of the backyard so often we learned to just wait for his reappearance. I don’t have a wonderful picture of the original backyard, but you can get an idea of how dark and thick it was through the windows of this shot of the sunroom:


Eventually we got in there with hand clippers and stripped all of the tiny trees and brush that we could, until we got to this point below. We then decided to take out a huge pine that would kill us in an instant were it to fall, and then the official re-landscaping began. Here are some in-progress photos of the backyard:


Another view of before and after

Another view of before and after

Now the entire backyard is grass, and we love how open and yet private it still is.



Besides the grass, we also took the time to install lattice and put mulch down around the little patio, making it feel more complete and less… unloved. This is one of my favorite places to sit in cool evenings with a book and watch Drake get his zoomies out in the yard.


In the front we had a similar, if not worse disaster, given that all of the weeds and landscaping-gone-mad was firmly rooted in landscaping cloth. I kid you not, that stuff is meant to last and it is a PITA to get up. Many, many hours of sweat, blood, and tears later we turned it into a barren, but easily maintained pine-covered space.


Last, but not least, is the house itself. The original light grey and bright blue shutters screamed 90s, and since it was due for a repainting, we went with a much warmer color scheme of green and brown, with ivory trim. This was another project that took forever (even though we hired people), but it’s another one that transformed the house on a hill.


I like to think that the neighbors are so much happier after we’ve made all our changes to the exterior of the property. It was a long time in the making, but I now think that someone else could easily fall in love with the place and hopefully want to make it their own!


The House’s Big Bad Before and After Post: First Floor Edition

So, folks, the end of an era is drawing near with this new lawn ornament:


So, now seems a good a time as ever to go through the house with a summary before and after post. Starting with the first floor, which, like the rest of the house, was a bit rough when we first saw it.


As with most foreclosures, the former residents took some angst out on the house, and so drywall patching was a must. The top “before” picture is actually post-drywall patching, but you can still see evidence of the kicked in fireplace and log carnage. Otherwise, our changes were basically paint and fixtures. This color is called Sharkey Grey, and it’s such a nice, neutral griege that we used it through much of the house.


Next up was the dining room, again just basic paint and fixtures. One thing we love so much about this house is the ample natural light- oftentimes I don’t even need to use electricity to see, which is definitely a bonus.


Oh, the kitchen. Our biggest remodel in many ways. The absolute first thing to go was the hanging light in the nook, since the thing nearly decapitated us so many times and we simply didn’t feel the need for an eat-in kitchen table. Then the husband had the unfortunate task of taking down the wallpaper below the chair rail, an insanely tedious task that probably took over 6 hours to accomplish. Then fresh paint (Garden Shed by Martha Stewart), and new appliances. Following that we replaced the torn and dingy linoleum with hardwoods to match the rest of the house. Then those disgusting gold knobs got switched out for new hardware and we saved our pennies up for granite countertops. I can tell you how thrilled I was to replace that disgusting, stained ceramic sink! Finally, many, many man hours later, we finished painting the cabinets (White Duck by Sherwin Williams) and tada! Kitchen reno complete.

New paint, toilet, chrome fixtures, and black vanity

New paint, toilet, chrome fixtures, and black vanity

This one was also a total gut job (albeit much harder to photograph). We had to use two different professionals to take down the Mary Poppin’s carpet bag wallpaper, since the first one quit after 5 hours, saying he has never in his career seen wallpaper that hard to remove. The cabinet-style vanity got removed and a bit of drywall repaired, then we installed a new water-efficient toilet, vanity, and completed the bathroom with chrome hardware.

Out with the white, and in with the laminate!

Out with the white, and in with the laminate!

Last but not least, the sunroom. The husband hated this room when we first got the house, and I understood why- more stained linoleum, dinky white fan, etc etc. When we put in hardwoods we opted to finish this room out with laminate wood, and completed the space with a funky fan and wicker furniture. Now the space is a fun and inviting outdoor living area that we definitely enjoy!

It’s fun to go back and look at how much has changed since that first walk-through 3 years ago. It’s so nice to finally say that our vision is complete, and I desperately hope some buyer will quickly fall in love with the remodel!


2013 Accomplishments Part II: The House

This is a big one all in itself, considering we didn’t even own a house until February. After our harrowing purchasing experience though, here’s what we have done so far (sorry for the picture heavy post!):

  • New carpet throughout
  • New paint (inside and outside)
Living room transformation

Living room transformation with equestrian theme

  • Pressure washed stairs
  • Landscaped Front Entry
  • New door hardware & accessories
Guest bathroom makeover

Guest bathroom makeover

  • Tiled master bathroom floor
  • Removed wallpaper: kitchen, master bath
No more wallpaper!

No more wallpaper!

  • New cabinet pulls in kitchen
  • New fans and light fixtures throughout
Dining Room with paint and chandelier

Dining Room with paint and chandelier

  • Finished Carolina and State rooms
  • Fix fireplace
  • And oh yeah, start a blog about our house on the hill 🙂
The Carolina Room

The Carolina Room

Woowhee! Next year I hope we get through some of this list, that we didn’t get to this year…

  • Remove jungle Thin trees in back yard
  • Landscape front yard
  • Paint cabinets in kitchen
  • Granite countertops in kitchen
  • Tile floors in kitchen
  • Hell, remodel the entire kitchen
  • Replace grody couch in living room
  • In general drive my husband crazy with new decorating ideas

Preparing for madness

I had a great lesson Sunday, which I am hoping to post about when I get video from a friend, but until then, I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get ready for the invasion guests that will be arriving tomorrow.

These guys, plus 1 more human, plus 1 dog

These guys, plus 1 more human, plus 1 dog

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. But no one who has ever met my family would say they were boring. I suppose no one thinks their family actually is boring, but sometimes I feel that the individuals that make up my closest relatives have rather a knack for the unusual. Driving London taxis, hiking the Appalachian Trail, and randomly acquiring new species of animals as pets are just three of the most recent activities I can attribute to them.

My sister used to breed hedgehogs. No joke- this was her 'stud'

My sister used to breed hedgehogs. No joke- this was her ‘stud’ hog

In any case, I am doing my best to prepare the house for the inevitable chaos that is to ensue once our house gains 8 more inhabitants. Luckily this means that I have extra incentive to finish the guest rooms, which look like this to date:

The State Room

The State Room

The Carolina Room

The Carolina Room

The Carolina room is lacking a mattress (coming soon) and the State room is lacking paint (what oh what do I paint it??). Our study will also be acting as a guest room, since where else can you put 7 people (and a dog).

Study AKA Man Cave AKA Temporary Guest Room

Study AKA Man Cave AKA Temporary Guest Room

Otherwise, the turkey is ready in the fridge and soon enough the people will be here. Expect a few days away from the computer while we stuff ourselves silly with Thanksgiving goodness. Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving! and God bless!

A fresh coat of paint (!!!)

I love painting. It’s the easiest way to make a big impact on anything: a wall, a piece of furniture, a house…

As I might have mentioned in a previous post, I have been working on refinishing a piece for the Carolina Room. The dresser was part of a set that also included 2 side tables, a massive credenza, and one of the ugliest headboards I have seen. All but the latter now reside in our master bedroom, having been refinished before the move. They were quite obviously several decades old and needless to say, needed some help. All that was left is the dresser, as the others are now painted grey and sanded in a shabby-chic type fashion.

So without further ado, here is the dresser before and after:

Before and After

OK, so the feet aren’t done, but will be soon! Just need to drag in some protective plastic

Behind the dresser you can also see the color I am thinking of painting the walls. It just so happens to be practically identical (as in when you squint you can’t tell a difference) to the color I put in the guest bath. I guess I just love that color! (And sorry honey, that doesn’t make me a Carolina fan!)

The other slightly bigger project that has been going on for the past week has been the house. While also not quite done (a few touch-ups needed here and there), it’s also far enough along that I think I can share it with you.

Drumroll please….

Front of house

Front of the house in the strong morning light

The back of the house

The back of the house. The light is playing a few tricks with the color, it’s even in person!

Another view of the house closer up

Another view of the house closer up

Granted, it’s hard to really get the color right with my iPhone’s camera, not to mention different times of day, but…No more sad grey house! Gone are the horrid blue shutters! Hooray!

A couple small things are still to be done as well, such as spray painting the light fixture by the door and getting a new kickplate. We also received a *lovely* horse head door knocker as a house warming gift that is going up soon!

 Next up is the master bath, which has tile going in as we speak. Lots of changes around here!

So, what do you think? Post your thoughts below 🙂

In which Britt complains about Rain

Seriously, it stinks. Meaning, I would much rather be out playing with ponies but instead I’m forced inside to tackle more DIY projects around the house. Right now we’ve got two projects going on, making over a dresser to go in the ‘Carolina Room’ (Oh, you didn’t know we have rooms named after universities?) and the other is the removal of the oh-so-nineties wallpaper from our master bathroom. Following that, I intend to stencil a feature wall in the Carolina Room and paint the other 3 walls some color I haven’t figured out yet.

Here is a pic of the stencil that I’ll be using (I got about 75% of the master bedroom wall done before decided it was too busy with our bed and painting over it).


All of this I want done in the next month or so, so I can then paint the master bath and put a bed in the Carolina Room in preparation for all the guests at Thanksgiving 🙂

I have all this to do, yet I would rather play outside. Tomorrow may be good though, as Foster and I are heading to MacNair’s, this time for a saddle fitting. I am *hoping* to take advantage of their beautiful covered arena and school briefly if they will let me. After that I have the feeling it’s going to be some time before we get back to business at home.

I bet the rain will stop… in time for hurricane season!

What are you guys up to with all the rain? Do you use it to relax inside or for forced labor?