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!


2014 Accomplishments: The House

I have completely neglected blogging about the house this year, even though there have been lots of big changes.

My only house detailed post this year includes the following projects:

  • Glass in the fireplace (the now functional fireplace has been very helpful when the heat goes out!)
  • Hardwood floors in kitchen
  • New laminate floor in sunroom

Outside, we started with the patio, and the sunroom, since that’s the outdoor area we use the most. As you can see in the Before picture, it was looking a little unloved to begin with, but a bit of paint, lattice, and mulch, and voila! An outdoor space we can enjoy even more.

Patio_Before_AfterOne of the things I missed most about our former home was my giant rose bush, so that was definitely on my list for landscaping success. I also added my potted herbs- mint, a citronella plant (now sadly deceased), and the third pot now contains a rosemary bush. As you can see, the mulch is currently not defined, but next spring I intend to put down a landscaping border to keep it all contained.

Patio2_Before_AfterWhen fall finally rolled around, we pulled out the big guns. I’m extremely fortunate to have a father who not only owns a Bobcat, but is also proficient in grading and finds ‘small’ projects like ours to be fun. So as soon as it became cool enough to plant grass, my parents came up for the weekend and we reduced the backyard to mud dirt.

Husband stomping down dirt in his new truck

Husband stomping down dirt in his new truck

The husband’s brand new (to us) truck came in pretty handy that day, and we took 2,100 pounds of debri (rocks, weeds, unusable nature stuff) to the dump. Then I came in the next day to seed. Of course, the house is on a hill, and of course it was pouring so hard that a seed spreader couldn’t make it through the mud- so I donned a rain coat and spread seed by hand, swearing and sliding all over the place. I’m sure our neighbors found that a sight to see!


Since these photos were all taken from different positions, a star marks a couple trees that are consistent throughout.

Another view of before and after

Another view of before and after

So now Drake has lots of space to run around!

After: Drake has grass to run around on!

In the front yard, a similar process took place. It’s so nice not to have the most embarrassing front yard in the neighborhood anymore!


The front yard- before: landscaping gone wild; after: bare but manicured!

Then inside, only a couple more projects have been taken care of since getting the hardwoods put in.

The first was the bathroom, which always reminded me of Mary Poppin’s carpet bag. I had a vision for a navy bathroom, so we essentially gutted it and began anew. For a 6′ x 6′ room, the bathroom reno took forever. Someone even walked out on us after giving up on the wallpaper removal. What a nightmare.

New paint, toilet, chrome fixtures, and black vanity

New paint, toilet, chrome fixtures, and black vanity

And then most recently, all those white appliances in the kitchen have been updated to shiny new stainless steel- thanks Black Friday for the good deals!

Hooray new appliances!

Hooray new appliances!

Whoo! That’s a lot done in 2014! Definitely a resolution for next year – be better about house blogging!!

Around the House: Spring Updates

This spring we have been busy busy trying to get some big goals accomplished! Namely, these include fixing the fireplace and remodeling the kitchen, half bathroom, and sun room. Now, we are about halfway through these projects, which means everything is a little catty-wampus, but it’s a step in the right direction…

Before: no glass, no logs, and a pet gate to keep the furbabies away… Now: Glass and a safe, functioning fireplace!


Out with the white, and in with the laminate!

Out with the white, and in with the laminate!

And then, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but here’s what’s going on with the kitchen!

The floors still need staining, but Drake approves of the progress so far!

The floors still need staining, but Drake approves of the progress so far!

Of course, as far as the kitchen goes, the new floors mark 1/4 of the whole remodel being complete. Eventually, the goal is to put in new countertops, update the cabinets with paint and crown molding, and replace the white appliances. You might say it’s a work in progress!

Lots more changes outside happening as well, but that’s another post!


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