Our first impression of our second house was that it hardly checked any of the boxes on the list of things we thought we wanted in a new house. We (thought we) wanted a vintage farmhouse. Our house was built in 2005. We (thought we) wanted another two-story house with all of the bedrooms upstairs and all of the living areas downstairs. Ours is a ranch with a walk-out basement. We (thought we) wanted a glorified tiny house. It consists of over 2,000 square feet on the main level. But, alas, we are converts! We love the convenience and cohesiveness that is ranch living. We love how the layout allows us to chat with each other even while we are in separate rooms and makes it easy to keep an eye (and ear) on our little guy without following him everywhere he goes. Because the bedrooms are on the main level, we use them more. As for the design aesthetic? We are loving the fact that our house stretches us in new ways, forcing us to work with the more modern layout and architecture as we hone our style. We would eventually like to go smaller-mo’ house, mo’ maintenance. But it serves us well at this stage in our lives. So, without further ado, come inside and let us show you around!
As you enter our home, a closet is to your right and the entryway to the formal dining room is to your left, through a set of French doors. The original front door was flanked by one sidelight. Marco and I are symmetry freaks and tend to prefer the simplicity of front doors sans sidelights so the old door was not so pleasing to our eyes. Furthermore, the house faces east and one measly sidelight did not do much to brighten this space. Ahead of you lies a walkway into the main living area, however this space is large enough to be something more than just a pass-through. We have several ideas for this space (Art gallery? Piano? Library?). We are excited to see where we land and give this room a purpose!
From the day we first saw our house, we planned to replace the door with one that incorporates a big ol’ pane of glass and do away with that sidelight. We are thrilled with the results! The vinyl faux wood and carpeting came up and solid hardwoods replaced them. The walls and ceiling got a fresh coat of white paint and a new light fixture was installed. We enter our home through the mudroom that leads to the garage so the closet near the front door was underutilized. We removed the closet door and incorporated a bench where guests can sit to remove their shoes and hang their hat. We painted the walls a deep, moody green and wired a sconce above the bench. This little jewel box is one of my favorite places in our home. Our orange-hued railings were painted a sleek black. We still need to install baseboards and replace the orangey trim that surrounds the bench nook.
The Living Room
Our living room is bordered by the entryway, the kitchen, the breakfast area, the screen porch and a bedroom. Although it features a vaulted ceiling, the stone fireplace and furniture arrangement (we pushed the furniture close together for a more intimate vibe) keep the space feeling comfy cozy. The ceiling is composed of solid tongue and groove paneling. The wall-to-wall carpeting and brown walls are not doing this space any favors. We should pause here to tell you that nearly every floor was carpeted and nearly every other surface was brown when we first laid eyes on our house. Makes for some ho-hum befores.
So far we have sanded and stained the aggressively orange mantel a dark walnut shade, painted the walls and ceiling a clean and bright white, tore up the carpeting and replaced it with hardwood flooring and plopped down some furniture. We will eventually remove that patio door so that the living room opens to the in-progress sunroom beyond. Our other plans for this room include hunting down a new ceiling fan or light fixture and adding beefier baseboards.
The Breakfast Area
Our ultimate DIY dream would be to replace those windows with a door that leads directly to the deck. This would give us the advantage of eating en plein air with minimal barriers between the kitchen and deck and minimal excuses to not eat outside-something our entire family loves. Plus it’s easier to leave the crumbs on the deck for the birds and squirrels than follow your child around with a cordless vacuum, am I right?
In this space we laid hardwood flooring, painted the walls and nixed the table in favor of a larger walkway. We removed the windows and replaced it with a supersized sliding door. Once the sunroom is finished, our set of wingback chairs will go there to live. That off-center light got the boot but we still need to upgrade the ‘lightbulb hanging from the ceiling chic’ look (not pictured for your own good). We are hoping to give this area some more attention soon!
Aye yai yai! Moving on. Just kidding…sort of. We really loved how our last kitchen turned out, so we are going to avoid fixing what ain’t broken while changing a few things to be consistent with our evolving style and needs as a growing family. We will paint the cabinets and tile the walls from counter to ceiling. We will opt for the same white wall paint that can be found throughout the rest of our house to keep things cohesive. We would love to try our hand at a new countertop material-this time maybe white concrete or granite-instead of quartz. And we plan to make the switch from polished nickel cabinet hardware to aged brass for an even warmer vibe that will juxtapose beautifully with the colder countertop material. We plan to extend the base cabinets on the stove/oven wall to create more countertop real estate where the desk once lived and lose some upper cabinets in favor of floating shelves.
We removed the base cabinets and countertops, ripped up the vinyl flooring and subfloor and laid hardwood flooring from wall to wall to offer boundless flexibility for future kitchen layouts. We then put back the base cabinets and countertops with the exception of the built-in desk. The pendant shades were donated to give the lighting the more industrial utilitarian vibe we love. We removed all of the upper cabinets on the oven wall (not pictured) and gave the walls a fresh coat of white. Finally, we upgraded our faucet to a touch model (three cheers for reducing salmonella poisoning!). We haven’t even touched this space’s full potential yet so we’re pretty excited about the possibilities.
This is not something we had on our must-have list when house searching, but now that we are here, we are in love. We love you, Pantry! The pantry-though extremely functional-is no beaut. She sports the same vinyl flooring as our kitchen once did and is pretty yawn-inducing. We plan to paint the walls, lay more hardwood flooring and swap the light out for something less factory fab and more us. We’d love to bring in some woven baskets and art to pretty up this frequently-seen-by-us space. She’ll shine up like a new penny when we’re done with her.
The Dining Room
This space was one of the few non-brown spaces when we bought our house. It was Brown’s close cousin, Rusty Red. This room faces east and gets gorgeous morning light. The light, however, is quickly absorbed by all that deep red before it can reach the more central rooms of the house. We will remedy this by painting the walls a much lighter neutral shade. The carpet came up before we moved in and we are currently working hard to finish the hardwoods in this area as well. The lighting fixture. Oy vey the light. Well, the plan was to wrap the swirly things (technical term) in jute to create a sort of fun, coastal element within the space, however, we are having great difficulty finding replacement shades that we like. So this gal’s days may be numbered. Then again, maybe we’ll resuscitate her. Time will tell. We plan to add crown and beefy base molding to this space as well. Lastly, the doors will undergo makeovers to create some nice contrast within the space.
The Master Bedroom
This room is fine but blah. And no one wants blah in the boudoir. The brown (again with the brown!) covers every surface, including the ceiling. Also, the overhead lighting is inadequate and the wall-to-wall carpeting appeared clean but held a lot of embedded dog hair. We quickly tore that baby up before moving in and will be laying hardwood flooring when we can get to it. It’s a marathon, this hardwood business. The room does have some cool features: a tray ceiling, lighting incorporated into the tray that creates a relaxed ambiance and a sliding door that opens to the deck. We are so excited to paint the walls and ceiling (I think we’ll go with a moodier color in here!) and lose the pleated blinds in favor of some easy, breezy curtains.
The Master Bedroom Closet
The master closet is spacious but could definitely work harder for us. We plan to extend the hardwoods into this space as well. We will amp up the function by living with this space for a while to evaluate how we use the space through the seasons of wardrobe adjustments. She’ll eventually get some lipstick (paint), jewelry (lighting) and probably a new set of pumps (rug).
The Master Bathroom
Our master bathroom is a spacious area which you would see if you could actually gain access to the room which is guarded by three doors that like to get all up in each other’s business. Assuming you make it into what we affectionately termed Alcatraz, you’ll find more brown…but you probably expected that by now. One door leads into the bathroom from the bedroom. The other two enclose the area where the toilet lives and the linen closet. My favorite feature in this room is the separate water closet/aka toilet room/aka place to hide from your toddler. We will paint the walls, update the flooring and vanity, replace the countertop and change up the lighting. Some new towel hooks and other accessories will really help to update this space.
The Mudroom/Laundry Room
Before we even moved in, we blew out the closet to create a new, larger entry into the kitchen. This not only made for a much more efficient path to the kitchen (which is where we typically head first when we enter the house), it did away with a wall that was encroaching into the kitchen itself and allows for more light to enter the windowless mudroom/laundry room. This is a nice, large space with a sink and way more cabinetry than we will ever utilize. It also features a dog wash basin, complete with drain, and terrible fluorescent lighting. Given that our family is dogless, we use the basin to store shoes. We will forego some of the cabinets (that will likely find a new home in the kitchen) opposite the washer and dryer to make space for a bench with shoe storage. We also plan to build a coat-hanging area that will cut down on visual clutter. We will paint the terra cotta walls a brighter color to help bounce more light around the space, upgrade the lighting situation, give the remaining cabinetry a face-lift and update the countertops, hardware and flooring.
The Second Bathroom
This is one of the spaces we are most excited about transforming. We use this room every day and it is visible from the living room. Again, brown. We will paint the walls and update the vanity, lighting and mirror.
Our Son’s Bedroom
Our little guy’s room has gotten the most love thus far. We really wanted him to feel settled in our new place so we worked extra hard to wrestle his room from “before” to “getting there” after we moved in. When we first bought the house, his walls were pea soup green and the curtain rods were hung low and close to the window, rather than high and wide. So far, we have removed those rods and the bifold doors on his closet, ripped up the carpeting, laid hardwood floors, patched the walls, painted the walls and ceiling, hung black-out shades, woven blinds and curtains, hung his art and created a place for him to store his treasures. We still need to replace the ceiling light fixture, install new door trim and install baseboards. I have big plans for that sweet little closet of his and I’m on the hunt for a nice, cushy rug too!
The Guest Bedroom
Aka the saw room. Why? Behold! (This is where we could insert an in-progress photo complete with our table saw and circular saw that will make some horror movies look like PBS but what kind of sicko takes a photo like that? Now that I think about it, I think I actually have it somewhere but I’m too lazy to go digging.) This room is presently our last priority. It works great for storing big, sharp tools that we need locked up and out of the reach of curious, little fingers but close enough to make laying our hardwood flooring efficient. So far we have ripped up the carpeting, taped off the vents to minimize sawdust floating to other areas of the house and set up shop. Eventually, we plan to paint the walls. They are currently…BROWN! We also plan to extend our hardwoods into this room, add new trim, remove the bifold door in front of the closet, add window treatments and-oh I don’t know-maybe put a bed in here.
The Screen Porch
We feel really blessed to have this space. Our old house did not have any sort of designated outdoor lounging space and the fact that this is an actual room with luxuries like screens to keep the bugs at bay and electricity so we can enjoy it into the evening just puts it over the top for us. You enter this room through a sliding door in the living room. There is a screen door in the porch that gains you access to the deck and backyard as well. The windows face south and west which allows our main living areas to get awesome exposure throughout the day. There are four can lights and a ceiling fan-albeit a droopy one. She may not have been rated for the great outdoors. Or maybe she’s just sad that this prime real estate is not knowing its full potential. The craziest thing about this space? A cable hookup. We have never had cable and have no plans to add it. We chuckled that one of the least television-watching couples in the country bought the house with cable access in a porch. But if we ever turn into the football game types (don’t hold your breath), we’ll be ready. As far as how we would like to use the space, we plan to create a dining/lounging/playing trifecta that will please everyone in the family. We hope to achieve this by vaulting the ceiling, incorporating a gigantic sectional sofa, finding a stylish and durable rug to up the comfort factor and hanging some pendants and string lights that we will place on dimmer switches. Oh yeah, and we may try to keep some plants alive out here too.
Our roof, siding and many other elements of our home’s exterior were damaged in a hail storm, mere months after we purchased our home. We’ve replaced the roof, siding, gutters, downspouts, exterior lighting, etc. The chain link fence was sold quicker than you can say Craigslist. The screen porch at the back of the house was ripped out and we are in the process of building a sunroom in its place. Afters to come when the winter grass turns green again!
And that concludes our little tour. Thank you for stopping by!