November 24, 2012
I’m wondering if the areas outside a house are always in a constant state of updating, or if that’s just us. Either way, the exterior of our home seemed like the never-ending project.
We purchased our first home in 2009, but we ignored the outside areas for about a year. There were just too many things inside that were necessary to deal with first. Our house wasn’t deemed “livable” by the bank when we purchased it, so the inside was priority no. 1. After that first year, though, the outside was begging for attention. It actually continued to do so the rest of the three years we called this place home.
I don’t have any before photos of the exterior of our house, but I can list a rundown of some of the outdoor projects we tackled during our last three years here.
- Spray painted the shutters black. The shutters were originally a dull shade of blue. They weren’t too bad, but I needed more contrast for our tan house. I don’t remember what brand of spray paint I used, but whatever it was has held up remarkably well. In fact, you’d never guess they were once blue.
- Replaced the front door. The original front door was a solid, boring blue. We purchased a door with a glass insert from a salvage store and painted it black. It brings in a lot of light in to our living room, but it doesn’t take away much privacy since the door doesn’t lead directly into our living room. (The photo below was taken standing just outside the front door.)
- Added landscaping to the beds around the front of the house. The original landscaping was completely overgrown in some spots and nonexistent in others. The first thing we did was cut down an ugly, overgrown pine tree that was blocking our bedroom window. It took us a year to get the stump out of the ground. Literally. Then we trimmed down what could be saved, added a lot of new plants, some much, a stone boarder and landscaping lights. Whew!
- Added a landscaping bed around mailbox and trees to redirect water. We live on a hill, and water flowing down near the road was washing a lot of our ground away. Last year, my genius husband built up the area near the road with landscaping timbers to correct the water-flow issues. We added a stone boarder around the backside of the trees and mailbox to make a landscaped area. This new bed solved not only the water flow issue, but it also covered up a place in the yard that won’t grow grass because of trees overhead. (The iPhone picture below hopefully provides a better explanation that I could ever hope to write. Travis built up the area behind him higher with the landscaping timbers creating a ditch between the landscaped area and the road to direct water.)
- Completed the fencing in the backyard. This may have actually happened about six months, or so, after we moved in. The fencing was only partially done. I have no idea why. We finished the remainder of the fence and added a gate. We used leftover fence from a relative and purchased a damaged gate (it was easily repaired) to cut costs.
- Added a raised bed garden. My mother and stepfather came to my house in May 2010 while I was away at work one day and created the raised garden bed and planted my first crops for my birthday. I’ve enjoyed having a garden ever since. (The iPhone photo below is my garden this year just after planting.)
- Added a fire pit. In May 2011, my father and stepmother bought me a fire pit for my birthday. They helped us dry-fit the stone surround, and then we all enjoyed our first fire well into the night. You’ll notice in the photo below that the fire pit sits just to the right of my garden, which was looking much fuller when this photo was taken back in July. (The photo below was actually used on the MLS listing for our house.)
- Stained the deck. This project took us a year to complete. I wish I was kidding. One spring we pressure washed the entire deck, sanded the rails and added one coat of stain. Then we lost our momentum. I blame a wicked migraine given to me from the stain fumes. We didn’t add the second coat of stain until earlier this year when we decided to sell our house. You can read more about the initial stages of staining the deck here. (The photo below was also used on the online MLS listing for our house.)
- Painted the front porch. This is actually one of my favorite projects and probably one of the few that I’ve completed entirely on my own. Last year I painted the railing white and the porch floor a beautiful blue. This year, I only had to touch up the stair treads. I love my blue porch. To learn more about painting the front porch and staining the deck click here.
- Added a tree to the front yard. Earlier this year I purchased a weeping yaupon tree from a nursery that was going out of business. We used some leftover stone edging and made it its very own landscaped bed. Then, it went into shock and all of its leaves fell off. I’m happy to report that it’s doing much better now. It’s actually sporting quite a bit of green toward the bottom of the plant.
- Pressure washed everything. We’ve been pressure washing for the past two years. We’ve pressure washed the entire house, the front porch, the deck, the concrete pad under the deck, the retaining walls, etc. I really hope the new owner appreciates the squeaky-clean exterior.
- Built a retaining wall. Living on a hill also affected our backyard. Whenever it rained, large portions of the higher-elevated yard, mostly rocks, washed into the grassy area of the yard making mowing a huge challenge. We spent years trying to figure this one out. Eventually we decided a cinderblock retaining wall would do the trick. We wanted to cover up the cinderblock with steps leading into the yard, but we decided to sell the house before we could come up with a plan. The iPhone photo below was taken just after the wall was built. Dirt has been added to the top of the wall and grass has covered the dirt, but not much else has changed.
- Added a new roof. We’ve had quite a bit of foul weather in Chattanooga these past few years. Earlier this year, a particularly bad storm damaged our roof badly enough to warrant replacing the entire roof. Luckily, our insurance agreed to cover the cost, so we were only out the down payment, which we later got back a portion of when we got a referral bonus from some friends of ours using the same company.
We didn’t hire out for any of these projects (with the exception of the roof), so it’s pretty crazy to look back at all we accomplished in three, short years. I think we’re both pretty proud of how our house looks now. We definitely have the prettiest house on our street. (I know this for a fact because it was often mentioned during showings. Sometimes this was a good thing; sometimes not.)
The exterior of our home concludes the tour of our first home. If you’ve missed any of the fun along the way, click here to see what you missed.
p.s. Writing this post was a little bittersweet knowing that it’s the last stop on the tour. While we’re very excited about the home in our future, we’re also pretty sad to say goodbye to this place. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing our house as much as I’ve enjoyed showing it to you.
November 5, 2012
October brought with it much colder weather and also the end of the tour of the interior our current house. I still hope to be able to show you the exterior of our current house and the garage, aka the laundry room soon.
We kicked off October with a tour of the upstairs bathroom. This room is tiny, but it has served us well. Click here to see how we make the most of a small-ish bathroom.
The last spaces on the main floor of our home were the next up on the tour. I showed you all the details of our master bedroom and bathroom, and I shared what I dislike most about these spaces. Click here for all the details.
I took a break from the tour to show you a few items that have been on my wish list for awhile. I really need to get busy writing my letter to that jolly man in red. Click here to see some of what might be on my Christmas list this year.
I created some DIY map art a couple of years ago, so I figured it was about time I showed you. I can’t wait to incorporate this into some keepsake art to commemorate our first house. Click here to see how I made the map art and how I hope to use it in our next house.
Up next I showed you how we make our oh-so-easy nachos around here. It’s one of our favorite meals. For the “recipe,” click here.
Thanks to you guys, this blog experienced its highest site traffic to date in October! Thank you again to everyone who stopped by. Click here to read all about it. Seriously, thank you again.
The tour of our current house picked up again in the downstairs living room. We have a separate apartment downstairs, but we’ve never rented it out because this room serves so many purposes for us. Click here to see all the ways we use this room.
The tour then moved into the downstairs kitchen and bathroom. I know it’s odd to lump those two rooms into one post, but I promise it’ll make sense once you read the tour of those rooms. Click here to do just that.
The downstairs guest bedroom is the last room of the tour of the interior of our home. It’s one of my favorite rooms in the whole house, and I can’t wait to get more use out of this furniture in our next house. Click here to see what I mean.
The month wrapped up with a spooky Halloween greeting from my family to yours. Boo!
I can’t wait to see what November brings! Posting may be a bit more irregular that norming during the next couple of months, but I promise I’ll do my best to keep you updated on all the big change happening in our lives.
p.s. If you missed any of the rooms of the tour of our current home, click here.
October 30, 2012
There’s only one room left on our house tour: the downstairs guest bedroom. I’ve blogged about this room before, but it has only recently been finished.
We purchased the bed about a year or so ago, but it sat without bedding for a long time. When we decided to list the house, I knew I had to finally make the bed.
Most of the bedding was gifted, but I did score a fabulous deal on the Pottery Barn quilt. I purchased it from a consignment store for only $80.
I also scored a DKNY pillow that was originally listed at $115 for only $14.00. Thank you Tuesday Morning! It’s the tiny rectangular pillow in both of the above photos. Does anyone else think it’s crazy to pay $115 for a decorative pillow?
Another challenge to this room was deciding what to place in my old cradle.
My late grandfather made the cradle for me before I was born, so it has great sentimental value to me. My mother-in-law very kindly loaned me Travis’ baby quilt to place in it. It was hand stitched by his grandmother, so it is also hugely sentimental. A stuffed toy helped fill in the negative space in the cradle.
Directly across from the bed is a small gifted dresser with a T.V. atop it from my dorm days and a quilt ladder to its right.
The quilt ladder was a fun DIY project. For a long while this was the only ladder we had. It was so unstable, that I wasn’t allowed to use it for climbing purposes. Last Christmas we were given a new ladder so I disassembled our old one to use for quilt storage.
I think it’s quite charming in a rustic, beat-up sort of way.
Speaking of rustic, beat-up charm, I literally pulled the nightstand from the trash a few months ago.
All it needed was a good cleaning and some furniture polish to spiff it right up. I think it looks really sweet in this room.
I also pulled the art pieces located in this room from the same trash pile.
I researched the prints just for fun to see if the were worth anything, but, alas, no such luck. Even though they were signed, they were still only worth around $7 a piece. I had them framed for about $30/each (if I’m remembering correctly) at Hobby Lobby.
I’ve loved watching this room transform into what it is today. I can’t wait to be able to better use this bed in a future home. As of right now, this room has not seen an overnight guest in three and a half years. This bed has never been slept on, and I can’t wait to remedy that in a new house.
This room is the last on the tour of our current house. I plan on showing you the exterior of our home soon, which will conclude the tour. If you’ve missed any rooms, click here to see each room in its entirety.
Bed: Local Discount Furniture Store
Bed Quilt: Pottery Barn Matine Toile Quit in Navy, sadly no longer available in navy
Nightstand: Picked from Trash
Art: Picked from Trash, frames from Hobby Lobby
Paint Color: Autumn Fog, Valspar (left over from upstairs)
October 23, 2012
Welcome back to the tour of our current house! Today I’m showing you the downstairs kitchen and bathroom. I know it seems odd to combine the kitchen and bathroom, but neither room truly deserved its own post.
You may remember that downstairs we have an income suite. We’ve never rented this space, because we’ve always used the living room for multiple purposes. However, the rest of the space has been largely unused.
The kitchen is just to the right the living room. When you walk into the apartment, you can either walk straight into the living room or turn right and go into the kitchen.
The cabinets and countertops are the same as upstairs. These still feature the brassy pulls that were once upstairs too. The appliances came with the house, but they used to live upstairs.
Immediately to the left of the kitchen cabinets are French doors that open to the backyard. They let in a ton of natural light.
Our dogs used to call this room home while we were both at work. Roxy loved looking out the doors, and Izzy enjoyed cuddling on blankets while we were away at work. Now, this room doesn’t serve any purpose for our family.
The only change we made to this space was the paint. I can’t even remember what color it was before, and I don’t have a photo to remind me. The downstairs was an afterthought when it came to paint colors, so we used what we had leftover from upstairs.
This kitchen has a ton of space. I always pictured a renter having plenty of room for a large dining table and a moveable island.
The picture below shows the traffic path for this space.
The door on the right is a small hallway that leads to the downstairs bathroom and bedroom. The door on the left goes into the living room, where you can turn left to exit the apartment.
Directly across from the mirror you see in the above photo is the downstairs bathroom. (The photo below was snagged from the MLS listing for our house.)
Other than paint and a few accessories, this bathroom looks exactly the same as it did when we moved it. We, once again, used leftover paint, and the shower curtain and art are both left over from previous residences.
Dishwasher: Inherited with House
Oven: Inherited with House
Shower Curtain: Target, no longer available
Bathroom Art: Kirkland’s
Kitchen: Autumn Fog, Valspar (left over from upstairs)
Bathroom: Green Tea Leaves by Valspar (left over from upstairs hall bath)
If you’ve missed any of the rooms on this tour, click here to see each room in its entirety. Up next on the tour is the last official room in the house!
September 27, 2012
Welcome back to the tour of our current house! We’re hoping to sell our house this year, so a blog tour of each room seemed like a good way to remember our first home. We’ve already toured the living room, the eat-in kitchen and the office. Next up is the upstairs guest bedroom.
Many guests have enjoyed staying in this bedroom, which makes me feel like we did a pretty good job making it comfortable and inviting for our out-of-town friends and family.
The furniture is from a set I had at my Dad’s house growing up. It was my teenage bedroom suite — after my bunk-bed phase — that my Dad and step-mother surprised me with one year for Christmas. Needless to say, this furniture means a great deal to me. I’ve always loved it.
When we purchased our home, this room was very, very blue and very, very dirty.
We added the chair rail trim and gave the walls and ceiling some fresh paint. You’ll also notice the state of the floors when we bought the house in the photo above. Carpet was the best choice for us then, and we’re still loving it. I think the room is much improved.
One of the simplest updates we made to this room was removing the hanging string used to pull down the stairs to the attic. We replaced it with a wooden knob painted white. I think it really helped make the attic entrance disappear.
The drapery panels were a lucky find a few years ago. I scored them at Lowe’s for $3 each!
It took me a long time to realize why they worked so well in the room. My (then) 16-year-old cousin pointed out that the color of the damask pattern was nearly an identical match to the upper wall color. Is it just me, or are 16-year-olds smarter than they used to be?
In the interest of keeping it real, I’ll go ahead and show you what the interior of the closet in this room looks like now.
Yep, that’s it! At one time, this closet was jam packed with some of Travis’ clothes and a shelf he built for some of my dish overflow from the kitchen. (For the record, he has way more clothes than I do.) Once we decided to try to sell our home, we decluttered and put a bunch of stuff in storage. I’m hoping we’ll be able to pare down what’s in storage and get rid of some stuff when we move. I might even be able to part with some of my beloved dishes, but I doubt it. Just typing that sentence made me sad.
There are a couple of art pieces with this room that I’m pretty fond of. The first hangs outside in the hall. It’s the last thing our guests see before entering their room for the night. (It’s also the last thing we see before entering our room every night, too!)
Isn’t it fun? It was a Christmas gift from my Mom a few years ago.The door to the guest bedroom is just to the right of this fun little piece of art. It’s actually the only artwork in the hallway that leads to all of the bedrooms upstairs. The hall is painted the same color as the living room and kitchen, in case you were wondering.
My other favorite art piece is inside the guest room.
My in-laws bought me this adorable Michael Sowa Diving Pig print one year for Christmas, and I absolutely love it. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me.My husband is on the other side of the fence and thinks I’m a bit crazy for loving this pig so much. He just doesn’t understand. 😉
Quick tip: In lui of using a bed skirt, I simply bought the quilt a size up. It just barely skims the floor — eliminating the need for a bed skirt — and looks lovely. Plus, guests are able to double it over if they get cold during the night, which has actually been known to happen. I suppose this room is just extra cold during the winter months.
Since we’re still waiting for our home to sell, I’m sure we’ll be able to have many more guests stay with us in this room before we leave. We love entertaining and having overnight guests, and this room as served us — and our guests — well for nearly four years.
Furniture: Gifted many, many years ago
Drapes: Lowe’s, allen + roth, sadly no longer available
Quilt: Belk, also no longer available
Framed Michael Sowa Diving Pig Art: Kirklands, no longer available. However, this can easily be found online.
Hallway Art, gifted
Above the chair rail: Cliveden Gray Morning by Valspar
Below the chair rail: Somkey Olive by Valspar
August 20, 2012
First up on the house tour of our first home is the living room. Join me as I walk through the space (and down memory lane a bit).
When we purchased the home in 2009, the carpet and been removed and every surface was filthy. We hired a professional cleaning company to clean the entire house, but we still found ourselves scrubbing every surface after their second cleaning attempt. Imagine me scraping boogers off closet walls and cleaning walls with Swiffer mops. It wasn’t pretty.
The guys from the cleaning company did a great job, but the house had many stubborn layers of grime from the previous owner and his dogs. It also smelled pretty bad.
Now our living room is looking much better. It’s amazing what a good cleaning, a coat of paint and new carpet can do for a space.
When you enter the front door you walk into a small entryway that leads either into the living room or downstairs to the basement.
We sold the banister and its spindles at a yard sale a couple of months ago. It’s always nice to know that something that didn’t work for you is finding new life in someone else’s home.
The sofa has always been a favorite spot in our house whether we’re entertaining or just chilling with the pups.
The large mirror above the sofa was a lucky consignment store find. It bounces around a ton of light and helps make the room feel larger. It measures just shy of five feet wide by four feet tall. Hanging it was a tricky endeavor, but well worth it.
Since putting our house on the market, we’ve removed all of the personal details, so you won’t see the family photos or other personal items that once made this room feel more like people actually live here. One of my favorite personal effects in this room, which has now been removed, was the collage of photo frames on one wall.
The frames coordinated with the mirror nicely without being in-your-face matchy matchy. I blogged about the photo frame collage last year. Click here to read more.
During the Christmas season, our tree replaces a chair in the corner. We’ve hosted Christmas dinner in this house for the past couple of years, so it’s always been a really special place to decorate.
The half wall sometimes acts as a sofa table. I’ve had a lot of fun decorating it for the different seasons.
The orange pillows stuck around way after the fall season last year. In fact, they stayed on the couch until we depersonalized the room in preparation for selling our house.
There were a couple of changes we weren’t able to make in the few years we lived here. I would have loved to add a mosaic tile in place of the tile on the fireplace surround.
We also had big plans to build a shelf under the television to house media components. It has a large hole behind where the TV sits, and we had always planned to make it look more custom.
Our living room has been the central hub of our house for nearly four years. We’ve loved it since we moved in, and we’ll continue to love it until we sell our house.
Sofa, Fowler’s Furniture
Coffee Table, Fowler’s Furniture
Chairs, Ashley Furniture, Darcy Collection, Color: Cafe
Decorative Pillows, Kohls
Chenille Throw, Target
Large Mirror: Local Consignment Store
Picture Frames: Hobby Lobby
Paint Color: London Coach, Valspar
Update: A new page has been added that lists the entire house tour. To see the entire house tour, click here.
I’m linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Show Us Your House Party.