Hey guys! We’ve moved into our 5 years ago this month! That’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one place since moving out of my folks’ place – head’s up – that was 15 years ago! We love this house so much, like the most! We’ll be staying here for the long haul. We’ve/I’ve been busy the last few years really trying to make this house our own. I believe that making a home is one of those things that really happens over time, in layers. I couldn’t imagine making it all happen overnight like it does on TV. I don’t have the money, or natural instinct to do that.
I’ve spent the good part of a week working on a full house tour to share with you guys, which includes lots of pictures and some Before & Afters. More than anything it’s an excuse to pat myself on the back and remind myself how very awesome I am (I kid), but honestly, I do feel really proud of what this place has become. I know it will continue to change throughout our time here, and I think that’s what makes it ours.
So let me show you around.
We’ve never had a real grown up bedroom with a real bed frame and nightstands. This is big time for us! We’re really, really happy with how the space turned out, especially now that both the sunroom
and the bedroom feel like the same space. It cliché for me to say, but the space is really peaceful now, and I love spending lazy times in bed. The only thing that could possibly make it any better would involve my kids learning how to sleep in on the weekends.
The master bedroom makeover all started with the sunroom revamp
last spring. The sunroom (aka sun porch, aka four-season-porch, aka coolest spot in the house) had been very neglected and overlooked. Five years ago it was the main reason we bought the house, but then life happened. We got busy, couldn’t find our decorating groove in the bedroom and the porch was forgotten for a little while. It became the place where random furniture came to rest. We tried to give it a cool vibe with lots of vintage decor, but it just wasn’t coming together.
Last spring I made a plan and we were determined to make this sunroom the awesome space we always knew it could be. It started with learning how to reupholster the mid-century sofa
and followed up with adding floating shelving
to solve the problem of the porches sloped floors. With a color palette of navy and coral I was able to pull the entire space together with a few key pieces and lots of plants. Now we spend lots of time hanging in the space, and I get to work in here almost daily.
Our guest bedroom has had many identities
since we’ve moved in. Originally it was a spare room that we used for storage, the door was shut for nearly two years because it was such a crazy mess in there. Then old G-Man came along (aka Gus, aka the 2nd kid) and the game was changed. It turns out that Gus needed his own room, so we made him a nursery
and that’s where we put him at nights and stuff.
I decorated the nursery in yellow and grays and it’s remained that way since becoming a guest room last year. In the fall of 2013 the kids started bunking together, and the nursery was no longer needed. I collected all the yellow, grey and white things I could find in the house and threw them all into the “yellow room”. Somehow it all worked out and didn’t cost a dime
. Now we have a guest room that is most often used as a quarantine when someone in the house is sick. Didn’t you know, in-house infirmaries are the new hot trend in home design this year?
I know I just introduced the new boys’ room makeover early this week, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to include it again here. This space makes me jealous of my kids. They have no idea how good they’ve got it. Their bunkbed, first and foremost is amazing. We’ve had it for about 18 months now and totally love it, it’s the Oeuf Perch bunk bed
, it’s the coolest. Also, I would have died to have little reading shelves and lights in my bunkbed when I was a kid.
Both boys really like the new geometric paint pattern that their awesome mom spent a weekend making cool for them. It adds a lot of kid vibes to the space without screaming “oh my god, kids, color, baaah!” It’s kind of mature and modern in a cool-boy-sort-of-a-way, ya know? Finn loves that it goes right over the top of his bunk, and it blew his mind that I painted on the ceiling!
The front porch
is definitely our top spot in the summertime. There isn’t a night or weekend that goes by that we don’t hang out here. Because it’s our warm-weather-goal to hang out here as much as possible we’ve added a small dining space as well as a mini living room. We decorated it in a style that we like to call “urban cabin
” in homage of all the “up north” cabins we’ve vacationed at and loved over the years. It’s our dream to have a cabin of our own someday, but this porch does a pretty good job of replicating the cabin lyfe.
Okay, you guys know I love my gardens
. I feel bad for you if you don’t like gardens because I’m about to post an obscene amount of garden pics. Why? Because it’s the start of spring, and a lot has happened to this garden and backyard over the last 5 years.
When we first moved in there weren’t any gardens or flower beds. Instead there was a rock garden full of dog poop, and a pee stained yard. Within days of moving in I started cleaning the yard with the help of my mom. It started by removing the rock garden and later on in the first summer, I added flower beds around the perimeter of the yard. My first perennials were almost all hand-me-downs that had been divided from my mom and grandma’s gardens. Since then I’ve purchased a few here and there and have continued to divide what I have every year. I’m finally to the point where all of the gardens have filled in. I can not wait to get in there and fine tune everything this season.
Last year we were able to replace the chain-link, green plastic fence with a cedar horizontal slatted fence
. We also fenced in a parking pad on the back of the lot and extended our useable outdoor space. We’re really happy with how the fence has turned our urban backyard into a private-garden-hang-space.
For us, our kitchen was that thing that makes young house buyers say “this house would’ve been perfect if it wasn’t for that one really gross crappy thing”. Back then I was clueless when it came to handy work and home renovations. I was blind when it came to seeing the potential of a space, and in our kitchen I couldn’t see past the bad backsplash and weird layout. It seemed unfixable at the time. We decided to pass on the house and continued on in our hunt. A few weeks after we had checked the house off our list, our realtor urged us to look at it again with the aid of a contractor to help us realize its potential. It was soon made apparent that the kitchen wasn’t so bad, and that maybe someday we could do something about it. Obviously we ended up buying the house.
After finishing this project I began to appreciate the history of this old house even more than I already had. It would have been a shame to remove original pieces from the home, especially when creative thinking was all it took to make a space function and fit the style of this century.
Our small living room is located right off the entry way of our house and opens up to the dining room. It’s always been a tricky space for me, with two large entry points and a radiator on a third wall, furniture arrangements are very limited. After trying all the furniture layouts
we settled on this winner a few years back. It really opened up the space, making it feel bigger and open to the other spaces it opens to.
Our dining room is practically the same way it’s been for the last 106 years, all I did was put a table in it, paint the walls and change the light fixture. The room is paneled in quarter sawn oak (aka tiger oak) and the centerpiece of the space is the built-in-buffet with leaded glass windows.
I’ve never been a big fan of natural woodwork, but the oak in our home is so rich and dark that I just couldn’t resist liking and appreciating it a little bit, especially in the dining room.
We’ve gotten really creative and dubbed this room “the music room”. It is kind of a lame and pretentious name, but that’s what it is, I guess. It’s the room that is home to all of our records, stereo, piano and other assorted instruments.
I’m not gonna hide it, you guys – this room has me itching. I just have this feeling that there has to be a better way of organizing and decorating this space. So there, I threw it out there, we will see.
If there’s one space in this house that I’ve barely touched, it’s the entry way. We added wallpaper to the vestibule, painted and added a desk, but I feel like this space could be so much more than it is. It’s just such a hard space to figure out.
When the kids were little I used to work from the desk while they played in the living room, but now that they are older and don’t need constant surveillance, the desk is used as a drop zone for mail and other assorted junk. It doesn’t work in the space anymore and a change needs to be made. I have no ideas, but I’m sure that once the summer is over I won’t be able to resist taking this head on – sorry, husband.
It’s so hard to look at ugly houses and try and imagine what they can be, especially when you’re faced with the decision of having to buy it or not. The exterior of this house was ugly when we got it
– there were so many bad things about it. First, there were the green awnings, and second there was the wide asbestos siding. The siding still kills me to this day, although I’m better friends with it then I was. It’s so sad that under all that bad stuff is the original clapboard. It seems like it would cost so much money to abate the siding and restore what is there, but who knows, maybe someday it will make sense. For now we’ve painted it dark blue
and added white corner board. We also had all of the storm windows painted dark brown – I think they make the whole paint job. After a big storm damaged our roof we replaced the mint green roof shingles with new charcoal architectural shingles and it makes so much difference to the overall look.
So that’s it, pals. Looking back is fun to do! I’m excited to see what house adventures lay ahead of us. Making the decision to hunker down in one house, and commit to living our lives here has been really satisfying. As we grow older there’s always that option available to move on to a different house, but I’ve found it really satisfying to make this home work for us so that we can make all of our family memories here.
Wow – I’ve seen all these projects already on the blog but stacked next to each other, it’s even more impressive! If you run out of projects and need more blog fodder, I’ve got a St. Paul house with scads of opportunity. ;)
Ha! I might have to take you up on that, but I’m pretty good at finding projects for myself ;) Thanks!
This post. Perfect timing. You are a huge inspiration to me – your home is stunning – no other word for it. And the fact that you tackled so much of it single-handed is just the coolest thing. We moved into a 100+ year home two years ago and we’ve tackled lots of stuff but mainly by bringing in the professionals (think new windows, new roof etc). I’ve run out of steam for the next phase (decorating, flooring, joinery) and this post is just what I needed to get me going again. Thank you.
Thanks so, so much, Rosie! I hope you find some more inspiration here – you’ve done good for only two years.
Swoon. I love all of it. I don’t even think I could pick a favorite room….and that garden…
Awh, Thanks Melanie! Yeah – glad you are into the garden, I love my house but I really love my garden!
Ugh, your garden! It makes me want a real garden (I’m an apartment dweller so I suppose I should get into container gardening in the meantime).
Congrats on the anniversary, the house looks great! I’ve enjoyed following your progress, looking forward to seeing what’s next.
Yes! You should do that! Container gardening will make you happy, promise.
Man, your garden has me crazy jealous. Do you make house calls?!? Kidding (not kidding?) ha!
Ha! Thanks, Ashley!
This is great! It’s nice that you can take stock of all the hard work you have done to bring out the potential in this home. Even the dining room – though the changes are not as radical there, the room definitely feels brighter and more purposeful. We just put an offer on a 100+ yr old house with many similar attributes so I am bookmarking this for inspiration!
Claire! Congratulations on finding a home, I hope that the offer is accepted and everything goes smoothly for you! These old homes are so full of history, you’re gonna love it.
I love love love your home. If you’re looking for more blog post inspiration, I’d love to see how, exactly, your dark wood trim on the main floor transitions to the white trim seen in your upstairs’ rooms and I’m guessing your hallway? Our house has wood trim downstairs and white upstairs, too, and the transition at the top of the stairs drives me nuts but I’m not sure how to change it!
Good suggestion, Sarah! The secret is all in the Orla Kiely wallpaper, but I’ll for sure expand and do a post on this. Maybe I’ll share some floor plans too – maybe I’ll have to do another sketchup like I did for the basement. I’ve also been considering painting our stair risers white, so sounds like I have lots to share with you guys.
Yes to white risers! We are planning on doing that this spring, too. Cheers!
Cool! I’m a little scared, but I think it could look so great. I’d love it if you sent me a pic when you were done!
Gawd this is inspiring! CONGRATS!
I bought my 1906 Victorian in March of last year. It was June when I moved in (had a little problem with the existing tenants / squatters / garbage burners) At this point I’ve really only managed to do some light projects (but the garage has a new roof and my dad has been leveling the house, you’d feel drunk walking through it) Your blog is a favorite on mine to remind me to keep my eye on the prize, so thanks, and keep up the great work!
Oh wow, Beks! You really have a lot of projects ahead of you, that is so exciting! In hind sight I kind of wish this house would’ve been more of a fixer-upper, those challenges are so satisfying.
You have done such a beautiful job Scoops. I too love the garden best, and I’m missing the peonies from my last yard in Portland so it’s nice to see yours. That gorgeous fence has made all the difference.
Thanks, Vanessa! Are you able to put peonies in your new space? Last year a lot of my peonies got trampled when the fence went in, I’m looking forward to seeing them all full grown and thriving this spring.
I can probably put peonies into this garden, but we have been undecided until just recently about whether we were going to stay and refinance or sell and look for another project. I think now we’ll stay until the youngest gets through High School so it will be worth it to make that kind of commitment to the garden. Gardening in California for the first time, I couldn’t help myself and planted a small lemon but the whole time I was thinking, “I hope the new people like this little tree.”
Oh man, that makes me bummed for you that you have to think about the future owners. It sounds like you see these houses as projects though, and that sounds pretty fun too. Good luck!
Beautiful home! Here’s an idea: how about a video house tour?…..please…
Hey Dinah, I’ll def consider this – it would mean I’d have to have my entire house cleaned at the same time though ;)
I’ve been following your blog for a while now but never left a comment, I am more the quiet reader type :) But after reading your home tour post, I just have to shout out “WELL DONE! LOVE IT!” what a transformation! Give yourself a nice pat on the shoulder. You are such an inspiration, thanks to you, I painted an old IKEA sideboard I had in my living room in “Dragonfly” teal! I thought if Scoops can paint her living room in that, I sure can paint a sideboard in that colour….and I LOVE it, even hubby was impressed. And I almost sold it, cause I hated it in black, so thanks! I also love gardening and can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt! Anyways, just wanted to say hi and keep up the good work, can’t wait for your basement makeover….no pressure :)
Mia (from Toronto, Canada….where it’s still so FREAKING COLD!)
Awh, Thanks so much for saying, “Hi”! I’m so glad to hear you are a fan of the “Dragonfly”! Dark teal is probably my favorite color, and I think that BM color is such a perfect shade of it! Also, it’s still cold here too, we got a taste of spring and then it went away, so unfair!
So freaking beautiful. All of it.
Thanks so much, Kim!
What a beautiful transformation! I absolutely love your garden and fencing. The richness of the wood is so great with all of your plantings. I especially love the peonies! My favorite!
Thanks so much, Paula! I’m excited to share the fence – I’ve stained it a dark chocolate since last summer, and I think it looks really fantastic. That post is coming soon!
I am still obsessed with the exterior of your home. What a makeover!!! And your windows boxes! Love.
Thanks, Katherine! We love being the blue house on the block!
Can I ask a random/possibly gross question? Given your taste for white bedding (which looks awesome), how do you keep your bedding, particularly pillowcases, from looking dingy (or worse, sweat-stained) over time? Oxyclean? Bluing? I’m impressed that you have such a fresh clean look even in the in the boys’ room – whatever your method is, I’m sure they’ve put it to the test.
Hey Claire! No worries, I often wondered the same thing myself. For our bedroom, I just do the regular every two week bedding washing schedule. The duvet I choose (from West Elm) has a heavier cotton reverse side, and it holds up well. I keep a bleach pen in my bedside dresser drawer so that I’m always prepared for kids stuff that gets on the bed. We only have white euro shams and we always move them to the back of the pillow pile when it comes time for sleeping so they rarely are laid on by our messy heads.
For the kids room – it’s been fairly easy. They have a rotation of sheets – they do get messy a lot and I just rip them off the bed and throw them in the wash as soon as they do. I have backup bedding stashed in their room and I just switch it out as needed. Hope that helps!
We’re celebrating 5 years in our 125-year-old house this year! Your place looks amazing and it’s so much fun to see the transformation over the years. Great job!!
Congrats to you Kerry – it feels good to settle down in a place, doesn’t it?
Love your house. Love your style! Did you ever think about painting the bottom half of your front porch in the same blue as the house?
Hey Kate! I never have really thought about it, only because the foundation is made of cast concrete and it wraps around the entire house. I feel like it all needs to be the same color. I do sometimes wish that we would’ve had the porch storms painted the same dark brown that we had done on the rest of them.
I love how your home turned out! I’m totally inspired by this. I can’t wait to purchase a house one day and renovate it to look as adorable as yours. I love your contemporary eclectic style as well! Great post!
Thanks so much Alexa, that’s so sweet of you to say.
So much eye candy here! I really love your home, I love the bright rooms but also that you left some of that beautiful wood alone and picked out paint colors that compliment instead of painting it white… for me personally I’d be really torn since I love white but you did it justice. Man, such a good house tour! Nice work!
Thanks, Jody! I’m glad we left the wood too, although it’s been tempting at times to paint it white – especially since it’s hard to find a lot of natural woodwork inspiration out there.
Like earlier commenters, I have seen the improvements unfold, but when you stack them up, its really quite something. There are some radical transformations! I have also had my home for about 5.5 years, and we just recently managed to re-attach two doorknobs that were loose for several years. It is amazing and inspiring to see all that you’ve accomplished.
Hey, progress is progress. I had a bunch of little things piling up like that too, I was procrastinating thinking they were all harder and bigger projects then they were. Once I finally tackled them in a few short hours I felt so much better and inspired to take on the next bigger job. You’re doing good too!
Wow-I just came across your blog today (via a search for pruning fiddle leaf fig trees- I’m a new convert) and I think your home is incredible. My partner and I are dreaming of buying an old farm house and your transformation is the best inspiration I’ve come across yet. Every room in the house is beautiful and stylish while still looking like real people live there. We’ve looked at so many real estate listings online where the houses look dauntingly dated, dark and dismal. But after seeing this post I feel reinvigorated in our search. Thank you!
Hi -Not sure you will see this, but did you hire out for the exterior painting job or DIY? I am in the market for exterior painting / fixing of rotted shakes etc in the Mpls area and am looking for recommendations on companies that do this. Any info is appreciated!!
Hi Ronklyn, We used Bella Casa painting locally. They were great – clean, tidy, and did a thorough job.
Hi, I love your home so much. I would love to know the brand and paint colour of your blue exterior of your home. I love it so much. We have a similar style home and it is hideous. White and mint green :( bleh