We bought our house exactly one month before our wedding. From entertaining, to crafting, to full on renovating, this house was a big project for newly weds. But we learned how to work together, what styles we liked, and that we really could do most of the renovations ourselves! There’s something very rewarding in doing the work, finishing the project, and reaping the rewards of our hard work. Our realtor had a grand idea for the kind of house he felt we could afford. We were interested in something a lot less expensive… we did want to eat after all. He took us to a variety of properties, before we ultimately came across a house we were interested in on our own. Our realtor arranged a showing. We loved all the features of this 1920’s bungalow, even though the colors were all out of whack, the carpets were a mess, and it needed a new roof. We could see it had potential. It had good bones, and gorgeous big windows that let in tons of light! It was our diamond in the rough. One of those “handyman’s specials” you read about in the realtor’s guides.
Once we were married, we moved in and started planning for which project we would start first. We had a lot to choose from. But by the end of our journey there, we had truly made it our home.
Before – A blank canvas
After – The front of the house after we installed new stutters, plants, and fenced in the yard.
We decided, before we moved in, the first thing we needed to do was paint a couple of rooms and replace all the carpet. There were some tiny questionable seeds in the carpet and a big variety of colors that didn’t seem to go together. My parents and my uncle Frank helped us paint.
Before – A blank canvas
Before – Sparse
Before – Bare side yard
After – Side yard garden
After – White picket fence and new hydrangeas.
After – First Herb Garden, Birdbath, Carolina Jasmine Archway, Gazing Ball
Our Sweet Little First Home
After – Side yard with plants, small tool shed, and hammock. We later had a driveway poured just past the hammock, to the left of the fence. That was a lifesaver with groceries and the little one!
Before – The kitchen was scary, but we could both see it was just in need of some cosmetic TLC. Someone had worked really hard to make those lines so perfect. I felt just a little bad when we painted over it. We eventually had the floors refinished in this room, which turned out incredibly shiny! Notice the peach painted walls and green carpet in the living room beyond the doorway.
Before – Check out the door on the right… details.
After – We actually painted the kitchen a creamy beige initially, just to start fresh until we could wrap our minds around what color we really wanted the walls to be. When we finally decided, several years later, we opted for a cool aloe green and cream cabinets. Robert also built a pot-rack and custom cabinet to the right of the new stainless stove to hold all our small appliances. He’s amazing! We also picked up the marble bar at a local mega market because we wanted an island, and found it for a really great deal.
Before – Loved the claw foot tub, but WOW! Crazy stucco wall in the bathroom… ouch!
We love having friends over. There was something about having them over to your own house for the first time that was really cool. It’s funny, but somehow we always ended up fixing something by the end of the night. We’ve always had good friends. I am so grateful for those times.
After – We sponged the stucco walls green to pull out the green in the shower curtain, a popular print of the era. We added a large antique mirror my grandmother had on the curb to throw out. Bonus!
After the peach walls and green carpet – We found a cheap armoire for sale in the newspaper for $20. We bought it and painted it to match our living room color pallet.
My mom sewed many accessories for our living room, including the skirt on the mantle. I just loved that! We decorated the mantle with pictures of our family.
I loved the mirror above the fireplace because it seemed to make the room brighter and bigger. The two topiaries on either side of the mantle were made from pots my mom had painted and written love poems on with a paint pen for our wedding reception tables. The flowers on the topiary balls themselves were dried flowers from my wedding bouquet. A precious representation of my handmade wedding.
We stamped photo mattes and framed prints from Charleston, South Carolina for our wall art. Mom made all the custom pillow covers and the trunk cover to coordinate with the couch slipcovers. We were really into this theme as you can see! I found a floor lamp I thought would really add to the room from Pottery Barn and I actually did pay full price. I still have it and it was so worth it.
We had lots of plants to fill in the spaces and create a cozy fell for our home. When we started having kids we had way fewer plants make it, but we’re recovering. One of my favorite features of that living room was a framed collection of my family and friends on their wedding day. I adore looking at these happy moments captured and displayed.
Before – This is the one room we painted, but wished I had left this lovely color blue, but hindsight’s 20/20 and all that jazz.
After – This is our seven year old long haired cat we got at the shelter, when we went in to get a short haired kitten… yeah. She lived for thirteen more years! She was a hoot. We loved her antics, until I realized I was allergic to cats. This is the room I wish I had not painted. The yellow I chose was just to harsh for me. Lesson learned. I always buy a sample of paint now, just to try out the color.
Yellow walls and wooden floor. Bouncing baby boy!
The bedroom was easy. We just used fabric for the curtains, ties up with rubber bands to create a stable swag in the middle. My aunt and uncle gave us the bedroom furniture, which belonged to my great grandparents.
After – We didn’t know how much our little guys would love the new carpet.
I think he used it way more than we did.
Five years after we moved in, when we were having our son, the spare bedroom was the obvious place for a nursery. It was already a simple cream color. We found a beautiful wall paper border, base, and treetrunk to simulate a ladder a little boy could climb to go up to a tree house. We finished putting it all up about a week before he surprised us with his early arrival.
My mom and I made the custom denim bumper pads and bedskirt for my son’s crib.
Sam pulling up and enjoying his rocker and his room.
Home Sweet Home
As creatives sometimes do, we became restless, and started dreaming of life in the city. So, six years into our crafty life together, we sold our little jewel for another basketcase… but that’s a story for another time.
Join me next week as I share another family recipe.
With Love, Wendy