Our First Home: A Look Back and Full House Tour
Every family home deserves its own bio-pic, its own biography, its own dramatic memoir, or lifetime achievement award, so this post IS IT. As you all know we sold our first house a couple of months ago, and while I had posted about it 147 times over the last 3 years I wanted to have one big post that documented every single room (or at least linked to everything).
As a mini recap – this house was built in 1964 and when we bought it (3 years ago) it was in pretty darn terrible condition – gross “original” carpet, outdated everything and a lot of painted brown ceilings. It had potential and we fell in love. We knew it wasn’t going to be our forever home, but I loved it so much.
So, let’s go room by room and show you how we transformed the whole house over the 3 years that we lived there.
First up – the living room:
Despite how ugly it is here, when we walked in we only saw potential – the light, space and openness were inarguable.
Eight months later we shot it for Domino Magazine (3 years ago) See the full renovation post HERE:
That was a great deadline to get things done (Domino post here).
Then after Charlie started crawling we wanted to make it more inviting and kid-friendly, so we restyled it, as you can see here with LOTS of soft surfaces:
Then a year later we brought down the bright color and shot it in a more tonal way for Good Housekeeping magazine (I was also pregnant with Elliot at the time):
See that full tour here.
Then over the next year or so we rearranged things differently and shot it every time (as you do):
That photo makes my eyes go glassy every time. It wasn’t set up, we were shooting another room when Tessa caught it with her camera. Charlie is holding his ‘Ah ah’ (blanky with monkey ears) still in diapers, kissing his baby sister in my tummy. Simpler times, full of such happiness.
Then as we went to sell it, we styled it like this (which might have been my favorite, despite it being the least nutty – or maybe precisely because of that).
Onto the dining room. The before was fairly depressing but honestly this room has always been tricky. Despite it being open to the rest of the house it is narrow and proved very hard to shoot.
For Domino we styled it like this:
WAY too much going on. For Styled (The Book) we styled it like so:
Still totally kookie.
And a year later I finally found how it really should look – like this (which was for the Good Housekeeping Shoot):
We even did a pretty darn beautiful easter brunch shoot there (when Elliot was 6 weeks old!):
See that full brunch here.
To stage it to sell, we simplified everything and brought in a plant to add some life to that corner of the house:
Onto the kitchen:
When we bought it we really couldn’t afford a full gut so we painted, replaced the countertops/sink/faucet/appliances and added a backsplash. At first we tried to just refinish the cabinets:
I wish that had worked because I love real wood cabinets (and how ironic is it that now I really wish I had those stools for our new place???)
The bottoms looked ok for a while, but the tops were thrashed because they weren’t real wood and the veneer didn’t fair well with the refinishing. LOOK AT LITTLE 6 MONTH OLD CHARLIE I’M GOING TO CRY SO HARD RIGHT NOW.
We shot it for STYLED next:
And then for Good Housekeeping we painted the bottoms Hague Blue by Farrow and Ball (a year after the first shoot).
Tessa shot it differently which I love and it shows how bright and happy that space was:
The memories. The insanely good, happy, first-home-starting-a-family-memories.
Lastly here is how we styled it to sell:
Simple and clean. I miss that kitchen despite how much I love our new one.
On to the family room:
This room was the most challenging for sure. It took 3 years to really feel good about it, but we shot it a few different ways before that. The first was not meant to be any sort of portfolio piece or reveal – just a ‘how we are living in this room while I’m nursing’ update (thus the white sofa C table – which proved so functional although not the most beautiful).
We shot it for Domino like this (although I didn’t really love the way it was styled out in this pic):
For the book it was styled like this:
Better but still not awesome.
Meanwhile Good Housekeeping shot the other side like this:
Hilariously our kids were way to young to sit on those chairs so we just borrowed them for the shoot. I finally liked it when we styled it to sell. It looked SOOO good compared to before!
See full post here.
Now the master bedroom:
It used to have disgusting carpet, painted beams, and just general grossness when we moved in. Six months later we shot it for Domino:
Then I reminded you that the whole ‘wallpaper in a hot room on one wall was a terrible idea‘ thing when it started to peel up on all the seams:
Then I actually tried to make it a pretty room when we made the custom bed, hung art, sconces and brought in the white shag rug:
Full post here.
Then we toned it down for staging:
The master bathroom was a real renovation story with everything original and “vintage” but such garbage:
Then we renovated it – see full makeover here (this was the renovation that got the most negative feedback by the way, which I understand but thought it was interesting to point out).
Charlie’s room was another bedroom that was less than lovely when we moved in:
First we shot it for Domino:
Then for Styled, the book:
Then Fit Pregnancy shot it:
Nine month old Charlie is so adorable!!! But, not my favorite photo of me (also please note the coffee stain on the floor that was meant to be photoshopped out!)
For staging we took away the ‘baby’ and made it feel a bit more like a big kid’s room:
See full post here.
Up next is Elliot’s room – probably my favorite transformation ever. Here is the before:
At first it was just a simple guest room, that we didn’t over style or do too much to.
Then we redesigned it for Dutch Boy:
Full tour here.
And then when my baby girl came I created my favorite room ever:
For the staging we decided to make it a guest room, but the wallpaper still totally worked:
Full post here.
The guest bathroom took FOREVER to redo. I just couldn’t pull the trigger because renovating is so disruptive to the kids napping schedule. But we finally did it- BECAUSE IT LOOKED LIKE THIS FOR WAY TOO LONG:
And after a 2 month renovation, this was the result:
See full tour HERE.
The guest suite might be the biggest transformation (I know I keep saying that with each room). It started even worse than this but this gives you a general ideal of the disgustingness.
We made it livable here:
Then we shot it for a sponsored post here with Leesa:
We changed things around a bit for this post with Parachute:
Then we shot it again for an update post:
Then we shot it for Framebridge here:
This is another room that wasn’t its best until we styled it to sell:
Such a great room (with a bathroom – which was the real reason we had so many offers on the house – everyone needs a separate bedroom/bath for either work or relatives these days).
On to the exterior deck area:
The before deck was fine, but needed a facelift like the rest of the house.
We shot/styled it for Domino like this:
It’s a bit cuckoo and boho but it gave off a fun vibe.
Then I redid it for a Target makeover:
The next year we refinished the deck for Wood Naturally:
Then of course threw a party for our sponsor, Black Box:
Lastly, the exterior redo – the biggest and most expensive of them all. Here was the before:
The process was long, expensive and brutal:
But worth it:
Read about the whole process HERE.
As you can imagine the whole ‘reliving your first home’ thing is hard but happy for me. We had 3 really amazing years in that house and while our family has changed, grown and moved on from it, I’m SO grateful that we have 1 trillion photos of us in these rooms to document these happy young years of our family.
Four days after moving in we took these (weird) photos:
Then we had Charlie (a day after those photos) – only two months old here, below. STOP THE GROWING AND HERE GO MY TEARS.
You may not be crying, understandably, but I am. I remember when adults told us in college that we should enjoy this time because it is the best four years of our lives. I remember distinctively thinking, ‘geez, I hope not’ not because it wasn’t awesome, because it was (I had a wonderful college experience) but because I didn’t want the best four years of my life to be over soon. Well good news. The 7 years after graduation were even better than college and the last 3 years since having a family have been even better. There are times when I look at these photos and I think ‘my God, those were the best years of my life’ but then I remember, that what I’m living right now is actually somehow better. It’s not perfect. We have a million problems – some of which I talk about and some of which I don’t, but regardless – as much as I think that those were the best years of our lives, I know that it’s even better in our new house.
This is the final post about our first home. I loved it so much – WE LOVED IT SO MUCH and wish the new family even more happiness than we felt there – which is A LOT. You have big hearts to fill, and I think you can do it. 🙂