There’s something about owning your first home – getting the keys for the first time, walking in, and realizing you can do pretty much anything you want to it. It’s an amazing feeling, and one I am incredibly thankful for. We bought our first home at the ripe old age of 24, and while the structure was good, we wanted to make a lot of cosmetic changes.
For some context, we purchased this home in March of 2016 and sold it in July of 2019.
We may have only spent three years of our lives here, but in that time made a lot of changes (and a lot of mistakes). Here’s what we were able to do!
Better photography helps but…wow. What a transformation.
I feel like this entryway is just a PSA for how powerful a coat of paint is!
Just the paint change on the front door alone (the before was a weird metallic beige) made a huge difference. I hand scraped a metric ton of paint off of those french doors going into the dining room, and I think that chandelier lasted all of 20 minutes after we moved into the house.
I would have liked to replace the front door, changed out the flooring, etc., but ran out of time. I still think I left her better than I found her.
The Dining Room
The paint before was a metallic green-yellow, the furniture was heavy, and it just felt cramped. But after? What a beautiful space – the window was stunning and I loved eating meals as a family here.
I really just painted, hung a really simple light fixture (I actually found the shade on clearance), and updated the window treatment in here. The bones of the room were phenomenal – high ceilings, tons of light, and a huge, beautiful window.
The paint in our kitchen was the same metallic yellow-green that the dining room was. While we re-painted it grey shortly after moving in, we actually lived with those cabinets and that backsplash for quite a while. I installed a better pantry system, among other things, and we called it good enough. But around January/February of 2019, I was SO over it and we started the process of remodeling (with no intention to sell).
Fast forward a few months, and various things made it clear we had to move back home to Louisville. Cue us sprinting through the rest of the renovation. I think it still turned out absolutely stunning.
While most of the time, I’m a big believer in tearing down walls, I actually built one in the kitchen to give us more functionality. There was a really weird space before that was intended for an eat-in kitchen, but never really functioned that way. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets worked much better, and it gave me a desk where I could plan meals and dump junk without it taking over the whole kitchen.
The cabinets were all from IKEA, and we kept our existing appliances. After some new countertops, backsplash, open shelving, a new sink, etc, etc, etc. It really sparkled. I loved this kitchen.
The Living Room
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh this living room. I loved how big it was, how high the ceilings were, how open it felt. We spent a ton of time here as a family, and I have lots of fond memories of late-night movies and time with friends.
We painted, ordered the BIGGEST sofa I’ve ever seen from IKEA, and hung some art. I’m physically itchy that we never got around to replacing that ceiling fan, but you win some, you lose some.
The giant prints of our kiddos on the wall were a last-minute staging addition before we sold, and they’ve become some of my favorite pieces. We wanted to replace the flooring in here as well but never got around to it. Demolishing tile is a messy job, and doesn’t mesh well with two under two.
The Half Bath
You guys have to understand something about my mom. She is literally superwoman. Seriously. She and my Dad came down to Texas from Kentucky to help us work on the house a bit, and she spent a solid DAY hand sanding this bathroom. There were multiple layers of wallpaper, covered with textured stucco/drywall/stuff and then sponge painted METALLIC GOLD. It was a sight to behold.
But Mom is the MVP and got it ready for me to paint. That, and replacing the light fixture, was all I did in here…which is amazing because it’s easily the biggest transformation of the entire house.
The Master Bedroom
That carpet was d.i.s.g.u.s.t.i.n.g. and I was so happy when we ripped it out. We used the same flooring that we used on the second floor, and it really tied the house together.
This room was ENORMOUS. You could easily fit two king-size beds if you really wanted to. Fun story – the door to our closet came off shortly after moving in so I could paint it and then sat in our garage for 3 years. I put it back on shortly before these pictures were taken. Procrastinate much?
The Master Bathroom
I had big plans for the master bath, but budget and time kept me from moving forward. It was next on the list after the kitchen, but we moved before we could do anything.
In other words, we just did the easy stuff – paint and a new light fixture. It still made a pretty big difference.
One cool thing about this room – it had TWO shower heads! Aaron and I could take a shower together and not even have to share the water…it was the ultimate in luxury.
The Stairs and Hallway
Oh my GOODNESS these stairs. Seriously soooooo many hours of work went into these. After ripping off the truly putrid carpet, I discovered what was underneath was in no way ready to be refinished. It was just very out of plumb framing boards.
I ripped everything out, completely re-built them, added a new runner, and it dramatically changed the way the entrance of our home felt. I also added some lights in the hallway, since it was incredibly dark in there for most of the time we lived in the house.
The 5th Bedroom/Office
This fifth ‘bedroom’ was actually the first project I tackled after moving in. The previous owners had put up a curtain/dummy (non-structural) wall so they could market the home as a 5 bedroom but did an…interesting job. The wiring even mystified the electrician we hired, and they completely ignored the existing structure of the home.
We tore out the wall, added a his/hers gaming station, and enjoyed our newfound space. Oh, and please don’t mind the state of the floors in these pictures. We literally hadn’t slept that night in trying to get the house ready for staging with two very small kiddos underfoot, and I ran out of time before the pictures were taken to sweep.
Our Daughter’s Room
Aww, our daughter’s room. I miss this nursery.
I do not miss that purple wall though. We never really intended to hang wallpaper in here, but there was some sort of mystery substance ALL OVER the wall which would not let any form of paint stick to it.
We painted, wallpapered, installed new flooring, new baseboards, and snuggled our little one extensively. It was a great room for a great kid.
Our Son’s Room
Our son’s room was actually a mirror image of our daughter’s (they shared this super cool arched window thing between the two of them). It really didn’t need much beyond the new flooring, baseboards, and paint.
We did have a fun afternoon using my Cricut to create stars for his walls, though. Admittedly, it was probably more fun watching my daughter peel them off, but I’m fond of them just the same.
The Guest Room
Remember when I said I didn’t have time to sweep? Yeah…I ran out of time to paint, too. The listing pictures show the same beige walls, but I actually painted them the same grey as the rest of the house before we moved out.
The story in here is much of the same as the rest of the upstairs – new flooring, new paint, new ceiling fans, new window treatments, and more modern furnishings.
I had much bigger plans for in here, but I’ll just bring them on to our next house!
This backyard (and the front yard, actually), was the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE.
Have you ever tried to grow a lawn in Austin, TX? Just don’t. It’s impossible. (I have since learned of other, more eco-friendly types of lawns that would have done much better in Austin, but will have to keep them in mind if we ever live in a super hot climate again)
Big plans, black thumb. That’s basically the story of this backyard.
Plant hatred aside, it was a pretty nice place to spend an afternoon – I hung some curtains for a while that made it feel extra cozy, and the trees gave us lots of shade, and Tabby loved zooming around the perimeter. I really wanted to fix it up a little (lot) more, but I’m happy to leave my plant rage behind for the more temperate climate of Kentucky.
This was a GREAT first home. I learned so much and grew so much as a DIYer and a designer. From tackling my first ORC (though incomplete since we ended up moving in the middle of it), to learning how to do electrical work, to tackling little projects, this house taught me a ton and I still love it. I hope its new owners give it as much love as we did – it deserves it!