Our Home Reno: Part 1

Our first and current home is a beautiful Chicago brick style house built in 1985. When we first moved in, the house had been vacant for quite a few years so we had a lot on our plate, not just inside but outside as well; but as a young couple we were so excited and eager to get started. I don’t have as many before pictures as I would like, but to give you a good visual of how it looked, imagine a LOT of rose wallpaper, a LOT of mauve, and a TON of oak in every room. Basically It was a complete gut job to get the house where we wanted it and we are still making changes here and there to this day.

We started the reno by tearing out all of the flooring upstairs and about 80% of the flooring on the first floor. To save some money, the hardwood that was saved on the first floor was sanded and stained by Brian and I. Needless to say that was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life! My whole body hurt for a solid week and we only did the living room and the entryway… I couldn’t imagine doing more. I would’ve cried! I have a new found respect for people who do that for a living that’s for sure. During the reno, our main focus was the kitchen/family room. The kitchen is the main gathering spot in a home and ours was a pretty small galley kitchen with not a lot of space to move or cook so we tore down the dividing wall between the kitchen and dining room to open up the space and give us the open floor plan we wanted. Let me just tell you, that was the best decision we made. It completely changed the feel of the house; it brightened up the space, and made the room seem huge! I was in love! We also replaced all of the cabinets for a dark cherry stained shaker style. For the backsplash, I chose a taupe colored glass subway tile to brighten up the space a little more. For our countertops we chose a brown speckled granite. While the brown originally wasn’t my first choice (I had wanted a white quartz but they didn’t have it in stock and we were on a tight time frame so I went with the more traditional style), I am happy with my decision and think that I made the best choice for us.

It took us longer than we expected to get everything finished on the first floor, we had a lot of setbacks along the way with things being backordered or installed incorrectly. We even had a pretty big mixup at the flooring store when we ordered our new hardwood for the kitchen and family room. We had ordered a darker hardwood for the space, well the week it was ready to be installed, we happened to take a week away for a vacation and much needed break from the house. We told them to go ahead and install it while we were gone; well when we got back, the floors that were installed had a very distinct red color. It couldn’t have clashed more with my dark shaker cabinets. The floors looked country and the cabinets looked modern. They offered us a steep discount to keep the floors, but it didn’t match whatsoever and unfortunately they couldn’t be salvaged. We had quite a few slipups along the way, but that was probably the most drastic.

Check out some of the before pictures of the home below, and feel free to leave a comment! Did you have any reno disasters you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them! Look out for Part 2 for more details about our first renovation together and the after pictures!