Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our house, in the middle of the street

So based on all the pictures I post on this blog you probably have a pretty good feel of what my house looks like, but Navigating the Mothership is hosting a home tour... which is basically a bunch of bloggers showing off their houses. This is way too long because I decided to add in some before and after, but I couldn't seem to stop myself. As you will see this house is a work in progress.

So lets commence on touring the little red house that I call home.

Let's walk in the back door since that is the one we use all the time. As you can see there isn't much space for the three of us to enter and remove shoes. Since we're here let's head into the basement first. The basement is the first remodeling project we took on when we moved in.


My reading nook with a massage chair. My brother drew those pictures of my parents that hang on the wall from photos of them when they were 17. I made that ottoman and it opens up for storage.

This is how the basement looked before we moved in. Even if you remove the mess from the renter it still was a dated and dirty with paneled walls and a weird glass partition. 

The craft room aka play room aka boys game room. We finally installed the desk in the past week (big credit to my husband who pretty much did all the work). The desk was originally a 9 foot, solid (incredibly heavy) door. I love re-purposing

The craft room before. We opened up the doorway and installed french doors that were once used upstairs in our bedroom to get to the deck.

We pretty much gutted the basement, made sure it was insulated well, and then sheet-rocked, painted, carpeted, and so on to make it a comfortable living space. 

The bathroom is right behind me, laundry to my left and utility room to my right.

Obviously the bathroom is still a work in progress... and has been for sometime. Eventually we will tile the shower, and install a new sink. Some day.

My dad originally built this bathroom many moons ago (when he owned the house) with left over tile he had. I think he was pretty proud of his tile design, but for us it was time for it to go. 

This house does have a fair amount of storage which is great, but also seems to allow random crap to stay in our possession. Above is the laundry room and the door leads to shelving under the stairs.

Utility room

Laundry and utility room when we first moved in.

Ok, enough with the basement. Now let's head upstairs to the kitchen. I've documented a few posts about our kitchen remodel which seemed to take forever to complete. Feel free to read the updates here, here, here, and here.


If you took a look at some of the old picture linked above you will notice that we opened up the kitchen wall into the dining and living room which has made a huge difference. This house has plenty of space, but most rooms are pretty tiny so it can make it feel small.

Dining and Living Room

The living room has pretty much become the play room. We dream of one day getting it back and I even wrote a post asking for help with ideas, but I've come to accept that it's going to be a long time before things change in this room.

Our design ideas are a little different than the renters who lived here before we moved in, but we did like the wall colors so that was one thing we didn't need to change.

From the dining room you pass by the cabinet of old cameras and into the hall way. The bath is straight ahead with the office to the left, the guest bedroom to the right along with the stairs to the second floor.

Guest room

Our guest room isn't too fancy and sometimes becomes the catch all place for stuff that needs a temporary home. The one set of guests that we've ever had just moved to Luxembourg so it might not get used for guests very often in the near future, but at least Riley likes to play in here.

Guest room before.
Main floor bathroom

My biggest complaint about this house is the tiny bathrooms (and ugly at that), but I can't really complain because I do have 3 of them.

The same bathroom with me doing a little cleaning when I was about 1 - 2 years old. That's actually the same tile - just painted over. One day I dream of gutting all the baths and starting over.


Yes, that is my toothbrush next to the printer. Our outlets in the bathroom are only charged when the lights are on so this is the closet place I can make sure it is getting charged all the time. Jesse's desk is in the back, mine in the front.

The office before. We not only painted, but refinished the floors.

Ok, let's head upstairs...

We did a lot of painting up here and had the floors refinished which really brightens up the place. Thanks to our family and friends who did a lot of the painting.

Before. Dark, and gloomy, and 1970's.

I used to play in this little area when I was a kid so it's fun to see Riley enjoy it as well. 

The bathroom up here is absolutely disgusting, but does have some interesting history to it along with the wood floor and the shelves in the hallway when you first get to the top of the stairs. My dad worked in the heating and air conditioning business for 40 plus years and many years ago he was working on a house in the western suburbs owned by the Hamm's Brewery family. They were doing a remodeling project where they were removing a number of items and some were given to my dad. My dad expanded this level of the house in the 60's and the sink, tub, shelves and floor have been around for some time even before they made it to our house. The tub and sink have to go (they can go hang out with the toilet we already removed), but at least we'll have that beautiful floor.

Our Bedroom

Red bedroom? Yes, some may think I am crazy for doing this. I've always been a fan of red, but this became especially helpful when I was having super bad migraines every single day. I often would jump into bed to sleep the pain away and would need my room to be as dark as possible. I (luckily) don't have to do that nearly as much as I used to so I actually might paint the room blue instead. The only thing holding me back is that I want to find a comforter/duvet cover that I like to work around... and that has been a difficult journey. This quilt has been our summer bed covering and was made by my birth grandma Val. The door to the left leads to a deck. It's pretty awesome (even if the door itself is rather ugly).

You may have noticed that our bedroom has two doors. Apparently, my dad had once planned to turn this into two rooms and am so grateful that he didn't. The renters who lived here before used this room as their living room and took the doors off as they just got in the way. We've kept it that way and like it, but as Riley gets older I imagine we might want to reclaim some privacy especially since her bedroom is right across the hallway.



The deck off of our bedroom is awesome and yet not used nearly enough. We hope to one day put in french or sliding doors to make it feel like it's part of the bedroom. I'd also like to build an arbor or some sort of shading device so we can utilize it during more parts of the day. This furniture is pretty much ruined from sitting out in the hot sun all day. The cats actually use the deck more than we do.

View of the front yard from the deck.

View of the back yard from the deck. Anyone looking for a glass table and 4 chairs? It's time for me to get rid of them.

Riley's bedroom

I had originally envisioned a different room for Riley, but I never did find curtain fabric I liked with the colors I wanted (red, brown, blue, cream). Instead grandma and grandpa gave Riley a green monkey (which is actually in the living room right now) that inspired the lamp and the curtains.

My dad made the bookshelf to the right many years ago. Since he no longer needed it he gave it to us to house many of Riley's books. The shadowboxes on the wall hold some of our favorite outfits from when Riley was a baby. Jesse had a hard time parting with some of them so I put these together for him.

We went with the dark wood because it matched the built in shelf and the closet door, but if I had to do over I would have gone with white to brighten up the room. The ceilings are pretty low on this level so it makes it feel even smaller than it is.

This kid has so many clothes - mostly hand me downs from a high school friend of mine (who has three daughters and a son). Her dresser is crammed full and now, with a recent drop off of clothes from my friend, the clothes are also piled on the floor. I wish I had that problem with my clothes.

Before. Sometimes I wish I would have kept the room this color. I loved it, but was looking for a change. I originally painted this room this color years ago when I rented the house from my dad and this was my office at that time.

Hi there. Not sure if your still reading this as I made this obnoxiously long. But if anything, it's a nice capture for me to keep track of how the house looks at this particular time. Hopefully, I'll be documenting new bathrooms or other updates in the not too distant future. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Jo - I LOVE this post! One of my all-time favorite things is to see inside people's houses. This was fascinating - seeing the personal items you've decorated with, plus your history with the house. Thank you for sharing!
    -Shannon S.

  2. Love this! I especially love the before and afters - it's always amazing to see what people can do with old houses. I AM going to get my post done... it's the taking current pictures that is holding me up because even if our house has just been cleaned, it's never not cluttered. Oh well, I guess that's just life right now.

  3. Shannon - I love seeing other peoples houses too - they often give me ideas for mine. Erin - My house is totally cluttered. Each picture had a quick clean up before I took the picture. I was pretty much running around the house taking pictures of rooms that Riley wasn't in because once she enters the room it becomes a disaster area. Can't wait to see you house... although I feel like I've already been there with reading all your posts.

  4. Wow, your remodeling is amazing! I absolutely love your basement and the little playroom nook, so cute! Also, love the deck off the bedroom. That would be awesome if it could be finished into a three season porch or something!

  5. I agree with Snowpeas - All your updating work is amazing! And the history of the house is just so, so cool. I also had a red bedroom at one point and loved it - it was just a hassle to paint red and then paint a lighter color over it.

  6. Your house is seriously beautiful. It has so much character, and it's clear you love it and have put a lot of work into it. A few things in particular:

    1. The basement looks amazing and the french doors down there are DREAMY. What a great idea.

    2. Riley's little play area nook upstairs is the coolest thing ever. I can only imagine how that space will evolve as she gets older.

    3. Drooling over the built in cabinets in your upstairs hall.

    4. Your stairs look exactly like mine, do you worry about the steepness/slipperiness of them ever, with Riley? I've been considering installing a runner pretty much since Gus was conceived but have been lazy. They make me nervous though, especially since I've had my own near-death almost-fall situations multiple times, once when pregnant.

    5. That old couch of the renters was wicked cool. ;)

    1. Thanks for your comments! If you look in the before picture of the stairs we had some taped on grip strips that actually worked quite well. I doubt we'll add something to them now as my husband is pretty proud of his refinishing job. So far we've been ok (except for that one time I was pregnant and beat up my arm pretty good), but that may change if something happens to Riley.

  7. Beautiful home - I love the color of the office and the storage cupboards at the top of the stairs. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. You have a beautiful house and I love how you have a history with it, being away from home that is something I miss.

  9. Gorgeous, gorgeous house! Your decorating/artistic skill is amazing and so enviable. That play area is perfection to me - simple but creative.

    And yes, use that deck off the bedroom more! Looks dreamy.


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