Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Before and After

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you know by now that we put our house on the market last week. It was a crazy few days that resulted in three great offers and a contract with an amazing family who loves our home as much as we do. Assuming all goes well, our option period ends on Friday and we close sometime between Feb. 23-Mar. 3. I'll tell the story of why we decided to sell in another post. For now, I thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane, and look at some true before and after pics of all our hard work over the last three years. Our realtor had professional pictures taken of our home, and I'm so glad I'll have them to remember it by.

The "before" pictures come from when Hank listed the home a few years before I came into the picture, so the furniture and decor was pretty different than after I moved in. However, the "after" pictures are definitely a true snapshot of how our design aesthetics married over time. It has been so fun defining our style together over the years, and I can't wait to see what we come up with in our new home!

First up- the kitchen. This was by far our biggest remodel. Hank did the demo, lighting, new cabinets and paint. We hired professionals to install the pecan herringbone wood floor and the countertops. The light and bright feeling has served me well over the years. I have loved hosting cookie classes in this kitchen, and being supervised by all our animals when I'm cooking dinner. The idea of removing the island initially had me a little worried, but I haven't regretted it for a single day since.

Open and airy kitchen remodel

Updated breakfast nook
Breakfast Nook

Next is our dining/living area. Obviously a fresh coat of paint (Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore), updated lighting and new furniture drastically brightened up the area. The biggest change in this space though is our custom shiplap feature wall, with a beautiful new built in and updated fireplace. While we dreamed up the look for this, we hired a professional to complete it for us. This was way beyond our skill set, and I'm so glad we didn't try to attempt it ourselves. This is really the first thing you see when you walk in the door, and it was worth the investment to make it the highlight of the room, and not the eyesore it was for so long.

Custom Shiplap Wall

Living Room Makeover
Shiplap Wall
Here's a better view of our pride and joy- our shiplap wall.

Our master bedroom and bath also got makeovers. We used the same flooring in our master, and updated paint and furniture. Our master bath only went through phase 1 of its remodel. We painted the vanity and room, paneled the vanity wall, added hardware, and updated the mirrors and lighting. We had planned on new tile and vanity, but decided not to follow through when we put it on the market. We just didn't think we'd get our money out of it, and decided to let the next homeowner make that decision.

Master Bedroom Makeover

Master Bath Makeover

Both of our secondary bedrooms and guest bath were updated as well. We swapped the original order of the rooms- the old office became a pretty guest room. The old guest room became a beautiful office thanks to an awesome craigslist find of Ikea bookcases for $100. Hank framed them into built-ins and made the beautiful desk to go in between. We also did wood flooring in both rooms so that there would be no more carpet in our house. (With 4 animals, carpet is a bad bad thing.) I didn't have a great before picture of the guest bath (trust me when I say it was very, very ugly.) But there is a nice picture of the finished product. New listing, mirror and vanity, along with a white textured shower curtain for the finishing touch.

Guest room

Home Office
Our "his and her" home office

Guest Bath Remodel
Guest Bath

One other touch (that took way longer than we ever imagined) was replacing all of the door trim and baseboards with 6" white trim to give it a more updated (and cottage-y look). Hank installed the trim while I did most of the caulk and paint. We never thought we'd finish, but the final result is so much prettier than how it was. Let's face it- 18 year old trim can look pretty dingy. The Simply White color by Benjamin Moore really stands out against the walls.

Craftsman door trim

Our backyard saw just a few changes. We added a rock retaining wall to help with drainage, and planted a big tree at the top of the yard to help with shade over the years. Hank built the deck off the back door, and we planted a small garden where there used to be a cramped magnolia tree. We also replaced the fence last year and stained it a neat gray color to go better with the house.

We love looking back at all of the progress we made on this house. (You can view the full tour here) A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it. While we're sad to be saying goodbye, we're thrilled about new adventures in our first home purchased together. Stay tuned for what's to come. We have two closings and two moves to get there, but we can't wait to settle into our next home!

Monday, January 16, 2017

On Love and Loss

Hello old friends! It's been quite awhile since I last posted, and even longer since I likely posted anything meaningful. 2016 overall was a pretty great year for us, minus some pretty devastating news that we received last April. Hank's mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma (lung cancer) and spent the better part of the year fighting it. When first diagnosed, the doctors weren't sure exactly how long she would have, but we knew she was on borrowed time. Unfortunately it was a type of cancer that couldn't be beat and we said goodbye to her on Friday, January 6th.

Hank and I had just been up to Oklahoma the week before to visit, and I'm so grateful that I will forever have that last memory of playing a card game around the kitchen island, laughing and having a good time. Even though she was tired and struggling with her breathing, she made every effort to enjoy the visit. We did not know at the time just how bad she was, but I think in a way she did.

She went to the hospital a few days after we left, and then we got the call that a cat scan showed the cancer had spread to her good lung, and there was nothing left to do about it. Again- no one knew how long she had. But we got the call late Wednesday that it didn't look good, and Hank left for Oklahoma early the next morning. She Facetimed us around 4:30 am wanting to tell us that she loved us. I wasn't sure that Hank would make it in time, but he did.

Needless to say, last week was a really tough week. We're in our early 40s, an age where we shouldn't have to be saying goodbye to parents just yet. I'm not sure its even really sunk in that she's gone. There was so much to do last week- making arrangements, attending services, looking after Hank's dad. I think it's going to take awhile to process it all.

Hank's mom was a gem. As far as mother-in-laws go, she really was the best!! She called me sugar, never meddled in our business, and made me feel like she loved me as her very own daughter. She raised an amazing son, and for that I will forever be in her debt.

This was from a surprise visit last fall, taken around the kitchen island where we spent so much of our time!

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