Last winter we made the decision to make an investment into updating a number of areas of our house and began our cozy home remodel. We had lived here almost six years and had done very little except the office and laundry room. We had hoped to paint a lot of the house the week before we moved in, but due to bank craziness at the end we only had two days to move. (We had sold our previous house months before and were renting it back from a very patient buyer.) It left only enough time to paint Caroline’s room and that was really pushing it. Things that were okay when we moved in now looked quite worn. Many of the paint jobs were not well done.
For example, one of the things I love about the house is all the white woodwork. But it had been painted relatively poorly. Most of it was a more yellowish tinged white paint sprayed on by the contractors when they built the house so it definitely lacked that fresh crisp look. (We are only the second family to own this house.) So every bit of white you will see in all the pictures – trim, doors, baseboards, fireplace mantle, windows, pocket doors, etc. – was painted at least twice and in many cases three times by David. It was a lot of detail work.
Planning Our Cozy Home Remodel
We made a list, prioritized, price shopped, re-prioritized, shopped some more, and finally decided what we would do. There was no way we could do everything we desired so we had to decide what would give us the most bang for our buck and what would make the biggest difference in our enjoyment of living here basically 24/7.
This was also our “make this house work for several years until we decide if we are staying here long-term or moving one more time” project. The house was built in 1996 and so it will need many major things done in the coming years. (Personally, as much as I like the house and location, I hope we are able to move one more time to our forever/retirement house. But time will tell and that’s a story for another day.)
David did almost all the work himself since hiring any of it out would have cut down significantly on what we could do. I helped a bit with some of the trim painting, but wasn’t much help due to the chemicals and smells. My dad came a couple of times to help with flooring and my dad, brother, and nephew came to help one day in the kitchen. We had an installer for the carpet, kitchen counters, and gutters. Otherwise, David did everything – painting, laying laminate flooring, kitchen backsplash, etc.
So from April when we started Caroline’s room (which I wrote about here – Decorating a Tween Girl’s Bedroom) until mid-August we were in renovations. I’m so thankful we did them, but there were a few mornings in late July and early August I got up and had reached the point of tears. It was hard to have the house torn up for that many months in a row. I think I would rather move than renovate again. Our home is where we work, homeschool, and rest. It’s our sanctuary and having it torn up was challenging.
But I’m thankful we did it! On to the pictures!
Cozy Home Library
This is technically our living room. For the past four years it was our homeschool learning room. It’s now the library. My mom had the idea to line the walls with the bookcases and put the couch in front of them. If we were to decide this is our forever house at some point, I would change this to a full wall of built-in white bookcases.
In this room, we painted, put in new carpet, and bought a new couch (a gift from my mom and dad.) I think I drove the furniture lady nuts because I wanted a neutral couch and neutral pillows. First she wanted to show me all kinds of different fabrics for the couch, but I already knew what I wanted. Then she kept showing me pillows with wild colors and patterns. I told her if I want to switch up the pillows seasonally or with a different color I would go to Meijer or Kohls and buy some pillows. Otherwise I wanted neutral. (I am a salesperson’s worst nightmare. I know what I like and what I don’t like. The more you push me, the more I dig in.)
We tried a lot of different yellow paint samples and, in the end, chose the exact same yellow the previous owner had put in here. I just love how cheerful this room is with the yellow. It’s also very cozy in the evening when the lamps are on.
We already owned the four bookcases that matched. We have enough books still in the basement to fill at least three or four more, but four is what we can put in here. (That doesn’t include all the other bookcases we have throughout the house.) I have the books roughly organized by topic, but I need to do some weeding, more organizing, and add quite a few more.
We chose a beautiful off-white carpet. I know most people with families would never choose this, but there are only three of us and we have no pets (other than fish).
I knew that this carpet was going to probably be my carpet for a long time so I wanted something I really liked rather than settling for something. I also wanted a neutral so if I wanted to buy different family room furniture at some point, I had that option. So we spent more on this carpet to get something of high quality that we not only liked but could handle fairly heavy traffic since we are here all the time. It adds so much to the house and works well with our furnishings.
Caroline asked why I didn’t put this away with the fall things. I said it was going to stay out all year.
Family Room with Red Walls
While I knew I wanted to keep the library yellow, I struggled with the color for the family room. It was a taupe with a suede texture when we moved in. We were keeping our furniture in here since new wasn’t in the budget. I also liked the green tiles on the fireplace and they were in excellent shape so there was no reason to change them. So we were working with the greens and reds. I did not want to do the exact same taupe color, but we also had to figure out a color that would flow with the rest of the first floor. Every sample we tried in the taupe family wasn’t right.
Although I wasn’t sure about red, we tried some samples on the wall and found one we both really liked. I love it. I can’t imagine anything else in this room.
My very favorite place in the entire house is that chair, sitting next to a fire and reading. I also love the new firewood holder we purchased! LOL! It’s the little things in life.
Kitchen with Beadboard Backsplash
The cabinets and appliances were staying. The only things we would change in here were the countertops, the backsplash, and the paint. The wood laminate floors would also change since we were doing all of those throughout the house (first floor, bedrooms, and office). I knew from the very beginning I wanted warm oak laminate floors. Timeless.
(You’ll notice a pattern here. I tend to choose lots of timeless and neutral things that give me options. I am not the type to buy turquoise furniture or trendy gray distressed wood laminate or really trendy anything. My dream house is a brand new house that looks like it was built a hundred plus years ago.)
Prior to this, the countertops were a dark green laminate which was fine with me, but they were very worn and chipping. I really like dark green countertops and seriously considered doing it again. (I had put them in my previous house when we redid that kitchen!) I did not like the backsplash which was basically one row of cheap white tiles running along the bottom of the wall along the laminate.
I stalked Pinterest and blogs for a long time looking at beadboard backsplashes. I knew that was what I wanted. We found the right panels for it at Lowe’s.
I also wanted a neutral laminate countertop that was pretty. Granite, quartz, etc. were not in our budget and I had no interest in granite anyways. Some of the white quartz is pretty, but it would make no sense to spend a huge amount on countertops on older cabinets. Plus, it wasn’t remotely in the budget.
So we found this Wilsonart Gesso Tracery laminate with a muted quatrefoil pattern. It’s hard to get an accurate picture of it. The picture makes it look really gray, but it isn’t in person. It has gray in it, but it comes off as more very light taupe.
Cozy corner for baking and making coffee!
This antique cookie jar dates back to my early childhood.
One of the things I really liked about our previous house was the separate dining room. I would not have chosen to have the kitchen, dining area, and family room all as one long room, but we loved pretty much everything else about this house so this is one thing I live with. One of the things I love about this house is all the windows. One of the things that drives me nuts about this house is the lack of wall space because of all the windows. I’d choose the windows every time, but I really miss having lots of wall space for pictures, furniture, etc.
One task David did not get to last summer was painting the table and chairs. That will be for this spring. We’ll paint it all black. Right now it is black and maple. I like the black and maple combo, but stripping and refinishing the maple top and chair seats will be too much work so it will all get prepped and painted. I also need something different for the centerpiece, but that’s what I had on hand to go with the red tablecloth after Christmas so that’s what I’m using!
There are windows all along the back of the house so we get lots of natural light. I love that.
This is looking from the dining area/kitchen to the front entry hall.
Yes, my home is full of brown furniture and I love it. I have lots of solid oak furniture and I wouldn’t trade it for the cheap IKEA stuff for anything. This was my grandmother’s dresser and mirror. I stripped it and refinished it before I met David. It holds placemats, tablecloths, aprons, and napkin rings.
This is the view from the front door if you look left. The closed door is the laundry room. We painted all these walls. Prior to this, the banister was white with grayish oak hand-railings that did not match the new floors. I wanted black so David painted them.
This is the front entry when viewed from the library. That desk was a gift from my parents when I started college. It’s solid oak and heavy! LOL!
This is my extremely convenient laundry room. I love it. Our previous house was built in 1928 and had the laundry in the dark basement. It’s not a big room, but I’m very thankful for it. (And, yes, I am one of those people who prefers the gold/brass look on my fixtures.)
You can see this back entry wall in one of the previous pictures. This is looking out from the half bath. I wasn’t sure what to put on this wall since it is quite large. At one time I was an avid cross sticher and I had many completed projects packed away. I realized how dumb it was to not enjoy them after all the work I had done so I arranged them here. The bottom left one of the quilt was done by David’s maternal grandmother. The bottom right one I did in high school. The rest were done either before I met David or the first few years we were married.
These antique plates belonged to my grandmother. They hang above the entry coat closet.
So those are the highlights of our cozy home remodel! Other things we did that I didn’t specifically mention included:
- oak laminate in the bedrooms and office
- painting almost all of the ceilings in the house
- new blinds in almost every room
- gutters outside
- framed in the large half bath mirror and changed out the light globes
- several plumbing updates
- new dishwasher and dryer
There are still more things to get to this spring and summer, but they are on a smaller scale. The only big thing we didn’t get to is ripping out the master bath oversized tub and shower surround and tiling it all in. David was out of energy to take on another project of that size so we pushed that back a year. Hopefully we can take care of it this year. We’ve been looking at tile and have a plan in mind.
I hope you enjoyed seeing a little bit behind the scenes here at our cozy home!