Welcome home (we’re in the new house!)

We did it! We moved! Our old house is sold and we now officially live in my childhood home. We seem to be all in one piece and we think we have most if not all of our belongings here with us. I’d call that a success! The first round of renovations are all finished up but we are realizing how many little projects there are that we’d still love to do. Realistically a whole lifetime’s worth. So as much as I would love to have a big TA-DA post where I show the entire house totally finished in all its glory, that’s not about to happen anytime soon. We still have art to hang and rugs to acquire. Tiling work that I want to tackle myself and lots and lots of painting. The house is definitely a work in progress and will stay that way for quite a while I’m sure, but even with all the items still on the to-do list it feels SO much different than where we started, so I thought now would be as good of a time as any to share some shots of the downstairs.

The kitchen probably underwent the most change. New flooring, appliances, lighting and countertops were installed by the contractor plus the cabinets got a new coat of paint and new hardware that Ben and I did ourselves. It’s so much lighter and airier and it’s amazing what an extra foot of perceived head room (thanks to the removed fluorescent fixture) will do for the feel of the room. It seems so much taller!

Home renovation before photos - Permanent RiotHome renovation photos - Permanent RiotThere are a couple of places where the changes didn’t go exactly as planned – we were hoping to get out as much of this small wall with the arched opening as possible, but it turned out that between the framing and electrical there really was only a tiny bit that could go. In the end it didn’t end up being that big of a deal, plus the view is totally transformed by the windows anyway… so who’s looking at that little sliver of wall? Not me, that’s for sure. Up in the top right corner of the frame you can see a sneak peek of one of our future projects – removing the giant 1980’s (90’s?) surround sound speakers.

Home renovation before photos - Permanent RiotHome renovation photos - Permanent RiotSecond to the kitchen, the dining room had the most work done on it, and it also feels the most changed to me. Everyone who has seen the new windows has commented that they can’t believe they weren’t always in the house. It just seems like they were meant to be, right? And since it really doesn’t get very hot at this house (save for the mega September heat wave we just went through, yikes!) we decided that a big pendant light would be an improvement over the old brass fan. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it. Turning this room into a dining room was something I wanted to do from the moment we decided to move, and I’m so completely in love with how it turned out. We are on the hunt for a giant (and hopefully brightly colored) rug for under the table since the one currently in the room is both totally destroyed by kids and a few feet too small (did I mention the buyers for our old house also bought our dining table and the new dining table we got for this house is HUGE?!)

Home renovation before photos - Permanent RiotHome renovation photos - Permanent RiotI’m completely in love with the widened opening between the kitchen and playroom, but I have to admit that this before/after is a little weird. When I took the before shot we hadn’t decided on a furniture layout and I thought it would give a good view of the living room. Instead it’s all couch. But hindsight is 20/20, right? Since we can’t go back and re-take the before you can just focus on how awesome the kitchen and dining room look through this big new opening. Ahhhhhh. I just sigh a happy sigh every time I see through into the rest of the house. And I love that we have reclaimed this formerly vacant space (a formal living and dining room really only used at Christmas) as our daily hub of family activity. So much of our time is spent in the playroom and I can also keep an eye on what’s going on in there while I’m cooking dinner. It’s perfect!

Home renovation before photos - Permanent RiotHome renovation photos - Permanent RiotAnd if we’re talking about hindsight and before shots that should have been, I really wish I had a before shot from this angle. It’s one of the most changed in the whole house – new kitchen, new opening to the playroom and lots of beautiful new light brightening the whole space thanks to the big windows behind me. It makes me so ridiculously happy to see this every day.

Home renovation photos - Permanent Riot

So there you have it – the downstairs tour of our newly renovated (but still very much in progress) home. I really can’t believe we get to live here… I’m still pinching myself and wondering when I’m going to wake up and realize it’s all a dream. The house still has so much of that nostalgic childhood home feeling that I love about it, but it’s also feeling decidedly more US as well. It’s going to be so much fun to keep putting our time, energy and ideas into this house and see it change. Home, sweet home!

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Welcome home (we’re in the new house!)

Coming right along… house in progress

The house is just a few short weeks from being completed enough to move in. I cannot believe it! There are a few small projects (and a few big ones too) that we are going to tackle ourselves after the contractors finish up their work and move on out, but all of the big impressive changes are mostly finished already. Our goal was always to do the biggest and messiest projects first – the floors, adding the windows, opening walls. That way we would be able to move in and live mostly dust-free while we tinkered with smaller projects like painting and changing out light fixtures. Even with so many small things left to be done, the house has already been completely transformed. It hardly looks like the same space.

Check out the former family room, future home of our dining table. I am in LOVE

Home renovation progress - Permanent Riot

And the view from the living room to the kitchen isn’t half bad either. I love how much light there is in the house now with the new windows, and that you can see them all the way from the living room. Just taking out a few feet of wall and the pocket door opened the flow to the kitchen so much!

Home renovation progress - Permanent Riot

As for what’s left to do, there are just a few more spaces that need flooring (the entryway and downstairs hallway) and there are some baseboards to go in. The kitchen is missing countertops and appliances (and cabinet doors obviously) but other than that it’s mostly finishing touches. In a few short weeks it will be moving day and I couldn’t be happier! I am so excited to start trying out furniture layouts and figuring out how we’ll use each space. I’m also extremely excited to organize the kitchen cupboards (nerdy much?) to make everything within arm’s reach of that cozy little corner with a view of the new dining room.

If you missed the before pictures, or want to read more about what else we’ve got planned you can go back here to read all about it.

Coming right along… house in progress

The big and exciting plans

I can’t believe it when I look at these – the renovations are already in progress as I type and there aren’t any rooms that still look the way that they did when I took the photos. Even though there are big chunks of drywall missing and no flooring (it’s just concrete slab at the moment) I can already feel the new space coming together. And it’s just every bit as amazing as I’ve been picturing it! So different from these before photos, but somehow still recognizable as the same beautiful house.

When we first started dreaming up our ultimate wishlist of every change we’d like to make in the house we quickly realized that we weren’t going to have the timeline or budget to do every single thing right now. This looks like a big list of projects that we’re undertaking (and it is!) but each one of them was carefully chosen from an even bigger list of maybe items. Almost every single one of these projects was selected because of its high impact to the final room on a relatively quick schedule for a not insane pricetag. There are a few big splurges obviously – the new picture windows weren’t strictly necessary but just irresistible for their added light. Re-flooring the entire house isn’t cheap either, but the tile was not in very great shape and to be honest it was one thing we just really wanted to update in a style that was more “us”. Flooring is also a task that is much easier to do before you move your furniture in, so we decided it was better to do now than wait and wish we’d done it later on. The process of choosing what to do and not do was a big balancing act between being sensible and letting our imaginations run wild, but I think we’re both pretty happy with where we’ve landed.

So without further ado, let’s walk through and I’ll show you everything we have planned. I cannot wait!

FORMER DINING ROOM/FUTURE PLAYROOM AND LIVING ROOM

Home renovation plans - Permanent Riot

The space that used to be the formal dining room was never really in scale with the size of the house or our family. We are dreaming of huge dinners with lots of friends and family, and with the level change to the living room there was never enough room for a truly giant table. Either you had it sideways and people had to scooch past the windows, or it was lengthwise and there were people perched at the very edge threatening to topple over. We decided to turn it instead into a playroom for the kids – right next to the kitchen and living room and in the middle of all the action. Opening the wall to the kitchen will help make the two spaces flow into each other and stop the awkward traffic jams in the doorway during parties. The patio door that we are replacing is in bad shape and hard to open, and one of our goals is to boost the indoor/outdoor flow of the house, so having single large panes of glass is really going to open things up (literally!)

FORMER FAMILY ROOM/FUTURE DINING ROOM

Home renovation plans - Permanent Riot

Ever since the idea of moving first popped into our heads I just knew that this had to be our dining room. It’s right next to the kitchen (on the other side from where the previous dining room was) and has big sliders out to the backyard, right next to the grill. Unfortunately the existing wooden sliders had warped over time, to the extent that if you stood in front of them you could literally feel the draft blowing in. We decided to take the opportunity to replace them with more modern sliders with larger panes of glass to let more light in. This room has gorgeous high ceilings and I just had this picture in my head of an amazing open and airy space with more than enough room for friends and family to gather. Eating meals as a family is a huge part of our lives (sometimes I feel like all I do all day is cook, clean, and get ready to cook again, and I love it that way!) and I really wanted one big and beautiful space to share those meals in. We also aren’t the kind of family who needs a formal living room and family room, we would rather be comfy cozy all the time, so we knew having both would be a waste. We’d much rather put those vaulted ceilings to work than have them full of formal furniture collecting dust. The new picture windows are a huge part of my vision for the room and one we went back and forth on – they’ll bring in massive amounts of natural light (something lacking in this side of the house) and also bring in gorgeous views of the landscaping outside, but strictly speaking they’re weren’t a “need to have” item. We ended up deciding to go for it in the end because we know how much they’ll transform the space – I cannot wait to eat our first meal in here!

KITCHEN (looking back towards the stairs)

Home renovation plans - Permanent Riot

The kitchen was easily the darkest room in the house when we started, and we wanted to do everything possible to brighten it up. First and most obvious on the list was re-finishing the cabinetry. The original wood is all in fantastic shape and while we wouldn’t have picked the arch-top paneling on the doors, they’ve held up so well (30 years and counting!) that it really just seemed wasteful to rip them out and replace them when a fresh coat of paint would do. That’s one of the projects we are doing on our own (rather than hiring it out to our GC) and it made a huge impact right from the start. The rest of the kitchen changes are very much cosmetic – new countertops (white quartz), new appliances (we are installing a gas cooktop to replace the old electric one) and some new light fixtures. I am so excited to have a new white and bright space to cook in!

KITCHEN (looking into new dining room)

Home renovation plans - Permanent Riot

Most of the big kitchen updates were more visible in the other shot, but we’re also removing this small arch into the dining room. It blocks the view to the dining room and we really just wanted to do everything we could to open up the flow of the house, both physically and visually. This is another of the “should we, shouldn’t we” items on our list but in the end it wasn’t much of an added expense and it’s going to have a big impact.

So there you have it – all of the big (and SO exciting) renovation plans. A lot of this work has already started or been completed but I haven’t gotten all of the photos together yet. We have a few more weeks left on the project and I’ll be sharing more as we go along. It’s going to be such an incredible space, I cannot believe we are actually going to be able to live in it. It’s a pretty amazing dream come true!

The big and exciting plans

We’re moving (and there’s a lot going on)

It’s a crazy idea, moving when you already love the house that you’re currently living in (and I LOVE our house) but the circumstances that led us to this decision are pretty once in a lifetime, so we had to go for it.

You see, my parents decided to move out of the house I grew up in. It’s a beautiful house on an amazing street – perfectly located near friends and family and sitting in the midst of a gorgeous back yard. I lived in the house from the time I was three years old until I moved out for college, and we even moved back into the house when I was pregnant with Edith. We had just come home from our Boston adventure and were house hunting and there was more than enough room for my parents and our then family of four. It’s a house that just invites gathering, lingering, enjoying of life. When we were growing up all of our friends would wander unannounced through the kitchen door. The front door and doorbell were hardly used.

House update before photos - Permanent Riot

When my parents decided to move I was heartbroken. I couldn’t imagine the house going to anyone else. I LOVE THIS HOUSE. But we had a house and we weren’t looking to move… so it just didn’t seem like there was any way we would end up there. It’s also a big house (much, much bigger than our current place) and we weren’t sure we wanted to take on the extra responsibility of maintaining so much home (and property).

House update before photos - Permanent Riot

There was also the issue of aesthetics and deferred maintenance. While fluorescent illuminated ceilings and oak cabinetry were all the rage in the 80’s when the house was built, they aren’t exactly the style that Ben and I would have chosen ourselves. There are also a few weird floorplan quirks and the kitchen is quite dark. The walls that form the galley portion are shear walls so they can’t be moved without engaging a structural engineer (at a very high expense). Those two walls prevent the nice light from the living room from entering the kitchen. One of the things that I love very most about our current house is the abundance of natural light in the kitchen (I spend a LOT of time in my kitchen) and we knew we’d need to brighten it up.

House update before photos - Permanent Riot

But despite everything that needed to be worked on with the house, I just kept coming back to the feeling deep in my gut – the one that said no matter how much work the house might be, it would be worth it. I just couldn’t turn it down. So over the last few months my mom and I have packed up the whole house. All of the knick-knacks and tchotchkes. All of the paintings we made in elementary school and framed family photos. It was surreal to watch the house slowly get stripped down. It felt like we were draining my childhood out of the rooms and I had the urge to stop and document. To capture one last time the way that the house was when we were growing up. When it was my parents’ house. Because as strange as it still is to say it, this is about to become our house.

House update before photos - Permanent Riot

This house has always been every inch a home, loved and cherished and lived in (really lived in) by everyone in the family. It seemed wrong to empty the house without first taking a minute to remember it as it was. Looking at these photos makes me so fiercely nostalgic that it almost makes me wish we were just leaving the entire house as it was. I can’t bear to think that my childhood home isn’t going to exist in the form that it takes on in my memory.

But at the same time I don’t want to live in someone else’s house, even if that someone else happens to be my parents. I want to surround ourselves with the things that make my own family feel at home. I want to give this house the same loving care and attention that my parents showed it for all these years, and for us that means that it’s going to see a few updates and changes. It’s not that we don’t love the house now. It’s that we do love the house. And we want it to feel like our home.

I was going to include some photos and sketches at the end of this post of the work we are planning on doing to the house, but as usual I got carried away and rambled on maybe a bit too long. I’m going to save the plans for another day, but we are so excited that you can bet there are going to be a lot more posts about the house. I’m also sharing some snapshots on instagram along the way (because I can’t resist the instant gratification of instagram) so you can look for those in my feed with the tag #thehouseprojectshavebegun. I can’t wait to share more of our plans!

We’re moving (and there’s a lot going on)