So by now you may have seen my home across the internet, and I’ve been blessed to be featured on apartment therapy, in Buffalo Spree, and Houzz. Although my home photographs really well - it doesn’t always look picture perfect. Since my partner and I did all the renovations ourselves (lets be honest It was mostly him), it took a lot of time and patience to finish everything. There are a few things that I love about what we chose, and there are a few things we did that I would never do again - in my own house OR a clients!
First, lets start with the things that I would do again.
1) Having all lower cabinet drawers vs. doors
This has been a life saver for our small kitchen. Essentially, we have no pantry space. All of my dry goods and non-perishables fit within 3 drawers in my lower cabinets. This makes them super accessible, and also keeps me from buying too many things that would sit in a pantry I would never use. Being able to open a drawer and see everything you have from above is also way easier than having to file through a pantry. In my opinion!
2) Plywood Shiplap
In our bedroom, we cut down sheets of plywood and stapled them to the wall. After I filled all the staple holes, I painted everything white. In our dining room, we used routed MDF - but if I’m being honest I like the plywood a lot more. Since our home is over 100 years old, it’s crooked and all out of whack. I even love the uneven openings through the plywood planks, I think it adds so much character to our bedroom.
3) Walk in shower with no glass
I’m pretty sure any shower I ever have for the rest of my life will closely resemble the shower I have now. I love not having glass, and just being able to walk in and out without opening a door. Our shower is large enough that the water does not splash behind us, and there is just slight splashing on our half wall. I would probably make that about 4 or 5 “ taller next time we do it!
4) Investing in adding new trim through out
This one is huge. Theres nothing that adds character like finish trim does. From the shiplap on the walls, to the new farmhouse/craftsmen style window and door trim that Jon made from scratch, it makes a such a difference. The materials were cheap, too. We used MDF for all the trim and painted it white, and for our living room ceiling it's just sheets of MDF and 2x4's. It looks like it's always been there!
5) Putting our plug in sconces on a switch
This might seem like it makes no sense - but because I wanted sconces mounted on an exterior wall, and our walls were plaster and lathe, it was a logistical nightmare. It was also going to be a nightmare to install recessed cans, so I decided to put plug in sconces over each bookcase next to our fireplace. Jon then installed an outlet in the floor (we have access from the basement) and connected that outlet to a switch. He's so smart.
Things I will never do again:
1) Using light grout on any floor
I used a light grey penny tile in our bathroom, and paired it with a light bone colored grout. This is my biggest regret in the house because it takes hours of scrubbing with bleach for the floor to look clean - even if it wasn’t dirty to begin with! Since this is our only bathroom in the first floor, it gets a ton of use by guests as well which makes it even harder. Also, when it gets wet in the shower, sometimes it changes colors which drives me nuts. The grout to tile ratio is pretty much even which is why it makes it so hard to keep looking clean. - Lesson learned!
2) Wood countertop in bathroom/vessel sink combo
Although a striking combo, it’s kind of a nightmare to take care of. I think I would feel different if we had a stone countertop, but the wood makes it hard to keep clean. I don’t think it necessarily looks bad, but I can tell that it’s not perfect and thats what matters!
Other than those couple things, I really, really love our home. It was definitely a task to have to choose every detail for myself. When it comes to clients, it’s easy for me to read them and suggest things I know they will like. For myself - because I am exposed to so much on a daily basis- it was impossible for me to pick out almost everything without changing my mind 5 or 6 times.
With every decision I wanted to be a little out of the box, but I know deep down that I’m timeless and classic and neutral, so when I was having a hard time picking something I always reminded myself of that. On top of not being able to make up my mind, it’s was hard to take my partner’s opinion into consideration because I had total tunnel vision of this being my first big portfolio piece of my own and wanted to control everything. BUT in the end his suggestions and opinions really did make the house what it is today and is a nice mix of both of our styles.
The process itself was also incredibly helpful for my career. Living through a large scale renovation is a slight nightmare. Even though day in and day out I’m making decisions for my clients that are going through renovations - to be able to live through the day to day construction site really helped me understand everything that goes into it and the client's point of view. Of course I check in on my contractors on the job site, but I’m not there watching them every minute or physically living through it. Trouble shooting plumbing problems, electric, leveling floors, fixing joists - that all helped me understand large scale renovations way better than anything I’ve ever done.
All in all would I do it again? Probably not LOL I think from here on out I’ll be sticking to telling the contractors what to do instead of doing it myself ;)