The 1940’s American Foursquare in Rochester, NY lacked curb appeal, presented with a damaged exterior and even more sloppily maintained interior. But a less-than-perfect home is what I wanted, so yeah, I asked for it. It was move-in-ready when I found it, or at least more so than the homes I wanted to make over with a renovation loan. I saw its potential and knew that with a little repair I knew that could make it my own, top to bottom. I lived there for four years before moving in June of 2013. I rented it for a few years (that was hard) and ultimately sold the property in the summer of 2015. What kinds of projects did I do while I lived there? Keep on reading.
The old porch was neither symmetrical nor attractive. It needed a boost. And that’s what it got.
I updated the original dented aluminum with a fresh vinyl siding (Mastic Ovation in Victorian Gray). There’s a whole post on this adventure, so go here to read about it.
The first summer in the house I made a modest front garden along the front of the house where there was none before. I made progress in the fall of 2011 by widening the front garden, and switching out some plants for new ones. Winterberry, Inkberry, Dogwood Shrub, let’s see where this goes when the plants latch on and mature.
Without the pool, it looked silly (not to mention the stain was chipping and it wasn’t built to code) so down it came. I sold a lot of the pressure treated lumber to offset the cost of the new deck, but we also handcrafted an amazing treehouse for my now-husband’s daughter as well. A new deck went up in it’s place, and was supplemented with simple pergolas to complement the natural height of the house and the size of the deck. You like?
The backyard itself was home to roses, tulips, berries, mint, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers on any given summer day. On a cooler, springtime day in New York, it looked a little more barren, like this:
The old door was heavy and insulative; not a bad thing. It was new-ish, sure, but it wasn’t my taste, and it certainly didn’t do anything for the house. My solution? Out with it. I found a new one at a local salvage shop (solid wood with pretty, pretty leaded glass) and had it installed; the whole she-bang cost <$500, and I was left with a door that I could be excited about and proud to walk through.
We swapped out the existing storm door too just this spring in favor of a model that would really help to show off the new door in full, and added new railings. The driveway and front porch were improved upon in the summer of 2013, shortly after I moved out and rededicated this place as my rental property.
If I had let you in, you’d have been greeted in the entryway, complete with jacket hooks and a shoe rack that Pete built me. It received a gradual overhaul; I removed a linoleum tile floor and painted the stamped cement that was revealed.
The floor stayed painted like that for almost 2 years, when I decided to take it a step further by re-tiling the surface with hand-selected shale stonesfrom a Lake Erie beach. Mortared and grouted in place, the stones felt lovely underfoot and make for a more impacting entryway.
Three of the walls are a dark gold but one wall received a dark brown shiplap treatment to tie it in with the dining room accent wall you’ll be seeing a little further down:
The living room in the house I bought was very small and dark – I didn’t buy the house because I loved that living room, but I knew that behind the over-stuffed sofa, dark curtains, and obscure wall hangings, there was opportunity.
I showed off the original hardwood floors. Painted the fireplace, and updated the hearth a glossy gray. Installed a new door to the sunroom. New furniture, including DIY’ed ottomans. And new blinds, left without curtains. Oh, and a new light, new paint, and new art. And books. A lot of books.
It was the only room that had exposed hardwoods when I took over ownership. The whole house was exposed hardwood by the time I left, but early on, it looked like this, which wasn’t a room that I necessarily wanted to eat or work in.
My first stab at updating the space in 2009 was to update the color (with coral pink, which I love, and was similar to Pantone’s 2011 Color Honeysuckle) but it didn’t last long. I decided to extend the olivey-green from the living room into the dining room to encourage cohesiveness, and it worked.
I extended stained shiplap detailing from the master bedroom and created a warm accent wall that adds interest and vibes with all of the dark furniture that I had included in the house.
To entertain an inset space in the dining room wall, I added built-in shelves for appearance and utility.
Not a bad perk, although each wall was a different shade of sweet baby blue and I was drowning in oak cabinets.
I opened the room up by painting each and every wall white, and removing lots of cabinets in exchange for open shelving. I also made an island out of a workbench that I found on the side of the road, and refinished the door that led to the basement. All changes combined, I left the kitchen looking quite different.
I altered the room’s appearance further by updating the floors, gel staining the remaining oak cabinets java brown, and having the countertops replaced with pretty white acrylic. It’s easily the most transformed room in my home.
I made minor cosmetic improvements to transition the bathroom to gray (which complemented the existing tan shower) and added new (longer) towel racks.
After saving and planning for a year, we finished our first bathroom renovation and had the opportunity to share the whole process here on DIY Network’s blog, Made + Remade. From the floor to the trim, to the tub and tile surround, to the vanity, mirror, and lighting, we updated the room in entirety to suit our taste (on a budget of only $1,500!). See the full list of related projects right here on DIY Network.
Once upon a time, the master bedroom was carpeted and bright yellow.
That too changed quickly with the removal of the carpeting and decision to paint the room dark gray. An experiment in lowering the box spring and mattress to the ground really opened up the room, making it feel both taller and more spacious. Because it fit best beneath the window, I decided to anchor the bed in place beneath the window, flanked by DIY canvas curtains and a self-stained-and-installed shiplap paneling accent wall.
My West Elm Pebble Rug remains a favorite splurge of all time, and two simple IKEA MALM dressers provide extra his-and-her’s storage. A hand-painted ikat pattern pops from the closet interior, and I adore the orange-red of the CB2 Harvey Lobster bedside tables.
Julia is Pete’s daughter, my stepdaughter, and the room that was hers also came a long ways. The room was originally light blue, highlighted by a rainbow fan, and carpeted.
I gradually altered its design and its furniture orientation, eventually transforming it into a modern little girl’s getaway with a pink striped wall, birch IKEA furniture, and lots of room for toys.
A works-from-home girl needs a real working sanctuary, and when we lived there, our office was in this third bedroom. I painted the room with Powdered Snow walls and light blue ceiling, and added appropriate storage. I updated a desk, a $1 chair, painted an IKEA cabinet pink, installed a pegboard panel for utility, and refinished a pair of filing cabinets. And the bear rug? Yeah, there’s a whole story and tutorial behind that.
I added a small gallery wall (with DIY octo-art) on the left side of the entryway, building in space for a magnetic board for notes and inspiration images. All of the baseboard trim in the room was new too.
If you’re looking for more information on the color palette you see in this home, be sure to check out the latest color palette post. Here’s an overview: