Our new House

Since I've been thinking about it pretty much nonstop, I thought I'd share our new house with you.  I am CRAZY about this place but want to mention a few things first:

#1 :  It is SMALLER than our current house (!!)  It lives larger because there are 3 bedrooms (instead of 5) and
#2- there is NO storage in the house.  (We do have a garage now, which we didn't have before.)   

The yard is massive (we have a nice private back yard now, which is one of the most important things in a house for us....  We don't want our neighbors to have to see our crazy antics)  and we could stay here for the rest of our lives or leave if something else comes up.  (After this whirlwind house-buy-and-sale we've decided that we'll pretty much "never say never" again.  We have no idea what our future holds and are totally open to staying forever or moving on..)

So...  welcome to our new house!  It was built in the 70s (like our current home) and it has sort of a rustic-contemporary vibe.  The wooden door you see below is the front door and it walks into a teensy tiny foyer:


I guess foyers weren't big in the 70s because I have another small, super-challenging entry to try to try to do something to. (We have so many bigger fish to fry that I haven't even gone there mentally yet.)  I love the massive metal windows & doors throughout this house.  The stairs in the front walk up to an upstairs loft, one of the features that really sold me on the house.  We'll tear down the drywall on the stairs and add simple iron railings for a simpler look...  (for details on the stair plans, read the post I wrote a few days ago here)


Here's the view into the living room (the front room shown in the other pics) and you can see we've got lots to do in here...  The wood burning stove will be switched out with a modern recessed gas fireplace between the two windows.  I'd like to change out the windows to larger ones to let in more light & so that we can see outside better.  The view out these windows is one of the prettiest views the house has and I feel like we can barely see out with these narrow windows as they are now.


Here's a view of the living room from the stairs.  (photo below) The tile and carpeting throughout the house are going.  Wide plank white oak from the Mountain Lumber Co. is on its way!!!  The pine beams will be sanded down (to get rid of the red-brown finish) and then refinished so that they resemble antique beams.  The rest of the ceiling is actually plywood so it'll be painted white to match the walls.  I plan on having two sofas face each other for a cozy seating area down there: 


...If you walk through the doorway to the right of the (future) fireplace, you enter the kitchen:



The door is just out of the photo on the left so you basically walk in and see the side of the peninsula...  The kitchen isn't really much bigger than our current kitchen & we're starting from scratch in here.  I'll be going with open shelving instead of upper cabinets again to open up the space & we're continuing the hardwood floors into here too. 

The area you see in the back (in the pic above) with the cathedral ceiling is the breakfast room. 

Here's the main area of the kitchen:



We're rearranging a bit & moving the dishwasher over by the fridge so the sink can scoot over a little to the left & has a little more room to breathe.  We're going with a smaller fridge and using this one as a second refrigerator in the garage.  (My husband is OBSESSED with meat & has been dreaming of having 2 freezers/ refrigerators for years now, and as our boys get older, we're find there's never enough milk  SO having two refrigerators will be a cherished luxury for us.)

Here's the view from the bar:


 {The door on the right in the pic above leads to the dining room.)

I really love the big peninsula/ bar!!  ("Big" is a relative term here...  it's probably not big compared to normal homes, but it's much bigger than what we currently have so I'm excited.)  I picture my 3 boys sitting up there hanging out while we cook.  (My two older ones are at the age where helping is fun!  How long does this last??? ;)  And I kind of have a thing for the bar stools...  Super-retro and I'm wondering if I could find something similar in leather??   

Here's the view from the breakfast room into the kitchen & you can also see the living room doorway...



I am definitely doing a banquette in the breakfast room and probably shouldn't call it the "breakfast" room since we'll probably eat most meals in there...  I'm thinking about doing a little herb/ plant station on the blank wall (in the pic above) but it might be smarter to add some sort of storage piece with a countertop there instead...  (I have hopes of a sort of huge plant trough full of ferns & herbs but it might not be practical enough... we'll see.)  And even though everyone in blogland might be over it, I need to decide on a spot for chalkboard paint somewhere in the kitchen...  The chalkboard fridge we currently have entertains the kids (freeing me up!!)  and my husband and I use it all the time for lists and notes, so it's going somewhere.  I thought it might work on the herb garden wall & how fun would it be to label the herbs on the wall??

Moving on...  The dining room is the toughest room for me in the house...  When you walk in to it through the kitchen, you see this:







The view out the dining room window is of bushes.  (There's a raised garden bed ouside of the windows) and so it's really dark & feels so low compared to the rest of the house.  We also have to add in duct work to this room so it's going to get worse.  I think I'm going to make this room cozy & moody and I'm a little excited about that.  It's a pretty long room so I have some options floorplan-wise...  The room you see behind it is our future family room/ office and the door in the back leads to the garage.  I'm playing with the idea of doing our books in the dining room, but there might not be enough space...




The cabinets separating the dining room from the family room/ studio are going and I'm still on the fence about adding new ones...  I think a floating piece of furniture would be prettier, but the family room will also double as our office and we really need storage in there.  I'd like to keep the rooms open to one another for entertaining purposes but I also like the idea of a wall with storage on both sides in both the dining room and studio...  so that's to be determined...


The family room/ studio has a view of the bak yard and TONS of light!!!  I can't wait to work here!!!



Because the office will double as a family room, I'm rethinking my office storage a bit...  It might need to hide away a bit instead of being all open as it is now...

...Also on the first floor is the master bedroom...  We're moving doors and creating a new entry for it so it's really changing...  (Currently, there are two entries to it:  from the foyer and from the office and neither are great...)



As it is now, I think it rivals the dining room in "eh"ness....  It's fairly small as master bedrooms go and has an oddly placed closet (below)....  Its two windows overlook a little u-shaped courtyard in between the garage and the house.  There's a maple tree in there and a few plants....  BUT we're going to wall off the courtyard and turn it into our own private little garden.  We're taking out the windows in the master bedroom and are replacing the entire wall with sliding glass doors so that you feel like the garden is a part of the bedroom.  Once we wall it off, the garden will be completely private & I want to add an outdoor shower out there.   (This has been a dream of mine for a looooooong time!!!!)   I can't wait to watch the maple tree & other plants change throughout the seasons and feel like I'm living outside!!


We're swapping the location of the closet with the current master bath & are adding a powder room.  (As it is now, the only bathroom on the first floor is the master bath.)  The closet you see above will become our bathroom...  We'll add a skylight for some light in there...

When you go upstairs, you're in the loft:


It's twenty-two feet by thirteen feet and I am soooooo excited about this room!!!  The boys' bedrooms are off of it & it will be sort of a family room/ playroom/ hangout room.  For years, I've loved the idea of a nursery with bedrooms off of it, (like in the Velveteen Rabbit! ;) and I couldn't believe it when we found a house with this feature!!!!  We'll keep all of the boys' books and toys in the loft (and maybe our books too) and only store clothes in their fairly small bedrooms. I've pretty much reached my limit with my boys taking all the toys & books off their shelves during naptimes so now they'll have only clothes to play with! ;)  I picture them mostly playing in the big room and using their bedrooms mainly for sleeping.

We're removing the loft's current built-ins are leaving & we're bringing in our massive hutch from our family room for toy & book storage ...  The upstairs will be wall-to-wall seagrass which we have in our current house & has been a LIFESAVER with kids & pets.  (My friend Brooke Giannetti recommended it to me a few years ago when we moved into to our house and I've mentally thanked her a thousand times as I've wiped muddy paw prints or some other type of nasty thing right off of it.)


The boys' bedrooms are almost exactly the same as their current bedrooms so I'm pretty much just going to move everything right over.  Christian & Justin (2 and 5) will continue to share and Luke will have the nursery to himself.  I'm thinking that the nursery might double as a guest room and then when it becomes becomes a "big boy" room, I might do a queen in there, so I can easily move a boy out to the other boys' room and bring guests in.

...Anyway, I have so many plans going on & I can't wait to share them with you!!!  SO many (fun!!!) decisions to make!!    I know the place looks pretty dated, but that excites me even more...  I don't feel terrible for removing things that are older vs. removing other people's updates that most people like & that we don't want.    Would love to know what you think!!

We close in 2 weeks!! YAY!!!
If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

70 comments:

Emma (Glitter and Gold) said...

I absolutely love the house! Amazing potential to be insanely awesome! And I have a thing for those barstools too!

tokyojinja.com said...

Honestly, if someone else showed me these house photos I might be worried a bit about some of the more dated features, but knowing it is you who is going at them, I just cannot wait to see how fabulously it will turn out!

Nancy said...

The space does seem huge cause of the ceilings, and the light is glorious! It looks like a huge project and I know you will make it look like a showhouse. I love all your plans.
Nancy
Powellbrowerhome.com

Melanie A. said...

I am so excited to see what you do with this!! I totally agree; better to have the original, dated stuff than someone else's bad reno to rip out. Love your plans and your creativity- good luck!!

Tawna said...

HUGE potential, especially for your style. That's what I think :). I know you'll make it incredible (I expect to see it in House Beautiful in a few years....got that gut feeling).

EDYTA & CO. INTERIOR DESIGN said...

So exciting! Can't wait to see this journey with you! It will be amazing!
Xo edyta

Diane said...

I've always liked the idea of a large loft space with bedrooms off it too, although in my mind the walls are lined with bookshelves... I think of having a feature like that in a house someday. I like how you thought of "The Velveteen Rabbit" when you saw it. I read a lot to my boys when they were young too, and these images do get ingrained in your mind. When I walked into our current home, I really thought "The Burrow" (the Weasley's very "homey" house from the Harry Potter books -- you will be reading these!), because of the way the stairs went up and down from the center of the house and the way they turned at angles, like many of the rooms and entrances in our house! You have a vision for that house -- so great the way it speaks to you!

Megan said...

Wow, Lauren! All of your ideas sound incredible. I am so excited to see all the prjects take place in your new home! I LOVE that there are so many windows -I completely see why you guys were sold on the place. I must say, you are one brave duo to take this on with a newborn and two little ones running around. I give you mad props, woman! :)

Courtney {a thoughtful place} said...

Lauren!! So fun to see all of it. I can already picture your design aesthetic all over this new home. And yes, that room where you will work is so pretty with all of the light. I would be giddy as well.

Kacey said...

What a great space to work with! There is so much potential. Excited to see you work your magic!

Catherine said...

This is such a cool, fun space! I can't wait to see what you do with it!

It kind of reminds me of this house in Alexandria that I keep fantasizing about (http://www.mcenearney.com/property/15457806/306-BEVERLEY-DR-ALEXANDRIA-VA-22305/) even though it's completely outside of my budget (not to mention the fact that I'm not even looking to buy a place right now...). Your house and my little fantasy cottage both have some features that might scare some people off, but I think they have so much charm!

Katie Waddell said...

LOVE it! SOOOO excited to see the process and the finished product! Congrats!!

kayce hughes said...

It is so exciting! I can't wait to see what you do with every room.

Bethany [at] Powell Brower Home said...

wahoooooooooo this is awesome. i can see why you fell in love. so much potential. i love all the wood everywhere. and cant wait to see what you do with it! ps - is it the same city you are in now or different?

Heather Peterson said...

you have such great vision--can't wait to watch the transformation!

Heather
loveyourspace.blogspot.com

jenrick1 said...

looks like so much fun and I love the retro feel and all that light. As one who is in the middle of a whole house remodel not sure how you do it with three little boys but looking forward to all your changes

Kristen | Cottage Modern said...

It is so exciting to see these photos and hear what your plans are for the space--can't wait to follow the transformation! The house looks HUGE too! I know you said it was smaller than your last place, but the way the house is laid seems so great and full of potential. Thanks for sharing!

Lane McNab said...

I cannot wait to see what you do with this house!!!!!

-Lane
www.urbanorchardinteriors.com

Laura@happyroost said...

Congrats on the new home! It looks great from the photos and definitely has a ton of potential. I'm sure you will make it look amazing! Like you, I always get excited with a challenge :)

Laura
www.HappyroostBlog.com

Stacey {steward of design} said...

I SO can't wait to see your renovations! Your private courtyard off the master is going to be amazing. Super jealous. :)

Sjn said...

I love your excitement about this new space! I'll be following along with your projects and transformations.
My current home is pretty much all done except for the master bathroom which we are planning right now.
I love re-doing a house, and may have to find a new one soon, but in the meantime I'll enjoy yours!

jessica said...

Lauren, this house looks amazing!! It also sounds like the plans you have are going to be phenomenal!!! I am so excited to watch as you make it your own!

Best of wishes to you and your family!!

Rachael said...

Thank you for such a detailed post. Like many other readers/ fans I've been intrigued about this house that stole your heart. It must be pretty special to induce a move with a newborn! I have an almost 4 month old (along with an almost 3 year old) and I can hardly even manage the laundry right now. I love looking at these photographs and hearing about your vision; they transform the house while I read. I am so impressed and a little envious by your ability to re-imagine spaces so creatively and so beautifully. I really love your style and can't wait to see this house unfold!

sbaker said...

I get so excited when you write a new blog post because I find you to be incredibly inspiring. I love that you take a space and make it look functional, comfortable for a family, and drop dead gorgeous all at the same time. It helps me to try to think more creatively about my own home. I love that you don't sacrifice comfort and livability for style. I also appreciate all of the pictures and details. It is so fun to feel like a part of the process. I cannot wait to see what you do with your new home!!

www.onestorybuilding.com said...

I love this house. I cannot wait to see you transform this space! Best of luck!

Kara said...

The house is beautiful and full of potential! I was thinking those bars stools were amazing, too! Are the cabinets in the dining room going? What about a wall in their place, to block some of the view to the office playroom? You have been such an inspiration to me, I can't wait to see the updates! Blessings to you and your family.

Acquired Objects said...

Oh I see all the potential in your new home. You're smart getting rid of the carpet and tile...what were the former owners thinking. The picture you showed from the loft down into the living room shows how chopped up the flooring makes everything look and feel. I know whatever y ou do will be wonderful and it's exciting you're sharing the journey!

XX
Debra~

Emily said...

There is so much you can do with this place and all your ideas sound amazing. I have always thought that it is way more fun to buy a home with lots of potential but that needs some TLC so you can really make it your own. Most new construction homes these days are so super generic and have no personality. You have an opportunity to really make this place yours. I love it and I am so excited for you guys!!

Jen @ RamblingRenovators said...

That's a pretty fabulous clean slate you're working with! The house has a bit of the same vibe as your last one. I can picture all your ideas. Especially love the wall of sliding glass doors in the master bedroom - so awesome!

Vel Criste said...

Congratulations on your new home!!!!!! Super excited to see your journey of renovating, decorating and making this house your OWN!

Natalie said...

wow! the ceilings and views are amazing! i cant wait to see what you will do with it. i am completely with you on loving the old house kind of thing. im always drawn to those houses where the previous owners have lived there since the seventies or earlier and are moving bc they need to go to a retirement home ;) {aka no "updates" i will just have to trash to make it what i like!} it also gives your imagination more room to play. i would be just as pumped as you are!!! congrats!!

InsideOut Design, Etc. said...

Love all the natural light! Look forward to seeing what you do with it.

katiedid said...

I cannot WAIT to see how you transform this place with your talent. Starting off with a cool space...only to get cooler I have no doubt. Congrats!

Christian said...

Hi there, Lauren! You got a big house. That’s why I’m not surprised at all to see you going crazy about it. :D It is quite overwhelming to own a house, regardless of its size. I think it’s a great idea to use white paint on the walls and ceiling. It emphasizes how spacious your place is. Plus, it looks so simple and elegant. What decors and furniture did you use to complete the look of every room? So looking forward to seeing it. :D

Christian Traughber

Melbourne Girl said...

SO EXCITING!!!!

I love this part of moving house...all the planning and deciding and then implementing.
Great stuff!
Lesley
xx

Lumen Drops said...

Lauren, when you change the flooring, it will be oh so nice. Open beamed ceiling style has always been my favorite; was once fortunate to live in such a home and it just made me feel better than a lower ceiling. It is the magnificent views of the beautiful green everywhere that is most spectacular element to me. Happy for you and your family!

heyhomeslice said...

This was so fun to read. I love dreaming up what to do with a new home... or what to tweak in ours. :) Yay!!

Amy C said...

So great! I can definitely imagine how beautiful you are going to make this place. Will you do it all at once or in stages? I can imagine it would be pretty costly to fix everything at once. I have lived in my house for almost 3 yrs and still have various small projects not yet done since they're just not in the (tiny) budget. Personally I don't have enough energy for such a big project (and I only have 2 kids, not 3!!). It makes me tired just thinking about it. So I will live vicariously through you! :) You are amazing!

My Little Bungalow said...

Girl, you have vision! I could not have looked at that house and seen the potential you see. I'm impressed. Is that a built-in wine rack in the dining room? Like you, I think the stools are kinda cool. And the thought of an outdoor shower is awesome! We were at the beach recently and only bathed in the outdoor shower, which was huge and had a large shower head with great water pressure. It was a treat!

Can't wait to see how your new home progresses. I'm sure you will do wonders with it.
Claudia

lessthanperfectmama said...

What a great space! Eager to see how you transform it.

Michele said...

Wow, you are a brave woman! Have to say this would make me run the other way....maybe b/c I grew up in the 70's and did not like it then or now. I know you will do amazing things with the space!!

Ann said...

I love this house. I can see the potential, it has great bones and a lot of good light. I think you are going to just love making it your own. It will be fun to watch it evolve!

BaileyWife said...


You are giving this home a new life! Bravo with what you've come up with so far..can't wait...thanks for taking US on this amazing adventure with YOU!

Unknown said...

Hi Lauren, I have loved your blog for ages, but these house updates have me so excited that when I see a new post I have to put the kettle on, get a piece of chocolate & then sit down & read it like I am reading the latest edition of my favourite mag! Really appreciate you sharing this and I think your plans are brilliant!

Windlost said...

You have more guts than me - where does one start! But I have to say - the house has such a lovely airy feel and I love all the windows and know you will make it look sooo beautiful. Cannot wait to watch progress and know you will make it so lovely.

xo Terri

pve design said...

I think you are as creative as you are courageous.
It takes both to be a Mom and to move. I really look forward to seeing your take on making this home yours.
I love that it is modern and full of light.
pve

vreelandroad said...

I'm with you on removing the dining room/studio cabinets. You can repurpose them in your garage for storage maybe? This is so exciting!

xo
Jen

Naomi@DesignManifest said...

So exciting! I read every single word. I love your plans. I think this place has amazing potential and I know you will work wonders. This style of house is so interesting to me. We don't have too many contemporaries in my suburb of Philadelphia. Most are 1920's etc.

Kathleen Sams Flippen said...

I love how you transformed your first home, and I can't wait to see what you do with your second! After noting that you would like to add an outdoor shower, I revisited a recent post about outdoor showers that I wrote on my blog and realized that one of my favorites is by your friends Steve and Brooke Giannetti of Velvet and Linen. It was featured in the July/August 2011 edition of Veranda and is so beautiful! Best wishes to you in your new home.

dervla kelly said...

Selfishly, I'm excited to watch you transform this house. You have a great eye to see past older facades and envision what a house could be. Love the light! Looking forward to following along with you on this journey

Tyrone said...

This kind of home is exhilarating because of its large windows and doors. It's refreshing to see the view from the outside, but at the same time, you can still have your privacy since the backyard is large as well. It's very spacious, too. Why not put old looking furniture and decors if you are going for that rustic look?

Tyrone Swopes

Casa Mia said...

Congratulations! So exciting. Looking forward to all your projects

Sarah said...

Lauren, it is an interesting house with an unusual layout - I think you will make it fabulous. My one question and concern is that there are no windows in the kitchen?? I was wondering if you were going to add a window above the sink? Does that look out to the back garden? ;-))

Velvet and Linen said...

Your new house has amazing spaces! Great light! So much potential. You are going to create a fantastic home for your family.

I know that diagonal siding well... I'm not sure why people loved diagonal siding in the 70's!

Looking forward to seeing what you do...

xo xo
Brooke

Seema said...

Lauren- what brand/type of seagrass do you recommend?

Sonja B. said...

Wow, it is a great house and your plans sound exciting. Can hardly wait to see the evolution!

Love those bar stools too. You can probably have someone recover those in leather if you can't find them. (Or you could paint them maybe if it is the finish that you don't like).

Caution: our dishwasher is about 11" from our sink and it drives me nuts that you can't really load it without dripping water on the wood floor. I can hardly wait to redo the kitchen and move that directly next to my sink!

Lastly, I love your perfect vacuum job for all the photos!! Looks like new carpet -- hope you can donate that (Habitat for Humanity?) or sell it!

Awesome house, have fun dreaming and updating!

pretty pink tulips said...

If anyone can leave their mark on a house, it is you!!! Love the wide open space you have to work with and can't wait to see your finished design.

Congratulations on the new home!!
xoxo Elizabeth

Vero said...

I love your ideas!! specially for the master bedroom!! Everything sound very interesting. Congrats!!

Leslie @ NE Portland Bungalow said...

I love 70s homes! Is it possible to turn that front sliding door (or ginaormous window??) into the main entrance, and turn the tiny foyer into a mondo front closet?

Comeca Jones said...

Cant wait to see what you do!Reveal reveal reveal!

Sandra said...

I love this house and I know it's going to be absolutely stunning when you get your hands on it. I just love how light filled it is!

Lacey said...

a friend pointed me your way b/c we are in similar situations. While i think your new place is a smidge more exciting, there is something about the angles that makes me think what you do with yours will be easy inspiration for me. So, can't wait to see what comes!

Mike Bishop7 said...

Your house looks absolutely amazing Lauren! Me and my wife have been looking for New Homes in New Jersey all week and I can only hope we find something like this. Thank you for sharing your photo with us!

www.thewowie.com said...

I love it and can't wait to see what you do with it. Hopefully, you will post pics on Instagram along the way. I am thinking about doing seagrass upstairs (boys rooms and playroom). Do you recommend a specific type? I am a little worried that it will be scratchy. Thanks!

Jessica Gomez said...

I absolutely love the house! Amazing potential to be insanely awesome! Love the space and the ceilings. :) Great job!

home insurance florida

Holly said...

Lauren, this is a dream! I absolutely love it. Not everyone would see the potential in a place like this but it is screaming with tons of potential. It's so spacious and open - really a wonderful house. Looking forward to see your ideas turn into reality - enjoy it!

Katy Desroches said...

First off, congratulations for your new, beautiful place. Reading your plans make me excited how each part of your new house will turn out. Yeah, those bar stools look great. It must be a lot of fun to cook, while your boys wait for their meals. Well, I wish you luck with the reno. The house is going to look amazing! :)


-Katy Desroches

kanchan tyagi said...

Wow so cute and attractive images here, I am too much impressed from all of those images, really very beautiful images they are, thankful to you for posting this blog.New windows and doors

Levi Ervin said...

I could feel your excitement and happiness exuding from every word of this post! The house looks great, and I’m sure it looks even better now with your design plans. If you need another bedroom in the future, I think you can convert part of the living room or garage into one.

Levi Ervin

Calvin said...

Your new home has got a LOT of space! I love all of the wood inside it. That kitchen is quite pretty too; I’d definitely have a lot of fun cooking there. The bar stools are great as well, and I kind of think that it’s better to leave them that way because it matches the wood around the rest of the house.

~ Calvin Mordarski