The Before

We fell in love with and put an offer in on our house on my birthday in 2014. My husband and I have very differing tastes (he likes dark and cozy and I like bright and open) and it sort of seemed like we would never find something that we both thought felt like home. When we walked into our house, we just knew. The front part of the house – the formal living room and the formal dining room – had soaring ceilings with big windows and light pouring in. The back part of the house – the kitchen, the breakfast nook, and the family room – had lower ceilings with a balcony shielding some of the light. Cozy, just like my husband liked it. Our offer was accepted and off we went to sell our current home.

This house was a new build, so it wasn’t quite ready for us to move in. In fact, there wasn’t much done inside except drywall and cabinets when we put our offer in. We managed to get the house for a great price, but the one catch was, we couldn’t pick any of the finishes inside except the flooring. Apparently, we missed the builder-imposed deadline for selecting countertops, cabinets, etc. That said, we were informed that the upgrades and finishes that had been chosen were all high-end and beautiful and we were sure to love them. So of course I asked what they looked like…and was promptly told that they couldn’t share it with me for a while, I’d have to make an appointment at the design center….after our offer was accepted. Wow! Ok, so we just put an offer on a house that we don’t really know what the inside will look like. But we loved it, so we carried on.

Flash forward to our design appointment and I was…less than impressed. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful, but it wasn’t me. Dark brown cabinets, dark speckled granite counters, and a brown backsplash with inlaid copper diamonds that made it feel just a tad bit dated. Our master bathroom design wasn’t much better, but I’m sure I’ll get into that later.

We picked the most beautiful dark engineered wood flooring – Provenza Antico in the color Heritage. It has this unique distressed look to it that the designer swore would be perfect for hiding the damage our kids would do to it (a total lie, by the way). My one regret though is that we didn’t continue the wood into the kitchen. My husband was really concerned that wood + water was a bad combination. He’s not wrong. However, the beige-ish tile we picked was just okay and there was always this funny line where the wood stopped and the tile started.

Moving on… since this was a new build, we had to landscape our yard. We chose to do the hardscape/landscape in phases because we had so many expenses at the time (i.e. window coverings, gutters, paint, etc.). Five years later, we decided that it was time for phase 2, which also included painting the kitchen cabinets white to brighten the space because the patio cover was going to add a lot of shade (I’ve always wanted a white kitchen!). We called our landscaper and told him we were ready to build our patio cover, outdoor kitchen, and fireplace and he promptly told us that our yard wasn’t deep enough to do it while meeting local building code. We were crushed. He called in a landscape architect, but he told us the same thing. After much deliberation, we called our landscaper and told him that we were going to take our backyard budget and spend it inside instead, with a few less permanent purchases for outside. To his credit, he took it in stride and wished us luck.

One thing I can tell you about remodeling is that it’s a slippery slope. We started with just repainting the cabinets. That turned into, well what if we replaced the counters? And then, if we do the counters, we will have to do the floor. And so on until our whole kitchen was going to be demolished, along with our powder bath, and a few other things we threw in for good measure. More on that soon. But for now, let me share my home with you…The Before.