Home improvements

We’re all moved in and my in-laws are here to help with the workshop remodeling and some other projects, so I finally have some time for a progress report on the new house. Here’s what the front looked like before. 

After many attempts and a trip to the local tool library, we were finally able to take down the ugly awnings. Woo hoo!

We also got some new house numbers, which Mike mounted on a plain board painted white.

Definitely better than the old ones!

Here is the old doorbell.

And the new one, which is lighted and easy to see at night.

Remember the ugly front-door handle?

We actually replaced all the exterior doorknobs and locks.

We obviously have some painting to do on the front door, but since I still haven’t decided what to do about the screen door, that can wait.

We replaced two exterior doors that were in terrible shape, one in the garage and one in the workshop. This was the workshop door before.

And now.

Inside, the biggest, most dramatic change is definitely the floors. All but our bedroom had ugly brown carpet.

Here’s what the living room floor looked like after the carpet was removed and the oak floors were sanded.

They looked brand new! The flooring guys did an amazing job bringing those 60-year-old floors back to life. We also painted the walls a buttery yellow color.

Here’s another shot of the carpet in the hallway.

And the wood floors now. The board patterns are kind of cool, and they’re repeated in every room.

The electrical work has been completed, so that’s a big weight off our shoulders. We still have some outlets to change over, but they are going from this:

to this:

Plus we’re changing all the light switches and plates over to new white ones. But that’s still on the to-do list!

Another big difference came when we took down the frumpy drapes.

They took a house with huge picture windows and made it super dark. We got some simple curtains and rods from IKEA, which while dark grey still let in a lot of light.

We still have to take down the awning on the side of the house, which will make it even lighter.

The kitchen was really the big bear of a project. Here’s a good before shot.

We liked the style of the cabinets and they were in good shape. But we didn’t love the brown color with copper handles. It made the kitchen feel too small and dark. So we decided to save money and just paint the cabinets white ourselves.

One of us would go to the new house at night while the other watched Harper, or I would use my “work days” to paint. It took forever! The surfaces just seemed to grow as we worked. And in the end the paint is somewhat uneven and cracked in a few places.

However, the kitchen does look much better now.

Here’s the ancient microwave before:

And with the new microwave now:

I’m trying not to let it bother me too much that the appliances don’t match. 😉

One interesting thing — we bought new hinges to match the new drawer pulls, but they didn’t fit correctly. So I ended up buying metallic spray paint for the old hinges and it worked really well.

Oh, and I almost forgot the drawer liners! Those old nasty ones just about killed me. They were on every shelf in the kitchen and it took me a week to get them off. But the new ones are great.

When I needed a break from the kitchen, I decided to tackle the hall closet, which had been full of mismatched shelves before.

I tossed some of the plywood shelves and kept the nice ones. Then I painted the whole thing white. Big impact for not very much work.

The bathroom still needs a lot of work, but at least I got rid of the shower doors and mini blinds.



Harper’s room got a fresh coat of green paint and a new blackout roller shade. She sleeps a lot better in there now.

We also replaced the mini blinds in our room with roller shades, but other than that we didn’t do anything in there.

The next big project is the workshop.

Now that it has electricity and lights, Mike and his dad are putting up the drywall. It should really be a huge transformation. I’m also planning to make a painted peg board and fix up the cabinet. So excited!

Outside we also have some landscaping to do. I bought a bunch of new herbs and flowers, which my mother-in-law is going to help me plant. I keep making new discoveries in the yard. These calla lilies opened up, and it turns out we have an orange tree!

So, tons of work completed and lots more to do. We are all exhausted, but proud of all the improvements we’ve made. It’s just so satisfying when it’s your house.