During our pre-move mini renovations so far, our basic plan has been to get most of the messy stuff out of the way before we move in any furniture. This included ripping down a drop ceiling in, what we’ve been calling, the window room, pulling down some paneling and ripping out the carpeting throughout the house.

One HUGE benefit of spending time working in the house before we’re physically living there is, in fact, getting that idea for how the space will work for us. How one family uses the space in a home may not translate to the lifestyle of another family. We plan on living in this house for quite a while so it was important for us to create spaces that we would use and function in on a daily basis. While the house isn’t tiny, it’s certainly not big enough to justify having rooms without purpose or reason e.g. those stuffy, formal front living rooms we’re all far too familiar with from our childhoods. While these were common in so many houses in the past, I don’t think modern lifestyles of today, that thrive on speed, efficiency and convenience, are really suited toward that unused or extra living space.

take control of your flooplan
That’s exactly what we had with the original floorplan. A small dining room (that would hardly fit our current dining room furniture) and two huge living spaces, one of which I knew we would never use. The thought of cramping ourselves into the existing dining room while also spending the money to furnish a 2nd living room that would never (never, she says!) be used just irked me.

Not only would the situation be undesirable on the 1st floor, we’d also be dealing with some cramped spaces upstairs. Joe, who primarily works from home, would be stuffed into a tiny extra bedroom upstairs with barely enough space for his office needs and hardly any natural light…two things that don’t exactly scream “productivity!” or “motivated work day!” to me. All of these issues together bothered us both so much that we decided making a big change and taking control of our home’s layout was the only way to go. take control of your flooplanAfter realizing how we would be using the space and what would make the most sense for our lifestyle we decided to take control of our own floorplan and ditch the extra living room, turn that into the new (and much larger) dining room and convert the old dining room into a study/home office for Joe.

The only issue that arose with this floorplan switcharoo was there would no longer be kitchen access directly from the dining room. I love to cook and try to make dinner every night and the thought of walking around the stairs and through the study with plates of food wasn’t working for me. Luckily, an awkwardly inconvenient coat closet was located under the stairs in the space that separated the new dining room from the kitchen. So, naturally, we grabbed the sawzall and went at it.

Here’s a reminder of how this wall in the old living room/new dining room used to look… take control of your flooplanAnd a glimpse at where we’re headed… take control of your flooplantake control of your flooplan

I can literally see the light at the end of the hallway tunnel. By nixing the coat closet and opening up the wall between the kitchen and the new dining room, we’re not only creating a much brighter, more open and efficient layout but we’re literally making our house even bigger by deciding to use every space as it’s suited to our lifestyle. Just because realtors, previous owners or even a wall or two tells you that a room is used for one purpose doesn’t mean you have to listen. Who says you can’t switch things up to make them your own? I, for one, say go for it. Taking control of your floorplan can be a total game changer so tell your house who’s boss.

We’re working hard over the next few days to get most of the dirty work done before we start moving furniture in on Saturday. Hopefully some prettier pictures will be heading your way soon.

Are there any spaces in your house that you’ve used differently than someone else?



So, it’s Monday again. How does that always happen so fast? I hope you all had a great weekend. Ours was a hectic one. Since demo days one and two, we’ve made even more progress on the house and will be working this week to get the rest of the dirty work done before we start moving furniture over on Saturday.

In an attempt to ward off a bad case of the Mondays for even just a moment, let’s procrastinate!

let's procrastinate*You’ll be happy to hear that we’re making progress on our very paneled room (more on our demo progress later this week)

*The cutest daddy/daughter duet you’ll ever see…

*These refrigerator storage tips make me realize I’m doing things all wrong. Shocker.

*Some of the worst real estate pictures you’ll ever see. How does this even happen!?

*A recipe for apple zucchini pie!? Plus a chance to win free stuff!

*Cool & simple brass accents for your kitchen

*An olive bathroom to obsess over.

*Bedding for kids I’d kind of like to use for myself…

Mondays are the worst.


When we first looked at our house, surprisingly, one of the spaces that had us most excited was also, by far, the ugliest. What has now been dubbed “the window room” is undergoing one of the most major changes during this first phase of pre-move projects and after demo day 2 things are looking up for this ugly duckling of a room. demo day twoIf this isn’t slap-you-in-the-face paneling then I don’t know what is. I told you it was bad. But underneath all of the bad, this room has a lot going for it. A step down from the entry and living room that I showed you yesterday, the window room is not only lined in (get this) windows, it’s also surrounded by trees. The idea of sitting out there on a cool fall evening with the windows open was one of the main selling points for us. demo day 2Of course, these visions in my head did not include very orange naughty knotty pine paneling on every. single. surface. Just so you know, I’ve seen knotty pine done really well before (like here…proving it can be done really) but for this room in this house, it’s just not going to work and this room will be the first big project we will be tackling.

Beyond the paneling, which, don’t you worry, I have big plans for…the other major downer in here was the equally orange drop ceiling. demo day 2From old water damage to mismatched replacement panels, this ceiling wasn’t only bringing me down emotionally but also, visually, making the room feel very short, squatty, and dark. Speak to Atlanta Water Damage Pro to get more answers to this topic.

Although the height was no different from the rooms in the rest of the house, this one felt especially low and heavy and, while simply painting it white would help in a big way to lighten it up and make the ceiling feel a bit higher, we decided to take a more drastic approach and, literally, raise the roof (contact SWS Roofing today) demo day 2Before we (and by “we” I mean Joe) started ripping out the large wooden ceiling panels, we weren’t sure what to expect. From the exterior of the house, it’s clear that the drop ceiling was placed below a slanted roof structure but as far as what the underside of that structure looked like, we weren’t sure. #1 Bellmore Long Island Roofing, Siding, & Window Installation Contractor and roofing company in Perth came to our rescue and offered the best roofing solutions.

After talking to the previous owner of the house, he told us that this room was originally an open-air porch on the side of the house which had then been converted to a family room once the porch on the opposite side was added. demo day 2As soon as the first panel (and huge amount of blown-in insulation by Arlington Baker Insulation of Virginia…we can officially say it snowed at our house in August!) came down, we knew we were in business. The beams and structure above was exactly what I was hoping for, visually, and the extra height we saw would be gaining was the icing on the cake.

demo day 2Once all of the panels are down, we will remove the non-structural cross beams that were used to hang the drop panels (marked in blue below) to reveal the much higher vaulted ceiling. demo day 2We plan to add recessed lighting, because there’s currently no wiring whatsoever in the ceiling, paint a nice bright white to lighten things up, tackle the paneling situation, and get plans together for the floors (I’m throwing around the idea of doing some cool paint application like this or this.)

In the end, we will have a light, bright and airy room surrounded by trees. We’re hoping to get this mostly, if not completely, done before we officially move in at the end of the month. Fingers crossed!

Here are some inspiration images to give you an idea of what we’re going for in our efforts to “raise the roof.”

demo day 2

demo day two

demo day 2Happy Tuesday, because…at least it’s not Monday anymore!


Before we get started, let me warn you that if you’re looking for one of those easy breezy beautiful blog posts full of weekend transformations and beautiful “after pictures” this post is not that. Not by a long shot. Sorry folks, this is more of a deep in the trenches, dirt under you fingernails, crawling through the “mud” Shawshank Redemption style posts. Maybe I should have left this one out and waited to simply debut the beautiful “after” shots but, alas, I’m bringing you all into the thick of it…because while we’re not technically crawling through a tunnel of poo Andy Dufresne style, in the end, home renovation redemption will be sweet…

When we first saw this house, on the surface, things weren’t great but we knew immediately that underneath the drop ceilings, old carpeting, and bad linoleum, the bones were good. Over the next month, we’ll be tackling some of the more major projects that need to get done before we move in any large furniture. So for the next few weeks, our checklist looks a little something like this:

  • Rip out all carpeting & linoleum (entry, stairs, living room, dining room, upstairs landing)
  • Finish original hardwood floors
  • Rip out window room drop ceiling
  • Expose & finish window room vaulted ceiling
  • Add recessed lighting

demo day oneUpon closing, this is how the entry, stairs and front living room looked. It wasn’t terrible, and the previous owners has left things nice a clean for us, but we knew this spot would be undergoing some big changes.

demo day one I spent most of the day Sunday ripping out all of the carpeted areas (and subsequent nails, staples and tack strips) while simultaneously expressing my hatred carpet installation guys.demo day oneIt turns out, the years and years of wall-to-wall carpeting throughout this house preserved and protected these beautiful hardwood floors. Not a single scratch or imperfection anywhere. Okay fine, so maybe I don’t completely hate you, carpet installers. But I still don’t like you. demo day oneEven pulling up the faux slate linoleum in the entryway revealed these beautiful hardwoods that continued throughout the entire space and with a a little Goo Gone and lot of elbow grease, the old adhesive cleaned right up and we were in business.

While have plans down the road to open up the whole stairway and create a much more open layout downstairs, for now I plan to lighten and brighten up the space by painting the trim throughout the house and continuing that onto the risers of the stairs. I did a really quick Photoshop rendering to get an idea of how that would look here… inspiration_stair paintRight away it makes the space look a whole lot brighter and more open. We might also consider installing a runner to add some color or pattern at some point. Here are some inspiration photos I’ve been thinking about…


While I spent the majority of demo day one ripping out every inch of carpeting in the house, Joe was busy tearing down the ceiling in what we’re calling the “window room.” We’re heading back over today to try and get the rest of the, so far shockingly secure, drop ceiling and I hope to be back with an update for you on how that’s going tomorrow!

Monday’s are immediately better when you get to check something off a list…

  • Rip out all carpeting & linoleum (entry, stairs, living room, dining room, upstairs landing)
  • Finish original hardwood floors
  • Rip out window room drop ceiling
  • Expose & finish window room vaulted ceiling
  • Add recessed lighting

Have a good Monday everyone!