House Renovation Update: One Year Later |
mike with old retaining wall

House Renovation Update: One Year Later

Apr 3, 2021

Mike started knocking down walls on Thursday. And by walls I mean a closet and some wall paneling. But he had renovation dust moving in the air. And the sweet sound of 1960s paneling landing in the dumpster. Before I knew it, all the noise and smells and “Daddy, can I help?”s had me reminiscing on life a year ago.

It’s been one whole year since we started ripping out carpets, painting doors, patching mantels and pulling down wallpaper. One year since Mike and I played tag team for 3 weeks while we tried to get this place move in ready. Meanwhile the world slowly shut down. And in between all of that we somehow found the time to get pregnant.

Since March 2020, the house has seen a new fence, retaining wall and roof. The basement is now waterproofed and has some pretty sweet workbenches. And we painted, and then painted some more.

[Read more about why this house is so special to us]

I now look around our tiny 2 bedroom house, and while some might see a few half-finished projects, I see what will be. And I’m genuinely excited for what will transpire here this year.

We have a bathroom slowly getting freshened up. A den taped off for demo. And, if we are lucky, a kitchen with a few new updates. Maybe even a dishwasher.

I won’t bore you with the plans. Mainly because every plan we have keeps changing on the daily. But what I will provide are some recap photos. Because who doesn’t love a good photo or two of someone else’s home in that awkward prepubescence stage?

So without further ado, welcome to our Before and Afters, sprinkled in with a few Durings and Things Found from our Year One projects.

The Backyard

Our backyard is easily my most favorite spot here. And it also happens to be where we focused most of our DIY energy this past year.

The Francis Place Backyard Before

Ok, so this is slightly exaggerated by the basement junk. But what’s life without a little drama?

backyard before pic
backyard after pic; green lawn

Retaining Wall

What started out as a weekend project turned into a 3-week project. The new wall might have a few imperfections to my husband’s perfectionistic eye. And the process might have tested our marriage a handful of times. But dang am I proud of Mike and the work we put into our first truly DIY project.

mike with old retaining wall
retaining wall after

The Interior Walls and Floors

Uncovering our hardwood floors was one of the highlights of our move-in prep. Unfortunately, due to COVID we weren’t able to refinish them. So I say prayers on the daily that we aren’t ruining the wood beyond repair. But they’ll be getting the attention they deserve later this summer when we are out of town.

And then there was nailing down a white paint color for inside the house. At first it seemed like an overwhelming task because of all of the options, but then I started to love it. Our eventual winner was Behr’s Swiss Coffee. A perfect creamy white that we’ve carried out throughout the house, minus the bathroom.

living room before photo: carpet and yellow walls
Behr Paint Chips
behr white paint chips
hardwood floors and swiss coffee paint in living room

The Bathroom

We hit a lull in projects after the roof went up in October. But once January arrived Mike and I were both itching for some change. So on a whim I started peeling away at the already peeling bathroom wallpaper. With zero plan in mind. Truthfully I thought we would just paint the walls in Swiss Coffee and deal with the room over the summer. But that’s not quite how things turned out.

The walls are now a sage green, hardware a beautiful polished nickel, and the window is freshly trimmed. A mirror is waiting to be installed, vanity and faucet have been ordered, and I’m still searching for the perfect vanity light. But I can envision the soon to be completed space. And it makes my heart so happy!

bathroom before
bathroom during

Things Found

There were marbles, marbles and more marbles. The occasional penny, too. Then there was the mouse problem. Which was eventually solved after months of trial and error. We even resorted to hiring a pest control company. But alas, Mike eventually discovered a hole in a kitchen cabinet toe kick hidden behind the oven. And, Ta-da! Problem solved.

a mouse's pantry

(I wanted to burn the kitchen down after I uncovered this surprise in between our flatware and spice drawers.)

But then there were more lighthearted finds, like fun wallpaper patterns hiding behind outlet covers and a gnome hiding under the den crawlspace, which now lives in its proper place: the garden.

hiden wallpaper
hidden wallpaper
handmade gnome

Renovation Wrap

Looking back on all of this has me feeling proud. And a little tired. And a lot of grateful.

Bring on the hammers, paint and nails! Because there’s some more fun to be had! 



  1. […] [Check out the house projects my husband and I tackled last] […]

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