We moved into our 1972 fixer upper in 2015 and have spent the last few years tirelessly remodeling and updating nearly every room in the house.
It has character galore, which is what drew us to the house. Some unique features include a finished attic with an observatory and “secret passageway” bookshelf door, built in Murphy beds, and more.
If you’re curious you can see all of the before, in progress and after photos of all of our DIY home improvement projects in the Home Projects tab.
When you see a turquoise link you can click for all the details.
Update: We had our house painted and got a new roof and gutters recently. Here is an updated in-progress photo.
We still have a couple more DIY projects to do to our exterior (DIY wood cladded porch wall, new modern front door, new exterior post lighting), but it has come such a long way!
The exterior before photos…
When we moved into the house the kitchen was closed off in a small corner of the house. It was dingy with old, broken cabinets and had original appliances from the 70s. After living with it as-is for a year we gathered quotes from local remodelers (which were all way out of our budget), so we decided to do the complete gut and remodel ourselves. We removed one whole wall and cut to a passthrough window to the dining room, which really opened up the room and made it function so much better.
It took us two very long years to finish the kitchen remodel project, but we love how it turned out and are proud that we built it on our own. Bonus: We saved SO much money!
SUNROOM OFF THE KITCHEN
This room used to be kelly green and full of junk. I recently gave it an affordable update with some fresh paint, a DIY bar top, bar stools, rug, a mounted TV, and some furniture reused from other parts of our house. We love hanging out in there during the warmer months.
We updated our dining room (which started out serving as a secondary living room) with new flooring and fresh paint, which really helped brighten the space. The cutout window we created to the kitchen makes the room feel so much for airy and functional. My favorite part of the room is the shallow coffered ceiling that came with the house and adds some nice detail. We spend a lot of time in this room as a family.
Our master bedroom is one space we have not had to update. We really liked the original paint color, which works well with our decor. We gutted and remodeled the adjoining master bathroom which really makes the space feel more updated and luxurious.
Last spring we hired a local company to affordably gut and remodel our master bathroom, which is now one of our favorite spaces. We completely changed the layout to make it function better for our needs, and worked with some amazing local companies (Kitchens and Baths By Briggs and Rock Tops) to add some dream finishes and products to the space.
At the same time we remodeled our master bathroom, we also remodeled our guest bathroom/our daughter’s bathroom. We gutted the room (only keeping the bathtub) and added materials that make the space feel bright, clean and classic.
We recently updated the focal point of our lower living room by updating our fireplace, which used to have two very creepy wooden faces with eyes as the corbels as well as some dated tile. We removed the faces and the wall and base tile surround, which revealed some good quality brick that we decided to paint white. We also added some marble look porcelain tile at the base, which really helps it pop. Over the years this space has also seen fresh paint and new flooring.
I love the built in cabinets and coffered ceilings that came with the home. We also have a corner wet bar that we are planning on updating soon.
We updated our small laundry room off of a half bathroom by removing some bulky cabinets and adding tile, open shelving, lighting, and some colorful accessories. It was a very affordable update that helped brighten up this frequently used room.
Our five year old daughter Vivienne’s bedroom didn’t need many updates. We kept the original grey paint color and simply added carpeting and decor. I wanted to make the space colorful and fun for her. The closet has functional shelving on the front and actually has a small secret passage doorway to the adjoining bedroom inside.
Houzz top 10 trending kid’s spaces
Vivienne’s playroom is a fun space that only needed some fresh paint and carpeting. The teepee I made for Vivienne’s first birthday serves as the focal point of the room. There’s a cute window seat in between two built-in Murphy beds that we will probably use down the road, and my favorite feature is the “secret passageway” faux bookshelf door that opens to the attic and observatory.
Houzz top 10 trending kid’s spaces
The attic is a fun finished space that we use as a secondary playroom, and the only change we made was adding fresh paint. I love all of the built-in storage and unique character, especially the observatory. I can picture this room serving many different uses in the future—possibly a giant walk-in closet or a craft room. So many options!
Houzz top 10 trending kid’s spaces
The office nook and small seating area used to be our formal dining room before we gutted and opened up the kitchen. We decided to flip-flop this room with what is now our dining room to make it better fit our lifestyle, and the updates we made were the removal of a wall, new paint, lighting, and wood flooring. I love the vaulted ceiling and sky light window and am proud to say I scored the midcentury-modern desk and cabinet for free from neighborhood trash piles. I use the office nook to store all of my craft supplies, which I use to make projects for my blog and monthly DIY TV segment on KCTV5’s Better Kansas City.
I created a gallery wall and seating area featuring some of my husband Ted’s favorite family art and furniture pieces in our upstairs hallway, which are highlighted by a thrift store art lamp. I like the interest it adds to a small space and that it’s visible from the lower entryway.
ENTRYWAY AND MINI MUDROOM
Our entryway has a vaulted ceiling and beams, and a curved wall along the stairway, which adds some unique character. We added fresh door and wall paint, wood flooring, and are planning on painting the beams a different color soon. We converted a coat closet to a very useful mini mudroom, which features a custom storage cabinet created for us by a local company, Deer Lake Designs.
One thing that drew us to the home was the large wood deck in our back yard. It didn’t need any updates, but since we spend a lot of time outside in the warm weather months, we decided to add an affordable cabana seating area, which I covered in long-length striped shower curtains from Amazon. I love how cozy it makes the space feel and am looking forward to spending lots of time on the deck this spring and summer.
Last summer we stripped and stained the small deck in our front yard and created a seating area. I absolutely love hanging out in this space in the summer!