I’m no expert on decor or renovations, but I have the distinct advantage of benefiting from the expertise of someone who does know what she’s talking about. My mom is an interior designer. Her influence has given me an appreciation for good design, and the desire to transform our house into a home that is distinctly ours. I started making plans for our little casa the moment we decided to purchase it. We’ve started to make a few changes, but there seems to be a never ending list of things to do. I thought it would be fun to document this process a little bit on here. We’ll treat this as our “before” even though we’ve already done a few things.
A little backstory: It took us almost a full year to find our house. I had my heart set on living in the inner city & wasn’t willing to budge on that point. It was the most important piece of the puzzle for me. We looked at a lot of houses & even put in a few offers, but nothing worked out until I saw this one. N happened to be on rotation up North & couldn’t remember his skype login (having recently switched to a samsung, I couldn’t FaceTime him), so I showed him the house over Snapchat. I’m dead serious – it seems so ridiculous, but I sent N a bunch of Snapchat videos showing different rooms. Twelve hours later, she was conditionally ours.
Built in 1981, she’s one of the first two infills on our street. She has a sister next door with many similarities, but she’s different enough to have her own personality. Our block is a great mix of older homes, brand new infills, & renovated character homes. While our house doesn’t boast a giant yard, we’re surrounded by parks to make up for it. This was a big selling feature. I love this neighbourhood. Overall, we think our little casa is pretty great. Enough of that though, let’s take a look at a few of the rooms in our house.
Our living room is right off the entry. A big picture window makes it my favourite spot to hang out on the weekend, with a coffee & a good book. It’s home to our giant couch, a record player, bar cart, & our extensive collection of board games.
We haven’t done a ton with this room yet (I haven’t even removed the ugly valence above the window), but it’s probably the most put together because of the furniture we came into the house with. First order of business was to ditch the Ikea coffee table I’d dragged across the country, & replace it with a simple glass one. We have a lot of darker wood furniture & then lighter hardwood floors, so this seemed like a good choice for the space.
Future plans for this room include painting the wall white (I plan to paint almost everything white), finding a large area rug, hanging shelves, find a unit for the games & record player to live, & replacing the blinds with something that lets in more light. Overall, this is one of my favourite spaces in our house.
The next room of our house is the dining room. This might be the biggest change in our house so far. We originally had four Herman Miller chairs & a round white table here. I was pretty keen to replace the round white table (from Ikea, of course) since it was getting pretty wobbly (ugh Ikea, you kill me) & the surface didn’t look so great after many rounds of beer pong & games nights. I’d fallen for some distressed tables, but they were mostly a bit on the larger side. The space is a bit small for the large tables that are currently trending. One would fit, but it would be a little tight. My mom found our table at the Bay & it’s a great fit. It has an extra leaf that stores underneath, but is big enough for 6 people without it. We also bought two additional Herman Miller chairs, this time in blue with arms. The china cabinet came from my parent’s house. I love having some extra storage & it happens to fit in well with the rest of our furniture.
Future plans for this room are to paint it white like the rest of the house (what’s up with that darker feature wall?) & fix the height on the light fixture. Aside from that it’s pretty much done for now.
Down the hallway is our family room. We’ve had the trunk we’re using as a coffee table for a long time & I really love it. We used to actually use it for storage, but I like it as a coffee table too. The couch was another Bay find. Ideally, I’d have liked something a little larger, but our fireplace was originally wood burning & there’s a tile bench (I don’t know how to describe it!) beside the fireplace that limits the size of our furniture in this room. We probably could have gone a bit bigger, but I’m thinking maybe we’ll find a chair or something to add to the room. The barrel is from my parent’s first house (I think). There’s not a lot to say about this space. I’d like to get some prints done for the wall behind the couch & our TV is on a very small stand that I’d like to replace, but it’s not bad.
Now the kitchen is where I have the biggest plans. It’s currently totally functional, but I’d love to do big reno here some day. I’m talking tear down the walls & start from scratch. For now, it’s pretty workable. The island has some definite quirks (I think they installed the top backwards) & we could definitely make better use of the space, but it’s not bad.
My temporary plans are to remove the valences (a common theme here), hang a pot rack above the island & move the dutch ovens to a drawer, & paint the cupboards & walls white.
Upstairs, we have two bedrooms & two bathrooms. We don’t have a lot of plans for the guest bedroom right now. My parents gave us their old bedroom set, so we’ve got these great drawers in here & our old double bed. It’s actually quite a large bedroom with a huge closet.
The last room on this tour is our bedroom. I’m really excited about it. We have a brand new bed & bedding & are using the bedside tables that go with the drawers from the guest bedroom.
When we moved in, the windows all had pleather curtains. Those were the first things to go. I’ve left the one on the closet door for now, but we plan to hang a door there. We’ve also removed the mount for the TV since I don’t want one in the bedroom & the valences above the windows (so many 80s valences!). We’ve got a light grey upholstered headboard for the bed & are planning to paint the room a very light blue (surprise, surprise, almost white!). I think it will really brighten up the room & make everything feel a lot fresher.
Our bedroom is definitely the first one on my list to complete. We’ve looked at some doors for the closets & I’ve been playing with different paint colours. I think the change will be pretty awesome & relatively easy to complete. Painting isn’t my favourite task, but it’s by far the easiest way to update a space, so it’s the first one on my list.
Whew! That was a bit long winded. First houses are so exciting. I’m definitely the type of person who loves the idea of really personalizing a space. This house has so much potential.
Have you ever done a big reno? How do you begin making your space feel like a home?