I know this is my photography blog, but I'm going to attempt to throw in some personal posts throughout the new year. So I'm going to start with one that I am the most excited about - the journey of my little yellow farmhouse renovation!
My husband and I house hunted for two years! We finally found a quaint little farmhouse in Sackets Harbor. It was not livable, so we knew we would have to renovate the entire thing. Since we had built our first house we were up for the challenge. Little did we know, we would be going way backwards before we could go forward. (I keep saying we, as if I did anything besides paint haha).
We started the renovation in January and finally completed the house in October. It was the most hectic year of our lives. Manasseh would work until 5pm every night and then drive straight to our house, which was 25 minutes away from where we were living at the time, and work on the house all night. Then he would spend every second on the weekends at the house. In June we bought a camper and moved it behind the house, so we could stay in the camper while we worked, which cut out driving time so we could dedicate every free second on the house. While Manasseh worked, I had to keep the kids, keep up with my photography business and, because I already had so much free time, start a non-profit business. Finally at some point in the summer I was able to contribute my painting and staining everything. I don't think I ever left the house without paint all over my hair, face, arms and legs. I kept it real classy.
This past year tested our relationship with each other and with our friends and family. We both agreed we would never renovate again. It's a miracle we came out of it alive. If you ever want to age ten years overnight, then renovate a house.
I do have to say, some of our friends really stepped up and helped us out a lot. We seriously couldn't have done it without the help of some specific people. For all of the long hours in the cold sledge-hammering old brick and all of the endless trim boards that were painted and poly-ed - we will be forever grateful.
But enough talk about the work. Here are the photos that show the transformation of our house!
When you first walk into the house, you walk into the living room. As you can see, we changed this around A LOT. Manasseh moved the front door into the area where my office is, and replaced it with a window. He removed the attic so he could raise the ceiling to make it cathedral, and he closed up the two doors to make a solid wall. We wanted to keep some elements of the original house, so we were able to salvage some of the brick and left it exposed, along with some of the original beams.
Here are a few more before and after shots of the living room. I changed the curtains a couple of times, but ended up sticking with a strip idea, so it would look a little more like my style and incorporate all of the colors in the living space. I just purchased used fabric and linens at thrift stores. The "curtain rods" were branches I found in our yard. For our ceiling we used pine with a slight white-wash stain.
As you can see, there were two windows and no sliding glass doors. Manasseh put a sliding glass door in, and took out the windows. We plan on building a back deck here within the next couple of years.
And some more angles of our living room:
Here is my gallery wall. I am obsessed with it. I used some pieces that I had collected over the years, bought a few pieces and made the rest. I love the silhouettes of the girls. It was a very simple DIY project! I saw the American flag from Anthropologie and decided I could make it. It is the perfect piece to combine all the colors of my living room. Eventually we will put a barn door to cover the hole in the wall.
This buffet came with the house. I wish I took a good before picture! It was brown, had different hardware and had some weird diamond designs on it. I mixed two colors and used chalk paint to get this gorgeous look!
My office is attached to the living room. You can see the original buffet in this photo along with some other old furniture we didn't end up keeping. My office is a hot mess because it's also my craft room. I was going to wait until it looked clean and organized for an "after" photo, but I knew that would never happen. I actually loved the original wallpaper, but it was too dirty and ripped to salvage. I ended up creating an accent wall out of fabric. I couldn't find wallpaper that I loved that wasn't insanely expensive, so I found a DIY tutorial on pinterest for using fabric as wallpaper. It was SO cheap and SO easy. The best part is, it comes off when I'm sick of it and I can just wipe the wall clean. I made the desk out of two shelves from Target, and leftover trim board from the house. Another easy project!
We got this large shelf on craigslist and it was PERFECT for all of my stuff. It was brown so I just pained it white. I'm also just realizing we never painted the door. Oops.
Next is the kitchen. Originally there was a bathroom and a bedroom. Manasseh moved the stairs to the kitchen side of the house, knocked out the bathroom and made this entire space our kitchen/dining room area. The cabinets actually came from our old house. We were so fortunate that the buyers built their own custom cabinets and let us take ours! We bought these cabinets off craigslist and I refinished all of them. I sanded them down (they were originally white), stained three coats of mahogany, painted the black and put on three coats of poly. My husband likes to remind me that it took me the entire time he built our first house, to refinish our cabinets. But I still like to pat myself on the back. Our floor is laminate from Lowe's. It is one of my favorite parts of the house!
Here is a before and after of the hutch in our kitchen. It used to be in my daughter's room in our old house. I used a dry brush technique for a distressed look. All I have left to do is add chicken wire to the doors on the bottom.
This next part is hard to show through photos. This before picture shows another room. Manasseh turned this area into a bathroom and a closet. Do you see the door on the left of the picture? That was the entryway with the original stairs. He actually removed all of that, and now it is part of the master bedroom.
Here is our awesome bathroom. My brother-in-law made this vanity and mirrors for us. I'm in love!! (with the vanity... not my brother-in-law)
Here is another shot of the old stairwell. It had a door that went into the living room. Our bedroom is the last room of the house that still has to be finished. I intend to make a headboard, add some curtains and to refinish those dressers. For now it's simple and serves its purpose.
My husband's gun safe just HAD to go smack in the middle of our bedroom. This is what I look at when I first wake up in the morning. Yay.
Our closet. We will hopefully be adding shelves soon. And again, by we, I mean my husband.
Here are the befores of the upstairs. This is what it looked like when we bought the house. Someone had already started framing it in. Manasseh didn't like the layout and wanted to create more headroom, so he changed everything around.
Our upstairs now has two bedrooms and a bath/laundry room. The girls share a room right now, and my sister in law is staying with us for a while and using the other room.
Here is the girls' room - Jovie wanted pink, so I went with a more coral color instead. The decal on the wall used to have a LOT more to it, such as princesses, stars and a carriage. My two-year-old thought they were stickers and took them all down. Lesson learned.
My sister made the dress-up clothes armoire for Jovie. It would be so awesome if she actually used it for dress-up clothes, and not a catch-all for every toy when it's time for her to clean her room.
The little hallway upstairs:
Here is the second bedroom. Eventually it will be decorated with a woodland theme when Colie moves back into it.
The upstairs bathroom is narrow but long, so we can still fit a lot in there! Including our laundry room! It is so nice to be able to fold clothes upstairs for the girls.