Last week, I shared a tour of our new (old) home (click here if you missed it). While I did mention some of my favourite parts of this old house, it felt like I spent most of the tour highlighting all of the things that we can’t wait to change – although to be fair, that is a much longer list at this point. Honestly, every single room in this house needs renovating and, after having mostly finished the renovations at our old house (see the before and after tour of our old house here), the truth is, coming back to square one has felt pretty daunting for us lately. There’s just so much.
But it’s not all bad my friends. We fell in love with this house for a reason, many reasons actually. So today, instead of focusing on all of the things we want to change around here (a daunting list at the moment), I thought it would be fun to share some of our favourite things about our new home, including some of the design elements we plan to keep and even highlight through our renovation journey here – some of them might just surprise you.
10 Things We Already Love About Our New Home
ONE: The charming exterior.
While the peach coloured stucco and purple door need to go (if you follow along on Instagram, you’ll know I’ve already started working on that!), this house has such a charming mix of English Cottage meets Tudor style. With it’s varied roof lines, charming dormers, clipped gables and half-timbering (the board patterns over the stucco), there’s nothing boring or basic about this exterior.
TWO: The large yard, backing onto forest.
The house backs onto a beautiful forested green space that surrounds our little town. It also sits on nearly an acre of land, on a lovely tree-lined street. Like the rest of the house, the yard spaces here need a lot of love (can you spot the crumbling tennis court under all those weeds?), but we’ve got a ton of space to work with out here and I know, over time, we’ll turn it into something amazing!
THREE: That oak staircase.
I’ve always loved this spiral staircase, but the current floor situation on it doesn’t do this beautiful staircase justice (of all the flooring renos the previous owners did, these stairs are by far the ones I struggle most with). I’m planning to keep all of the oak throughout this entryway, including the oak railings on this staircase – does that surprise you? I really think with the right flooring (darker oak, or maybe a textured wool carpet?) and some pretty new sconces, this staircase is going to be a showstopper!
FOUR: The study.
When I shared our house tour last week, I mentioned how very much I love this cozy little room. In fact, it’s hands down my very favourite in the whole house. I have so many memories of visiting in here with my mother-in-law, curling up on the couch in the bay window countless times over the years, while she sat in one of those very same wingback chairs, with a book on her lap more often than not. The shelves that surround the room were always filled to the brim with books – she’d always save a stack for me that she thought I’d enjoy. This space has always felt so warm and inviting and it will forever make me think of her. I can’t even fathom changing those gorgeous built-in bookshelves, the oak fireplace or the glass doors that lead to this cozy space. Though we’ll definitely paint the walls, replace the carpeting, swap out some lighting and probably do something with the purple marble tile and columns, the rest will all stay just as it’s always been.
FIVE: The open concept kitchen & living room.
Open concept before open concept was a thing. There was nothing that my mother-in-law loved more than spending time with her family and so, while every other home at the time was designed with a walled off kitchen space that separated it from the dining and living rooms, Mary designed these spaces to be totally open, making them the perfect place for everyone to spend time together. I remember thinking that this was such a brilliant concept when I was a teenager – it was always such a great hangout zone, with room enough for everyone to gather. I love that these spaces are open to one another, I can’t wait see filled with our friends and family again soon!
SIX: The laundry & mudroom.
I always thought it was SO smart to have this big laundry/mudroom just off of the garage and backdoor. In fact, it was the inspiration for the laundry/mudroom we created at our old house (see it here). There’s actually two little spaces back here – a laundry/mudroom and then another little alcove with two windows and a large closet (there are three full size closets in this space all together!). We recently found the original blue prints for this house (SUCH an exciting discovery!) and this little room off of the laundry space was titled the “sewing room” – isn’t that adorable?! While I’d love to rework these spaces in some capacity, I know these spaces will be great workhorses for our family.
SEVEN: The layout.
While each and every room in this house needs new flooring, and paint, and lighting, and whole lot of love and attention, what this house doesn’t need much of is structural changes to the layout – something our old home needed in spades (remember when we ripped out our entire living room floor?!). Aside from the primary bathroom and closet needing a pretty major overhaul, the layout throughout the rest of this house is actually, pretty perfect for us. This is a pretty huge perk for us, as it means our renovations should be fairly simple and straightforward (aside from our primary suite of course).
EIGHT: The lighting.
Okay, this might sound silly to you, but one of my favourite things about this house are all of the wall sconces everywhere! The entryway, the staircases, the hallways, and even the primary bedroom are all lit with wall sconces rather than overhead lighting. It’s such an unexpected element that adds so much charm and character to each space. Honestly, all of the lighting – the placement of lights & switches, the dimmers in almost every room and all of the many windows of course – it’s all just so well thought out. We couldn’t have planned it better if we were starting from scratch ourselves.
NINE: The pyramid room.
This bonus space above the garage (forever known as the “pyramid room”) is filled to the brim with quirky character. Way at the end of the long upstairs hallway, this super cool space has long been one of my favourites. It was our go-to place to hang out with friends as teenagers and, when we are actually able to move into our primary bedroom space and out of this bonus room, I know it’ll be one of my favourite places to cozy up in as an adult. I’m picturing a comfy seating area, maybe a little workout zone tucked into the back corner and of course, I can’t wait to find some fun ways to really highlight the gabled roof lines and dormer windows! This is going to be SUCH a fun space when we’re done with it!
TEN: The character.
While there is a ton of maintenance and updating to do, this old house is just bursting with character and charm. There are so many elements (like those adorable bedroom window benches!!!) that I’m not sure we could even recreate today. These seemingly little things are truly what make this house feel so special.
While it helps to have our next steps figured out at least (read more about our first renovation project here), it’s going to be a while before we have a finished space in this house. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it in the mean time. I’m not going to lie – thinking about all of the work we have ahead of us has felt pretty daunting these past few weeks and honestly, it’s been hard to see the forest through the trees so to speak. But, reminding ourselves of all of the amazing things this house has to offer really helps to affirm that it will all be so worth it in the end. We are the right people for the job. This house is SO perfect for our family. And most importantly, we truly feel that we were meant to walk this journey – to restore this house to its former glory, to honour the love my mother-in-law poured into it for so many years, and to create our own happy memories as a family here.
Daunting or not, we’re ready to take this big old house on. It’ll be a slow process no doubt, luckily, we’ve got a lot to love about it all along the way.
I’m curious, are you surprised by any of these? Would you keep all that honey oak? What about that little “sewing room” beside the laundry area – what would you use it for? I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts and ideas! Let me know in the comments below.