It’s been just over two weeks now since we moved into the old Mercer Residence (check out the story behind our move here) and, while it’s been a busy mix of unpacking, setting up house and fixing up a few things along the way, we’ve had nothing but renovation projects on our minds each and every step of the way. If you caught our house tour last week (check it out here if you missed it), you’ll already know there’s no shortage of spaces to renovate – so many in fact, that it’s hard to know just where to start.
Do we tackle a few projects outside the house while we can? I mean Winter will be here before we know it. Or, do we start chipping away at some spaces inside the house? Should we start with some easier projects like painting that are relatively quick and easy, but will pack a big punch? Or, should we jump into something bigger (red bathroom, I’m looking at you!)? Honestly, there’s SO much to do here, it feels totally overwhelming sometimes.
So, how are we deciding where to start?
Well, as much as I’d love to tackle all the things right now, there are a few projects that stand out as a little more pressing for us – things that truly affect the way we live in this house. While I’ve already been tempted by other project ideas, Brady has convinced me over and over again that creating some cozy spaces to relax and recharge in at the end of a long day should be our first priority.
When I shared our home tour last week, I mentioned that we had all moved into temporary bedroom spaces until our planned bedrooms could be renovated. While I know we’re super lucky to have these extra rooms to use in the mean time, I also know we’ll feel so much more settled and at home here when we can move into our rightful bedroom spaces.
And so, the first projects on our renovation list will be finishing our bedrooms.
Here’s the thing though, there’s actually a lot of work rolled into that one little statement. While nearly every other room in our home will likely consist of much simpler changes like paint, flooring, lights, etc. – our bedrooms are the only spaces in the whole house that require some pretty major layout changes to make them function for our family, which obviously makes things a little trickier.
Our primary bedroom is actually a really great size and layout; the closet and bathroom however, need some work. Not only are they both too small to really function well for us, but they have a really wonky layout that wastes a lot of the space they do have. Not to mention that icky carpet in the bathroom from 1988. Couldn’t even bring myself to walk on it. Honestly, it’s all got to go and it’s got to go soon.
We’re planning to tear this all out asap, including the wall that separates it from the primary bedroom, so that we can steal some square footage from there to expand this closet space a bit more. With this, the bedroom will also be getting an update, albeit on a much smaller scale, just needing some new flooring, lighting, trim work and paint. We’re just working on finalizing the layout and design now (huge thanks to my sister-in-law Emily for all of her help with this!), but I’m hoping to share all the details with you in the next couple of weeks.
While we’ve got the drywall mud out, we’re also planning to rebuild a missing wall down the hall. Right now our guest bedroom is one giant bedroom space with two doors leading to the hallway, but we’re planning to rebuild the wall that once separated this room into two spaces to create two bedrooms once again. You can see where it will be along the bulkhead in the photos below. With this, we’ll also need to rebuild the missing closet along this wall for one of the bedrooms.
Right now Carson is sleeping in what used to be his Uncle Cory’s old room and it’s a perfectly functional space for the time being (even if it does desperately need a paint job). But, he’s had his heart set from day one on moving into his Dad’s old bedroom across the hall (half of our current guest room above). I know he’s super excited to call this special room his own. Just as soon as we get that wall back up, C and I will be able to start working on creating his own cozy little bedroom space.
Once we get all of these layout changes squared away, we’ll be able to tackle all of the flooring up here as well. I cannot wait to rip out all of that stained carpet upstairs and even more, fix up these awful stairs. I’m sure it’s no surprise that the style just isn’t our taste, but more importantly, they’re also really annoying and unsafe to walk down, with those silver end caps digging into your feet each step along the way. I’m not sure yet whether we’ll be going with carpet, hardwood or some mixture of both upstairs – what I do know is that I am planning to keep all of this oak around the entryway and staircase, so whatever way we do go, we’ll need to make sure it looks great with that honey oak.
Taking on the bedrooms sounds like a super simple way to start a renovation journey, but I know the journey ahead will be anything but simple (and not just because of all of the layout planning and drywall dust). Given its history and the sentimental value it holds within our family (read more about that here), working our way through this house will be a delicate balance between preservation, restoration and change – carefully considering what we want to keep and what we want to change, each and every step of the way. I have no doubt that we’re the right people for the job though and I know that we’ll find a way to restore and preserve all the character and memories that make this house so special to us, while making it our own at the same time. We’ve got a long journey ahead of us I’m sure, but Brady and I couldn’t be more excited to bring this old house back to life.