It’s been nearly two weeks now since moving into our new (old) home, the house that Brady grew up in. If you missed the story about our move, you can catch up with it all here – it’s a really neat story that definitely deserves a read!
This house has always held a special place in our hearts and today, I can’t wait to take you on a tour of it! Keep in mind that I snapped most of these photos early last week, just three days after we moved in, so there are a lot of boxes still stacked throughout. The painters were coming the next day to tackle the entryway and I wanted to get a true tour of the house before we got started with any renovations. Renovating can be hard to live through sometimes, and it’s so easy to forget just how far you’ve come when you’re in the middle of a project, but looking back on these “before” photos always helps to put things into perspective.
Alright friends, let’s get this tour started!
The exterior is such a charming mix of English Cottage with some very obvious Tudor style elements. While I do feel like some updates need to happen here (peach coloured stucco, rusted brass lights and oh my gosh, that darn purple door!), we are both very drawn to the character of the structure. The house sits on nearly an acre of land and backs onto forest, giving us the country feel we’ve always loved, while still allowing us all of the conveniences and neighbourhood feel of being in town. The yard needs a
little ton of love, but it’s got so much potential.
While the exterior and landscaping definitely needs work, that feels like nothing right now compared to the interior. Last week, I shared our feelings on the state of disrepair that we found the house in as we took possession of it a few weeks ago (catch up with that here). Since getting the keys, we’ve hauled out load after load of furniture and garbage that the previous owners had left behind, fixed up all sorts of things that were broken and/or falling apart all around the house and of course, scrubbed clean every square inch of every single surface all along the way. All that fixing and cleaning hasn’t left us much time for renovating, which has definitely been a disappointing way to start our journey here, but we’re slowly getting settled in as we chip away at all of the things that will make this place function for us. It’s a big house and it feels like each and every space needs at least some renovating – it’s going to be a while before we make our way through it all, so, while fixing ovens and building temporary closets isn’t really how I want to be spending our time right now, I also know it’s important that we find ways to make things work for our family in the mean time so that we can be as comfortable as possible while we navigate this renovation journey.
The house was originally designed and built in 1988 by my in-laws. Every detail was carefully considered and that still shines through today, over three decades later. The lighting, the layout, the windows, the gabled ceilings, the built-ins, and one of my very favourite elements of all – the sweetest little window benches built into each bedroom. It’s not just the memories this house holds for us that makes it so special – this house was so well thought out, so well designed and has so much character and charm – it really feels like it was made for us. The thing is, while the bones of the house are absolutely perfect for us, the design elements and finishings are long overdue for an update. Luckily, that just happens to be our specialty! Not surprisingly, there are a lot of nods to the 90’s throughout the house. I’m not sure if it’s the nostalgia in me talking or the designer, but there are definitely some elements like the oak in the front entry and study, that I’m thinking I’d like to keep. Others however, like every inch of that red bathroom, absolutely need to go (you’ll see what I mean once we get upstairs).
Let’s start with the entryway, which we’ve already had painted white (Cloud White from Benjamin Moore just in case you were wondering) – it’s SO much brighter now and I just love the way the warm white makes all of that beautiful oak pop!
Just through the double oak doors off of the entryway is the study. This is what my mother-in-law had always called it – of all the rooms in this house, this is the one that reminds me the most of her. She had a big oak desk facing the window and shelves filled with books that surrounded the entire room. I always loved this space. In fact, we actually planned to recreate it someday in the family room of our old house! I don’t think we’re going to change much in here – some paint, lighting and flooring maybe, but I really want to preserve the cozy feel of this space, so most of it will remain just as it’s always been. Right now, we’ve got it set up with an old desk that used to belong to my husband’s grandfather and two wingback chairs that actually used to live in this space when we were kids. Though the paint colour is a bit dreary and the carpets are stained and need replacing, this little study is already my very favourite room in this house.
The other side of our front entryway leads to our main living spaces – the kitchen, living room and a little office area. I always loved how open these living spaces felt to one another – open concept before it was really a thing in design. I’m sure it goes without saying that there will be many updates in store for these spaces (I’m especially struggling with some of the design choices the previous owners made through their own renovations – paint colours and flooring being very high on that list), but for now, they’re perfectly functional.
Just off of the living room is a little office nook (this used to be the kid’s playroom when they were little). I’m not sure what we’ll end up doing with this space in the long run (obviously we still need to do some unpacking in here), but for now, Brady is planning to use it as his office on the days he works from home.
Further down the hallway, past the living room you’ll find a powder room, mudroom and laundry area. The laundry area also has doors to the garage and backyard. This laundry/mudroom was actually the inspiration for our old laundry/mudroom (see it here). I have SO many ideas spinning around my head for these spaces (find a glimpse of them on my Pinterest board here), I cannot wait to get started in here!
Heading up that gorgeous spiral staircase (with the very obvious exception of the flooring) is where things really start to fall apart for us. The dated bathrooms and the stained carpets need to go and soon. We’ve also got a few tweaks to make to the layout of things, like expanding the primary bathroom & closet as well as rebuilding a wall that was taken out between two bedrooms, but aside from that, the renovations should be pretty straight forward with just flooring, trim, paint and lighting.
At the top of the stairs to the left is the primary bedroom. We haven’t even moved into this space yet as we plan to gut most of it (we’ll be keeping the window bench though!). This room needs the most love of any in the house – we’re excited to get started on it.
The top of the stairs comes to a long hallway, leading to two (soon to be three) more bedrooms, two bathrooms and, around the corner, a bonus space we’ve always referred to as the “pyramid room”. While Carson thinks it’s pretty fun, I’m sure it’s no surprise that the red bathroom is at the top of my hit list.
Also high up on the list is rebuilding the wall that was removed between two bedrooms when the kids were teenagers (it was under the bulkhead pictured in our guest room below) – we’re planning to rebuild the original wall to create two separate rooms once again. One of these rooms was actually Brady’s bedroom growing up and Carson’s already claimed it as his own once we get that wall back up. In the mean time, he’s moved into his Uncle Cory’s old room across the hall.
Carson isn’t the only one sleeping in temporary quarters – Brady and I have claimed the pyramid room as ours for the time being, until we can get the primary bedroom and bath all fixed up again. While this was such a fun space to hang out in when we were tweens, the angled roofline and lack of closet space make it a less than ideal bedroom space. All the more reason to get going on that primary bedroom renovation!
Just behind the kitchen, there’s also a staircase down to the basement as well. While it’s a bit of a quirky layout with the spiral staircase in the centre and all of the other spaces circling around it, these spaces probably need the least amount of work of all the rooms the house (aside from the bathroom I guess).
Just off of the TV area is a storage room, a full bathroom and another (very large) guest bedroom (this used to be Brady’s room as a teenager!). Again, we’re not entirely sure what we’ll do with this space in the long run, but for now it’s been a great layout for C’s bunkbeds and toys.
It feels like everywhere we look, this house needs a lot of love – there’s so much potential within these walls and I know we’re just the right people to uncover it. My head is reeling at all the possibilities and I cannot wait to dig in and bring this old house back to life again!
Any guesses about where we’ll start first? Hoping to share all the details about our first renovation project next week!