If you follow me on Instagram then you’re probably aware that we’re in the middle of renovating our new home. I started this blog years ago when we bought our very first home as a way to document all of the DIY projects and updating we were going to do with the house. About 6 years later I still want to document our new home transformation, but not so much on the DIY stuff. I’m leaving this entire renovation to the professionals and just taking on the design responsibility.
This will be a mammoth post, so grab a cup of coffee and follow along.
A little backstory to the new house: my grandparent’s built this house in 1979 and it stayed just the way my grandmother designed it until now. My grandparents are now both deceased and the thought of this house not being in my family anymore saddened me. There are so many memories held in this home, and beyond that, it’s a great property near downtown Duluth with 2 acres of land and mature landscaping. We’ve wanted some more land than a typical neighborhood offers and we couldn’t pass up on this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Here’s what the house looked like as it was being built in 1978/1979.
I’m going to try to walk you through the house and I’ll do my best to point out what will be changing and why.
The below photo is what you enter into when you come in through the garage. There’s a small den area to the right and a sunroom to the left, then the casual dining area ahead before entering the kitchen. The kitchen is tight and can’t fit more than 1-2 people at a time. The long row of cabinets across from the casual dining table bumps out significantly from the refrigerator and oven/microwave area. We are pushing that wall back by taking some of the bathroom and bedroom that is behind it. We will still have a 1/2 bath and a smaller bedroom that I will use as an office, then the freed up space will allow for us to have that wall flush with the refrigerator wall, 15 linear feet of cabinetry, a walk-in pantry, and more counter top space.
The sunroom will be closed off and turned into a laundry room and mudroom. The laundry room is currently in the basement and I’ll be thankful to not have to go up and down two stories for each load of laundry with my bad knees (that sounds like a grandma talking, not a 33 year old, huh? ugh). It’s sad to get rid of a room that brings in so much light, but we’ll be making up for that lost light with new windows in the kitchen, you can visit this site if you want to hire the experts who fixed our windows at our kitchen, and eventually we plan on adding a screened porch off the dining room.
The basement is getting a massive support beam after the house is jacked up 2″. Other than that, nothing new is going on in there at the moment. Phase 2 or 3 will be us putting in a permanent ceiling, flooring, and painting.
This is the formal living room and formal dining room. We will be adding some can lighting in the living room, a bigger divide between the two rooms (I know most people expect to have it opened up all the way, but I prefer division between the two rooms), and within the divide I will have built-ins on each side of the divide — so the dining room will have built in shelves as well as the living room. This is great because the dining room is small and having a china cabinet cramps the space even more. I can use the shelves to store what would normally go in a hutch.
Here’s my rough sketch of what it will look like from the living room going in to the dining room.
The entry will be widened by adding a recessed entry to the new office.
I will also be having some kind of board and batten in the entry going up the stairs for some architectural interest. This is the pattern I’m envisioning:
On the exterior we will not be doing much YET. I was ecstatic about getting to revamp the entry and paint the house, but the interior renovations and structural work ate our budget for that.
Once we’re able to save up for it we’ll be getting a new deck (the current one isn’t the safest and there are no stairs to the yard), a screened porch that will be where the far left windows are in the photo above, a new front entry (the current one is slowly falling apart and I’d like the aesthetic to be changed a little). I played around in photoshop for a few minutes and this is what I came up with for what I want it to look like eventually. The new entry and paint will help the roof not be the main focus of the house when you first see it.
Now I can show you what we’ve done so far! It is difficult to capture the change in photos at this point, but hopefully you can get the gist of what’s going on.
A reminder that the kitchen started like this…
then after demo it looked like this…
and now it’s re-framed to all be flush. I love seeing the fireplace more! It feels like the fireplace is a part of the kitchen now. The cabinets will come off the wall 2ft so the view won’t be quite this open, but it will still be significantly larger.
The entry started as this…
and is currently like this. Do you notice the doorway missing? It makes SUCH a difference and the room feels less closed-in.
Finally, the living room and dining room started as this…
and is currently like this (opposite view, dining room looking into living room)…
Sheetrock should be going up this week and I can’t wait to see it take a real shape! I plan on blogging more about the renovations, but for the most up-to-date pictures and videos you can follow me on IG where I’m much more active.