Have you ever watched House Hunters and wondered why people seem to have such unrealistic expectations for their budgets?! I have, and yet to my dismay, I became one of those people during our own house hunt.
When my husband and I were searching for our first home I thought my list was pretty basic. I wanted a somewhat open floor plan with a large kitchen for entertaining, at least 2 bathrooms, a decent sized yard for when we got a dog and/or had kids, and a garage; which apparently is not very common in our part of Virginia. That isn’t too much to ask, right? We agreed that we didn’t want a fully finished, up to date house because we wanted to make it our own. This was something that was very important to both of us. My husband found our current home, and I’ll be honest, if it hadn’t been for the location, the fact that it had a garage, and a multi-level back deck I never would have given it a chance.
Boy were we willing to give it a chance…
We walked through the front door, trapped by two half partition walls, into the tiniest “foyer” ever. This lead straight into what could only be described as a dark dungeon-like kitchen. It was completely enclosed. For anyone with claustrophobia this room would have caused anxiety. There was a pocket door leading to the dining room and the only natural light came from the window above the sink. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! How did someone live like this and never think to open it up?
The cabinets were a dark cherry, granted they were beautifully constructed with soft close doors and drawers, but dark nonetheless. The countertops were black granite with gold flecks. Even worse, the walls were the most hideous shade of olive green I had ever seen. The previous home owner had this strange blue globe pendant light fixture made for the space. I have no idea what he was thinking because it didn’t match the kitchen at all. There was a large hutch that took up most of one corner, making it feel even smaller.
And so it began…
I knew that the only way I would consider purchasing this home was if we could open the walls between the foyer and living room, as well as the kitchen and dining room. Down the road I figured we would be able to update the kitchen more to make it my dream kitchen.
If you’ve read my About page, you know that my husband is in commercial construction and he’s quite handy himself, especially in knowing what can and can’t be done in a given space. He knew that we were able to open the wall between the dining room and kitchen because it wasn’t a load bearing wall. The first thing we did when we closed on the home, was to start knocking down walls. I realized we made the right decision and saw the potential. It was exciting to think that we were going to restore this home to the way it should have been originally.
We decided to wait to redo the kitchen completely since we had all our hardwood floors refinished before moving in. For now, we planned to just paint and add a floor strip as the divider between the two rooms. I chose a light shade of blue-gray (Behr Marquee Sky Light View) to brighten up the space. Plus when we were able to redo our kitchen it would be a versatile color.
We removed the chair railing everywhere except for one wall in the dining room, which was going to be an accent wall. I picked a darker blue for the bottom half of the wall, Behr Marquee Hampton Surf. I still have no idea what the bottom half of that wall was supposed to be. We can only assume they wanted it to look like stone, it was even textured to feel like stone! My poor husband sanded this for three weeks over the weekend. He did all of this while I was working (yay for public accounting). It ended up being so worth it, even with the never-ending dust that took almost as long to clean.
If you’ve ever dealt with dry wall dust, you know that it takes time to truly get it all clean because the dust continuously settles over time. To prevent some of this, you can wipe the walls with a damp cloth while in the process of sanding. To clean what gets on the floor, a damp cloth works much better than vacuuming. Just be careful not to get the cloth too wet so that you don’t ruin your existing finish. If you have hardwood floors, Bona will be your best friend!
Finished Product (for now at least):
We painted the trim paint and chair railing the same Cameo White by Behr Marquee that we used in our downstairs half-bath reno.
Let me know what you think in the comments and be sure to subscribe to stay connected for Part 2!