Sunday, March 28, 2010

Our Home: A Tour

The goal of this blog is to turn buyer's remorse into love for my condo through the power of positive thinking. And what better way to stay positive than to show you all the hard work we've put into our condo so far?When we bought our place, it was a sea of beige and orangey oak. There was nothing stylish about it, and it lacked personality. I still have some issues with our condo – namely the layout leaves much to be desired, and the living room is downright awkward. But when you compare how it looks now to how it looked the day we got the keys, the difference is night and day.

Come on inside! We had a month of overlap where we still lived in our apartment, but owned the condo. So there were many days, nights and weekends spent putting in new floor, painting walls and trim, and stripping wallpaper to whip this place into shape before we moved in our furniture. We even added a personal touch to our front door. Matt bought me a door knocker in the shape of a cat from Restoration Hardware as an early birthday present. He installed it while I was at work, and when I came to the condo after work to do some painting, I saw my gift. I like the way the door knocker plays off the letter of our unit, "C." It gives it a little personality. Thankfully, our association doesn't mind a little personalization.

When you first step into our condo, there's a small front closet and space to take off your shoes. The previous owners had white Berber carpet here, which was very dirty and made no sense next to the beige wall-to-wall carpet.

Here's what some butter yellow paint and 20 square feet of wood laminate from IKEA did to the space.

To your right, there is a formal dining space. The previous owners were using it as an undefined office area/catch all for clutter and junk.
We painted a yellow accent wall, added a chandelier and returned this space to a dining area. This is one of my favorite changes. Now that we're parents of an 11 month old, though, we might be making the formal dining room over into a more multi-functional space. As much as I like displaying my grandmother's crystal, my son might have other plans for it!

Through a small doorway from the dining room is the kitchen. This kitchen is mainly why I agreed to buy our condo. It needed the most work of any room in the house, but it's the room I now love the most.
Ugly wallpaper, ugly linoleum, ugly cabinets.

Oh yeah, and a super ugly light fixture!We spent most of our month-long renovation fixing up the kitchen. We tore down the wallpaper, which took us forever! We had to scrape off the top layer using a knife, then remove the second layer with fabric softener. We made MANY gouges in the drywall while scraping, so we then had to patch and sand.
We painted the walls a cheery red, and then tackled the ugly oak cabinets, painted them a creamy white. We also swapped out that ugly brass light for a square, funky IKEA lamp that we rewired.

A few fixes came later – namely the wood laminate floors we put in this past winter – but we think the results were pretty dramatic, don't you?
The rest of the house might not seem so dramatic after that, but we did do some fixes.

The living room was bland and white.
We painted it a pale green.
This is where we will be focusing our attentions in posts to come. I have visions of painting the fireplace white, purchasing new, more grown-up furniture, and working on the layout.

Down the hall, and to your right, is our bathroom. This was another selling point of the house for me. I loved the deep whirlpool tub.
We painted a light blue and gave this bathroom a Hawaiian theme, based on my love for the islands.
Across from the bathroom is my son's nursery. It's gone through a few changes, from a boring bedroom when we bought it, to an office/guestroom to a cheerful little boy's room.



Finally, we come to the master suite. We have a huge space here, which is great, and sometimes annoying too. I'd probably trade a bigger master bedroom for a bigger, less awkward living room, but at least we have the space to add a window seat and little office area, now that we lost our office to make room for the nursery.

When we bought the house, this was yet another boring white room. The seller was keeping bunnies in the master closet!

We cleaned up and painted a rich pumpkin orange color. Our d├ęcor for this room was sort of Moroccan inspired.
I used to really love it, but I'm starting to grow a little tired of this room, and want to lighten it up a bit. But do I want to go through the hassle of repainting such a dark color? Right now I'm leaning toward trying to make the orange work by adding some lighter accent pieces, like artwork and linens.

And finally, our last room on the tour, the master bathroom.
Sorry to disappoint, and end on a low note, but I hate this bathroom. We've tried to give it a face lift by taking down the grungy shower doors, giving the cabinets a fresh coat of white paint and putting in a new light fixture, but it's still just bad. You can't see the shower in this photo, but that's the big problem area.

Some day we will put in new tiles. Someday.

So that's it! That's the place we call home. We've tried to make it seem like a spacious house and not a smallish condo, but there's always room for improvement. But when I think of where we began when we were on our journey as new homeowners, we've come a long way!

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