Welcome to my Suburban Cluster!

The first house my husband and I bought together was a new construction home in a really fun neighborhood.  It was close to downtown and all the bars, restaurants and coffee shops that made us feel cool.  We were newlyweds and it was a major step up from anywhere either of us had lived previously.

We enjoyed being a young professional couple for about 5 minutes before finding out I was pregnant.  7 years and 2 kids later, it started to feel like the walls of our cool urban row house were closing in around us.  We were on a busy street, with no extra bedrooms for family and guests, no yard space to play in, and no room for the copious amount of toys and crap  totally necessary stuff that kids need.  It was time to move.

We looked everywhere and started to realize that a lot of the newer homes in the neighborhoods we really liked were totally out of our price range.  Even many at the top of our budget that were ‘updated’ (a totally misleading real estate term btw) were actually still very dated and needed work.

Enter…..this beauty.

House Renovation Before
Exterior – before

Doesn’t look so terrible right?  Yeah well, looks can be deceiving.   In person “it’s a full-on Monet – from far away it’s not so bad, but close up it’s a big ‘ol mess”.  If you recognize that quote you’re as old as I am.   But it’s on a nice big lot with a fenced backyard, extra bedrooms and bathrooms and it’s in a great school district.  And the kicker… it was on the low end of our budget.  All the features that made us start tossing out phrases like “good bones”, “fixer-upper”, “project house”, “we can make it our own'”. etc.  So we bought it.  And those phrases quickly changed to things like “holy balls what have we done!?” and “we don’t even own any tools!”.

But we moved in anyway, and since we still had to sell our old house (which of course was a TOTAL CLUSTER and took a lot longer than we anticipated) we were forced to live with it as-is for awhile until we got our ducks in a row.  I think that was actually a blessing in disguise because it has given us the opportunity to really figure out what works for us and what doesn’t, prioritize projects, decide what we can work on ourselves and what we must absolutely hire professionals to do.

For now check out some more before pics.  These are actually some of the listing photos that I now think hilariously minimize this house’s unique attributes.

House Renovation Before
Dining room – before

This is the formal dining room right off the front entry.  This photo sadly left out the poofy mauve window treatments.  They really made the room.  We didn’t realize that’s actually painted over wallpaper until we moved in, or that the glorious light fixture isn’t wired correctly.  So if you stomp around too hard the light flickers and/or turns off completely.  Electrical is on the priority list of repairs.  This room also leads into a funky hallway that has about 27 doors to the basement, powder room, laundry room and coat closet.  It’s actually kind of entertaining to watch guests come over and try all the doors until they find the bathroom.

House Renovation Before
Powder room – before

Seashell sinks anyone?

House Renovation Before
Living room – before

We also found out from our neighbors that the previous owners were dog rescuers and had like 12 dogs.  That accounts for the gross carpets and stained hardwoods.  Sick!  We’re hoping to open up some walls and make this a much bigger gathering space with access to the deck and yard.

House Renovation Before
Kitchen – before

The kitchen is high on the priority list too.  I love cooking and creating recipes that I hope to share here, and this kitchen is just not going to cut it.  It’s DIRTY, dingy and totally not functional for our family.  Please note that there are 6 different kinds of flooring just on this level…6!

House Renovation Before
Master bath – before

This is the master bath, seriously.   The moldy gold shower doors and busted vanity lights make me feel fancy, like a movie star!

Ok, so there was the teaser.  Stay tuned as we take on this bad boy and hopefully at least bring it into the current decade!

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