Life is a funny thing. The older I get the crazier I realize life is. Just two months after P and I got married, we bought a house. This wasn’t a part of the plan. Sure, we had started saving, and sure we spent most of our weekends driving around with Houston’s real estate app on our phones seeing what was for sale in our dream neighborhoods, but here we were, November 15th, 2017 - a month after our wedding and we were presented with a house we couldn’t pass up: zoned to a great school, juuuuust in our pricepoint, a yard, our favorite neighborhood, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, etc. It was even just the right amount of fixed up - fixed up enough to live in, but it sure has a slew of projects I want to tackle. AKA: not so fixed up I would feel bad ripping out the “new”.
Whenever I start a new project I walkthrough the project with my client and create a list of EH-VER-Y-THING. You might hear this referred to as the job scope, but when we make this first list we make sure we get every little dream down: every doorknob to change, every wall to move, every rug they want to buy. Budget, shmudget. From that point we’ll look at what they feel comfortable spending, what they want to (and can) do now and what might be saved for later. So consider this my dream job scope (and so I don’t become a broken record - all doors, hardware and lighting needs updating, everywhere):
She’s a cutie, no denying that. We have a great view from the front porch too - that lot is privately owned but the owner is militant about not selling (we hope for a very very long time). From what little research we’ve done we think our house was built around 1914. We’re in a historic district but we’re considered “non-contributing” meaning little to nothing remains of the original house. Out front it’s pretty much JUST the brick columns you can see in that first image of the porch. Stick around (or zoom ahead, no judgement) to the end and you’ll see an old picture of the house from around 1919. The pipe dream would be to reintroduce some of it’s original character and elements. Other cosmetics: new fence, new paint job, get rid of that fountain (check!), new grass, new planting beds, privacy fence on the side yard. New driveway, new walkway, paint the porch. You know. No big deal (gulp!). I would love a front door that leans a little more traditional bungalow.
Gosh I have plans for this, but I love this little room. The second I walked in I was like “those built ins need to GO.” But now that they’re styled, I love it. So much storage in the drawers! That wainscot DOES need to go - which is a shame, hoenstly it’s nice but it’s too heavy-handed, and too short for this space! Throughout the house, the current wall texture is best described as “splatter paint”: clumpy, uneven, and aggressive - so someday I would like to skim coat all the walls and smooth it out.
This is now our office. I guess the realtor considered it “just another bedroom” so there are no pictures of it before but you can see it through the door there in the living room. The biggest change we made in the house right after we moved was painting the office a DEEP green. It’s also being used as mostly storage still so I can’t wait to share the final product as we get more settled! We really need to get more organized and get rid of clutter otherwise this room will stay the same (though dang I would love to put in a bigger, more “original looking” window).
This archway. So many people love this archway (including my sweet, wonderful husband). But YALL. I need it gone. This little sweet home was built in 1914 - honestly possibly earlier. This trimwork just. isn’t. right. End of debate, one day soon I will rip it out. Any thing else? Of course. Get rid of the chair rail and change out that dang light fixture. Despite what I perceive as imperfections we have hosted my parents, P’s parents, I’ve had potlucks and girls nights and I love this dining room. It’s the heart of our house. I love gathering people around the dining table and this room is the biggest room in the house with the most incredible light.
GUEST ROOM & GUEST BATH
We’ve been here 9 months and we FINALLY have room for a bed! Sure the room is still 84% glorified storage closet (our Christmas tree is in a box in a corner and my wedding dress/winter clothes are taking up about 1/4 of the room…) but minimizing can be a slow process - especially as newlyweds. We had my stuff, P’s stuff, wedding stuff, registry items, and now that we had a home, our parents were DONE storing our childhood stuff too. None the less, I can’t wait to share my thoughts for this room because, again, one of the most exciting things about having this house for me is having loved ones visit.
As for the bathroom, lets just say it photographs well. I keep saying this will be our first big project in the house: a complete gut. New lighting: we only have that one overhead light), new tub (the current tub is so so shallow I dream of the day we can put in a restored vintage clawfoot). The toilet is TEENSY. The travertine counter grosses me out and the tile job is a joke. Its the one bathroom EVERYONE sees since it acts as a powder room AND the guest bathroom. Plus more storage would be great for cleaning supplies and extra linens.
MASTER BEDROOM & BATHROOM
Not much to see here folks. I like to keep things minimal in our bedroom. We have since put in a bed, two nightstands and a dresser. For many people (us included) their own bedroom is the last thing to get designed because only they see it. I’ve pinned a few things on my Pinterest boards but nothing has hit me yet. I would love to one day put in two windows that would flank the bed instead of the one behind the bed (yep, thats the only decent head wall).
The master bathroom is a time warp ya’ll. Literally checks every box on the mid-2000’s flip house checklist: Brown color scheme, oil rubbed bronze hardware, neutral 12x12 tiles, granite counters, vessel sinks, glass accent tiles. Check, check, check. However, it’s a big bathroom by historic home standards having been a part of the 8’ addition off the back. You can’t tell but there are actually two vanities in the space, and the toilet has it’s own little room. This bathroom is completely functional until we decide to tackle it. In a perfect world this would come in the form of another 8’ addition ;).
KITCHEN & LAUNDRY
This kitchen was a HUGE selling point for me. The space is so generous for a house of this era it allows for so much possibility. This would be of course a complete gut job in the future - new layout, new everything and running a gas line. We are considering some small upgrades before then that would make us love it more for now: new lighter backsplash tile to brighten the room, a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets, hardware (I hate the feeling of clawing open my cabinets with my bare hands) a cool temporary island, and getting rid of those dang floating shelves. We have slammed our heads on them TOO MANY times.
The laundry room is behind those double doors in that little hallway. Eventually I would like to open it all up completely and put in french doors to the porch. Until then the laundry room is, again, pretty big! As the other half of the addition off the back, at 8’ x 6’ it’s a huge opportunity for storage. I plan to get some ikea cabinets for now, move the microwave and wine fridge in there to clear up counter space in the kitchen, and just make very efficient use of the room. Adding a fun wall paper is on the mental checklist too!
Just like the front, we have a huge covered porch off the back. We have a good size yard and a little storage shed (no garage - typical of this neighborhood). We have no plants in the backyard except for an extremely prolific pecan tree - please send any recipes my way…
P and I love spending time outside so some of my main design focus has been out here. We would love a lounge area/firepit, a dedicated space for a grill and smoker, a large (and preferably expandable) dining table under twinkle lights, and shade tolerant plants galore. Our side yard gets the most sun and this is where I dream of adding a couple raised beds and some citrus trees. I love the idea of having a kitchen garden.
All in all we love our little home and I can’t wait to bring you along on our journey as we fix her up. Now, as promised, here she is when she was brand new:
A neighbor gave us this photo along with a letter from one of the original owners dated 1919. In the letter they talk about the “steal” they got the house for at just $3000. Their mortgage was a whopping $35/month and they rented out one of the original two rooms for $15. This photo and the letter are so special to us.