Our Full Home Reno – First Walk-Through

Welcome to our home! Before our full home reno begins, I wanted to walk you through the original home to see the starting point. The home is a brick Tudor built in the 1930’s and full of charming details but in need of some serious modernization (I have been taking things like central air and grounded electrical sockets for granted!). My goal is to create a modern Tudor that is open and functional for today’s needs but stays true to the original architecture style.

The home is currently a two bed and one bath and over the next year or two (let’s be realistic – it will be two) I’m planning on turning it into a four bed and two and a half bath with a large open kitchen. The images below are the original photos from when we bought it and were graciously provided by Liv Sotheby’s International Reality. We will have a Phase 1 which will be the upstairs, a Phase 2 which will be the basement and if we are lucky, a Phase 3 to finish the huge attic. Now let’s take a walkthrough of the home!

View looking into the living/dining room

Now: When you first walk in, there is a small entryway with shelving and a beautiful curved wood door (you can see a picture here about halfway down the page). From the entryway you walk into a long but narrow living/dining room space. The living room has gorgeous natural light and curved plaster ceilings that seem to be a prominent feature in 30’s Tudors. There are arches and terracotta tiles on the fireplace and windowsills that give an almost Spanish or Moroccan vibe that really made me love this house. Under this carpet (which I have to say, is still pretty on-trend for being as old as it is) there are the original hardwood floors.

The plan: I am 100% keeping the terracotta, curved ceilings and the archways! The main design changes I’m planning are refinishing the hardwood floors and updating the fireplace to a floor-to-ceiling Tudor style that is the main focal point of the room. This room is pretty great as is, so just a few updates here!

Another view of the fireplace and windows. I can’t wait to remove the drapes and baseboard heating and show off the floors! I’m going to be keeping the feel of the fireplace, just renovating it to have more presence in the room. I’m still questioning a fan in the room and if I want function over form… I think I prefer a light instead?

Current dining room

Now: This is the main dining room in the house. None of the rooms in the home are large by any means, but this is one of the larger rooms in the home. It has a nice amount of natural light in the morning and the same beautiful wood floors from the living room.

The plan: This is the biggest change in the house and the one that I am most nervous about – this will soon be the kitchen. The current kitchen that I will show you soon is small and narrow and hard to work in and entertain – they say the kitchen is the heart of the home and where everyone wants to be! So I am taking out the back wall to open up the space and putting a open kitchen in here with an island for seating and supervise the cooking. There is not a lot more about this room I can say other than it’s going to be entirely different and fingers crossed – way more functional!

Current kitchen

Now: And here is that current kitchen. Are you loving the plaid wallpaper on the ceiling as much as I am? The images are doing the space a lot of favors, it is smaller and darker in person. Not great to be shoved in a small room in the back for people who love to cook and be around friends and family. It was remodeled in 1980 and probably quite trendy in it’s day but it’s probably time to say goodbye to the brown plaid and faux wood countertops.

The plan: I’m going to divide the space into two separate rooms – a dining room and a master bathroom. The area from the dishwasher and below will open up quite a bit more to the new kitchen and become a dining area that looks into the backyard (depending on budget, I am hoping for a much bigger window for an indoor/outdoor feel). Then I am going to build a wall above the dishwasher and open that area up into the master bedroom for a private bath. The bathroom will end up being a great size for the house and hopefully become a little oasis with a ton of natural light!

Current kitchen

Now: You’re going to hate me for this, but I am not keeping the 40s stove. I know, most people are horrified when I tell them but I hope you can overcome it and still follow along – I really apologize! After designing the kitchen it was just too hard to fit it into the space. It’s beautiful and I will find it a great home but I wanted to get that out in the open asap. This is the view from the back of the kitchen looking towards the basement stairs. They did an excellent job not missing any wall area with the wallpaper.

The plan: I pretty much got it all in the picture above but this image is taken standing in what will be the master bath. The wall where the fridge is will be completely opened up giving a better flow from the kitchen to the dining room. Still hoping to upgrade that window…

Current bathroom

Now: Our one and only bathroom. Honestly for being dated the tile and decor are not that bad, I saw some truly offensive ones while house hunting. It currently has a walk-in shower (no tub) and the basics with a good amount of natural light. It also has another beautiful archway over the shower that will definitely be staying!

The plan: This bathroom will have a slight downgrade to a powder room but a big upgrade in fixtures and design. I would love to keep the sink and mirror and upgrade the hardware. I would like the tile to be lighter to make the room feel bigger but still have nods to a 30’s style. The shower will completely go away and become the master closet. The new wall from the closet will be set back from the archway so that becomes a main focal point in the room. I’m thinking about insetting the interior of the archway with some Spanish or Moroccan tiles, something for a little pop of flare.

Upstairs bedroom

Now: I love all the era touches in this home! We saw some 40’s/50’s in the kitchen stove, some 80’s in the kitchen and now we got our 70’s burnt orange carpet and fabric wallpaper! Sadly, this will go as well. Again the rooms are not big but they have wonderful natural light and tall ceilings which really opens up the space. This room has two windows (the front one not pictured) and has a ton of potential.

The plan: I am going to convert this into an office space. It is in the front of the house and all the greenery in the yard makes it feel like a treehouse, a great space to be in. I am goin to open up the wall opposite of the window with a double french door into the living room. This should really open up both rooms and make the living room feel larger and less narrow. Oh, and that little door will go away and become wall space – no need for him anymore.

Master bedroom

Now: This is the upstairs master bedroom. It is small as far as masters go, but we are adding a lot of features to give it more of a private oasis from the world. It has a large window that is surrounded by ivy and those beautiful original hardware floors. If you haven’t noticed the handles on the doors yet, they are the original hardware and pretty freaking cool.

The plan: The door pictured in the image is a small closet and will become the entrance into the new master bath that we talked about in the kitchen photos. I’m thinking deep blues for the master bath? But we can figure that out later. The opposite wall that is not pictured will open up to a pretty sizable master closet (and this will be the shower area that was in our current bathroom). Then take away the heavy curtains and baseboard heaters and we will have a beautiful and function master suite on the main floor!

The basement

Now: Hello to Phase 2! Even though it will be a while until we see any progress in the basement I thought I would show it to you really quickly. The basement is currently finished and the exact same footprint as the main level. This is also currently our living space for the next year while the upstairs is being torn apart. Thankfully it is much cooler down here while we are waiting on AC in during these 100 degree days…

The plan: The area from the stairs to the wood cabinet will become a full bathroom and the rest will stay open living space. The back of the basement will become two legit bedrooms (meaning egress windows) and both bedrooms will be a really nice size – much larger than the upstairs bedrooms! The living space will also be larger so the upstairs will be more of a formal sitting room while the basement will be the area where you can lounge on a big comfy couch and not worry about people judging you.

The basement

Now: Here is one more view into the basement (don’t mind all the pipes and peeling plaster). Here you can see to where the mechanical room is and the entry to the current basement flex room.

The plan: Let’s start right to left. The door on the right will be reconfigured to a little hallway that will have entrances to two separate bedrooms. The area between the doors will open up into more living space to create a large open area, so sort of a large connected “L” shaped living room. The door on the left will have a wall just to the right of the opening to create a separate laundry area. We are needing to upgrade some of the mechanical equipment so we are converting to a tankless water heater to create a bunch of room for a washer/dryer, folding counter and seasonal closet. But again, this is Phase 2 – here’s to making it through Phase 1!

After months of looking at homes, we are so happy this is the one that we found! It has so much potential and is just a blank canvas ready to be renovated. I am excited to be sharing this journey with you and the many ups and downs to a full home reno where we are our own GCs and are taking on plenty of DIY, how’s that for acronyms?

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[…] It’s been about nine-ish months since we bought our house – and I’m happy to say it looks A LOT different. I had been tracking our progress through vlogs but now that I am back to work full time, it just seems impossible to keep track of the changes. I can already feel the regret that I stopped tracking, but life calls and we need to give ourselves a little slack, right? But there have been so many changes since my last vlog and I wanted to give you our home reno spring update – and it looks like… Read more »



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