We moved! In August 2020, we sold our first home, which we nicknamed “Our Fifties Fixer Upper.” That home was the catalyst for my blog, Instagram account, and eventually, interior design business. We learned an incredible amount about renovating and design in the 4.5 years we lived in and renovated that home. We knew it would not be a long-term home for us, and viewed it as more of a “live-in flip.” When the perfect buyers came along in Spring 2020, we worked hard to get our basement renovation finished, and were able to sell in August.
While finishing the basement, we started house hunting, which was a little stressful! The housing market is pretty insane in the Twin Cities (and much of the United States!) these days, and we had three offers fall through, and homes would be “pending sale” as soon as I sent the listing to our agent. (Sidenote- if you’re looking to sell or buy a home in the Twin Cities I’d HIGHLY recommend our broker Amy at Dwellings Real Estate!)
Our criteria: slightly larger home (2000 sqft or larger), has a fireplace, minimum 2 car garage, larger backyard, mature & desirable neighborhood in a great school district, requires updates, has ability to add value for eventual profitable resale.
Thankfully, we found a home that met all of our criteria and got an offer accepted within a couple days of the listing! It needs a complete remodel, but is live-able for the time being before we start the renovation. It has two fireplaces, a three-season porch (one of the items on my wishlist!), a good-sized backyard (our dog Dexter loves it!), and is in a fantastic neighborhood.
The home is a four-story-split-level, so it has a basement, a ground floor (with a bathroom, closets, bedroom, garage & yard access), a “main floor” (kitchen, living room, dining room, porch), and upper floor (bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms).
We have big plans for renovating, and are planning on starting with the “main floor”- the kitchen, living room, dining room, and porch. We’re hoping to start renovating later this fall or early winter, details to come in another post!
For now, here’s a tour of the “before” of each space!
Entryway & Ground Floor
CURRENTLY// This floor is dark and fairly small. The front door has a very small window, and the back door window doesn’t provide quite enough light. There is a coat closet and utility closet, garage access, backyard access, a bedroom, and a 3/4 bathroom, as well as access to the basement and main floor.
TENTATIVE PLANS// Give this floor a full facelift by replacing doors, light fixtures, flooring. Add wall detail, like decorating moulding. Update the bathroom and bedroom and replace windows in those rooms. Open up the staircase leading upstairs? Do something about the ceiling level if possible?
CURRENTLY// The basement feels dark and outdated, with tile floors, a tiled ceiling, cheap windows, and sad-looking bookshelves. We’re using it as a storage and workout area until we have to move our living room furniture down here when we start on the main floor renovation.
TENTATIVE PLANS// Update the fireplace. Drywall walls and ceilings, add recessed lighting. Replace windows. Open up the wall between the unfinished and finished space? Replace flooring (carpet?). Improve laundry space. Add shelving for storage in unfinished space?
The Main Floor
CURRENTLY// This floor is liveable as-is, but it is definitely outdated and could use some major updating. It includes the living room, kitchen, dining room, and porch, and feels separated and boxy thanks to the walls separating each room. The flooring is in rough shape, the windows are old and drafty, it lacks overhead lighting, and the kitchen is small and not quite as functional as we’d like.
PLANS// Replace the flooring and windows. Vault the living room ceiling? Remodel the fireplace and convert to gas. Completely remodel the kitchen. Remove all interior walls (one of which is load-bearing). Update and add lighting: recessed lights, chandeliers, sconce lighting. Paint and add wall treatments (decorative moulding). Add heating to porch so it can be used year round.
The Upper Floor
CURRENTLY// This floor has three bedrooms: the primary bedroom, which has an attached 1/2 bath, and two other bedrooms, one of which is acting as our guest bedroom. There is a full bathroom in the hallway, which is attached to the 1/2 bath. The flooring is in rough shape, and the windows need to be replaced. The layout is less than ideal with the bathroom situation and lack of closet space in the primary bedroom.
TENTATIVE PLANS// We’d love to completely open this space up and reconfigure the entire floor. We have dreams of extending the whole floor to the outside of the garage (it currently only extends over half of the garage), which would allow us to add another bedroom as well as create a much better primary bedroom situation including a full bathroom and walk-in closet.
As you can see, we’ve got our work cut out for us! I am so excited to get started on the design plans. We’re doing the best we can in the meantime to make our home as cozy and “home-y” as possible before we renovate, but I’m definitely anxious to get started. Let me know in the comments below which space you think has the most potential! And stay tuned for PLENTY of design and reno content to come!