My Starter Story

My husband and I recently looked at pictures we took when we were house hunting during the summer of 2011.  The first house we looked at was located on an acre of land just outside of a small city.  Three things I absolutely loved about the house: it had a huge bay window in the living room, about 30 beautiful ash trees in the front yard, and the location was ideal for us.

We put in an offer on the house, but another couple came in with a higher offer, so we had to continue searching for our first home.

Throughout August, September, and October, we looked at several houses each week and didn’t find anything that stood out to us. Then we received a call from our realtor.  The couple who put an offer on the first house we were interested in changed their minds and the house was up for sale again!  After a week or two of negotiating, the house was ours.

On a lovely November weekend, our families helped us move from our tiny apartment to our new house 25 miles away.


(left to right) my mom, sister, and me on moving day. The house was a bit of a mess!

After we bought our house, I was really excited but also a bit overwhelmed because I knew we had a lot of work to do before the house would look and feel like a home to us.   Our 900 square foot apartment didn’t allow us to have much furniture, so our new place looked rather empty by comparison.  People who came to see our house would ask, “Where is all of your stuff?” to which I would reply, “We don’t have any!”

Since we had just spent a majority of our savings on the down payment for the house, we couldn’t afford to rush out and purchase new items to fill up the empty space.  Instead, I had to get smart and creative.  Emily Clark’s Blog was super helpful to me because she posts before and after pictures of furniture she’s refinished.  Prior to reading her blog, I had no idea that old pieces of furniture could be brought back to life like that!

Here are some projects I’ve completed over the past few years:

Hall cupboard
I found this at a Goodwill store for $25.  You can’t tell from the picture, but it had a bunch of scratches on it and the color of the wood was outdated. The paint I used was only $3, bringing the total to $28.


Wood Pew
My father-in-law bought this pew for $5 and gave it to my husband and me.  We originally had it outside on our porch, but I thought it would look better inside.  I sanded it, stained it with red mahogany stain, and topped it with three coats of semi-gloss polycrylic.  There are two pillows on it – one I made and one I bought, and I also made the cushion.  Total cost comes to about $30.


Bed Frame
When I moved in to my college apartment, I bought a brass bed frame from a garage sale for super cheap.  It was fine for back then, but I didn’t like the look of the brass and it didn’t match anything in our new house.  I painted on primer and spray painted it black so that the bed frame went with the other furniture I had planned for the guest room.


I also refinished a glider chair, a night stand, and my dining room table, but I won’t go in to depth about those as they were featured in previous blog posts.

And when you put it all together with a fresh coat of paint on the walls and some decor:

The biggest mistake I’ve made so far is the paint color I originally picked out for our entryway.  I remember telling my husband that one of my least favorite colors is country blue and then weeks later I picked this color for the entryway.  In my defense, I didn’t realize how blue it was going to look until after it was done.  Below are pictures of what the room started as (it was a light yellow when we moved it), the horrible blue I picked out, and then the color it is now.


If you’re interested, you can find additional pictures and stories of our home in the below posts that I’ve written previously:

1. Our Home Then and Now (September 2014)
2. Adventures in Removing Wall Paper (May 2013)
3. Kitchen Gets a Facelift (April 2013)
4. Bedroom Makeover Pictures (January 2013)
5. Bathroom Before and After (October 2012)

Thanks so much for reading!


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