Home Renovation Story

We’ve made a lot of improvements to our home since moving in late 2011. I’ve written about these changes frequently on my blog but they are scattered throughout several years worth of posts so I wanted to summarize everything in to one page that includes everything.

You should know that, although we have made a lot of improvements, we are not yet finished with what we have planned. As of now, this is just a progress update. Definitely check back for more in the next year.

Let’s get started!


As new home owners in 2012, we only had wherewithal to change the paint color on the walls, remove wall paper, and change window coverings. So that’s what we did.

The very first thing we did was paint the living room and we actually did this in November 2011, only a week after we moved in.

It’s funny looking at this picture because, at the time, I had almost no painting experience. Now I’m a pro. I wouldn’t waste my time with painter’s tape nowadays.

The reason I chose this paint color is because our realtor’s office was a similar color and I really liked it. It’s Mocha Accent by Behr.

A few weeks later we made the terrible mistake of painting the entryway blue. I cannot remember why we picked this color but as we started painting we thought, “Wow, this is really blue”. We finished painting the entryway and hallway thinking we’d get used to the color but we didn’t. A few months later we covered it up with “Ashwood” by Behr which is one shade lighter than what we used in the living room.


In May I painted the dining room. I wanted our paint colors to flow between rooms so I painted the top of the room Ashwood (the same color as the entryway) and the bottom part Mocha Accent (the same color as the living room).


We later painted the guest bedroom. I went with a blue-ish gray color after trying some samples. We started getting samples first after the whole blue entryway debacle. We also brought in my old bed from college and I made curtains.
In October we replaced the front door:
Also in October 2012 I painted the hallway bathroom and hung new pictures (read more here).
In December 2012, we painted our bedroom and hung new curtains I had made (read more here).
Slide1Also in 2012, we replaced the fans in the bathrooms, replaced outlet covers (I don’t think any two were the same color previously) and took down the wallpaper in the 3rd bedroom which we use as an office.


We didn’t do as much in 2013 but we did paint the kitchen (read more here):

You can see where I painted samples trying to decide on a color.

I removed the blue wallpaper from one of the bathrooms and painted the walls the same color as the kitchen (read more here):


And we installed custom blinds in the living room, entryway, and kitchen.


2017 is when we started a doozy of a project. We had spent the year or two leading up to this thinking about what we wanted to do but the main idea was that we were going to replace all of the flooring of our house (minus the basement and bathrooms).

We spent the summer going to various stores to find a hardwood floor that matched our tastes and budget. We finally found something we both liked and in September we started working in the entryway, then the hallway, dining room, and living room. We pulled up the previous carpet and padding, removed the tack strips and nails, and installed hardwood floors. There are no baseboards in the below pictures because we had to remove them in order to install the floors. You can read more about this project here.


We also painted the ceilings in the living room, dining room, entryway, and hallways.

We were going to put the same baseboards we had removed back but decided against it after noticing they were in pretty bad condition. We initially tried buying new baseboards and staining them but we could not find a stain that matched what we had removed – which was important because we wanted the new baseboards to match the interior doors and rest of the trim in the house.

But the thing was that the interior doors and the trim also needed replacing. We hadn’t originally planned to do that so soon but we decided just to go for it. So, that’s what we did in 2018.


The first two rooms that received new baseboards and trim were the dining room and entryway in April.

Then we moved on to the hallway which took a while because it involved not only new trim and baseboard but 4 new interior doors, 2 new closet doors, and a storage/laundry door.

Over the course of this, we installed a total of 3 bedroom doors, 2 bathroom doors, and 10 closet doors – all of which required 2 coats of paint on each side. That’s 60 coats of paint, my friends.

After the hallway was finished, we moved on to the living room which, in addition to installing new trim and baseboard, we needed to change the bay window and built in bookshelf.

For the bookshelf, I took the shelves outside and sanded them just enough to remove the shiny part of the finish so the paint would stick better. Then I added a coat of primer and two coats of paint. Then I did all of this to the actual bookcase inside. After that, we installed new tracks to the side of the bookcase and installed the shelves.


The bay window was more challenging because I had to be careful to not get paint on the windows. So, the painting and sanding process was just a lot slower. This required one coat of primer and three coats of paint.



20181001_164524 (1)
Living room finished with new trim and baseboards

Then it was time to move in to the bedrooms which we started working on in August. The trim around the bedroom windows was in good condition so we decided to keep those by sanding them, priming them, and then painting them.


Around the same time we started building casings around the bedroom closets. We decided to do this because we like the way it looks; it gives the closet a more complete look. Afterwards we removed the old baseboards in the bedrooms and replaced them with new. In November we had carpet installed in the bedrooms. After the carpet was installed we finished the bedrooms by adding in the new closet doors – we had to wait to do this until after the carpet was installed because we needed to know how short to cut them.

Guest bedroom before and after


Master bedroom after


We had hoped to finish everything in 2018 but the work took longer than planned. 2019 has been great because we’ve been able to do only a few things before being able to declare a room officially done.

In February we changed all of the outlets and light switches. Then we completely finished the dining room (it still needed baseboard and trim in a few small areas) and living room (install curtains around the bay window and finish the baseboard below the bookcase).

Then we resumed installing hardwood floors (for the first time since the end of 2017) – this time inside the back hallway closet. We also replaced the baseboard within the closet, the trim around the closet, and the closet doors. We then finished the hallway by installing the last 4 rows of hardwood flooring, installing baseboard, changing the picture, and adding a bench and a rug.

Afterwards we started working on the backdoor landing and stairs that lead down to the basement. It originally had blue carpet which exposed concrete underneath when we pulled it up in 2017 not knowing we wouldn’t be able to install the hardwood floors right away.


Our future plans include renovating the bathrooms (2020), the kitchen (2021), and the basement (undecided) but for now we are taking a well-deserved break.