House hunting is a nightmare. Back in the summer of 2016, my husband and I decided we’d done all we could to fix up our old home – our first home. The market had become a seller’s market, so we decided to sell while it was high and look for our next fixer-upper. There wasn’t much out there, and the few we did find potential in, we quickly lost to cash offers.
One night on a whim, we went to visit a brand-new listing at our realtor’s recommendation. We hadn’t seen it online yet, and it was a bit outside of our price and location goals, but we ended up falling in love. Looking back, I don’t really know why. It was pretty ugly, but something in us knew this house could be unique and beautiful.
I remember every first step through this house like it was yesterday.
*Warning: poor photo quality to come. This house was pretty much that scary looking though.
We entered in through the master bathroom from the backyard, because the lock box to the front door was jammed. It was dark. I was ready to walk away at that point, but Tommy was persistent. The master bathroom was rough. It was clear someone had tried to re-do it at some point, but it just wasn’t pretty. A lot of cut-corners, you know?
From there, we went into the master bedroom. The carpet was purple, as it was throughout the rest of the house, but we knew we’d get new floors anyway. The size of the room was similar to our current bedroom, and the layout was fine.
When we stepped out of the master bedroom, we found the laundry room to the right, which led out into the garage. It was pretty rough looking - eeesh. But to me it was a treat just to have a designated laundry room. Our last home only had folding doors that opened up to a "laundry closet" ... and that was located in our kitchen. So this was cool. Major potential.
Then we walked to the center of the home. There were three living and/or dining spaces which were separated by a couple of half-walls enclosing the kitchen. Keep in mind, this house is less than 1800 sq. ft., so that’s a lot to pack in.
See what I mean? I know they were meant to be a formal dining room, living room and dinette, but they were all separated by this kitchen box, and it just made everything feel so awkward and choppy. I mean, I love the '90s, but what was up with those half-walls?
“We could take down those walls and make this space entirely open,” Tommy said. (We'd never taken down walls before). This is what we were missing from our current home – an open concept. He was sold right there, and I was getting there.
The light fixtures were crazy (check out the fabulous disco ball in the center of the kitchen), the carpet was [still] purple... We turned the kitchen corner, and there was the family room.
Here’s where I was sold: a brick fireplace.
We live in Florida, so fireplaces are rare. The thought of having one just in time for Christmas was enough for me!
It was a good sized space. We have a huge entertainment center that Tommy built for our first home, so we were happy to see it could fit in this room.
With some new floors, fresh paint and updated window treatments, this space would feel brand new.
So to recap: we've been through the master suite and into this central hub of three living and dining areas, an enclosed kitchen, and a family room.
From here, we went on to the last section of the house, where we found two guest bedrooms and a full bath. The front bedroom had great bay windows (try to ignore the window treatments). And the guest bathroom was even more awful than the master bathroom, but we could fix that.
Really, once we realized we could take down those kitchen half-walls, we fell in love with the layout of this house. We knew we could make it an open concept and customize it however we wanted without totally braking the bank.
We put in an offer that night or the next day (I can’t remember), and were told we had to wait until the weekend to allow other bids to come in and for a decision to be made. Man do I feel for you if you’re going through this right now.
To our surprise, we got it. We hadn’t sold our own home yet, but we were excited.
I won’t go into the gritty details, but Tommy worked his butt off to get those "kitchen box" half-walls and that terrible carpet and tile out of there before we moved in. While the floors were up, he drilled a canal in the cement slab from an interior wall to the center of the kitchen, so we could wire electrical to use in our future kitchen island. I’d come home (to our old house) from work to take care of the dogs and make dinner, and he’d be over at the new house working as late as he could to make it as move-in ready as possible.
Oh yeah, and we ripped out all of those old dark wood blinds. Everything was feeling lighter and brighter already. We were so excited.
I think we closed sometime in August, and after much drama we sold our old home for what we'd hoped for and didn’t have to get out of there until September. God is so good.
Tommy was able to get new laminate wood floors in throughout the house, we painted every wall and had carpet put in the master bedroom before we actually had to move in. September came fast.
I was amazed. I’m thankful for a husband who can do all of this and has the drive to make an ugly home beautiful and livable for us. Most of all, I'm thankful we share the same dreams together. Having goals and working on projects together has gotten us through a lot of difficult times – and still does. Can you relate?
Stay tuned for the way more fun after pictures.