The year Kyle and I were married, my parents were retiring and had already decided they wanted to move to a new build. If you don't know my parents; they are some awesome human beings walking this planet; salt of the earth, hard-working, non-judgemental and a little quirky and funny too when you least expect it. Both worked for local school districts for a combined 80+ years as coach, math teacher, nurse, principal and administrator. Although my dad's retirement was short-lived (not sure he’s cut out for a life of leisure) they still enjoy hosting parties for the kids and grandkids at their new home.
My parents and siblings gave me a childhood I am forever grateful for and try to re-create a little (in my own way) each day with my daughters. So when we were given the opportunity to raise our kids in that same environment, it made all the sense in the world to me. We bought the house from them and moved in after our amazing wedding week. In the first 6 months there was a new car, new job, new dog, and a bitty baby on the way! Let's go all in and knock down some walls, eh?
I loved this home and wanted to do her justice and make her shine. Keep in mind this was an 1,800 square foot 4 bedroom/2 bath home. The space had be optimized so we could make the most of what she had to offer. My immediate instinct was to knock down the big wall between the formal dining and den to the kitchen and living room. There were some amazing tree-line windows that needed to be seen in all their glory and brighten up the whole space. And in a community surrounded by trees, it's amazing to have them as the backdrop throughout the home, it felt like a tree house in some ways!
Living through renovations is never ideal, and...I was pregnant. But I had the vision, and was excited to see it come to life and provide that open-concept living for our budding family. Eliminating the large wall and the kitchen pass through was going to give us the biggest bang for our buck. To make it work though, we had to relocate the pantry to the far wall. We found a contractor to help and we were off to the races!
We couldn't afford to lose the storage so I re-designed the existing cabinetry by taking the upper cabinets that were on the pass through wall and adding them in other places. We also added a spice rack, a wine fridge, and a new buffet/hutch which would also help the storage capacity and it turned out to be perfect. I wanted the back of the bar top to add an unexpected element to the design so we continued the use of cedar instead of drywall to match the beam and columns. Rather than try to recess the beam or have the columns/bar wall fade into the background, we wanted them to have their day in the sun and contribute to the overall easy going and welcoming vibe of the home.
After the wall came down, this is when my family (like always) chipped in and helped us bring our dream to reality and across the finish line. My mom helped beautifully paint the cabinets a charcoal grey. She even took classes and painted her brand new ones right after moving into their new build!! Dad, or "Handy Randy", was instrumental in helping to correct the wood flooring and installing our new farmhouse sink and lighting. The floor tile was the handiwork of my brother-in-law. Kyle rolled up his sleeves and did an amazing job on the subway tile backsplash. The rest of the family helped with painting all the walls, baseboards, trim and crown molding. I mean, am I not the luckiest girl ever?!
In just a few months, we turned our old home into an updated gathering place we could all enjoy and take pride in. The laughter and memories were present in this home for my whole family for another 5 years. We updated many of the other rooms in the home but I have to say the main living areas and the backyard living renovations made the biggest impact. We had a last hoorah and many family and friends from throughout the years were in attendance. I balled like a baby that last day, but I recorded the sounds of the greenbelt and have videos of both of my girls taking their first steps where the pantry used to be. We were sad to see it go, but we were happy to hand the keys over to a young, newly married couple with their own memories to make within these loved walls, and under the tall magnolia tree my family planted over 30 years prior. And we still wave hello from time to time when visiting Kyle's brother next door....which turned out to be another fun reno project!