And we’re back! After nearly a month hiatus, we’re hopping on to share the before pictures of the rest of our downstairs, which includes our kitchen, pantry, family room, dining room, library, and bathroom. Here we go!
We loved almost everything about this house when we first looked at it, except for all of the wallpaper (sorry, Erma). When we first walked into our kitchen, we were greeted with wallpaper galore, and by wallpaper, we mean multiple wallpapers. The house had it all – fly fishing, ducks, camping, leaves, birdhouses – all tied together with a lovely [using this term loosely] yellow/brown/taupe mixed pattern wallpaper that covered our entire kitchen.
The first four rooms we’re sharing today had a combined total of nine different wallpapers. Some rooms had three or four of them alone, and if that wasn’t enough to make the eyes go bonkers, you could see all nine wallpapers at the same time if you were standing in the right spot. Crazy town! Wallpaper aside, these first four rooms alone have more character than some houses have all together, which is what made us fall in love with this house in the first place. There’s so much we love about these rooms – the tin ceilings, the vintage barn beams, and the decorative corbels just to name a few.
Our kitchen is the very first room you see when you walk in from our garage. When we first toured the house, we walked in and I told Alan, “we needed to buy this place.” You’ll notice the yellow/brown wallpaper we “raved” about in the photos below.
Although our kitchen isn’t quite our style, there’s so much we love about it. We absolutely love the two schoolhouse pendants and the tin ceiling that were salvaged from an old school building from the next block over. And once we took down the wallpaper, sanded, and painted these rooms (we’re still trying to recover from that!) it made the cabinets and beams look so much more beautiful.
When we moved in, our kitchen literally had a place for everything – it seemed like there was a perfectly-sized cabinet for all of our countertop appliances, bowls, and other odds and ends. Our kitchen also has a huge cork board, which has been great for cards, coupons, and photos. Right next to it is a built-in desk area with drawers where we store cards, pens and paper, and other goods.
Our kitchen works for us right now, but we’d eventually like to open up our kitchen to the dining room and family room. Right now, our kitchen is blocked off from these rooms by an old, unused chimney. Fortunately, it’s been removed all the way down to the first floor, so it shouldn’t be too big of a pain to knock it down. Once we do that, we think it will really open up the space. We’d also like to bring in some lighter-colored cabinets, updated appliances and stone countertops. We also toss around the idea of reconfiguring the layout a little bit just to make our kitchen more functional.
And of course, our kitchen had its fair share of ducks (but we actually kept the brass ones shown below!)
If you take a sharp left when you come in from the garage, you’ll find our pantry, which is currently home to a beautiful and slightly heavy upright piano that we’d love to give to you! It seems that no one in our town, area, or state of Michigan wants it. When we toured the house with the previous owner, her daughter told us, in the nicest tone, “Thank you so much for taking the piano from us.” You’re welcome, Amy! Even with this oversized piano in here, our pantry follows the same trend as our kitchen – it has tons of space for just about everything. Right now, this room has tons of functions – it’s serves as our pantry, mud room, coffee/beverage station, and utility closet.
Like every room, we have plans to change up the pantry too to make it a little bit more purposeful. One of the biggest changes we want to make is to add our washer and dryer to this room as well (we’ll explain more about this in a bit!). When the piano is gone, the L-shape of this room will actually lend itself perfectly to this. We’re thinking our washer and dryer will go right where the piano is, and eventually we’ll add a utility sink in the cabinet in the photo above, along with a spot to store our cleaning supplies like our mop and our vacuum. This will make this portion of the L-shape our laundry area, and then the other side of the pantry our primary storage spot for food, dishes, and everything else.
Another big change we’d like to make is to add a window to this room. Right now this room doesn’t have any windows, so if it’s possible, we’d like to put in a window straight ahead in the first photo above, which would look out onto our front porch. Regardless if the window is possible or not, we’re hoping to make this room light and airy, with tons of decorative and practical storage.
OUR FAMILY ROOM
Just past our kitchen is our family room. As we patiently waited to close on the house, I found myself daydreaming about taking the wallpaper down from this room, which we did literally minutes after unpacking our last few items. We’ve also brought in two lazy-boy chairs (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!), a TV, and refinished the countertop surround in the photo above, which has been a great spot to store extra blankets and my candle collection.
Even though this room has a fresh coat of paint after taking down the wallpaper and removing the shelves, this room still stumps us. In this corner of this room is a large wood stove with a stone surround, which are actually from a local quarry. However, we’re unsure of its future. Neither of us grew up with a woodstove, and they scare the heck out of both of us. We are debating having it cleaned and trying it for a season before making any major decisions. I really love that when it rains, the wood stove makes our entire house smell likely freshly burned firewood, but we also think removing it might make this room flow a little better, and provide a spot for a built-in entertainment center on this wall. Decisions, decisions!
OUR DINING ROOM
Beyond our kitchen is our dining room, which looks out onto our backyard. We’ve been told that this area used to be a screened porch, but once the previous owner decided she wanted a dining room, her husband got to work and made it happen!
This is a great spot to again talk about some of the character this room has. Between our dining and family room, the previous owner installed two vintage corbels, which actually came from the old Rummel’s General Store before it was torn down. My aunt actually sent me an old photo of the store, and if you look close enough, you can actually see the corbels. We love how our house is filled with so much history related to our small town.
Just like our kitchen, our dining room had its own collection of unique wallpapers too, featuring leaves the top, and bird houses on the bottom. The dining room also has reclaimed barn wood on the lower half, with wainscotting trim on top. There’s only a few minor things we’re hoping to do in this area – changing out the light for something that matches the lights in the kitchen, refinishing the back door, building a new dining room table, and redoing the trim around the window. [We technically already did the last item on that list, but we hate it, so we plan to redo it again.]
Just past our dining room is a door that leads to our basement and another that leads to a cute little room that we hope to someday use as a library and a guest bedroom.
But for right now, we’re still not quite sure what to call this room. We’ve made quite a few improvements since moving in five months ago, but this room? Nothin’. It’s a smaller room that doesn’t have awesome lighting, and right now it’s rocking some plaid wallpaper and soft peach colored walls. It’s that one area of our house that we haven’t finished unpacking yet – it houses art we still need to hang, books we still need to read, and files we still need to comb through. The room also has a small closet that we use for our towels, laundry baskets, and a few other boxes we still need to sort through. Oh, and did we also mention that our washer and dryer are in this room, too?
Even though we haven’t done a darn thing in this room yet, we have big dreams for this little space. First, we’re going to paint the room a light and airy color and install some ceiling lights (but we’re not about to try that ourselves after switching out some lights in our living room). We’d also love to build a built-in bookshelf/day bed on the wall that currently has wallpaper, but we go back and forth about what that looks like. Oh, and the view in the picture above? Well, imagine the washer and dryer being moved to our pantry, the doorway being expended, and a set of french doors leading out to a big, spacious deck.
OUR DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM
And we’re finally onto the last room for this post; our downstairs bathroom. This bathroom is actually like a Jack and Jill Bathroom, connecting our library to Laryssa’s office. This room’s two entry points makes our entire downstairs a big loop, which is awesome for when we’re on our health kicks and trying to get Fitbit steps in.
Even though the layout of this bathroom is a little choppy, it has a full size tub and shower system, a decent size vanity, and a second shower tucked away in the corner. Following the previous identity of our house, you’ll notice the ducks painted on the backsplash behind the sink in the photo below, along with more water fowl-inspired wallpaper. (Marsha, Michelle, and Linda this is the wallpaper my mom is waiting on a call for!) We haven’t done anything in this room yet, mostly because it’s pretty low on our priority list.
We were walking our dog a few nights ago and were talking about potentially adding onto our house in this corner someday. We’d like to eventually install a hot tub in our backyard, and we think it would be awesome to add a mud room with an exterior entry door off of this bathroom, which would make it easy to take care of wet, dirty feet before someone accidentally tracks it into the house. We think this might help with the choppy layout of this bathroom as well, and make everything feel a bit more cohesive in this room as well. Of course this is years down the road. Alan used to play the Sims a lot as a kid (Ok, he still does sometimes!), so we have a long list of things we’re hoping to change over the years.
So there you have it! You’ve officially seen all of the photos of our downstairs rooms, and we plan to post again later this week with photos of our upstairs room as well!
Alan + Laryssa