Are you ready? For a tour? Bear with me, this is a long one.
First, a floor plan, to give you an idea of how the rooms fit together of course. We had to draw these up for the social worker (foster care) to get our license renewed with our new address. I say "we" lightly because I did this all and it took me an embarrassing amount of time to complete it. I am no geometry expert (unlike the hubby, he really loves it) and I have never read blueprints so there was a lot of squinting eyes, turning the paper, and undoing huge sections at a time. The blueprints were only for the main level so I just winged the basement. It's close enough. (If they are too small to read, you should be able to click on them to see the original size.)
I am hoping that wasn't too confusing for you. The second staircase in the basement (Exit 2 on my floor plan above) goes directly outside. Apparently the original owners had a beauty salon in basement and they wanted a separate entrance to avoid so much foot traffic through their house. I have a love/hate relationship with this door because on one hand the option of coming to the office directly from outside is convenient for the hubby and makes moving bigger furniture in much easier, but on the other hand there is the risk that it isn't locked and is a safety hazard for the kids or someone entering unbeknownst to us. I have a ridiculous fear that one of the kids (down the road) will slip out that door and I won't have a clue. With a river in the back yard and a busy(ish) street out front, that cannot happen. We'll have to take some measures to make sure it is clear that the door is opened or locked. Any ideas?
Go back and look at the main floor. The "tour" starts in the garage and goes through the house starting at the garage doors.
The garage is pretty average. We love the windows (they make a huge difference) and there is a closet on the other side that will work great for outdoor clothing that we don't use often, ice skates, roller blades and other miscellaneous clothing-like items. There is also another door that goes to the back side of the house, making a grand total of three separate doors besides the huge car entrance doors. So foreign to us compared to our last house.
When walking in the house, there is a mudroom to the left and a closet to the right. We aren't sure what to do with that closet because it is partially the staircase and there is no door to block the ugliness of their coverage and open shelving on top.
Back on the left side, the mudroom was used originally as a pantry and was converted to a sewing room by the previous owners. I knew immediately that my dream of having lockers and a bench with cabinets underneath would work out perfectly here. Bonus: our deep freeze also fits in here perfectly. We have talked about possibly taking down the wall between the hall and this room so it's more open, and then putting up a barn door or something like it to have the option of hiding the mess from the dining room. You know, down the road. All of these things we talk about are not happening any time soon.
Next to the closet on the right is the laundry room. Some of cabinets are original to the house but have been painted white (poorly) and have very low heights that are not adjustable. This room is so strange. You can't tell from the pictures, but behind the door (where the pesky staircase is) is a storage area made out of cheap, rough plywood. I have no idea what they used it for, but it looked like it was used to sort something since there are four compartments. It's empty as of now... I can't think of what to put in it.
There is also a huge drawer (you can see it in the first picture below) that pulls out (with some grunting involved, it's not great quality at all) and reveals sides with holes everywhere. I'm assuming it was for laundry (air it out!) but I can't imagine pulling that out when it is full of heavy clothes. I put bags (plastic, reusable) in it and it is still hard to pull out. Those are light. It should be easy. We plan on gutting this room and creating better quality storage. They had the right idea, but like so many areas in this house, just didn't put the $dollas$ in to make it last any amount of time.
Through the laundry room is a little space that used to have a toilet. The previous owners took it out to have more storage (I cannot even imagine why they needed more. This place is ridiculously full of storage spaces.) Thankfully, everything is still set up so all we need to do is buy and install the toilet. The rest of this little space has already been changed. We took out the (super ugly and cheap) counter top and put in some shelves for our cleaning supplies since the cabinets in the laundry room were too short for most of them. I love it. Everything is all together. It won't be weird to have that shelf in there while using the (future) toilet, and there is a sink right around the corner for hand washing. It'll do for now.
Coming back out of the laundry room, you walk right into the dining room. This space is long and thin (relatively). We swapped out our round table for a rectangle table that has three leaf inserts. It can seat eight people but we only have it set up to seat six. Even that is excessive, but it's nice to have more space to put the hot plates and pans out of reach of the kiddos. Plus, it fits the space well. We also have the piano in here, and it doesn't feel crowded at all. We spend a lot of time in here. The huge window makes it so sunny and welcoming and we can kind of see the street enough to have something to look at without feeling like everyone is looking back at us (hello, old house, you little fish bowl you).
From the other side:
To the right of dining room is the kitchen. We now have appliances, but this was what it looked like on move in day. I love the brick on the one side (thank you, fireplace) and there is more floor/walking space than our old kitchen. Other than that, I don't love much else. The "peninsula" that you see is extremely narrow. The cabinets had horrible contact paper in it and when we took it off it destroyed the finish on the inside of the cabinets. We'll redo them eventually so I wasn't too heartbroken, but this room needs some serious love. I'm feeling my way around and getting things the way I like them so we can get a good idea of what we'll change.
Also, see that wall oven next to the microwave? It works, and is original to the house. It's got to go, though, because I've got no time for that nonsense and I dream of open shelves. In the brick, amazing right? It's going to be fabulous (I hope).
The fireplace has two sides, one in the walkway to the dining room and one in the living room.
This is the view from the dining room looking into the living room. This space is also pretty long and thin, but it wasn't as awkward to set up as I expected. We found out that the staircase used to be a spiral staircase so they added that half wall later. I'm not sure if I'm relieved or disappointed. The box-like things above the windows hide florescent lighting. I like the idea of it, but the quality is terrible. I don't know what the obsession with florescent lighting was with the previous owners, but they are also in the kitchen and basement (all over).
Here's the view from the corner of the living room. The fireplace needs a lot of love as you can see. I don't like the hearth (bench) because it comes out at a strange angle and has old tile on it. The brick (we think) is not the original and is instead a covering over the top. The basement brick and chimney brick are more of a reddish orange color and the shape of the brick is different. We'd love to take this off to see what is under it. I don't know if we'd leave it the original or if we'd cover it again, but it's nice to know that there are options. I do like having the fireplace in the middle like that though. It breaks up a huge space nicely without closing each room off.
Also, here's the front door and closet. Love walking in to the main floor without steps!
Behind the staircase is a 4 foot by 4 foot pocket. What do we do with it? Any ideas? You can see the walls above the staircase right away when you walk inside the front door, so I'd like it to look nice. Toy storage, bookshelf, leave it empty, any other ideas?
To the right of living room and entryway is the bedroom "wing" of the house. There are four bedrooms and the hallway is nice and wide. I'm not sure what I will put at the end of the hallway yet. I originally thought a big full length mirror would look good there but then I realized that the long hallway would feel even longer. It's a shallow wall space so there isn't room for any furniture. Thoughts?
Here is the first bedroom on the left. For now, it is our guest room. The view out the windows is the river and you can't see the neighbors' yards so it might be the best view in the whole house. You are welcome, guests. I love hosting people at our house so I am excited to personalize this room and make it extra comfortable.
Across the hallway is the smallest of the four bedrooms. It used to be an office, which makes sense to me with these ridiculous walls. Unfortunately, the paneling is really good quality wood so I have yet to convince my hubby that we should paint it. I have no idea what we will do here, but I'm hoping to get something up on the big wall to at least detract from the overwhelming "lodge" feeling.
Although this room is the smallest (future nursery? maybe?), it's still not crazy small. It comfortably fits a twin bed and furniture so we are using it for future foster kids. It's right next to the master bedroom and feels cozy and quaint.
Across the hall, in between the guest bedroom and the girls' room is the main bathroom. I love the double sinks! I'm sure Josie and Audrey will appreciate them too when they get to be teenagers. What you can't see in the picture below is that there is a large opening between the door and the counter, so we could add more storage space if we wanted to. We don't need it, but it's nice to know there is that option. The window blinds stay up in here because nobody is behind us (river view) and the natural light is amazing.
The flooring in the bathrooms is nice, too. Both the master and main bathroom has this tile and it has a cool but clean feeling. I am thankful for these nice new floors (one less thing to have to think about right now).
Across from the bathroom is the linen closet. I know, nothing special, but it is almost twice the size of our old closet and when I put everything into it (from all over the old house, not just the upstairs bathroom) it was still not even close to full, even though I hadn't started to organize it. I love this closet.
The girls' bedroom is at the end of the hallway on the left. They have two windows and three closets. It's ridiculous and probably something we'll change (more on that soon). With the crib, toddler bed, changing table, storage unit, and rocking chair, the room is still quite large feeling and doesn't feel crowded or messy at all. It is a relief to me as I remember their old tiny room. The carpet is nice for now but I'm sure with two little girls it will get gross soon. We'll see how long it lasts!
The girls' view of the backyard. We have a shed in the back that matches the house nicely and trees. I love them so much. Of course they can also see the river. Why the master is on the front side, I have no idea. I really hope the girls and our guests appreciate their view!
Across the hall from the girls is our room. It's not huge but it's big enough. There isn't a master closet but there are his and her closets and a master bathroom. I am hoping we can change the stand up shower to either a full size shower or a tub and shower by redoing the closet set up and adding to the bathroom. We'll see... We do have that third closet (a walk-in, although not huge) on the girls' side of the wall that we could play with, maybe flip the door to our side? It's a possibility.
We also have two windows. The girls' room and our room each have air conditioners which is great at night. The other air conditioner for the entire house is in the dining room and it seems to be doing a fine job although it is loud in that room and is old so we have to manually turn it off.
And the basement!
Here's the floor plan again:
The basement is under half of the house and the garage. When you are down there, it feels like it goes on forever and doesn't make sense if you aren't aware that you are never under the bedroom side of the house. I don't know how much of that confusion shows through on this little virtual tour, but hopefully that clears it up a little.
The first room when going downstairs (stairs are right in front of you when you walk in the front door) is our playroom. I say "playroom" lightly because we don't and won't be doing much playing down here. I more so plan to use it for toy storage so that we can rotate toys in and out upstairs, in the office, and outside without too much confusion. Of course, Josie loves this room more than any other in the house and the fact that she doesn't ever get to play in here just makes it that much more exciting.
I have big plans for this space. I actually like the rustic wood trim and ceiling boards. I picture this space being kid friendly and welcoming for years to come. I'm sure once we have teenagers, it will become more like a den and I am ever so grateful for that as well. Having a "getaway" in our own house means our kids can be here instead of always at a friend's house, and this mama likes that.
(This view is looking back on the room. The staircase is on the right side).
Because of the fireplace upstairs, there are a few random corners in the basement that seem questionable. The "bar" area has one and then the hallway between the office and playroom has another. That one even has it's own light! I so wish I could have seen how this home was decorated in the past. Why put a light in this random little corner when there are so many other places and storage areas in this house?
After that little hallway is the office. It's a large space which will accommodate a few toys, bookshelves for the kids, our smaller tv, and our workout equipment comfortably. Technically, this space is considered our fifth bedroom since there is an egress window and a half bath.
The closets in the picture below hide the electrical panels. The bottom three are functional for storage but unnecessary so they sit empty. There is another mini walk-in closet that is not pictured in this room as well.
Sorry that I photo bombed these pictures...
After you walk in, if you turn to the left, this is the view. We set up our office space right in front of those doors and staircase.
If you were sitting against the wall at the desk, this is your view. The door on the left is the half bathroom and the door in the middle goes to the sump pump. The staircase goes outside.
On the other side of the office is the storage space under the garage. It is quite large and we are going to put shelving up on two of the four walls. The other side will serve as my craft storage/work space. It'll be so nice to leave everything out and ready to go. I'm actually a little giddy about it. The room could use some sprucing up, but that will come in time.
The "surprise" room is to the left of the storage room. This is the point where everyone thinks, "Seriously, there's more??" It doesn't help that the space is so weird. The house was built in 1959, and the homeowners thought having a bomb shelter was crucial. We have talked about how to use this space and hubby had thought it would work well as a workshop, but his tools usually stay at another location for work or in the garage upstairs. Bringing them up and down the stairs would be annoying and there isn't much circulation down here so we wouldn't want to use this space for wood work (sawdust everywhere) or painting.
What would you do with this space? It's not unclean, just not polished. There is a window, although small, and a work bench already in place. The floors are just concrete but we think we'll finish them somewhere down the line.
So that is our house! Hopefully I'll do an outdoor tour also before winter sets in (please not for six months like last year!).
There is a lot to do but we can live in it and do a little here and there. I want to do more before and afters of this house and our progress so check back often to see the latest. I'll have a tab at the top of the blog eventually so it's easy to get to.
Hope you love it as much as we do!
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