Showing posts with label house. Show all posts
Showing posts with label house. Show all posts


Being Hosts (Opening up our home)

Last week, we hosted people in our home four out of the five week days ranging from over 20 people to a handful of people to a single dinner guest. One day, we even had two separate events, one in the morning, and one in the evening. Every week on average, we have people in our home at least two days, often three. This week, though, really required us to stretch our hosting abilities and comfort levels. 

Can I tell you something? It's such a blessing. 

This culture of ours can be so very strange. The middle class (huge as it is) emphasizes making your home beautiful, picture perfect, and ready to host large groups. The newer homes feature large kitchens with islands perfect for setting up buffets full of food or drinks, with an open concept to keep everyone together even while a meal is being prepared or served. There are multiple bathrooms available. The larger living room offers more options for comfortable seating with sectionals, chairs, couches, and loveseats. Some homes even have mini movie theatres, complete with personalized recliners and elevated seating. 

Yet so often, these perfectly designed homes stay quite private. The movie theatres go almost unused since there are also large TVs in the other more commonly used rooms in the house. The family uses the home, sure, but the features that make these homes great for hosting do not get used for actual hosting.

Why is that? I cannot speak for everyone, but I know for myself there is a level of fear there that I have to work at to overcome. Part of the pressure to have a beautiful home means that there is a lot of room to fail, be judged harshly, and get burnt out. What if the people coming into my home look around and think, "This is it?" What if the kids destroy the rooms they play in, leaving little tornados everywhere for me to clean up later? What if I run out of plates or forks? What if I forgot to clean the lip under the edge of the table and my guest notices this? WHAT IF? The list can go on and on.

I actively fight against this. Well, I'm trying to actively fight against this. If someone comes into my home and thinks, "This is it?" the chances are they will not actually tell me. I may feel it when I watch them look around, or hear comments that aren't necessarily kind in nature, but ultimately, my imagination is really more of the problem here. I can only imagine what they are thinking and that does not usually work in my favor. The other side of this is a bigger issue. Am I actually closing up my home to others because of what others think? There's a word for that. Pride. The bible states clearly what we should do with this kind of pride.

Proverbs 16:18: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Psalm 10:4: In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

If we are focusing on ourselves and what others think of us, we cannot also be focusing on God. We cannot be using our gifts given to us to glorify Him. That's bad! Right?? I mean, isn't that the point of our lives? To use our lives to glorify Him?

I've been wrestling with this for years. My husband and I both enjoy hosting people in our homes. We get a rush from it, energy that kind of bursts out while we prepare and enjoy our guests and then fizzles out leaving us exhausted by the end of the day. It's convenient for us that we both enjoy it, but that doesn't really make it less work. 

Hosting is a lot of work. It's helpful that we enjoy it, but that doesn't mean it's always easy. Whether or not you are aiming to impress or just trying to be prepared, your house needs to be relatively clean. I panic a little sometimes when I think of my standard of clean versus someone else's. Will they think we are huge slobs? Will they find that spot on the high chair that I keep missing, with layers of food stuck there for months? Will they notice that the floorboards in the bathroom are full of dust? Will they look at our floors and think that they are clearly not freshly mopped? 

After years of hearing that hospitality is something God requires of his children, I learned that I am setting up obstacles that He does not require. God does not require us to have every room perfectly cleaned. He doesn't expect us to spend the entire day deep cleaning areas that nobody will notice anyway. He doesn't expect every pillow to be in place, every piece of clothing hung up, every dish cloth to hang perfectly. Those expectations are worldly, placed in our minds by the enemy, giving us reasons to say no, turn away people you otherwise could share your lives with, and close ourselves off to other opportunities. It pains me to think that we have done this in the past. If God has given both of us the gift of hospitality, why would we let anything stop us from doing it?

God does not require us to be perfect, either. There are things to consider and be aware of when someone is visiting. Where should they put their coats and bags? Do they need something to drink? Do they know where the bathroom is? The list can go on and on. If this is what overwhelms you, the need to be present and ready to jump up and serve your guest, I would like to remind you that our culture works in our favor here. In many other countries, the expectations put upon the hosts are nonverbal but very important. It would be rude to not offer drinks or food. Some countries expect slippers to be provided when guests arrive. Some countries expect there to be multiple courses to every meal. America's culture is so much easier than this! Most of the time, guests are welcome to grab a drink if they want one. They can leave their shoes on or take them off. There is not a list of things unsaid that are passively expected. America's culture is casual which makes hosting quite a bit easier.

In our home, we keep things pretty casual. I keep the bathroom relatively clean, I try to sweep the floor and wash the table. I prefer to have the meal at least mostly ready if the guests are coming to eat, but I don't mind finishing it up while visiting with them. Mostly, though, I am honest with myself that when we invite people into our homes, we are inviting them into our lives. They are going to see a little bit of our messes. They are going to see me disciplining my children because that's what happens when you are parents; you have to continue to do it even when other people are around. They are going to see that some of our rooms are much less clean than others. That's okay. In fact, most people are more comfortable when they see imperfection. It's a relief, isn't it? Personally, when I notice something imperfect in someone else's home, I think to myself, "Oh good! They aren't as perfect as they seem. I can relate much more now."

There are a few things that we do in our home and with our family that have helped make it easier to open up our homes.
  1. I work with the girls almost every single day to maintain a clean room. We take out most of the toys so there is less clutter, and I expect them to put away pajamas, dirty clothes, and clean clothes that are left out every morning before they can play. I also expect them to make the bed. Most days, if the bed was made the day before, it's quick and easy to make again. Most of it is done! You just need to straighten the blanket and pillow. It's when we don't make it for days that it gets completely pulled apart and messy. If they do this every morning, it's done in less than five minutes and they do it without grumbling. It's a habit more than anything. Sure, it was hard to get them to do it at first, but after a few weeks, they figured out that it was expected and that they could play quicker and sooner if they just did it. 
  2. I have streamlined how I clean the bathrooms. Keeping the cleaning supplies stored together, it probably only takes five minutes to wipe down the sinks and counters and clean the toilets. That's all I do! There's no need to clean the shower every time someone is coming over. The floor gets mopped when I mop the rest of the house. The mirrors are on an "as needed" basis. If there are toothpaste marks or finger smudges, I grab the Windex but if there isn't, they can wait another week.
  3. I bought a sweeper that is much wider than a broom, kind of like you see in schools. I can whip around the edges of each room in just a few minutes (that's where the dust and dirt always seem to gather) and the room is instantly feeling cleaner.
  4. Keep the counters clean! I hate when the junk drawer items linger on the counter, so I don't allow it to happen. Easier said than done, right? But honestly, it stresses me out, so I've just not let it happen, mainly by purposefully finding homes for the things that regularly end up there. Anything that can go in cupboards or be put away is put away on a daily basis. I've learned to throw the dish towel and wash cloth in the laundry room right before guests arrive. The less stuff there is to clutter it up, the easier it is to clean up quickly. 
  5. We keep folding chairs and disposable plates and cutlery stored in our storage room just off the kitchen so that they are easy to grab if we need them. They used to be in our basement, but it was inconvenient to go and get them. Just the thought of dragging them through all the twists and turns and up the stairs makes me break out in a sweat, so their new home is definitely better.
  6. I keep bottled water on hand (stored with the other things mentioned above) that I take out just for our guests. We don't use them when it's just our family at home, so I don't need to worry about us running out or not having enough for everyone. Having them on hand is just one more way to make our guests feel at home (it's easier to just grab a bottle of water than find the glasses and figure out our filtered water). We don't always do this, but for bigger events, it's handy.
My prayer is that our culture can be more willing to open up our homes. With fences and attached garages, it seems harder and harder to get to know your neighbors, and more and more we find ourselves engaging with our devices instead of the people around us. My hope is that we can actively fight against the urge to shut others out, and instead connect with each other on a personal level. For us, that is done best when we are at our home.


Nursery reveal

The nursery has been in use for a solid four months and it's time to share it. I don't feel like the pictures do it justice. It has a peaceful, clean feeling but the pictures seem a little cold and bare. Does that make sense? My photography skills are lacking, but please take my word for it. I do love this room. It seems that Amelia loves it too. She gets her best sleep in there and seems to sigh a breath of relief after we've been gone a few days. 

I don't close the blinds - ever- because I really want her to be able to sleep without it being pitch dark. So far it hasn't been a problem. She does wake up around 6:00 AM or so but I don't really think it's because of the light.  If I leave her to chatter to herself for a while, she usually falls back asleep. It's working out great and having the blinds open all the time makes the room feel bright and homey. 

I really love this room.

I made the mobile quickly one night when I realized that she liked to watch her bassinet mobile while falling asleep. She's the first kid we've had that has paid it any attention. It's pretty subpar, but it'll have to come down once she's sitting up anyways, so it does the job. 

(I really need to get that camera up out of her reach before she can grab it.)

  • Hubby made the valence above the window. The fabric is sadly out of stock forever. I tried to get more for the crib skirt, and it was impossible. It's also a hard color to match, so it only mostly works with the rest of the room. 
  • The chair cushions were redone by this Etsy seller. It wasn't cheap and took forever to come in the mail, but it looks great in the room and will work when it's not the designated nursery chair.
  • The dresser is from Furniture for Less and matches the dresser in the big girls' room. Eventually it will be in their room as they get bigger and need more space. 
  • The baskets under the changing station are from HomeGoods. The bottom baskets just barely fit but since we don't need to pull them out often, it hasn't been a problem. The upper baskets are where the cloth diapers are stored so they are used ... often. 
  • I made the changing table mat cover. I actually made two of them, along with all of the sheets and the crib skirt. Many thanks and credit goes to my mom who helped me keep the pregnancy brain forgetfulness to a minimum with that lovely sewing machine.
  • The big A on the dresser is from Hobby Lobby.The clock is from HomeGoods.

  • The flag banner contains all the leftover fabric from the sheets and mat cover. I am so glad I didn't have to throw the scraps away. I'm just too cheap (I prefer the word frugal) to do that.

  • I made the outside pictures using Photoshop and ordered the middle print from this Etsy shop
  • The model in the crib is a real life baby that just happens to live in this room.
  • The owl stool is an accidental prop that was left behind by a curious older sister. It's often found here or alongside the changing table. 

  • The mirror is from HomeGoods.
  • The lithograph print is from this website. The options seem endless and I could stare at them all day. Check it out! This print in particular is the Pride and Prejudice print.The entire picture is made up of the words from the book. If you look closely, you can actually read most of it.
  • I picked up the navy blue framed cork board from Target's dollar section on a whim. I added navy blue in with the teal/turquoise, coral, and plum last minute after seeing the colors all mixed together at the best fabric shop in the world, Modern Textiles. I tell you what, I get lost in that store just dreaming about all of the possibilities. Everything is so gorgeous.

So there you have it. My hope is that this room can evolve into a little kid room, then a big kid room, and maybe even a guest room without having to be completely redone over and over. The neutral gray walls are lovely but I also know that gray won't always be so in style. There is a lot of room for her to make it her own as she gets bigger, but for now, I like it just the way it is.


The third bedroom photos

Our foster boy is staying in our smallest bedroom. Since it's just him, it makes more sense to put him there and then throw all the extra furniture and the guest bed in the other bigger bedroom. I also thought he'd feel more comfortable and cozy in here instead of the other room, which seems huge to a small kid. (I'll maybe post pictures of it someday but it's nothing special. It's seriously just extra furniture, a double sized bed, a pack n play, and closets.) This room not that small but it can seem like it in comparison. It's actually bigger than the room the girls shared in our old home. 

Now the walls, they've got to go. I really really hate wood paneling, but we don't know what we want yet and have a million other projects to do. Since our foster kid is a boy, they work for now. I cannot picture this being a girls' room with those walls. It' just seems masculine. Unfortunately, the kids scratched up the walls with the Christmas lights (creative, right?) and so they have to go now regardless of my feelings. Hubby isn't that thrilled to tear down the paneling so we'll see how long they stay put like this. 

On to the pictures:

For now, we don't have anything permanent to put on this wall so I've been rotating his school art in as we get it. He loves that it's constantly changing but it does leave spots on the walls if I'm not careful. I'll have to come up with a better way to do this soon. I love the bed set but it's seen better days. I had to wash it often for a while and it really got beat up. It won't last long term.

View from the closet: The bed used to be over here, so the art seems too high right now. I threw these pictures up haphazardly when we found out we were having a longer term foster kid. They were hung where there were already holes... so it's quite random. I don't mind it and all our foster boy cares about is that the picture he painted of his family stays up there. No problem, kiddo! The magnet board is perfect for this room because we can switch out the pictures or whatever he wants up there without any effort.

The kids love to play in here (note Audrey's photobomb). It's the closest bedroom to the living room so it's easy for them to hang out in here while I am making a meal or working in the living room. Since there is a video monitor and absolutely nothing harmful in here, I can keep an eye on them knowing they can't do real damage or harm themselves.

You don't know how many times I have walked by to see the kids sitting here playing with legos or reading books. The table and chairs fit perfectly in here.

The minute I saw this globe (in storage from hubby's childhood), I knew it was perfect for this room. It also works as a night light but we don't use it for that very often. The bedding is from Macy's and the bed frame is mine from when I was a kid. So is the dresser. 

Here is the view from the hallway. The rocking chair is a family heirloom from hubby's family. As you can see, this bedroom is on the front of the house and you can see the street and garage from here pretty well. When we are expecting company, I open these blinds to see out in the front. It's the best view! Often times, I bring the laundry in here or in the master bedroom to fold so that I can make sure to see when the guests arrive. You gotta do what you gotta do...

We'll be making a lot of aesthetic changes to this room, but that won't be for a while. I'm fairly confident that this will be a nursery some day, so I'm sure the general feel will change quite drastically. For now, it's boyish and comfortable. He hasn't complained yet. ;)


The girls' room photos

The next stop on our little home tour is the girls' room. We painted this room first, the day we started moving in. When I picked the color, I accidentally ordered a different one, so we ended up with a much darker shade of pink that I had originally wanted. It's not perfect, but it'll do for now. I had envisioned a blush pink that was almost more white than pink, and this is definitely more pink! 

Here are the pictures:

From the doorway: Audrey's crib to the left, Josie's bed straight ahead. The fabric bins have seen better days and aren't the right color for this room (we purchased them for their old room and they are just along for the ride until we figure out a better solution). The foam bag/foot stool is the color inspiration for this room. The magenta curtains (which I painstakingly put together myself)  match it perfectly and I have some teal paint to use on the letters from the girls' old room which will be added to the wall with the shelves and mirror. Or maybe above the crib. I'm undecided at this point.

View from 1 of 3 closets (you can see the other two on the far right). They have two decent sized windows in here that are hardly ever open since they are sleeping so often. I've been trying to be better about opening them. The natural light is awesome in here.

View from the far window. That is the closet I mentioned in the last photo. The doorway is to the left. See the wall above Audrey's crib? It needs something, right? (Sorry that the lighting is so random in these pictures. I took them at dusk so it was very inconsistent depending on where I was standing)

I painted the shelves and mirror earlier this year and they are full to the max with knick knacks, pictures, and other things that need to stay out of little hands (extra pacifiers, vaseline, sound machine, clock, etc). I'm hoping to clean that up a bit when we add a dresser (good bye changing table) in the future.

A close up. To the Deyle family: we need more photos of you all! I do not mean to be exclusive with my side of the family. :)

View from Audrey's crib. Here are the other two closets. We will be reconfiguring all of this closet space to give some more to the master bedroom. They don't need three closets! The far one, with the single door, is a mini walk in closet and is all cedar. We'll probably leave that one and put a wall up where the bigger closet is right now. It'll be nice to have room for a dresser or other piece of furniture since there isn't a lot of wall space right now (relatively speaking).

The changing table and crib will eventually move out, since the smaller room (currently our foster boy's room) will be a future nursery. It'll be strange to see two beds and no changing table in here someday! 

So there you have it. It's definitely girly. It's a continual work in progress, but I'm happy with it for now. We've managed to avoid cheesy themes but I'm sure we'll be wrestling that in the not too distant future. One step at a time...


Master bedroom photos

I've been working ever so hard on getting our master bedroom finished. In our last house, we never did much to it. We had a lot of stuff in a tiny space and it was hard enough to just keep it all contained. We knew we weren't staying there so we never took the time to really decorate it. 

This time around, I wanted to make it feel cozy and welcoming for us. At the same time, I didn't want it to be too girly or plain. I feel like the balance is awesome in here for us. The bed print is flowery but the wall color brings it back around. They balance each other out. It's just right.

The windows in here are strange. They take up half of the walls but don't leave room for a bed unless you either put it up against the wall or have it off centered. Since I really hate having a bed against the wall, I chose to put it in the middle of the wall, hoping the pictures hung up in the empty wall space would balance it out. It's not common, to have the windows off centered this much, so it was hard to find inspiration. I like it though! I think it accomplished what I was hoping it would. I love the natural light so I can't complain too loudly about those windows. We may add a headboard (very low one) at some point but it's not a priority right now. 

Here are the pictures!

View from my closet.
Our master bathroom and hubby's closet are on that wall.

View from the doorway. Simple and clean, but not too empty.

This side of the room is b-o-r-i-n-g but we hardly ever look at it and there isn't room to do much since it includes both closet doors and the entry door.

View from the bathroom. Isn't that air conditioner lovely? The dressers are both family heirlooms from hubby's side.

And one more view from the doorway. The pillows are from The paintings were done by my grandmother. The trunk is also from her and the end tables are refinished/made by my hubby.  The paint is Pelican Gray by Benjamin Moore.

So there you have it! We may add curtains, a headboard, and redo how the closets are laid out down the road, but it's great as is until we figure those things out. It feels nice to have it done! (At least one room in the house is done... hopefully I will get pictures of the girls room done next.)


House tour - the inside

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!

Opposite side.

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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