Our first year in the house was a mad rush to improve general aesthetics. Paint gives you so much bang for your buck, and SO much needed repainted, it was the obvious first step. Our upstairs had no real flooring (just the original sub floor), so getting some nice carpet it was an immediate need. We focused on improvements that would make the house generally more comfortable, and it made a big difference.
Our second year has become all about fixing stuff. Somehow, ALL the stuff seems to need fixed. We have figured out a water softener, some plumbing issues, fixed broken window panes in the basement, etc. etc. etc. Next year... probably more fixing stuff? Then, landscaping maybe?
Anyway, in November we kicked our home improvements up a major notch by getting full-house, blown-in wall insulation! December and January have meant more smaller improvements, and it is making such a difference in our daily lives.
One big improvement was actually little in size: New electrical outlets in both bathrooms and the staircase!
To the left is the outlet in our upstairs bath; due to some existing insulation and interesting 1930's building techniques, we ended up having the outlet external on the wall (I forget the technical name for it). You can see the patched area next to the outlet, where we had tried to put it in the wall before realizing it wasn't going to happen. It isn't ideal, but I think when the walls are repainted including the cable, it will be fine. Honestly, just having an outlet there is amazing and beautiful. I've been flat-ironing my hair in the bedroom, so this is a whole new world. On the right is the outlet in the downstairs bath; it was easy peasy, and is just perfect. Going from zero outlets, it feels like such a big improvement! And they are GFCI, so nice and safe in the humidity.
Next up, an outlet at the top of the stairs!
When we moved in, I was concerned that there were no outlets anywhere in the staircase or landing, top or bottom. There also isn't another good low-light source to leave on at night, visible to the stairs. There is an overhead light, but it is really bright and has switches at both the top and bottom of the stairs - so if it is switched the wrong way at the bottom of the stairs, you can't flick the lights on from the top. #oldhouseproblems With little kids, it made me nervous to have them going up and down the stairs in the dark, so within an hour of this outlet being installed I had dashed out to Lowes and picked up a nightlight. Viola! #lettherebelight
Our favorite project this winter has been heating what we affectionately call "the porch", but really was more of a three season room since at some point it had been fully turned into a room, complete with plenty of insulation, an abundance of outlets, and everything you need to make it a great little useful space - except for heat. In upstate NY, heat is a pretty big freaking deal. Well, now it is a "four season room"! This is a game changer for us! We had a little electric baseboard and programmable thermostat added, and it is doing it's job just fine.
As you can see, it is where we keep our treadmill and other workout equipment. As you can't see from these photos, the other (and bigger) half of the room is our home-office area. I'll share more about that soon. All of the electrical work and supplies added up quick (to the tune of over $700 - oof). To have an entire room now heated and all of those shiny new outlets (as well as a couple other little repairs) over the course of two separate electrician visits, was well worth it for us.
For some before pictures, check out the "Our House" page or read more about how we painted that purple door. I added that white board & batten myself - I need to find some process pics and share more about that sometime.
This room still needs a lot of work including adding more baseboards, touching up the paint in a few areas, and painting over that metal electrical box (what is that thing called again?) from adding the heat, and we are thinking about trying to fit in a little desk for me in somewhere... but we did add two window treatments in the form of pull-down blinds! One is shown above (they are these from Lowes). We wanted to test them out before committing to all five of the windows, but so far they are a great fit.
The biggest project, both in the form of time and money, was definitely getting blown-in insulation in all of the exterior walls For a short time, we had a cool new polka dot effect on the walls:
Since much of our first floor has stucco on the outside, that level had to have insulation blown in from inside the house, which meant quite a bit of repainting.
It's all better now! PS, in real-life our door is not that bright green. It photographed weird that day, I promise.
While we were in the midst of all of that painting, it made sense to also paint the kitchen cut-out. I don't have a good before picture, but when we repainted most of the house, including the living room and dining room areas. I went ahead and let a bunch of the living room paint get all over the inside of the kitchen cut-out, leaving it two different shades and looking like a hot mess. What did it matter, when I would probably be working on the kitchen within a few months, right? LOL. No. The kitchen is months/years away probably, so it stayed like that for way too long.
We had some leftover paint in Dark Linen by Benjamin Moore, from our downstairs bath update, which we also used on the staircase risers (more about that soon). I think it fits the tiny wall area perfectly - neutral-ish, but not too neutral and a very pretty, mellow color.
Well, that's a wrap. I am very hopeful we will dive into updating the upstairs bathroom soon, but in the meantime we are taking care of that electrician bill, planning an IKEA trip for upstairs bathroom supplies, and doing a little more research and careful planning before we take the big leap.
What non-pin-worthy updates are you doing? It's the little things that count, right?