written by Shannon Beal

Two years ago, Jason and I embarked on ambitious adventure: remodeling a home from top to bottom.

It all started when Jason was trolling the MLS for new listings (something he does about every 10 minutes) and came across this 2-story right by our elementary school.  It’s a super unique home and he thought it would be worth a look.  So, he scheduled us a showing for that afternoon.

We went through it and could hardly breathe.  The former owners smoked heavily inside the house for 40 years. Every window was open, fans and ozone machines were running, the ducts had even been cleaned, but the smell was horrendous.  (Note to homeowners: don’t smoke in the house! It really hurts your property value.)

The house was original to 1976. Wallpaper from top to bottom.  Lots of closed off rooms.  Jason was losing interest by the minute, but my wheels were spinning. Some people are blessed with vision, and can visualize the potential in a space. Others just see dollar signs. 🙂 That night I drew out the floor plan and erased a few lines (walls) and because my hubby loves me so much, we bought it!

Now, everyone loves a good before & after.  It’s why we’ve been glued to HGTV for the last ten years, right?  So I thought I’d share some of our before, during and after photos in this Renovation Series. I think it’s really helpful for buyers to see what’s possible in existing homes.  There’s something to be said for rejuvenating existing homes and appreciating these beautiful neighborhoods. It’s something you can really feel good about.

So without further ado, here’s the living room!

Living Room

Here’s what the living room looked like when we bought it.  Lots of white. White (stinky) carpet, white wallpaper, white trim.  There were two small, stained-glass windows, and lots of white drapes.


Here’s a “during” shot. We put all of the furniture in here during construction. I stripped the wallpaper and found that the two little windows had been leaking, so we replaced those right away.


And here’s the after. We furred out the fireplace wall to accommodate a new gas fireplace insert, cut some recessed lighting in the ceiling, new paint/carpet, kept the base trim & crown molding. And as I write this, new windows are going in on the left wall so we’ll be working on new window trim this weekend.

I love this room.  Clearly, it’s a Kool-aid Free Zone, but it’s a great spot for girl’s night or to play a Chopin prelude.