{living in sin} A house-in-progress

by Rachel on August 27, 2012

So much happens to a house (and to the people who live there) between “before” and “after.” Debates. Mistakes. A million trips to Home Depot. Messes. Small victories. Weeks. Months.

Eric and I have realized we’re going to be in this in-between place for a while, so we’re trying to make ourselves comfortable. This isn’t easy for me, a generally impatient person, but I’ve realized I don’t have the time, money, or energy to do it any other way but slowly.

Over the weekend, we made a list of all the projects we want to complete in the near future. We made the weekend before Halloween our target date, as we’re planning to have a party, so that seems like a good time to get our Room of Shame turned into, well, something less shameful. But since I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with this extended, in-between phase of decorating, I thought I’d share some progress pictures of how our house looks so far.

The Dining Room

Nothing makes me feel like an adult like having a dining room. When we first looked at the house, the dining room was kind of an intimidating factor because we had no dining room furniture and it’s a pretty sizable space (to give you an idea of how big the room is, that table is 96 inches long). Luckily, we’ve been able to furnish the entire thing with secondhand items from Craigslist. We were bummed to lose the built-in bar from our old apartment, so we found this one from Pottery Barn on the CL; the table is from Crate and Barrel by way of random stranger on the Internet (and CL). Finding the white chairs we wanted took a lot of patience, but finally a seller came through after three weeks of follow-up e-mails and canceled appointments. It was worth the wait; we got all six chairs for the cost of just two of the chairs we liked at IKEA. We are going to stain the legs to match the table this weekend, a project that kind of terrifies me.

I’m really happy with the progress of this room; the paint color was kind of a wild card, but we both love how it turned out. Still on our dining-room to-do list: a rug, a centerpiece, a new light fixture, and some lighting on/around the bar.

The Kitchen

The kitchen has probably had the most dramatic makeover. When we bought the house a month ago, the accent wall was painted a dark red and the cabinets had an oak finish. We weren’t a fan of that look, so we had the cabinets painted this creamy white before we even moved in. The effect was dramatic and really opened up the kitchen. We weren’t sure what color to paint the wall and debated it for a couple weeks until I finally had the idea to go for a dark slate color. Eric was really skeptical, but I felt pretty confident in this one. (And I rarely feel that way when it comes to home design.) My hunch paid off, because we both loved the color.

We wanted some sort of prep table or piece of furniture to fill the space at that end of the kitchen (putting a table and chairs in there would have made it feel cluttered), and my mom offered to buy me the one we liked from IKEA for my birthday. Eric and I spent the evening of my birthday picking it up, assembling it, and then hanging the white shelves over it. I hadn’t planned to put the stand mixer on it, but as I lined up all the other white objects on the counter before I started placing them on the shelves, I happened to place them in front of the KitchenAid. When I stepped back and saw how they looked with the mixer, it made a ton of sense.

I was really happy that Eric liked the finished look because I was so excited about how it turned out! It makes me happy every time I look at it.

Still on our kitchen to-do list: window treatments, under-cabinet lighting, subway tile backsplash.

Living Room

My current favorite thing about the living room is the floors; it was previously carpeted, and Eric and I wanted wood so badly. We had the new floors installed in the dining room, living room, and office; it had a major effect on the house and got us much closer to the look we wanted.

Though the floors are done, the living room remains a work in progress; we’re limited by the layout of the room and the furniture we already had (and loved). There are two windows plus a door to the backyard on the right-hand wall (off-camera) and the wall where you’d be inclined put a TV is kind of small and awkward. While we’re happy with the room right now, it’s still pretty boring. Our plan was to do a kind of “Americana lite” theme with it using items we already had from our apartment with a few new additions. The curtains helped a ton; we saw a layered look at IKEA that put white, tan, gray, blue striped curtains behind a dark brown curtain and decided to try the look with red curtains in front.

Still on the living room to-do list: art/pictures/SOMETHING to hang over the couch. Once we get some of that up on the walls, we’ll decide if we want to paint the room some sort of neutral color that adds a bit more to it than the eggshell that’s currently there.

The Bathroom

The first-floor bathroom was already painted this deep blue, and we didn’t see a reason to change it. We got a new shower curtain and some accessories. We plan to get a new sink and vanity for it eventually, but that’s a while off. For the time being, we just need to deal with the wrinkles in the shower curtain and get a new mirror, as the current one creates a million smaller reflections in weird places and makes me feel like I’m hallucinating every time I go in there. This is not something I’d wish upon our future guests…or I guess it’s just that if they are hallucinating, I want it to be because we are throwing an awesome Halloween party.

The Office

I was thrilled that we found a house with a dedicated office. It’s pretty much my space to do whatever I want with, so I painted it this greenish-blue and set about finding a new desk and accessories for it. Eric bought me a French door for the office for my birthday (after I said I might ask my mom for it and he looked kind of crushed) and I’m really excited for him to get it installed; I think it will look great from both inside the office and from the living room, which is on the other side of the wall. The desk was another Craigslist find; i’s a metal army desk (olive on the bottom, pale green on top) that weighs a ton and I love it.

The main thing I need to do in here is unpack all my stuff, get things hung up on the walls, and deal with that nest of cords behind the desk. Every time I leave that room, I declare “Cord cluster, I will destroy you!” dramatically as I turn off the light. So far, the cords are winning, but I will best them soon enough!

One of the things I really wanted was some big-ass shelves for books and storage. After Eric and I put the shelves together and I had my dream bookshelf staring down at me (seriously, it’s so imposing!), I realized that the majority of my books are still in Michigan. Thanks to the Kindle and the cross-country move, the shelves are looking pretty lonely. I’m going to need to start the process of having them all shipped down here soon, but the sheer weight of all of my books has me avoiding thinking about because, well, holy shit the postage.

The Master Bedroom

Due to an unfortunate mix-up with our new bedroom set, we won’t have our bed until the end of September. Because of that, we’re not putting much effort into this room for the time being. We had already taken the old bed apart before this happened and we aren’t bothering to reassemble it. In a few weeks, we’ll pick out lamps, get a new duvet cover, hang up curtains, paint the walls, and then get our new bed. Until then, this is what we’ve got.

This is what I mean about being comfortable in the space between “before” and “after.” Sometimes that space is on the floor.

Master Bathroom

I didn’t give the master bathroom much thought until after we’d moved in. It really is more my bathroom; Eric will keep all his stuff in a separate one down the hall, and decorate that one to his liking. One night, I realized I didn’t like the color it was painted; I was feeling rather motivated, so I grabbed the leftover paint from the dining room and painted over the color I didn’t like. Then I picked out some new towels and organizers for my stuff and called it good.

There’s a lot more to the house than this; there is a garage, a laundry room, a backyard, and three more bedrooms. Right now though, there’s not much to see there. Like, the workout room has a lot of random cords, a large pile of socks (that aren’t all workout socks), and an Ab Circle… you can see why I chose not to bother with photos.

I’m happy with our progress and the fact that it’s starting to feel less like someone else’s house and more like our home with each little step we take. It’s been a huge bonding experience, and it’s hard not to fall in love with it, even its Room of Shame, just because I’m falling in love while making it. I’d say the only one who isn’t falling in love just yet is Indiana, but we’ll save the discussion of the art projects he’s been creating out of his own excrement since we moved for another time.


{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy b August 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm

If you ship the books media rate they will be shockingly inexpensive to ship. It’s through the post office…I just moved cross country and used it for all of my books and DVDs.


2 Nikki August 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm
3 Aj August 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I had given up living with my books until we were settled at our new place (even though it’s a rental, it’s a long term rental). 5 boxes (the type that hold reams of paper) for $70. Seriously, cheap! Just be sure to specify media mail when shipping!


4 Stephanie @ LoveLaughterLight August 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm

AGREED! Media mail is the way to go to ship books. I’ve done it *ahem* several times in my many moves.

Your home looks great!


5 Bess September 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I want to do a similar post once I get my new apt a blt more finished.

Love love love the white kitchen accessories and the office., esp the white chair (who makes that?)

And I think I have the same dresser in my bedroom!


6 [SMASH] August 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm

THANK YOU for not being afraid to put some color on the walls! I love it all. Y’alls place is really coming together. :)


7 Katie August 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Congratulations, it’s really coming together fast! I like your style.

PS-If you ship boxes of just books, you can get a reduced media rate. It takes longer but it is much better cost wise.


8 Anna V August 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm

YES! Ship the books as “media mail.” It is SO CHEAP.


9 Rachel August 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Whatttttt is this idea!?! Tell me more!


10 deva at deva by definition August 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I love your house – so much character! We have been in our house since December 10th and we just tackled our room of shame about… oh, two weeks ago. It’s now our guest bedroom and our third bedroom is our cats’ room for now (so it houses litter boxes and cat toys. I love the colors you picked and how open your home is, so fun, so fresh, so amazing. I can’t wait to see more :-)


11 deva at deva by definition August 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

also, I um, totally love your floors. We have hardwood (and tile in necessary areas) throughout and I love love love that honey color. LOVE.


12 Whitney August 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I’m seriously in love with that wall color/white pieces in the kitchen. It totally looks like something I would pin!! You are like the master Craigs List-er. Please teach me your ways!


13 Rosie August 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm

kudos rachel, it looks gorgeous. I really like the creamy greys – modern but inviting.


14 Alysha @Shesontherun August 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I love your kitchen :)


15 Aj August 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm

So adorable! I really love it. Even though our styles are different in many ways, I really love and appreciate yours. And I am getting some great design ideas in the places our styles overlap!

I recognize that Expedit bookcase. We have it (and have it filled, along with two other bookcases and a bookcase at work, we’re books people, even with the Kindle) and it makes me so satisfyingly happy!


16 Dean Joseph August 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm

That’s an inspiration!


17 Amy August 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Love what you’ve done! I moved across the country and shipped via greyhound bus. I shipped 550lbs for $420 and they delivered it to my door within 4 days, it beat me across the country. I totally recommend it to get your books to you.


18 Dallas August 27, 2012 at 11:33 pm

That. Is. GENIUS.


19 Rachel @ Healthy Chicks August 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm

What a beautiful home, I love how you’re making it your own!


20 Julie August 27, 2012 at 11:21 pm

So, this is totally unsolicited (but, I don’t know, maybe that’s completely fine since you’re posting public pictures of your home and all), but have you thought about using longer curtain rods in the living room? It’d make your windows look much wider and would help the curtains fit a bit better. Just a thought!


21 Rachel August 28, 2012 at 6:36 am

We actually can’t go much longer than that because of the way the windows are in the corner!


22 Rachel August 28, 2012 at 4:44 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! My boyfriend and I are moving into a house soon and I am dreaming of such similar paint colors! Can you give me the names of the kitchen slate color and the dining room color? Congrats on being Real People!!


23 Rachel August 28, 2012 at 6:54 am

The dining room is Sherwin-Williams Serious Gray and the dining room is Behr Evening Ash!


24 Laura August 28, 2012 at 7:59 am

looks great so far! can’t wait to see updates!


25 Hannah August 28, 2012 at 8:50 am

Eep! LOVE the white-against-slate thing you’ve got going in the kitchen! Do you just stand there staring at that wall? I would.


26 Rachel August 28, 2012 at 9:14 am

Yes. Yes I do. (Haha not as much anymore, but at first…yeah, I totally did.)


27 Kat August 29, 2012 at 9:13 am

Many congrats! I can’t wait to see how it all comes together! I’ve been in my place for 3 years now, and in a couple rooms, I’m just finding my groove – in others, I’m ready to re-decorate! It’s constantly evolving, and that’s what makes it fun! Enjoy!


28 Kavi August 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I love house decor posts :) You could definitely submit this to apartment therapy!


29 Triz September 4, 2012 at 1:43 am

Don’t you think now maybe the thing with the bedroom set worked out for the best? (horrible though it was at the time). It’s like you are getting everything else all fixed up wonderfully, and then the bedroom set will arrive to be the cherry on top! Like a reward for all your hard work :)


30 Rachel September 4, 2012 at 9:51 am

Haha I suppose…I mean, not having any bedroom furniture for the first few weeks (not even a dresser!) was a huge pain, but now that we have the dresser, I’m totally fine with it and the bed will definitely be a nice reward in a few weeks!


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