Category: Renovations

Starting the Porch

Yesterday was a big day for our porch. This room has been almost unchanged since we bought the house in 2011. We put in new windows on the side walls but the tongue and groove paneling looked terrible.


The front wall looks good because we kept the original windows, and the ceiling is good. The front of the house/living room wall was in rough shape because is new windows too.


We decided to put siding on the main wall and new paneling on the side walls. We aren’t completely done, but here’s a peak at the in progress photos:



I also got started grouting the fireplace.


We have a long weekend ahead of us trying to finish up projects between work events I have to attend, but we are making awesome progress! Thanks for reading!

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Fast Forward

We are in crunch time to finish our first house and get it on the market. I have been terrible with updating the blog, but today I will catch you up!

We have been going to town finishing trim. Ryan and my dad have been working hard on the window jambs and door trim.




Meanwhile, I have been working on baseboards, crown molding, and drywall. The pantry drywall is mudded and that room is almost done.


We still need to prime and paint the trim, but I have done most of the caulking done. What a difference!


Before listing we still have to finish the porch, stairway, and upstairs bath. Our goal is August 1st. Wish us luck! We’re going to need it. Thanks for reading!

(Sorry if pictures are big, I wrote this on mobile and it doesn’t resize.)

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Big Changes Ahead

When we bought our house we weren’t really looking for real estate.  We were both in college and just happened to see an ad for a really cheap house.  Everything just happened to work out right and we got a great deal on an awesome investment.  Well, it has happened again.

After seeing 2 feet of snow in the past week, we have decided we need to move somewhere warm, like Wisconsin (a little Michigan humor for those who have seen Nimrod Nation).  In all seriousness, we have been on the lookout for something with a little more land for the chickens and dogs.

We have been watching the market and listings in a few areas for months now and happened to find a foreclosure listed at about half of the fair market value. It is located on 10 acres and borders National Forest on 2 sides.  We put in an offer and after some negotiating reached a deal with the bank.  We are under contract, but will not close on the house until some time in December and our inspection is scheduled for next week.  While things could change if a major issue comes up, we are currently planning on moving into this new home sometime in January.  We will be about 30 minutes south of our current house and closer to Ryan’s job.

Here is a sneak peak of the new 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house:


Forest Ln House ExteriorForest Ln Exterior


Forest Ln Kitchen

Living Room:



Forest Ln StairwayForest Ln Living Room

Guest Bedroom:

Forest Ln Guest Room


Master Bedroom:

Forest Ln Master

So the main question, what will we do with our current house?  We will finish it before making any other decisions.  We may end up renting or selling, but not until we have finished what we have started.  We are pretty excited to have a move in ready home ahead of us, but I’m sure we will be doing plenty of design work once we are settled in.

We will keep you updated as we learn more, but we are very excited for this new adventure.  Thanks for reading!

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Our New Roof

We have been working for about a year on getting a new roof put on the house.  We did the back part of the house last fall and finished up just a month or so ago.  We debated doing the front of the house ourselves, but the height and angle worried us a bit.  So, we hired a roofing company to come finish the job for us.  Besides some electrical work and the furnace, this is the only contracted work we have had done.

We started with a rough looking roof and an ugly chimney.Removing Old Shingles

Once the old shingles were removed, we were pleasently surprised to find that we didn’t need any new decking.Roof Repairs Roof Repairs 2

The roofers laid down new tar paper, ice and water shield, and the new shingles.  We also had a ridge vent put in.  We had some major water leaks this spring and we are hoping we have taken care of the problem. New Roof

What a big difference that makes!  The roof was a bit of an eyesore before and I think it looks great now.  The best part is, we didn’t have to do any of the work!

Over the next few weeks we will be working on the trim inside the house, especially base board trim.  Harrison is getting more mobile everyday and installing trim is part of the babyproofing plan.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook.  We post a lot of small updates there throughout the week.  Thanks for reading!

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Outdoor Updates

With winter closing in on us, we worked hard this weekend to finish some outdoor projects.  Ryan and my dad put siding on the chicken coop, which makes a huge difference compared to one year ago.Chicken Coop StartedChicken Coop Siding


While the boys worked on that, I painted the garage trim and started on the garage door.  Paint can sure make a big difference.Garage with New SidingGarage Door Painted


Lastly, Dad worked on the black trim around the front windows and roof line.  We still have a bit to do way up top, but the house looks much better already.Siding FrontExterior Trim Painted

Our decks are complete too, which is a really big step for us.  Shoveling will be much easier now and we have steps up to the backdoor, which we didn’t have before.  Things are really starting to come together on the exterior now (or at least it looks like it if you drive by)!  Thanks for reading!

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3 Years Ago

3 years ago today we closed on our house.  We had a huge project ahead of us and we were in over our heads.  I am so happy to say, we finally have a handle on it and have done something in every single room.  We have come a long way and are proud of it!

The past few weeks we have been working on putting new decks on the side and front of the house.  With a little more paint and some roofing, the exterior of the house should be done!  What a difference from before:Exterior Before and During


For more before and after pictures, check out our home tour.

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Gender Neutral Nursery Reveal

Gender Neutral Nursery Reveal

Today I put the finishing touches on the nursery, and I am so excited to share the final pictures.  (You will notice that we still do not have trim in this room.  It was part of the plan to get trim and new ceiling tiles put up before baby arrives, but I’m not sure that it will get done on time.  At least it matches the rest of the house, which doesn’t have trim anywhere at the moment!)

This room is full of DIY projects, but first and foremost, the recliner!  I spent less than $30 on the drop clothes and piping for this recliner and saved about $500 compared to buying new!  The recliner came from my Grandma’s cottage and is very comfortable.

Recliner Slipcover


This slipcover took about 20 hours of work to finish.  I am self-taught when it comes to sewing and I got most of my advice from YouTube.  This was my first time doing piping or any kind of slipcover.  I don’t know what I would have done without THIS VIDEO and THIS BLOG for ideas.  (I will also be writing a separate post about this slipcover next week.)

The pillow on the recliner came with our couch, but was a strange red color.  I used some fabric from JoAnn’s and made an envelope pillow cover from THIS TUTORIAL.

The other project that took a lot of time was the mobile.  Baby Mobile

I followed THIS TUTORIAL.  It took a ton of time and patience.  I love how it turned out, but I can’t say I would do it again.  So much knot tying!

If you follow The Design Eye on Facebook, you have already seen this shelving unit, but we made a few changes.

Nursery Reveal


I added chevron fabric to the back of the shelves and ran a wire for the birdhouse nightlight.  We are really happy with how the decal and birdhouse turned out!

We decided not to buy a changing table, but use a dresser instead.  Nursery Changing Station

We are going to be using cloth diapers, so we needed the extra storage space.  I made a liner for a basket we already had (with the same fabric as the envelope pillow cover) and attached the basket to the wall.  That basket holds all of our cloth diaper accessories and cloth wipes.  Under the basket is our wet bag where dirty diapers will go until we have enough to run a load of laundry (likely every other day).

We are planning on using prefold and fitted cloth diapers for the newborn stage.

Fitted and Prefold Cloth Diapers


We also have some One-Size pocket diapers ready to go.  I’m sure we will be getting more once we know if we need pink or blue!

Pocket Diapers


Now all we need is a baby to put them on!

We also did some other DIY projects in this room that I have already written about, including curtains and a crib skirt.  We are very proud of this room and anxiously waiting to see if a boy or girl will be using it!  We will be hanging their name above the crib as soon as we know.

Thanks for reading!

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Master Bedroom Progress

We have been making quite a bit of progress on our master bedroom.  In fact, we are ready to share it with our little one (as soon as he or she decides to make an appearance).  We have a nursery set up, but the baby will more than likely sleep in our room for the first couple of months since we are on the upper level.

We have been hard at work getting the master bedroom ready and it has really paid off.

Master Bedroom Progress


We hung the wallpaper up on our accent wall and were able to move in shortly after that.  We added a chandelier and rug from Home Depot.  Last year I found some end tables at a garage sale for $20 and have been waiting for the perfect place for them.  We also moved some other pieces that we have collected over time to the room.

Master Bedroom Furniture


We still have a bit of work to do, including trim and finishing off the closet.  The closet will work for now, but is in rough shape.

Master Closet Before


We are both really happy with the way this room is coming together!  Hopefully I will have a nursery update to share soon.  Thanks for reading!

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Master Bedroom Updates

It has been a long time since I have written an update!  We have been traveling out of town almost every weekend and have not had much time to work on the house.  Last week we really started to get moving on the master bedroom upstairs.

Prior to last week, we pulled up the old floors and put down new subfloor.

Master Bedroom DemoMaster Subfloor Master Bedroom New Subfloor

We’ve come a long way from a year ago, when we were raising chickens in our master bedroom.

Easy DIY Chicken Brooder


Ryan and I finished up the drywall work last week.  On Friday Ryan started priming the walls.

Master Primed

Saturday morning he finished priming and we started installing the laminate flooring.  We are using the same laminate we used in the kitchen and dining room.


Installing Master Laminate Flooring


It would have been a bit easier to paint before putting down the flooring, but we had to work around drying times for the primer.  Ryan painted 2 coats of Dutch Boy paint.

Master Bedroom Flooring

We bought wallpaper over a year ago for this room and have been very excited to hang it.  On Sunday we started the wallpaper.  I’ve got to say, wallpapering isn’t fun when you are 34 weeks pregnant (too much standing, squatting, kneeling, repeat).

Wallpapering the Master Bedroom


The wallpaper turned out great.  We didn’t finish until late Sunday night, so this is the best picture I got that late in the day.

Master Wallpaper Installed


We are moving our furniture up to the master this week and will be hanging the chandelier.  I will update soon when we are all settled in!  Thanks for reading!

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The past couple of weeks we have been working on the stairway.  We pulled off all of the old plaster and slats and tore out the old wallboard.  We started the insulation, but needed to add more.  We noticed that there wasn’t insulation along the stairs on the first floor.  In order to insulate this, we would either have to gut the closet under the stairs, or use a shake and rake insulation.  We opted to pour the insulation down the side of the stairs rather than take out the closet.

Hallway Insulation


We insulated the rest of the wall and put up a vapor barrier.  Now we are ready to drywall the stairway and hallway.

The stairway was drywalled by previous owners, but never mudded.  The previous owners used whatever they had on hand, and this small hall at the top of the stairs had nearly 30 pieces of drywall put together.  We decided to start over and put in new drywall so it wasn’t a mudding and sanding nightmare.  This also allowed us to add insulation where they had not.

Old Hallway Drywall


When taking down the drywall at the top of the stairs, we were able to expose the brick chimney.  While it isn’t a particularly good brick job, it is no longer in use and won’t matter much.

1891 Chimney


We noticed one of the bricks had 1891 carved into it.



When we originally bought the house, they dated it at 1920.  We then thought it was an Ojibway Company Mining House, which would put it in the early 1900s.  If this brick is correct, the house is even older than we thought.

If the brick was in better shape, I would love to leave it exposed, but it just doesn’t look great.  The top part has been redone and is in even worse shape.  So, the 1891 brick will be hidden behind drywall once again, but maybe someone will find it again down the road.

We should have a drywall/stairway update soon (if all goes well over the next week or so).  Thanks for reading!

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