Thursday, March 6, 2014

Our First House: Big Renovations on a Tiny Budget

Hello! I hope you all are having a good week. We’ve seen small hints of spring in Georgia, and it sure is a beautiful reminder of the season ahead. I LOVE Easter and have started planning our Housewarming Party, which will be an Easter Egg Hunt so that all of the kiddos have a fun activity while the parents catch up and talk house renovations. I will be sure to share all the party planning details with you soon.

This week, we’re taking a look back at our first house. After our fall wedding in 2008, Jason and I first lived in an old Cotton Mill that had been turned into apartments while we scrimped and saved for our first home together. I remember when Jason would not want to go out to eat unless we had a good coupon! After almost a year of saving, we found a great deal on a home in a well-respected neighborhood full of friendly faces and plenty of fun-loving kiddos. The tree-lined streets and painted shutters throughout the neighborhood were so charming and, after some negotiation, 1911 Canterbury was our first official house!

The house was easily the worst in the entire neighborhood. It had ZERO curb appeal and needed a major overhaul on both the inside and the outside. And to say we were on a budget is a vast understatement. However, I love bargain hunting and bartering so we did the best we could to rehab the house little by little into a home we were proud to show off.

Depressing white paint, black prefab shutters from Lowe’s and a happy red door. White exterior paint was on sale at Sherwin Williams, and it completely transformed our house into something that was fresh and bright. I love the red door just because it’s welcoming, and the black shutters gave the exterior some weight and balance. We ripped out the overgrown shrubbery throughout the front yard and replaced it with fresh spring flowers and brand new baby bushes. Such an improvement!


While I was designing our house in my personal life, I was working on the HGTV Green Home with my previous company in my professional life. I was shamelessly inspired by the work of Interior Designer Linda Woodrum. She designs each HGTV Dream Home and HGTV Green Home with her dramatic yet casual style. Linda pairs funky oversized lamps with clean-lined furniture and gorgeous geometric fabrics.

I applied Linda’s style in my little kitchen to make it hip although it was small. We started by painting the plain oak kitchen cabinets bright white and installing updated oil rubbed bronze hardware. Next, we selected a multi-colored mosaic backsplash that made the space funky but also tied the rich floor color and warm wall paint together. The industrial-inspired light fixtures from Lowe’s instantly updated the room and the turquoise-washed kitchen table set from World Market gave the room a pop of color at a very reasonable price.

I snagged a fabulous high-arch facet at for only $150. Minimal accessories with clean granite countertops helped the kitchen feel larger. I had a local craftsman create a built-in pantry, which provided tons of storage space. The feel of the kitchen was complete with a fabulous (and reasonable) chevron indoor-outdoor rug from Ballard which ended up being ultra stain-resistant.

To keep a consistent color throughout the home, I used Sherwin Williams in Latte. This is such a great neutral color that looked perfect with our hand-scraped hickory hardwood floors in a deep espresso tone. The flowing wall color and hardwoods throughout the house created an illusion of openness and space.

I’ll share with you some of our other rooms in upcoming posts, and we’ll eventually get to the projects we’re working on in our new home. If you have ANY questions about paint, flooring or décor, just ask and I’ll provide whatever I can remember. 

I love our new home, but I'll always treasure the memories built in our first house together. Here, we celebrated our first through fifth wedding anniversaries, brought home our baby girl and celebrated many special occasions. Houses are so much more than walls, aren't they? This house brings lots of happy tears! Xo


  1. Mollie I came to your blog from a post that your mom had put on Facebook about you and starting to blog again and I'm so glad I did..I have a question for you. We r in the process of building a new home and its getting to the point that I need to pick out paint colors. I want to do grey with teal/minty green accents in my kitchen/living room (its one big open space) and I also want to bring these colors into my bedroom as well. So I'm going to paint grey in living room and bedroom but I'm stuck on what to do in my 4 yr old daughters room and her bathroom and the spare bedroom. The only thing I've purchased so far for her room is her ceiling fan which is pink and white and has the most adorable pink lamp shades instead of the glass globes. Her room currently is Disney princess all over but she says she doesn't want that in her room anymore. I was thinking about doing grey and pink, but I'm afraid I'm going a bit crazy with the color grey!!! Lol. Please help me. I have no style and am a horrible decorator. Thank you so much!! I'm in love with the pics of you kitchen above BTW. Oh I was also thinking of making one of my walls in my bedroom chevron. But can't decide if I should leave that wall white with grey chevron or do grey wall with teal chevron. Sorry for writing a book! Ty for any advice!! Melissa. :)

    1. Hi, Melissa, I don't think you can go too crazy with grey paint because it's a beautiful neutral. I used the color Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter in our new home in the living room, kitchen and main hallways- and I love it! I used a deeper Benjamin Moore Ozark Shadows in the Dining Room which is really pretty as well. I think grey and pink in your daughter's room could be super cute but, if you're doing the entire rest of the house grey, maybe go for a pink paint and just a few accents of grey. I did Benjamin Moore Baby Pink in my daughter's room and it's a very soft shade of pink. Regarding your master, I love chevron, but I like chevron accents- an ottoman, throw pillows, throw blanket- be careful of doing it as an entire wall of your bedroom because it might be too much. These are all just my opinions, and I'm sure your home will be beautiful!! I hope this helps. :)