You have no idea how much blood sweat and tears it took to bring you this blog post today.
Okay, maybe not blood, bet DEFINITELY a lot of sweat and a few tears too. (Although, the tears are really all attributed to 25 different calls and 2 in person visits from Comcast attempting to get our cable and internet up and running.) Lot’s of tears of joy too–because our house is finally presentable enough to show you! (Kind of. I mean, it’s getting there.)
So, without further adieu, here’s the first sneak peak home tour of what’s been goin’ on around here behind the scenes. I have frequented a LOT of vintage stores, scoured the depths of the internet, and placed too many Wayfair and Amazon orders to count…but here we are!
When we first purchased our home, it had a completely different feel to it. Not a bad one, just–very not “us.” It was very traditional, very obviously a mid-2000’s build, and, if we’re being honest very cookie-cutter–but now that we’ve got our paws on it, a month in, I think it looks pretty damn fantastic. (At least, I’d like to think so.)
The absolute biggest factor in transforming our space? A fresh coat of white paint.
I know–so many of you (I can hear you, too, Mom) are thinking “white–really?”
And, ironically, while I spent years in crappy rentals fuming over the fact that I couldn’t paint the walls a color (granted, we tried that once, and living room turned out bright purple instead of grey)–it is white that I now love so much.
Something else unexpected: When we moved in, we both hated the cherry floors. We talked about staining them as one of our first projects–but as soon as the walls were painted white, we absolutely LOVED them. They’re actually one of my favorite parts about the apartment! Nobody else I know has cherry floors, and the white compliments them so nicely–instead of making the apartment look stuck in the year 2000, it makes the apartment unique and funky.
Another thing–I really loathed the color of the granite in the kitchen. The beige wall color made it look brown and yellowy, but with the new paint, they look like completely different countertops! The white hue really brought out the white in the counters.
(It seriously is insane what a coat of paint can do, isn’t it?)
As for the paint, we went with Dutch Boy’s “Crisped White” (#022W) which is a beautiful creamy, slightly warm white–in a word, it’s perfect. We got the “Platinum” variety which is paint and primer in one, which is nice, because it simplifies your painting process! It also has this really easy to pour spout and twist off lid which makes for way less spills and mess. (Hallelujah!)
And If you remember me talking about Dutch Boy in this post, you’ll know that it’s a brand that is near and dear to my heart!
My Grandpa and Grannie owned a paint store the entire time my mom was growing up–and she remembers Dutch Boy being their favorite, go-to brand! (Thus, they are now MY go-to paint brand!)
They have an endless amount of colors, tons of variety, and their website also has a “color visualizer” which let’s you upload your own photo to see what different colors will look like on your walls!
Alright, let’s get on with the mini tour already! To give you an idea of what it used to look like, we filmed a little before video:
Boring, beige, and blah–right? This color made my skin crawl. But I knew behind that nasty paint there was potential! (I’ve got proof!)
Okay–get ready…here’s the after!
The Kitchen & Living Room:
As you can see despite the fact that most of our living room is windows, before, the beige paint color really made it very dark. Now, the whole room is so crisp and bright. It’s our absolute favorite room in the house!
You’ll probably notice most of our bigger items we brought with us from the old apartment:
Our sofa (the Everygirl “Lucy” from Interior Define), IKEA dining table (which will be upgraded eventually), our bar cart (vintage from Randolph Street Market), and our bar stools from an awesome local store, Wrightwood Furniture–note to self, still need at least two more of those! (HA how ridiculous our kitchen looks with just two of them!)
However, we have added quite a few pieces as well: a new rug (inherited from Blair!), dining chairs from Wayfair and Beehive Chicago, vintage side table and magazine rack from Beehive Chicago, and ALL OF THE PLANTS! Also, some VERY prized Craigslist scores–our gorgeous teak bookshelf (it was only $75!) and the Kilim rug in the kitchen. (I finally got one! I finally got one!)
The Master Bedroom:
Previously, our bedroom, unlike the rest of the house, wasn’t beige but a very odd shade of blue that made it look very dingy. It also made the room look much smaller than it actually was. Once it was repainted, we were both shocked as to how open and airy the room felt!
As for furniture, as you might notice, much like the living room, we brought the majority of it with us from the old apartment–the vintage trunk and gold nesting tables as our nightstands, and lamps. The stand-out piece is the vintage dresser, which I snagged for $125 at Beehive.
Now, while we’re on the topic of painting, here are a couple tips to keep in mind should you feel inspired to do a paint refresh as well:
When in doubt, get extra paint:
A tip my mom always relayed to me (that she learned from my Grandpa!) is–when in doubt, buy more paint than you think you’ll need. Because paint is mixed at the store, it’s never exact each time. You don’t want to be midway through a wall and have to go buy more paint, only to find out the second batch is slightly different from the first in terms of color.
To figure out how many gallons we needed, we used this paint calculator tool, and then rounded up! We ended up with one gallon more than we needed, but it actually worked out perfectly, because now we have enough for touch-ups! (Which, admittedly, are already necessary due to the amount of furniture that has come in and out of our house since moving!)
I have made the mistake several times over of thinking I can get away with one paint roller. In fact, you cannot! A couple rollers, brushes, and an edger are ideal to have in your arsenal–you need different tools for different tasks! We like Purdy brand–which you can also pick up at Menards!
When using your paint roller, make sure to roll full length–from floor to ceiling! This is something I did not know and would previously just go wild rolling all over the place.
To get a really even paint job, you need to roll up the full length of the wall, and down the full length of the wall (no choppy, short strokes!) You should also keep a “wet edge” which means that each “line” should slightly overlap the next. This keeps things nice, smooth, and even!
If all else fails, ask for help!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my adult life, it’s that there is no shame in asking for help! I’ve put off painting walls so many times just because I felt in over my head! Craigslist is the best place to find affordable painters! …and if you can’t afford a painter, you could always ask a few friends to come over and pay them in beer and tacos 😉
I still have a lengthy to-do list ahead of me–my biggest tasks moving forward are getting the guest bedroom cleaned up (it looks like a bomb went off!) and getting Neal’s office finished. (Watch out for that big reveal in a few weeks!)
Another thing–those absolutely AWFUL lights in the kitchen! (They look like dollar store ice cube trays?!) I recently found some I wanted but, then discovered them in a copper version and now I’m torn and can’t make a decision to save my life. Speaking of the kitchen–that travertine backsplash? Its days are numbered. White subway tile is coming eventually. We also are planning some big things for the fire place…so stay tuned on those details!
Then there’s storage. One big problem we have with this house is storage. I would say that’s probably it’s only downside–the master closet is really only big enough for one of us, and we have relatively zero space for our shoes. Luckily, my friend Kira is a genius and suggested that we get “shoe cabinets” (did you know those were a thing?) so that’s high on the list too.
Additionally, ART. Our walls are so bare–I really didn’t realize the extent of their bareness until I looked at these photos–it looks so empty! But…one step at a time, right?
Big thanks: I also have quite a few people to think for getting this place (and this post) where it is today: Kira–for her expert furniture arranging advice and fantastic interior design tips, Kelly, for helping me photograph, and of course, Dutch Boy (a brand I use and love!) for sponsoring this post and helping make our beautiful paint refresh possible!