Before BackOur Back Yard

Happy Makeover Monday Friend. Let’s do this!!! Do I sound really excited? It’s because I am. I sooo am. I have been working to this day for my entire life. I finally have a home of my own that I never have to leave unless I chose to do so. Specifically, I have been working on this house since our closing date in April. Though there are still some projects that need to be completed, I am finally comfortable enough with our progress to update you on all that has been changed. Okay, here’s the situation…

Our zip code is amongst some of the highest priced real estate in the nation. Despite that fact, we knew that we wanted to settle here after Honey retired a few years earlier than expected. For starters, the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Northern Virginia) area was the first place in which we experienced the true meaning of diversity. People of different races, ethnicities and cultures don’t just live beside one another and work together here. They reside in the same households, carpool to work together and actually go out to share meals and recreational time together. For the first time since…honestly, for the first time EVER, I felt at home in America. The DMV provided me with the same sense of belonging I had only experienced within our military community living in R.O.K. (I have to specify because some people still ask whether we lived in North or South Korea) *sigh*.

But the Prices…

Okay, the cost of living is a bit pricey. It’s not as bad as NYC or San Francisco, but the place we were searching to find a home ranked as the 3rd wealthiest zip code in the U.S. according to the American Community Survey. Fan(freaking)tastic! While we searched for just about two years, we saved money by renting a cramped townhouse. Don’t get it twisted. The rent for that tiny, cramped townhouse ($2700) was still more than the mortgage for our 4500 sq.ft. home in K.C.MO ($1900).

Finally, we were able to find a 2400 sq.ft. SFR 4bd/3ba on 1/3 acre private lot. It was built in the early 50’s (my favorite decade for style and fashion) and checked most of our boxes. Of course we wasted no time putting in an offer. Even at 3% more than asking, the total cost of this house was a few hundred grand less than it would have cost if it were positioned one zip code over. Our daughter remains in the same school district, we are next to a 26 mile hiking/ biking trail and we are now located more conveniently to TWO Home Depots (and lots of other shopping too). Score!

The only problem is that we do not have a garage or a driveway, for that matter. We have to park Black Velvet and White Shadow (my and Honey’s cars, respectively) on the street where other people sometimes steal our spaces. Don’t get me started on the etiquette of on-street parking. If you KNOW the house does not have a freaking driveway, don’t freaking park directly in the front of their freaking stairway. It’s so freaking frustrating. Argh! I digress. We got this place at such a steal, that we have plenty of money left in our savings to actually retire someday. We also can continue to enjoy luxurious vacations (if we ever have enough time to actually leave). And that driveway, yeah it is getting installed in the spring.

Another uptick of grabbing this prime property at a subprime cost is that we were able to invest the rest of the money we had saved for a down payment into updating our furniture and the interior of our home. Although we are far from finished, it’s current state is good enough to invite friends to dinner and entertain for the upcoming holidays.

The Big Reveal…

Ethereal Blush Vera WangNo, not that reveal. I just had to include this, b/c Claudette is rocking that dress. *two snaps in Z formation*

Okay, Friend. I know you have been asking me all summer how the house is coming. In an effort to satisfy your curiosity, I took before photos with my phone whenever I remembered, which was not as often as I intended. Unfortunately, my PC is acting like a drama queen having a moment of extra-ocity because she missed the sale on pink Vera Wang wedding gowns (the color is ethereal blush fyi). The point is that I cannot grab the photos from the cloud right now. I will try again in another post.

However, I was able to find photos from the original MLS listing on I also uploaded some corresponding “after” pics last week and this morning. Here ya go…

Before Living Room
Living Room Before


Living Room Left from Entrance


Living Room from Entrance



Living Room Glimpsing Dining Area
Living Room Entrance
View from Fireplace


Before DR
Dining Area Before


Before Kit2
Kitchen Before
Before Kit
Kitchen Before Glimpsing Entry
Dining After

     (Kitchen is basically the same for now)

Dining Area Updated
Dining from Kitchen

Master Bed and Bath Before, During Reno, and After


Guest Bed and Bath Before and After

Office Before and After


Basement Before and After 


There you have it. I was incredibly busy these past few months. I cannot tell you how many small projects went into getting us to this point. Let’s just say it involved a lot of paint, spray paint, wood glue, nails, screws, blood, sweat and tears. Lots of tears.

Next week, I will provide a more detailed breakdown of some of the projects to include:

  • Building our king-sized bed, headboard (3 old canvases) and ginormous foot chest/pillow and blanket storage
  • Refinishing our furniture (chalk paint vs. regular paint vs. staining vs. spray paint)
  • Installing light fixtures, light switches and plugs
  • Restaining our wood floors
  • Building our fireplace mantle and retiling the surround
  • Reupholstering office chair
  • Great finds at IKEA furniture and building plus installing sink vanities
  • Installing new faucets and reconfiguring sink from single to double
  • Wayfair, Joss & Main, All Modern furniture (putting it all together)

Come to think of it, each and ever one of those bullet points could become its own blog post. How about this, Friend? I will spend the next few Mondays delving deeply into how I completed these projects. Let me know if you have any questions you’d like me to specifically address. I look forward to showing you that if I can do it, you can too!



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