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Interior Design, teaching

What I wish I would have known before starting our renovation

Do not get me wrong, I LOVE MY HOUSE, as you know if you follow me on Instagram! However there are some things I definitely with I would have done differently. Time and money were a constant issue when we moved into our home. We were living in the back half of our house with two  babies that were both under two years old at the time, and we had more projects then dolla bills. You can see tons of before and after photos HERE of our home pre-renovation.

First, let’s talk wall texture. We have this chunky orange peel texture in our home and because we were knocking out a whole room and lifting our kitchen ceilings we had an opportunity to pay a little more to have the whole home re-textured to a beautiful modern smooth texture. Due to being exhausted of this renovation and the fact that we were already living in half of the home (how would we retexture the part we were already living in?) we decided to just match the existing texture and hope for the best. The best meaning that we had plans to shiplap most of the house any ways. Surprisingly it has bothered me more then I thought. Orange peel textured walls make simple things like wall papering, wainscoting and painting fun patterns on the  walls way more difficult. You can’t get straight lines and need to add wood or try making your own smooth texture when putting up any architectural wood detailing. Wallpaper sticks to the texture of your walls, if you have textured walls, then you have textured wall paper. That bothers me! Ha hindsight is 20/20 right?? If you have the money and the time, I highly suggest smoothing out that wall texture to give you a beautiful smoother surface to build on. Since then, we have added more shiplap but kids rooms and bathrooms are still textured and hinder my ability to create some of the spaces I have been imagining.

Second, lighting. We added quite a few canned lights in common areas as best we could imagine while our house was torn apart and covered in insulation. After we put the house back together I found quite a few spaces that were in need of extra lighting or that would look great with beautiful wall sconces or pendant lights. Although I have found a great electrician, it has been a messy process to add can lights to the hall, wall sconces to the family room and pendants in the kitchen, and guest room. I wish I would have slowed down and really thought about where I needed lights before we dry walled everything back up AND I AM A FREAKING INTERIOR DESIGNER! You would think I should have known better. Well when you are in the school of life, you learn as you go. Take it from me and save your self a mess in the future.

 

 

 

 

Third, bathrooms. When we moved into our home our guest bathroom had the worst pink tile I have ever seen and THE WORST COUNTERTOPS! As a temporary fix and to save money I ended up painting the pink tile with chalk paint, tutorial HERE, and making it look “better” for now. Our master bathroom was not “terrible” so I painted cabinets and decided to put the money into the more common spaces of our home. We are planning a remodel of our kids bathroom at the beginning of next year and the task seems over whelming now that we live in and use that space so regularly. Simply just finding time and money to change out the tile before we moved in would have been helpful to saving mess and headache later down the road.


I am an interior designer by profession and yet this was my first fixer upper. I was surprised by how difficult and stressful it was to live through and accomplish all of the changes and upgrades our home needed. They make it look so easy on HGTV and I was crying everyday in my car as I pulled up to that red and yellow house, knowing I had to go face the mess and late nights of living in a renovation. So my last piece of advice is, if you can, DO NOT LIVE IN YOUR RENOVATION! Ha sleep at your in laws or your parents. Heck, sleep at a hotel, but take it from me and do not bring your three young kids to a ceiling-less house with no kitchen and try and be happy. You will gain ten pounds from all of the takeout food you are forced to eat and your marriage will surely suffer! Hahaha I hope this helps and I hope you learn from my mistakes, because watching an old beat up house become the house of your dreams is worth it! Do not be afraid of a fixer upper, just plan ahead. Love you friends!

Leave me all of your home decor and renovation questions in the comments, and I will answer them Saturday Dec 2nd in an insta live video!

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17 Comments

  • Reply Misha

    We plan to buy a fixer upper one day, so this is good for me to read! Funny how those little details can be so frustrating, hey? Ha. My question is regarding how to style my living room – we are in a rental that has green walls (which we can’t repaint, but it’s a lovely colour on its own) and we have these red couches that I love. So it’s very Christmasy. Which is great now, but not after the holidays. What would you suggest doing to make the room less festive, when we’re stuck with green walls and red couches? Thanks!

    November 30, 2017 at 3:06 PM
  • Reply Amy

    You’ve done a beautiful job! My question is, is there a guideline or rule to follow when having more than one area rug in close proximity to the other? Should they be the same rug? Just compliment each other? Our dining area and entry way are side by side in our open concept house and both areas need rugs. Help!

    November 30, 2017 at 6:11 PM
  • Reply Jennifer

    I have an amazing great room with cathedral celilings but it’s completely wood (walls and celiling). Not your cheap wood paneling but wide boards with the iron nails – I love the feel but I don’t know how to lighten it up? Suggestions? It’s just very dark brown lol

    November 30, 2017 at 6:47 PM
  • Reply Tesa G.

    How can I shiplap my walls? Just put it over what is currently there? Also, how can I paint my brick fireplace?

    November 30, 2017 at 8:59 PM
  • Reply Kelsey

    Your house is beautiful and looks so inviting. We have lived in our house for about 6 months and definitely have lots of projects we still want to complete.

    Is it important to match all wood tones in your home? We just built two mantels for our double sided fireplace and I’m wondering if we should match them to our kitchen table, island, etc??

    Also do you suggest putting curtains up if you have shutters? I was wanting to in my daughters room but my husband said no.

    December 1, 2017 at 8:05 AM
  • Reply Tesa G.

    How can I shiplap my walls? Just put it over what is currently there? Also, how can I paint my brick fireplace?

    December 1, 2017 at 10:34 AM
  • Reply Tiffanie Jensen

    K your house is stunning! Just finding you on IG this morning. You seem like a do-it-all supermom!

    December 1, 2017 at 10:57 AM
  • Reply Samantha

    What are your thoughts on bathroom decorations, especially for a teeny tiny bathroom?

    December 1, 2017 at 5:10 PM
  • Reply Savanna

    Awesome post! I had a question a little off topic. I’m a first time expecting Mom and the baby already has more stuff than I know what to do with. How did you organize and store all of your babies stuff? I bought some ikea cubbies with baskets but I’m still needing more space. I live in a tiny apartment so it’s pretty easy to run out of space quickly!

    Also, another random question, where is your favorite place to get oversized picture frames? I want some for my nursery.

    December 1, 2017 at 5:27 PM
  • Reply Lacy

    your tip about how to keep the corners of rugs down was pure genius! Any tips on how to keep runners and smaller rugs from slipping on hardwood/laminate?? Thanks!! I LOVE how you did your bathroom floors!!

    December 1, 2017 at 5:28 PM
  • Reply Julie

    We just bought a house and i don’t know where to start. I have been here a month and have not put anything on my walls. I’m not a decorator and not sure what my style is. I know things I like but haven’t taken the plunge. I was excited but am feeling scared now. How do I become more confident? Any tips or advice? I love to see all your goodwill finds.

    December 1, 2017 at 8:43 PM
  • Reply Lacey

    Just have to say we are living this right now! Solidarity sista I get it. Our babe was 5 months old when we bought our Reno house. He’s 10 months now and I still don’t have a fully functional kitchen. We live in the basement and the upstairs is a hot mess. But it will be worth it in the end!!!

    December 1, 2017 at 9:30 PM
  • Reply Meredith Hudson

    I am painting my kitchen cabinets white and want to know if I should paint all the white in my house the same color. Ceilings, baseboards, furniture, etc. My house is tiny.

    December 2, 2017 at 6:48 AM
  • Reply Rachel

    Great read! Thanks for the tips and pointers!!! Your home is so lovely!!
    I was really curious what your husband does for a living? He’s so good at wood work, so wasn’t sure if he was in that field?

    December 2, 2017 at 10:08 AM
  • Reply Heather

    Mine question is not really about RENOvations, but so important anyway. How do you hang your family photos? Canvases only? Framed pictures ? Collages? Do you have alllllll the baby pictures up ….ugh. I want to see family memories on my walls but I don’t know how to do it beautifully. Help!

    December 2, 2017 at 11:19 AM
  • Reply Teuntje

    Hi Jade! Loved reading this, I’m about to buy my first home on my own, yeah girl power -totally trying to overrule the “I hope I don’t end up alone” feeling- but being fresh out of law school, I don’t have a lot of money. So I’m hoping to buy a fixer upper to get more meters for less and do a lot of demo myself and saving where I can. That’s where my question comes in, when you have to fix up an entire house, where do you spend and where do you save (noted on the smooth walls), is it wise to choose cheaper tiles, fixtures and kitchen cabinets and spend on appliances and work men who know what they are doing?
    Would love to here! Thanks so much!
    Ps I don’t know if it matters, but I live in the Netherlands, all our homes are brick, outside walls and inside walls, just to give you all the info!

    December 2, 2017 at 11:30 AM
  • Reply Laura

    I have an open concept living room and currently have a sectional in the living room and it appears to close off the living room area a bit. Would it be better to utilize two separate couches instead of one sectional. Also, what are your thoughts of couches right against a window. I’m thinking of building a small table between my windows so that it isn’t right against the wall.

    December 2, 2017 at 12:15 PM
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