Friday, January 27, 2012

Welcome Home

Brian and I purchased our first house in August, a little bungalow in downtown Orlando that was built in 1947.  Our lovely little home has as much character as it does repairs that need to be tackled, and we love every bit of sweat and hard work it takes to make this house a home.  There's so much to be done, so we'll use this blog as a way to track our DIY home improvements, share our triumphs and fails, and document all things that make our life an everyday adventure.

Our First Home: 08/2011

As you can see from these pictures, one of the first things we did was try to clean up the yard a bit.  Brian ripped out the overgrown azalea bushes on the right side of the house on our second day in, which helped tremendously in opening up the exterior of the house and making it more visible from the street.  We have so many large trees that it's difficult to grow St. Augustine (aka, scratchy Florida turf), so right now the front yard is mostly weeds and ferns.  Our immediate plans for the front of the house are as follows:
  • Plant some small shrubs on the left side of the house where the other overgrown azaleas are
  • Install a brick walkway from the driveway to the front door 
  • Break up the existing sidewalk which leads halfway to the street and then ends in the middle of the yard
  • Paint the existing salmon skin roll ('Friends' reference!) exterior a more colonial color
  • Replace the awning with something a little more colonial as well, I'm thinking something like this:
Originally pinned from
Sorry for the poor quality photo.  It was a Pinterest find and I can't find the original source to save my life.  A house just a few blocks away has a trellis awning like this over their garage and side doors and it looks great.  I'll have to take a walk over there and snap a picture before it comes time to do some real work on the exterior. 

Backyard view from right side of house
Backyard view from left side of house
The backyard needs some serious TLC, but like most things in life, it's a slow and steady process.  The backyard has actually worked out quite well for us because we don't own a lawn-mower.  The previous owner planted a whole bunch of plants and shrubs that require ZERO attention or watering, and then laid down a path of pea-sized river pebbles spanning across the entire back of the house.  The deck is nice to have, but it could use a facelift.  Some of the wood is moist or rotting, and there are giant wood planters on either side of the deck which just really don't make any sense.  For now we have a fire pit and some lawn furniture out there, but don't really spend much time out back because the mosquitoes are so bad because everything is so overgrown and moist.  Our plans for the backyard include:
  • Re-do the deck and possibly adios part of it so we have more lawn area
  • Clean up a bunch of the overgrown plants
  • Lay something (??) down so that Addie doesn't have to trek through fresh dirt to do a number (this is really for me, because she has been known to dig a hole or two, and then come romping inside with dirt covered paws.)
  • Install an outdoor outlet so we can run lights across the backyard (like the bulb lights they have in Olive Garden)
  • Install these super cool rock speakers that mom and pop H. gave us
  • Organize our little tool "shed" so we can move our actual tools out of the sun-room
The first room of the house is this enclosed "porch" area, that, unfortunately, the inspector didn't take a picture of, so the only picture I have pre-furniture is this one of B-man hosing it out (as opposed to mopping, because that's just how Brian does things).  :)  

Front porch area
We aren't sure what to call this area because it's more of a room than a porch, but we also have the sun room in the back of the house, so we can't call it the sun room.  Oh the woes of owning a house.  ;)  This room is actually extremely versatile and one of my favorite rooms in the house.  It was an addition the previous owner made, and the sunlight and the view of the street is fantastic.  The windows close completely to seal the room to be air conditioned (yes, it has a vent), or can be taken out completely to have an open porch in the cooler months.  The wonky fan needs to be switched to an indoor/outdoor fan, but other than that this room is good to go.  Eventually down the line, though, I picture something like this: (I'm still trying to talk B-man into it)

Found on Pinterest
Originally from Poppytalk.blogspot
After the porch area, the front door opens up into the living room, one of the largest and most open rooms of the house.
    Living room
Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of the most central room in the house, and from this, it doesn't look that big at all.  Imagine the front door off the the right side of the picture somewhere.  This room needed the most work first thing because, like most families, we wanted the living room to be welcoming and a nice entrance to our home.  On the never-ending to-do list for this room:
  • Re-texture the ceiling
  • Paint
  • Get a rug to cover up the horrible tile
  • Install a new ceiling fan (the old one is shiny black and gold and doesn't work.  It's like something that wanted to be in Macy Gray's house but just didn't make the cut.  Seriously. See for yourself.  My favorite is the leopard bathroom around 2:00)

The living room leads to the kitchen, which is the sore spot of the house and most definitely needs the most work.  The oven and microwave are just floating on one wall, and the 1970s refrigerator is free floating on the other side.  The cabinets only span one wall of the kitchen, with the sink and a picture window in the middle.  The pantry was so old and musty smelling that I was afraid to put anything in there for the first month of living here. I won't even go into details of what needs to be done in this area because the pictures speak for themselves.

Kitchen view from living room
Kitchen view from 2nd bedroom doorway
Off to the side of the kitchen (the door with the window next to the stove) is the second bedroom.  It used to be the garage, but the previous owner converted it to a bedroom and added the hallway with the 2nd bathroom.  If you look at the first picture, you can see the steps leading down into the room.  We weren't really sure what to do with this room because we don't need a second bedroom, and it's kind of awkward the way it's sandwiched between the kitchen and the laundry area.  Check back for an update on what we've done with this room because it looks completely different now!

Second bedroom view from hallway
Second bedroom closet
I really apologize for the poor quality photos.  These were all taken by the inspector before we even purchased the house, and I didn't take any when we first moved in, so some of the lighting is bad and the quality isn't great.  This is the hallway off of the 2nd bedroom that you can see on the left side of the picture above.  It contains our laundry area and the 2nd bathroom, which I don't have a picture of (trust's not much to look at), and leads to the sun room at the back of the house.

Hallway leading from office to sun-room.
The sun-room, or Florida room, which is at the very back of the house, is accessible from the dining room and the hallway in the picture above.  It is a really fabulous area with so much natural light, and, unfortunately, has become the forgotten child in this little house of ours.  Right now it is a giant storage unit for all the half-done projects and stuff that we don't know where to put anywhere else.  Because our house is so old, it has very little storage space.  There are only 3 closets in the entire house, and we don't have a garage, so figuring out where to store stuff like our Rubbermaid full of sports equipment and our bikes-for-every-terrain has been a bit of a challenge.  The to-do list on this room is much too long, but here are the basics:
  • Paint.  This room and the bathrooms are the only areas in the house that haven't been painted.
  • Clean?  I laugh as I type this because I just don't know how that's possible.
  • Install new curtain rods and curtains
  • Get some Florida-Room type furniture.  I'm thinking a nice wicker set with colorful cushions would be appropriate for one side of the room.
  • Arrange some sort of craft/sewing area with a table and a stool and STORAGE. (If you can't tell, I'm lacking some serious inspiration for this room.  It's the largest room in the house and we don't have any furniture, so I have a blank slate and no inspiration.)
Right side view of sun-room
The sun room has an opening to the dining room, which is in the picture below.  This view is looking towards the front of the house.  You can see the kitchen at the opposite end, and the hallway leading to the bedroom on the right side. 
    Dining room view from sun-room
    This room is probably the most complete of all the rooms in the house right now, only because we already had everything we needed for this area, so it was simply a matter of painting and placing.  Still left on the to-do list though:
    • Find an antique corner china cabinet for the far left corner
    • Install a hanging pendant light or chandelier over the table (4 months of searching the internet and I still haven't found "the one")
    • Paint some sort of accent wall to give the room some flavor, I'm thinking something like this:
    Originally from
    Off of the dining room is the hallway that leads to pretty much everything in the house.  The "linen closet" is in this hallway, as well as the main bathroom and the bedroom. I say "linen" closet in quotes because right now it's the "throw everything in there and shut the door quick" closet.  :)  The far left side is the doorway to the living room, the far door leads to the bedroom, and the doorway on the right leads to the bathroom.  There isn't really much to do here other than paint and replace the globe light to something a little less globe-y.

    Hallway view from dining room to bedroom
    The bedroom at the far end of the hallway is pretty much a standard room.  It's on the small side and has 2 windows leading to the backyard, but other than the bad tile, this room wasn't bad.  What WAS bad was the state of the closet.  Can you see the ClosetMaid® shelving in there?  It's as bad as it looks.  Because of the positioning of the shelves to the right of the door and the hanging spots to the left, the closet was basically useless.  The to do list in here?
    • Paint
    • Rug(s)
    • Fix the closet
    • Hang some curtain rods/curtains
    • Find a clothing storage solution
    Bedroom view from doorway
    Other side of the bedroom

    To the doorway to the right of the bedroom door leads us back to the living room, where we started our little house tour!  If the layout seemed a little awkward to you, that's because it is.  Our house was originally built as a 1/1, and the previous owner, upon purchasing in the 80s, decided to make it a 2/2 the easy way, by simply closing in the garage.  You can see where the garage door used to be in the pictures of the 2nd bedroom.  Either way, we love our little home, and it is going to take us years of work to get things just the way we want them.  I already have tons of projects ready to post and lots of inspiration flowing of fun projects to do to make our house a home. 

    :)  L.o.L.


    1. It all looks wonderful and full of new possibilities. Three references yard the Annabelle and Dave Troft. The live in Orlando now and had a great Florida yard. Decorating ideas - Ms. Jackie of course and Collen Hutton. Good luck and keep posting. Blessing for your new home.

    2. Thank you! I hadn't thought of the Trophs for ideas on the yard, but I have run into them at Publix before. I should definitely pick their brain for ideas because I'm at a loss of what I can plant in the shade.