Our First House

Come on in and tour our first house!  Here’s a complete source list for those of you that are wondering where we got something.

We thought floor plans might be helpful for you to get your bearings.  Here’s the main level:

And the basement:

Front of the House and Yard Before:

The front yard was boring, dated and shabby.  The doors and windows were original to the house.  A small fence blocked off the front.  The walkway that is never used cut the yard in half.  Nearly dead shrubs didn’t bring any life to the house.

Front Yard After:

The small fence,  gas lamp on a post (?!) and shrubs were pulled and replaced with a short vinyl fence, a variety of roses and river rock.  New windows, window boxes, shutters, front door and evergreens give character and life to the front.  Without the concrete walkway, the yard looks much larger.  Ben is OBSESSED with fruit trees and has planted 17 throughout the property.

Walkway Before:

The walkway was a danger zone with an uneven brick path, leftover landscaping blocks and a dilapidated fence.  The old light and numbers were not good-looking or very functional.

Walkway After:

A new paver path and fence make our front walk much safer while chairs are a nice spot to sit.  Colorful roses, window boxes, shutters and a new light brighten things up and add a feeling of home.

Living Room Before:

Very manly, I know.  Ben had already added the crown molding, baseboard, chair rail, and painted.  Apparently the house also had atrocious, smoke scented carpet which is not present, thankfully!

The vertical blinds scream 70’s while covering up the window.  The house did have one great, original feature-the red oak 3/4 inch thick hardwood floors.

Living Room After:

It’s amazing what a little paint can do!  After painting the moldings white, our living feels open and airy.  The new front door with a window to lets in more light.

Arranging the couch back toward the front door creates a more defined entry in an open layout.

The entertainment center Ben built adds architectural interest while providing storage for dvds, cds, and children’s toys.

Dining Room Before:

The dining room is pretty small, and the large table with extra chairs made it feel even smaller.  Ben made the valance, and yes, its leather.

Dining Room After:

We installed MDF trim to create a plate rack.  A coat of white paint brightens up the space while the blue provides contrast.  A new rug and curtains soften the hard lines.

Kitchen Before:

The kitchen was remodeled in 1997 by the original owners, so nothing was our style.  Orangey oak cabinets, ceramic tile and almond appliances = ugly.

Kitchen After:

After five years of planning, we finally gutted the kitchen to start with a clean slate.  Custom built cabinetry, warm wood counter tops, and stainless appliances update the house, on a ten thousand dollar budget.

White and glass front cabinets extend from counter to ceiling for extra storage.  A marble subway tile back splash and crown moulding add a touch of traditional style.

Read more about our kitchen renovation here.

Main Bathroom Before:

Pink, Pink, PINK!  Nicotine-stained floral wallpaper (notice the picture frame outline), pink tile and stained grout feel dirty.  A light strip, blah mirror and old fixtures are functional, but boring.

Main Bathroom After:

We completely gutted the bathroom.  Then installed beadboard, a brick-lay marble tile, a new jetted bathtub and marble tub surround.  Ben built a maple vanity complete with granite countertops and a vessel sink and faucet.  So much better!!

We installed white and dark grey marble tile in a brick-lay pattern.

Guest Bedroom After:

More trim and paint made a huge difference in this room.  We also scored a free headboard (but then had to buy a king bed).  The new windows are one foot closer to the floors than the original windows and flood the room with natural light.

Guest Bedroom Other Side:

Master Bedroom Before:

Small windows and quickly purchased laminate flooring make this room boring!

Master Bedroom After:

We installed more trim in a 12 by 12 inch square pattern and crown molding above the doors and windows.  Ben added lighting in the crown to make the room glow.  The soothing grey/green color is perfect for sleeping.

Master Bedroom Other Side:

The door opens to the master bathroom.  The new moldings really add drama to our doors and windows.

Master Bathroom Before:

Originally, this was a half bathroom accessible from the bedroom and kitchen with a closet and duct work in between.  Ben closed up the wall to add a shower, making it a 3/4 bath.  Here is that stage:

Master Bathroom Other Side:

Master Bathroom After:

After we installed the geothermal heating and cooling unit, we were able to remove the duct work that ran through the bathroom.  Without the duct work, we had enough space to move the toilet and add a 5 foot jetted bathtub.  White tub to ceiling marble, black granite and white marble checker floor and white trim adds elegance.

Master Bathroom Other Side:

Granite counter tops, a new sink and brushed nickel faucet, sconces and a large mirror (to the ceiling) open up the small space.

Third Bedroom Before:

Ho hum boring bedroom with small baseboard and short windows.

Third Bedroom After:

The white wainscoting topped by a shelf function as a picture shelf.  The pale yellow walls are a soothing, gender neutral backdrop.

Other Side:

The tall yellow bed makes a statement while the aqua bedding and art add nice contrast.

Theater Room Before:

The unfinished basement was a dumping ground for anything and everything.  Duct work ran through the center of the room and tall people hit their heads on it.  Everything needed to be insulated and sheetrocked before finishing work could begin.

Theater Room After:

The wood burning fireplace is nice on cold winter days, too.

Theater Room Other Side:

We created a floor plan to maximize the space in the basement, giving this windowless room a purpose; a theater room.  Recessed lights keep the lowish ceilings looking as high as possible.  A large sectional is comfortable when we have movie nights with friends and family.

Theater Room Entertainment Center:

The cabinet doors hide toys while shelves hold speakers, theater components, and movies.

Office Before:

The office space was a concrete bunker and storage area before we started working on it.  We did have limitations due to the structural pillar.

Office After:

I loved working in here.  We added trim, cabinets and a full bookshelf to give ample storage.  Space for everything and space to spare!

Office Bookshelf:

We designed this bookshelf for maximum storage, keeping everything in one place.  It held all of my stationery supplies and most of our books.

Small Basement Bedroom Before:

Unfinished concrete walls and floors, a washer and a dryer.  That’s about it.

Small Basement Bedroom After:

A white trim treatment with picture shelf on top brighten the small space making it feel less basement-y.  We never got a bed frame.  Don’t judge.

Large Basement Bedroom Before:  

Ben had already started hanging sheet rock in this room when I met him, but, it’s definitely far from finished.

Large Basement Bedroom After:

While still not our favorite or most finished room, it is usable when we had guests.

Basement Bathroom Before:

Because Ben bought the house two years before we met, he had already started framing the bathroom layout.  The original plan was to have the bathtub along the right hand wall upon entry, hence the concrete board.

Basement Bathroom After: 

We tweaked the original layout to allow for a larger vanity and linen closet behind the door.  And we have a giant pile of tile in here, which we planned to use for the steam shower under the stairs.  Hence the large, unfinished doorway.

Back Yard Before:

A large, uneven patio sat unused.  The grass was pretty dry and the landscaping was definitely lacking.  The chain link fence was an eye sore and not functional for our dog.

Back Yard After:

New fence, trees, table and chairs make the yard more user-friendly and inviting.

207 thoughts on “Our First House

  1. I am so in love with your home, it looks absolutely AMAZING! The moldings are beyond incredible! We have very similar taste, I am so glad you started a blog and so excited to see more!


  2. The built-in entertainment center is amazing! I love the molding in the bedroom and dinning room. Plus the wall colors are beautiful. We just purchased a house and if comes out anything like this I would be one happy girl! Great work and I can’t wait to read more.

  3. Love your home and love the blog so far. Can’t wait to see more!

    I found your blog from Jen’s feature of your office shelves. We have very similar built-ins and I just bought a bunch of those ikea boxes last week (in green and the black/white striped ones), so the big shelf makeover will begin soon!

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Thank you so much for the kind words! I hope you’ll come back and continue to read more. I would LOVE to see your bookshelves. I am so happy with my IKEA boxes so far. It’s so nice that they come in so many different sizes-really makes organizing easy. Happy organizing!

  4. Everything looks good! I don’t know how I found your site, but I love the work you’ve done!! My hubs and I just bought our first house last year and are taking on similar projects to yours! Great work!

    Tell’er All About It

  5. Love all the changes you have made – looks fantastic! Would you mind telling me where you purchased your bedding for your guest room? It would look great in my master!

    1. Hi Diane,

      Thanks so much! We actually got the comforter from Ross, so I don’t know if they would have something similar near you. Good luck!

    1. Hi Carrie,

      The paint color for our bedroom is Restoration Hardware’s Bay Laurel, color matched at Wal-Mart in their Color Place brand. Hope it helps!


  6. Great tour. Did you know your office isn’t showing up on the “grand tour” but it is listed on the “complete source ” page? I almost missed your office! Glad I clicked on the source page too.

    1. Hi Karen,

      Thanks for the heads up and kind words! I’ll work on that right now.


  7. Hi! Love your house, so pretty. What color paint is that in your dining room? I have been trying to find a color like that, but when I get to the stores they all blur together. LOL Thanks!

    1. Hi Stacy,

      The color is actually a mistinted version of what I wanted. It was supposed to be Restoration Hardware’s Silver Sage, but it got messed up in the process. The paint is from Wal Mart and they used the light base. The formula for one gallon is B-37, E-39.5, and T-37. Hope it helps. This is the color used in our basement, too. It can look more green in some light.


  8. Love your master bathroom walls. Actually, I love everything you’ve done – the basement is amazing. Basement is on fall/winter list; I hope it comes out as well as yours

  9. I love what you guys have done with the place! My bf and I had our first house built about a year and a half ago and I love getting inspiration from others. Great work so far!!

  10. Lovely! I’ve searched your blog and haven’t been able to find the info anywhere (but please excuse me if it’s there and I just haven’t seen it)… but where is the drum shade in your dining room from? Thanks

  11. How did you create your wainscoating? I love it in your little nursery!
    Can you provide deminsions? Not very got with the saw and nail gun yet!

  12. What are the room wall trims/wainscoating made of? MDF? Your house is lovely! You guys did a great job with every room renovation.!

    1. Hi Mina,

      You’ve got it! MDF trim is what we use for everything. Thanks for your support and kind words!


  13. i love your home. my favorite room is the basement living room – the changes you two have made are so impressive – as someone who tries (and fails) to be handy, I am in awe of what you’ve done. Great job ! 🙂

  14. Hi Elizabeth,

    Thanks so much for the kind words! We love having our theater room. We finished it a few months ago and it’s definitely worth the effort!


  15. Amanda your home is amazing! I love the trims you use, your great colour palette, and the sheer number of projects you guys have completed!!! found you via YHL and will be back! Lynda

    1. Hi Lynda,

      Thanks so much for your kind words! We’re so glad you found us and we hope you’ll be back for more!


  16. HI!!! I am so in awe of the hard work and talent you both invested in your home. It is stunning! You two make a great team. I’ll be checking back often. Stop over my blog sometime:)

    1. Hi Erica,

      Thanks so much for your support and kind words! We’re glad you found us and like what you see.


  17. Wow! What a fantastic home redo. You’d never know the wainsotting and trim weren’t a part of the house before. You’ve a beautiful and relaxing home environment. Well done!

  18. I just found your blog and I LOVE your house! I’m so excited to spend some more time looking. We have an outdated ranch house and I’m always looking for inspiration! Can I ask you where you got your sofa in your basement living room?

  19. You have made some amazing changes I love the before & afters. Iv been in my home less than a year and know how long it takes to get things done between the other distractsion of eating, sleeping and having fun! Good on you both!

  20. I haven’t bothered to read everybody’s comments, but seriously- yes, the house needed to be cleaned up, but nothing other than the bathrooms really needed to be redone like that! You stripped the personality of the poor home and made it basically identical to anything you’d find in a Home Magazine, and that’s not right. And your tactic of taking the before pictures with as much mess and clutter as possible, and the after pictures all spic and span, is totally underhanded and I hope people didn’t actually fall for that.

  21. Your house looks great! Wonderful job. I think I found your site when I saw your comment on Making it Lovely. I am dying at the haters’ comments. Crazy. : ) Your house looks great though and I love the before and afters. Your post has given me motivation to finish our millions of household projects. Especially love the kids’ room and your creative use of trim throughout the house (isn’t MDF the best?!).

    1. Hi Miranda,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for the kind words! There are bound to be people that hate our house, but we love it, so that’s all we care about. And, MDF is fantastic!

      Thanks again!

  22. RE: BHS & AKY- (obviously the same person)- you are a sad/unhappy person. i’m not really even sure what kind of a person makes an effort to leave a comment like that?? uggh.

  23. Sarah,

    Thanks so much! Obviously I think it’s strange for people to leave mean comments on our blog. Thanks so much for agreeing!!

    Desiree and Cassie,

    Thanks so much for your kind words!


  24. You two have made a rather outdated home BEAUTIFUL while still retaining the essence of the former home on the outside. The larger windows, lower fence, etc. do wonders. Love all the inside trim work. By any chance, is your husband a carpenter to be so handy with all the redos? I am sure it was hard to live in the home while all the updating was going on. I’m sure if you ever wanted to move, it would be snatched up. Can’t wait to see the kitchen redo.

  25. I love what you did with the walls in the bathroom! Could you tell me how you did the wainscoting? I see there’s different styles for each room.

  26. Love the paneling, molding and color choices – the home looks so inviting, cheery, fresh and bright now! Great job! I am drooling over all of the fancy MDF creations you and your hubby have created, it’s very inspiring! Any chance you can post a tutorial on how to do walls like in your sons’ room? Or is there one somewhere in the blog that I’ve missed? Fabulous job!!

    1. Hi Crystal,

      Thanks so much for all of your amazingly sweet comments! I’ll make a tuturial and post sometime next week.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  27. Love everything about your home! Great colors, furniture placement and the molding is just incredible! Any chance you can do a tutorial on molding? Great job!

    1. Hi Crystal,

      Thanks so much for your amazingly kind comments! I have done a few trim tutorials:

      I have a trim tutorial for our boys’ room coming up next week, but if I still haven’t covered a room, just let me know and I’ll add a tutorial to my list.

      Hope it helps!

  28. This is SO inspirational! My husband and I are still renting a townhouse so there’s not much I can do without wittling away at my deposit 🙂 How fun for you guys! Can’t wait to see the kitchen….progress?

  29. Love it! I am in love with your paint colors! What was the color in your master bath? When you do your trim do you put up MDF or something to have a flat non-textured surface or do you just leave your plain textured wall as the base and paint it? We did A LOT of very similar rennovatiosn in our old house, it is a TON of work so I can definitely appreciate the work and time put into each room. I could never figure out a good technique when painting the wainscotting/beadboard or trim so as to not have brush or roller marks. Any tips there? Great job guys!!

    1. Hi Dwells,

      Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. First off, thank you so much for your kind words! Our master bath is a color match to Restoration Hardware’s Bay Laurel. We have flat walls, so we just install the MDF, fill holes, caulk and paint the trim and wall behind. Unfortunately, my only tips for avoiding the roller or brush strokes is don’t over work the area. Apply a few thin coats rather than one thick one. It should help even things out. You can try sanding between, just to get the high spots knocked down. Oh, and try to use a low nap roller to avoid overloading the roller. Then there’s always the option of spraying everything. Of course, you have to tape everything you don’t want painted, so that’s a pain, but does avoind brush strokes.

      Hope it helps!

  30. Ben and Amanda,
    What a beautiful home you have created! I am in awe! I am amazed that you have the time to do all of that with your two children. My question is actually for Ben, how did you learn to be so handy? I am the designer in the home, as well as the handy-girl. Is there a class that you took? I’d love to be able to recreate your work. Not to worry, we live in a small townhome in upstate NY… I’m guessing that you’re in the south (from the Ross buys)… and I’ll give you all of teh credit!

    1. Hello Kim,

      Thanks so much for your kind words! Ben learned to be handy by growing up in the middle of nowhere. So basically, he had to learn how to fix things and he had 5 brothers, so they just made things work. Sorry that I don’t have a better answer.


  31. Well, I just took the grand tour, and I’m just amazed. I can’t get over how different it looks! Your house is much like the homes in the neighborhood I grew up in, and it’s SO nice to see how updated they can look. It just goes to show that every house has potential–it just needs some love! You’ve done such a great job!

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thank you so much for stopping in and leaving your encouraging comments! It’s true, (almost) every house has potential, just needs love, some more than others. Again, thank you!


  32. Love your website! It has so many inspirations! This gives me hope for my rancher. Any recommendations in doing the wainscotting when the walls have an orange peel texture?

    1. Hi Jill!

      Thanks so much for your encouragement! If you’re dreaming of wainscotting, you could install a thin sheet of MDF before adding your trim design. Otherwise, you’ll just have to be very thorough when you caulk the seam where the trim meets the wall. I just depends on the look you prefer. Hope it helps!


  33. Hi, I LOVE all your bead board and trim – especially in your dining room and bathroom! I would love to do that but have ugly baseboard heaters….any idea how to take that idea and blend in the baseboards.? Also how far do you come up the wall with the molding – is there a rule of thumb? Keep up the beautiful work!

  34. Hi, I LOVE all your wainscotting – especially in your dining room and bathroom! I would love to do that but have ugly baseboard heaters….any idea how to take that idea and blend in the baseboards.? Also how far do you come up the wall with the molding – is there a rule of thumb? Keep up the beautiful work!

    1. Hi Cynthia,

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment! If you have baseboard heaters, you could install really tall square baseboards that are the about 1 inch taller than your heater and go up from there… I don’t know what the height of your heaters is, but it could work. We just choose a height that a) works for the room (not bumping into it and kocking pictures/plates off) and b) what looks good to us. For chair rail, 36 inches to the top is a safe bet. For taller designs, cutting the wall height into thirds is a good point. You want to stay away from something that’s too tall and too short. Cutting the wall in half is bad (too short) and at 3/4 is too tall.

      Hope it helps!

  35. WOW!!! WOW!!!!! And WOW!!!! You two are amazing! But makeovers I’ve seen. So much hard work! Great job.
    Enjoy it in the new year.


  36. I am so glad to have wandered into your home redo!! We are at a stand still with our basement redo at the moment… walls up taped and mudded and sanded, recessed lights in, doors and wood stained and assembled… but no rugs, paint, or ceiling 😦 I am stuck on colors. I love your palate int he basement. I was not crazy about yellow and always thought i had to go with it to brighten a dark basement… thank you for a wonderful alternative and inspiration with the blue you used!! was it a walmart hue? please share!!! Keep up the great work!!

    1. Hi Cathy,

      We got the paint color from Wal Mart, but it wasn’t one of their colors. It’s actually a mistinted version of Restoration Hardware’s Silver Sage. They used the light base. The formula for one gallon is B-37, E-39.5, and T-37. Glad you were inspired! I love the blue, it’s also in our dining room and it can read more green, more blue, lighter or darker depending on the light.


  37. Thanks for posting your design projects. What a beautiful home you and your husband are creating for your family. I want to thank you for the idea of using the ‘connected square’ motif in paneling, as shown in the left of the photo of your ‘after-office’. I’m currently working on a living room project which includes some plate-rail height paneling in white, and I think incorporating this motif will add interest and make the design a more contemporary version of a traditional design. We’ll see if my clients decide to go for it!

    1. Hi Joyce,

      Thanks so much for your sweet comments! If your clients go for it, I’d love to see pics. Glad we could provide a little inspiration.


    1. Hi Missy,

      I didn’t know that, but I just checked it and that’s totally crazy. In a good way, of course. 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!


  38. Well done on your beautiful home renovations! I really love the chevron throw draped over your couch in the living room. Would you mind sharing your source for that please?

    1. Hello Kelly,

      The chevron throw was from TJ Maxx a few years ago. It’s made by Grammercy Studio, though, so maybe you can find something by searching. Hope it helps!


  39. Do you have a tutorial for the media unit you built upstairs and the one you built in your basement? I loved how they turned out but, since we’ve never attempted anything like that we don’t know where to begin!

    I’m impressed you guys have done so much with 2 kids! We have 3 kids and it hard to get projects done!

    Way to go!

    ~ Ali

  40. I absolutely love your home! It’s beautiful. I’d love to know what colour your living room is painted. BTW I am so technology challenged! BTW I left a comment elsewhere, but not sure if it was the right site.

    1. Hi Amelia,

      Thank you so much for your sweet comments about our house! Our living room is painted with Olympic’s ‘Wicker Chair’. I don’t know if they still carry the color, but they should be able to look it up. Hope it helps!


  41. Of course, after I posted my question about your living room paint color, I saw that someone had already asked and you’d already answered! I actually went to Lowes to ask for a sample of Wicker Chair by Olympic and they told me that it doesn’t exist. Now, I ‘m confused! I’ve been having the hardest time trying to find a nice neutral beige, and would appreciate any help!

    Thanks very much!

    1. Hi Amelia,

      Not a problem! I’ll see if I can find more info for you. It figures the color was discontinued 😦 I’ll let you know more when I know more, though.


  42. Great job! I love how you did this yourself! Very talented!!! Everything is a work in progress and you’ve done so much with what you have.

  43. I found your kitchen pics on Apartment Therapy and just had to see the rest of what you’ve done. These photos are such an inspiration – thank you for sharing them! Could you tell me where you found that black framed mirror in your living room? Best of luck with the house and the blog!

    1. Hi Cait BE,

      The black mirror was a garage sale find for $5.00. It was kelly green before we painted it. Brocade does have similar versions, though they are more expensive. Sorry I can’t help more.


    1. Hi Audrielle,

      The living room paint is Wicker Chair by Olympic paints. I think it has been discontinued, but they might have the formula. Hope it helps!

  44. I love how you have made your home so inviting! The basement doesn’t even look like a basement. Thanks for all of the pictures and ideas!

  45. You guys have done a great job – thanks for posting! My husband and I bought an outdated 1950s ranch last year and have been trying to tastefully update it – so we are always looking for ideas 🙂 Quick question, where did you find the hand towel holder for the master bath? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Brigitta,

      Yep, Home Depot! Thanks for stopping in! If you have questions or need more inspiration, just let us know!


  46. I am still nosing around your site and took the grand tour. All I can say is wow, what a lot of work in such a small amount of time. Very inspiring. I was shocked to see the negative comments. The house was just a boring ranch before you started (no offense!) and you have actually added TONS of character instead of the opposite. And whoever used ‘your house looks like it is out of a home magazine’ as an insult? I would consider it to be one of the highest compliments I ever recieved. You have the style and talent to do the work and the self confidence in your work to leave up the insulting comments, bravo to you.

    1. Hi Arcie,

      We’re glad you poked around and took the tour! Thank you so much for your amazingly kind compliments about our home! We totally agree that it was a boring box before, so we added architectural detail with trim. We know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but we love it, so that’s really all that matters at the end of the day. And I did take the ‘your house looks like it is out of a magazine’ as a compliment. If that ever happens, I’d bo so giddy/excited/hysterical that I wouldn’t sleep for days. Though, I think your comment is one of the highest compliments to date becauase it’s not just about our house, but our style and confidence to leave the negative comments up. So, thank you for making my day! 😀

      Happy Saturday!

  47. Hi,
    I’ve enjoyed your blog, especially the photos of your home. I LOVE the wall colors you’ve used in your Dining Room and Living Room. My husband and I are considering doing something similar in our living spaces. I was wondering if you could tell me the paint brand and paint colors you used for the Dining Room and Living Room. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Lydia,

      Aww, you’re too sweet! Our living room is painted with Olympic’s Wicker Chair, though I didn’t like the brand so I would get it color matched. For the dining room, we got the paint color from Wal Mart, but it wasn’t one of their colors. It’s actually a mistinted version of Restoration Hardware’s Silver Sage. They used the light base. The formula for one gallon is B-37, E-39.5, and T-37. We would love for you to share after pictures on our Facebook page. Hope it helps!

    1. Hi Rae,

      We get a lot of questions about that bed! It’s actually from Ben’s boss. It’s a steel bed that was in their family for 100 years (we actually think it was an old hospital bed). She was going to donate it, but I snatched it up and painted it (twice). When we got the frame it was kelly green, then we painted it red, now it’s yellow. I do think this IKEA bed could have a similar look if spray painted. Or Google/Craigslist Steel Frame Beds to see what you can find. Hope it helps!

  48. I love the look of wainscotting and would love to impliment it in our home but not sure if doing the whole main floor is too much, but you have a version of it almost everywhere and it looks so fresh clean and warm. Guess wood does that eh? Would you recommend it for the whole main floor, my hubby is worried that it is a lot of work and money and that it is a trend and i will regret it will date or house. what do you think?
    Great job!!!

    1. Hi Tracie,

      I really like our wainscotting, BUT there are a few things I don’t like. Number 1, every horizontal piece is like a tiny little shelf to collect dust. It is a pain to keep it clean. Number 2, it can lean toward the traditional style. Though you can modernize it with paint and accessories, you are sort of stuck with it. If you can do the instillation yourselves, it won’t cost a ton of money, especially if you use MDF and paint, but it is a lot of work. Though, if you do one room at a time, it won’t seem too bad. Overall, if you like the look, try it in one room and live with it for a while. Then you’ll know if it’s something you would like more of, or you can be happy with one room.

      I can’t definitively tell you one way or the other, but those are the cons (for me). Though, like you said, it does add a fresh, clean feeling. And, if you have a boring builder grade house, you can add a lot of interest. Hopefully that helps a little. You might want to post your question on our Facebook page to see if anyone else has insight into the world or wainscotting…

  49. My fiance and I just bought our first house and all the fantastic things you’ve done to your place makes me want to build a new builtin for the house!

  50. I love the wainsocting in your office; but, I have a suggestion for you. I noticed that you have an outlet on the wall to the left of your desk that disrupts your square pattern. Since Ben is such a skilled worker, have you thought about building a door with a hidden hinge to cover the portion of the outlet? He would have to do some sculpting on the back side of the piece where it meets the outlet; but, with a mortised hinge and tight cuts, you would barely notice that it’s actually a hinged access door. I know your outlet is taller than the width of your wood for the squares, but the square pattern is the focal point and that should, for the most part, go unnoitced. Currently, the viewer’s eye goes straight to the missing piece when it hits the outlet and the pattern is disrupted. With a door, the pattern is uninterrupted, the outlet sticking out beyond the trim fades to the background and when you need to plug in your vacuum or whatever, you just open the door. I’m not a woodworked, but I bet this can be done fairly easily, especially with Ben’s skills. Just a thought for you! Great blog, I hope ours can get to this point eventually as well.

  51. Wow. I seriously love everything you have done! I just found your blog, and of course scrolled right to the Grand Tour! I’m am really digging all the unique wainscoting. I appreciate that you’re doing things that are not “cost prohibitive” to the average joe. lol Bravo!

    1. Hi Missurbanbarbie,

      Thank you so much for your sweet compliments of our house! We love the wainscotting, too, of course. It’s throughout our house. We install the trim because we love it, though, if we had to pay a contractor to install it, we wouldn’t have it all over. We couldn’t afford that! 🙂
      Thanks again!

  52. Love what you’ve done with your home! Sorry if this is a repeat question but, what is the paint color/brand in the master bedroom? I’m looking for a similar color. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Thank you! No problem. The color is Bay Laurel by Restoration Hardware but we got it color matched in Wal Mart’s brand. Hope it helps!


  53. I love everything about your house EXCEPT for your oak cabinets… why???? Because I have them too. I also “pinned” your wood vase on Pinterest. loved that.

    1. Thank you so much, Carly! I hate our oak cabinets! They’ll be the first things to go when we finally get around to renovating our kitchen. Thanks for pinning our wood vase, too!


    1. Hi Jessica,

      The yellow bed was from Ben’s boss. I guess it was in her family forever, but they didn’t have a use for it. I think it was an old steel hospital bed that was painted several times before we got it. Then we spray painted it red and now yellow. Sorry, I know that’s not especially helpful. I do think this IKEA bed could have a similar look with a coat of bright paint.


  54. Love the photos and the progress. I’m slowly getting back into the swing of my projects this year and have found all of these wonderful blogs a great source of inspiration, not only for ideas but to give me the drive to complete my to-do list. Keep up the great work 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Karen! Blogs definitely give motivation to get projects done. I know the feeling. 🙂 Good luck with your projects!!


  55. I was in lust after just the bedroom and THEN I saw the basement!! It’s gorgeous! I snagged so many pictures for my Pinterest for inspiration for our place. What an amazing job you guys did!! Do you have any flooding issues in Montana? We’re interested in finishing our basement but I’m afraid to make something nice and then have it get water damage.

    1. Thanks so much, Nora!! Central Montana is pretty dry, so we haven’t had any flooding issues. But, that did influence some of our decisions. We chose porcelain tile because it wouldn’t get ruined with water. With that said, of course our drywall and trim would be ruined if we had a major water entrance. If you live in an area with flooding issues, I would be slightly concerned, however, most insurance will cover flooding, if you add it. We didn’t need the space, but it definitely is nice to have. If you have plenty of space, you might not want to, but it definitely doesn’t hurt for resale purposes.


  56. Sorry if you answered this already…but I was just wondering why the kids’ room didn’t have crown molding? It looks great, not saying it needs it, I just noticed that the other parts of the house seem to have the paneling stuff AND molding. I’m still totally envious of all of the detail work…the windows, the molding, the paneling (what is the correct word for that?). And, what exactly is it all? I have no knowledge, my husband may. He’s super handy but not much in the carpentry area I guess. Do you buy it in sections or do you piece it together? Thanks for any help!

    1. Hi Melissa G,

      We opted not to install crown in the boys’ bedroom because of how tall and simple the board and batten is, just didn’t like it together. I usually call it paneling, but Ben tells me it sounds like 70’s faux wood paneling, so I’m misleading. The designs are all pieced together. We use MDF because it’s cheap, more flexible than wood and paintable. Here is a link to one of our rooms before paint. And here’s another one showing the dimensions and process. And another. Hope it helps! If you still have questions, just let me know!


  57. Awesome!!!! Love all of it. I am sure I missed it, but where are the washer and dryer living? heehee.
    Looking forward to future progress!


  58. Your home is gorgeous and what talent you both have. I came over from Rhoda’s and I am so glad she featured you guys today. I will certainly visit often.

  59. Came to visit your blog after Rhoda featured you guys. Beautiful transformation and both of you guys are so talented.

    1. Hi Jana, Sure! We’ve love to travel more, if only our schedules allowed! Thanks so much for your kind words!


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