Happy Wednesday, friends! This past weekend, Eric and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. Two whole years that have flown right by. Our anniversary also marks two years since we bought our house in Huntington Beach, Yep, we closed on it on our wedding day. Guess we wanted to really make the day special, right? So immediately after our wedding is when the fun, well, the home remodeling began.
The house was built in the 60’s and was in serious need of some TLC. (You can see a bunch of before photos below.) The exterior walls had termite damage (so much of it), and some of the interior walls had mold from a previous roof leak. The bathrooms needed to be gutted, the kitchen had mustard yellow countertops, and we’ll get to the large amount of lime green panelling in a future post. The original front door swung open directly into the first stair, and the front yard had become an overgrown “critter haven” with a palm tree that reminded me of Cousin It. I’ll admit that when I first saw the house, I definitely did not see the potential that Eric saw. That’s probably why we were already in escrow by the time I toured the house. Eric just knew. And to be fair, the house is in a really great neighborhood that we love and is closer to the beach than we thought possible at the time.
So two years ago, we did a bunch of repairs inside to get the house move-in ready. We changed out drywall, redid two of the three bathrooms, and got rid of the popcorn ceilings and carpet. I’m sure all of the neighbors were wondering when we might fix up the outside, but that came several months later. Last January, we moved out of the house for five months so the real remodel could be done. And now, what feels like a million miles from the starting line, we’re so happy with the way it all turned out.
To answer a popular question, Eric is a commercial contractor, so he was the general contractor on our home. He doesn’t normally do homes and probably won’t ever do anyone else’s home, but I guess, never say never. And as for the design, that was us. We had definite ideas of what we wanted and didn’t want, but the main goal in mind was adding a little curb appeal. In the end, I think we achieved it with a few key elements.
Windows – Changing out all of the windows in the house was something we seriously could not wait to do. Anytime the wind blew, all of the 1960’s single pane windows in the house would rattle like crazy. They were beasts to open, and inexplicably, some of them appeared to have sections of car tint? It was a mess. New windows will definitely take up a HUGE part of any remodel budget, but they can be such a game changer. We also added two windows upstairs which gives us so much more natural light inside and, in my opinion, a better look outside.
Lighting – We knew that we wanted to add so much lighting. We boxed in the soffits (essentially, the overhangs) and added recessed soffit lighting around the entire house. We added post lanterns, a pendant light, landscape lighting and pathway lights in the brick steps. Everything is on timers with LED bulbs, so every single light combined takes less energy to run than an old plasma TV that we had.
Brick Elements – Although the majority of the house is siding and plaster (with the latter mainly in the back), we knew we wanted to add some sort of brick element to the house. The brick columns, herringbone pattern walkway, and planter give the house a bit more of a finished look.
Paint Color – Admittedly, this part was hard. For me, it was so hard to imagine how one of those little paint swatches would look on an entire house, and Eric is colorblind so he was no help in this department. We took extra pieces of siding and did some pretty large mock-ups. I picked a color, bought all the paint we needed, and then freaked out and changed my mind about 15 minutes before the house was painted. And I’m so glad that I did.
Dutch Door – This for us was an absolute must. Most homes in our area have no air conditioning, so in the summer months, a Dutch door definitely helps let in the breeze. We previously lived in a rental home with a Dutch door and had it open ALL the time, and this one has been the same. We also popped the front door out about six or eight feet and created an entryway so that the door didn’t swing directly into the stairs. (Imagine that.)
Landscaping – Throughout construction, our front yard consisted of dumpsters, a port-o-potty, tools, saws, extra materials, and dirt. Towards the end, Eric and I spent a weekend in Palm Springs, and when I came home to grass, plants, and two trees that were filled with yellow flowers, I could have cried.
It was definitely a LONG process, but in the end it’s been so worth the wait. Now, we’ve just completed the backyard and love the way it turned out. It still needs furniture and some finishing touches, but I’ll be sharing that space, as well as some peeks inside, with you guys soon. Hope everyone has a great week!