We’ve Been Keeping a Secret: Tour Our Next Renovation Project

Obviously the title of this post has spoiled the grand surprise, but we bought a house, and it’s a major renovation project.

I am so excited to finally tell you about it now that the squatters are officially moved out.

Oh yes, you read that right!

Long (and complicated) story short, we bid and won this house at an auction, knowing ahead of time that it was unlawfully occupied.

Suffice it to say nothing is ever conventional when it comes to our house-buying decisions. Case in point: Do you remember the story of how we bought our bungalow?

But I digress.

After many, many (many!) months of monitoring the real estate market, obsessing over Zillow, touring and bidding on (and not getting) several foreclosure properties around town, the husband and I decided to venture a bit out of our comfort zone into a neighboring city. Obviously, there’s some risk with this sort of renovation project because of the not-so-familiar market, but as the Russian saying goes, “He who doesn’t risk never drinks champagne.”

This is a good time to mention that we had no intention of buying a house for ourselves to actually live in. Oh no, that would be far too conventional, ha!

Our bungalow renovation turned out to be such a success that we decided to do it all over again – except at a much faster rate. In other words, no four-year remodel with this one. We’re hoping to renovate and put this house back on the market as soon as spring!

Anyway, as most of you know, after selling our bungalow and temporarily moving into a rental home, we continued our house search, on the lookout for an investment opportunity. I am so, SO excited to take you on a tour of our next renovation project!

To make up for the iPhone quality of these photos, I’ll be sharing a video tour on Instagram later today, so join me there, too!

We briefly considered living here during the renovation, but that decision just didn’t make sense.

The plan is to invest in projects that’ll increase the property value. Think kitchen remodel, updated bathrooms, new paint, new lighting fixtures, etc. Then, as I already mentioned, we will be listing this house come spring.

As far as renovation projects go, I think we’ve landed ourselves quite the opportunity, despite the fact that we never even stepped inside the house before buying it.

This house has so much potential for improvement, though.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover 12-foot ceilings in the living room when I first walked in – which, may I remind you, happened after we already bought the house.

Fun fact: the video tour I filmed for Instagram was also my first time touring the house!

As is to be expected with a 90’s build, there are lots of questionable design decisions… (I’m looking at you, angled kitchen peninsula.)

The aforementioned kitchen is right off the foyer.

We are still debating whether anything here is salvageable, or if it would make more sense to tear everything down and start afresh.

I’m leaning more towards the latter, but that’s a surprise to literally no one.

I can already tell that my biggest challenge will be to reign in my many ideas. Renovating for yourself, as we did with our bungalow, is drastically different from renovating with the intention of selling. As I brainstorm ideas and plan out our list of projects, I am constantly reminding myself that our focus is on necessary cosmetic changes that increase property value.

Our focus is NOT on bringing my Pinterest boards to life, ha!

I am very excited about this breakfast nook, though. Just look at all that natural light!

I do think the bar seating being right next to the breakfast nook is a bit excessive. How much seating could such a small kitchen possibly need?

Off to the side of the kitchen is a short hallway that leads to the laundry room, another pantry closet, and the double garage.

Also connected to the kitchen is a screened in porch, which leads onto a large deck.

Back inside: Adjacent to the kitchen is the dining room. Despite it being a bit small, the natural light here is incredible. I’m picturing some sort of wall treatment here using the existing chair rail and possibly some fun wallpaper – except not like what’s currently here.

I’m so happy the main living areas in this house have such large windows. Did you know ample natural light is one of the biggest selling points of a house?

Notice the deck, flat backyard and picturesque mountain view through the dining room window – three more selling points! The previous owner was very much into gardening, so there are lots of fruit trees out there, too. I can’t wait to discover more!

Below is the dining room from the other side, when you’re standing in the living room.

Here’s the view if you were to stand in the dining room, looking into the living room.

On the opposite end of the living room is a small hallway that leads to three bedrooms.

I love the fact that this house is all on one level – a huge plus for families with young children. After living in both, one- and two-level homes, I appreciate the former so much more.

First up: the master bedroom. Right away you can spy a glimpse of my favorite room in the house (total sarcasm here): the master bathroom.

But we’ll get to that in a second.

First, let’s talk about that interesting ceiling line in the master bedroom. I don’t even know what to call that; it’s not exactly a tray ceiling – or is it?

The sloping ceiling lines aren’t my favorite, but unfortunately that’s not something that we will change. On a more positive note: the extra tall ceilings are quite nice.

I also appreciate the symmetry of the windows on the wall where the bed is to stand. Plus, as soon as the overgrown landscaping is brought into shape, this room will get even more natural light – so all in all, quite a few selling points here, too.

Next up is the en-suite bathroom. It is perhaps the most dated of rooms, but that only means that its potential for improvement is massive.

I don’t know what to comment on first: the wallpaper, the choppy floors, the 30″ high vanity, the number of doors in such a small space (four!), or the blinding paint in the toilet room.

So much is happening in this space. It’s basically divided into four areas: a toilet room, a closet, a shower room, and a sink room – and they all have their own doors. Add in that wallpaper, and it’s a lot to take in.

Between the shower and toilet room is an oversized walk-in closet. Now that I can appreciate!

My initial thought is to keep the toilet and built-in tub. Everything else will be replaced – and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m picturing a statement light fixture over the tub, a modern vanity, brass mirrors…ah, I’m especially looking forward to designing this space.

Back into the hallway, we pass a teeny-tiny linen closet (seriously, it’s 18 inches wide) and head into the other bathroom.

Here we have another 30″ vanity (that’s height, by the way). Why in the world would anyone install such a short vanity in both the master and the children’s bathroom is beyond me. It barely reaches my thighs!

I like that there’s a window here, though. You know I’m all about that natural light.

This is another room that will get a total remodel.

Back into the hallway, we make a right turn into one of the bedrooms.

Again, lots of natural light, decent in size, and the hardwood floors are a nice bonus (anyone else despise carpet as much as I do?)

The other bedroom is nearly identical, down to the obnoxiously loud choice of paint color.

Now, we’re back in the hallway looking out into the master bedroom to the left and the living room to the right.

As you can see, there are two different types of hardwood flooring in the house, which of course drives my OCD bonkers. We’re still debating whether that’s something that would put off a potential buyer as much as it does me. I’d love to hear you weigh in!

That, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our tour!

If you’re still here, thanks for making it to the end of this rather massive post! Can you tell I’m excited to get started on another renovation project?! Also thank you for hanging in with me while we were in-between projects. I know many of you tune into this space specifically for design content. Obviously that has been nonexistent for quite some time. But you can be sure that will soon change. I’ll be sharing every detail of this very exciting renovation project with you as it happens!

Reminder: I’m going to do a video tour via Instagram stories today, so check there if you want a better idea of the floor plan and how the rooms are connected.

In the meantime, I would love to know: What are your initial thoughts? Which room would you tackle first? What projects are you most excited to see? Do you have any renovation questions you’d like me to address in future posts?

Chime in with your thoughts in the comments section!



  1. Wow this house looks really nice for being a blind purchase. If you would’ve bought it here in CA it would’ve been literally a dump inside. Those are the type of foreclosures here lol.
    I’m very excited to see the renovation!!
    I wish you guys the very best!!!

    • Thank you so much, Melissa! Sorry I’m just now seeing your comment! Can’t believe it’s been nearly 4 months, but I’m finally starting to share the finished rooms! Just published the guest bathroom reveal, feel free to check it out and let me know what you think!

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