About a week and a half ago, Mike and I closed on our home here in Asheville! When we moved up a little over a year ago, we didn't have the time to thoroughly look for a new house and it all turned out to be a blessing in disguise. For one, we had no idea the Asheville housing market was so steep and competitive. I wouldn't have wanted to get into a bidding war over a property we weren't 100% sure about.
Two, we needed time to get our bearings a bit - find out where we want to be, what's works and what's easiest. With Mike's commute to work, we quickly ruled out multiple sections of town that would tack on way too much time. Three, since you can't really prepare for how difficult a newborn/infant will be, we've loved being within walking distance of multiple restaurants, shops, and walking trails in Biltmore Park. I don't have to pack in a rolling suitcase just to go out to eat; if I forget something, going home to grab it is an easy option. I've ducked out of meals several times to run home and nurse Harlow. Such a blessing!
But now, it's been over a year, Harlow is crawling all over the place, and we're ready for more space. We've been quietly shopping for homes for a while now, praying for that needle in a haystack that would check all our boxes: big enough to grow into, on our side of town, and in our budget. That was quite the challenge.
Then one day, I got an email announcing a new home had hit the market that met all of our criteria. I took a look and thought...ehhh. A brick '70s ranch? Not typically my style. I made myself look beyond the surface-level cons and focus on the pros. It's 50% bigger than our Charleston house even though you'd never guess it. Brick fireplaces on two levels. Big windows and loads of natural light. A drive-under garage. A basement big enough for a game room, a play room, and an office. A beautiful backyard flat enough to accommodate outdoor games and a swing set. (Not an easy thing to find in the mountains!) And oh, did I mention it's already fenced in? A HUGE plus when you've got two 50 pound dogs in tow! And let me tell you, I'm so freaking tired of walking them in one hand with a stroller in the other. Every. Damn. Day.
I forwarded the email to Mike with one word: potential. We went to see it quickly, knowing it would attract lots of eyes between the location, size, and price. Fast forward through several viewings, contractor meetings, and budget talks, we're now officially the owners of a charming brick ranch renovation project!
Did I just hear your record scratch? I know, renovations are scary. However, I have already built a house down in Charleston, and then moved out of it during the weekend of record-breaking floods last year. I had my moments, but it was all so worth it. I'm sure this process will be dotted with its own challenges, and then resolve itself into the happy home we envisioned it to be.
I want to share the process here on the blog because A) I love a good makeover and a home renovation is like the crown jewel of total transformations, and B) I'm sure I'll need a place to blow off some steam. Or share fun decorating ideas. Or talk about rugs and accent chairs and shower tile!
So let's start at the start and take a gander at these 'before' photos I snapped over the weekend! Forgive the hasty iPhone quality -- I'll put more effort into the 'after' pics!
The (tentative) plan: Paint the exterior; Build a front portico; Clean up the yard.
We're removing the shutters with the option to add them back at the end if we want. I'm thinking with the white brick and gray trim we won't need them, and besides, I don't love them anyways. The front door will be changed and that frosted glass sidelight is history.
FOYER/LIVING ROOM/DINING ROOM
The (tentative) plan: Remove wall paneling and weird light fixture; Bust out wall for better flow into kitchen area; Create double-sided fireplace for use in both living room and kitchen.
The living room single-handedly got me interested in viewing this house. I'm such a big believer in natural light. It helps keep out the mental cobwebs and lightens the mood! And of course this fireplace is a show stopper, and making it a double-sided unit that we can use in the kitchen area, too, is one of my favorite plans we've got in the works. The hardwoods are all original and in great shape -- big win for us!
The (tentative) plan: Paint cabinets; Replace hardware and light fixtures; Create double-sided fireplace from living room; Refinish hardwoods (if possible).
You can see that some work has already been done to the kitchen, but even so we're going to change some things. We prefer white cabinets and more stylized light fixtures, but all in all, not a ton of changes here. Well, except for the floors. We're not sure what's under these Pergo floors and whatever we find will determine our plans. TBD on this one.
The (tentative) plan: Replace closet doors, outlets, and light fixtures; Remove wall paneling in guest room.
The bedrooms don't need a ton of work thank goodness! The front guest room isn't very big, but the master and Harlow's room are both pretty big. That being said, I am sad to say the closets are tee tiny! It almost derailed things for me because, let's face it, I have way too much stuff to fit into those tiny closets and that's not even taking into account Mike's clothes and shoes! We're going to switch one of the closets from Harlow's room to ours (sorry baby girl!) so hopefully that will help remedy the issue. I won't have the big walk-in closet I would ideally love to have but...one day. At least I have tons of space for off-season storage, and I recently saw this cabinet on Julia Hengel's home tour that I love for folded jeans, tees, and sweaters.
Now...what you've all been waiting for....
The (tentative) plan: Rip it all out.
Good lawd, how repulsively '70s are these bathrooms?! That baby poop yellow-green color is just the worst. You can't see it, but there's a delightful built-in tiled toothbrush holder that's quite the sign o' the times. The wallpaper, the vinyl flooring, the brass, the sliding shower doors. It's like an assault on the eyes.
The bright side is, we get to have loads of fun by starting from scratch and making each bathroom our own! For our bathroom, I'm thinking lots of white set off by metallic accents and marble tile. In Harlow's bathroom, I'd like to have a little fun with a colorful vanity and gold fixtures. I'm not really sure yet. It's almost like there are too many fun choices to know where to start!
The (tentative) plan: Be thankful it's good to go!
The previous owners finished the basement, installing faux hardwoods, repainting the walls, and upgrading the bathroom to the tune of a new vanity. It still needs a new floor and shower, but we can simply replace those versus the demo and rebuild bathroom projects going on upstairs. We'll throw some glass doors on the fireplace and look forward to lots of fun in this perfect family room!
Clearly the following gorgeous professional photos were not taken by my iPhone! I pulled them from our listing site via Beverly-Hanks. I don't normally use photos that I didn't take myself, but the light was either too dim or too bright when I attempted to photograph these areas.
That back deck though...and those trees! I can't wait to entertain out here! I love a good al fresco dinner or happy hour. I can already visualize having an early evening summer cocktail while Harlow runs around in the grass. Thoughts like that make me so happy, they just hug my heart.
We already started our renovations -- woo hoo! So far I'm very happy with all of the changes. I'll be posting sporadic updates on here and probably somewhat more frequent bursts on Instagram stories if you want to follow along! Wish us luck!