Home Concepts

The Hillside Home

I recently had the privilege of designing my first home, that wasn’t a DIY! And let me tell you, It was glorious!! Okay, well it wasn’t completely perfect, but all of the parts that were supposed to be good, were. Seeing my ideas come to life by the hands of professional, experienced tradesmen was so much fun! And what better way to learn about this whole renovation process than with my own house. That’s right, my own house! That’s where the not so perfect part comes in. My kids were not exactly on board with this project. Luckily, the whole construction part of it only took five (very long) weeks. We survived, and were very grateful for our camping trailer!

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We spent a lot of time outside, and we were blessed with perfect weather!

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Before it all started…

My husband and I bought this house, our third house, about two and a half years ago. We started some projects ourselves with plans of doing the DIY thing as we had always done in the past. Joseph and I have talked about and dreamed about hiring professionals to do the work for us for years! Joseph always says ”when I’m grown up, I’ll hire someone to do that!” Of course, once we get the quotes and reality sets in we end up doing the work ourselves. So we did some DIY projects within the first year of living in this house. To start, we (meaning Joseph) tore out the florescent lights in the kitchen, installed the raw pallet boards I asked for into the recessed area of the ceiling and installed recessed lighting. He also removed the upper cabinets in the front of the kitchen, retextured the drywall, wired and hung pendant lights and installed rustic, industrial shelves that I designed. I got to help by painting walls, sanding and staining, and of course directing. Later I decided to chalk paint the kitchen cabinets white and added an antique wax that complimented the mass amounts of wood in our home.

The kitchen before most of the work. I had already done some painting. The walls were forest green before I painted them. The fluorescent lights are already removed and the recessed lighting has been installed.
Joseph is installing pallet boards on the kitchen ceiling and I’m test painting a cabinet door.
Our DIY kitchen. Just missing the pendant lights.

We dabbled in a few small projects before the next big DIY. For me they mostly consisted of practicing my chalk painting and wood staining skills. Joseph built a few more pieces and we painted the main living areas of our home. When baby #4 got close to his due date, I decided we should move our three boys into the same room so the newborn could cry all night in his own room and not wake up his brothers. We needed triple bunk beds! After scouring pinterest and taking into consideration the needs I had for the room, I drew a picture and convinced Joseph that it would be a great project to take on. (he’s so sweet to me!) I wanted this room to be something that would work for them now, but something that they could grow into. So I chose a masculine theme that was simple with rustic touches.

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I went with a light bluish gray paint on the walls with a darker gray paint on the trim as well as the closet doors. The wall behind the lockers is a chalk wall I have yet to allow the boys to use. (chalk is so much messier than I realized!) I spray painted the trim on the closet and the plumbing used as supports a matte black for added cohesiveness. Joseph removed the ceiling fan and installed two corner industrial fans as well as recessed lights. We needed room darkening shades on the window and I love how the natural colors of the bamboo tie everything together!
I found these lockers on Ramona deals, and they were already the perfect color! The beds, footlockers, hanging shelves and a hat rack (not shown) are all made of lumber from Home Depot and stained with Early American. Joseph installed the beds using heavy duty lag bolts, bolted into the wall studs. The ladder adds additional support. It’s a super sturdy bed! I sealed all of the wood with a water based polyurethane. I was so excited to find the perfect dresser! It has the exact modern, rustic look I wanted. The buffalo checked bedding was a Christmas gift from my mom for my two older boys and I luckily found a matching third one on Wayfair along with this cool gray geometric rug.

The end of the DIY Phase… For now

We don’t mind hard work. It doesn’t scare us. We’re usually up for a challenge and I’m pretty certain we have plenty of DIY in our future. BUT, this summer we unexpectedly decided to sell our rental property. Then we unintentionally spent the bulk of our profit on an amazing renovation. What I mean by unintentionally, is that the project kept growing and growing and growing. (Have I mentioned how wonderful my husband is?!)

It all started with the wood ceiling…

I knew the dark wood ceiling in the living room had to go! Ironically, it was the first thing that drew me to the house. I love the look of natural wood, but this house had so much of it, and it was the wrong color for me! I was starting to feel a little weighed down by the darkness of my home.

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Before picture of our living room. We had recently painted the walls a pretty creamy color, which we ended up changing when it clashed with the new ceiling. Domino effect!

Renovation goal #1: Wood floors throughout the entire house. Of course the last thing I needed was MORE WOOD! Sooooo, after much, much agonizing I decided to paint the ceiling. White! That one decision started a massive domino effect on our renovation. Hence the end of our DIY streak. It was time to call a contractor. Being 9 months pregnant, I was a little hormonal and a little crazy. I had a ton of ideas and I couldn’t wait to get started! Greg, my amazing contractor, came to my house and spent about three hours going over every single thing I wanted to do. He gave me rough estimates on all of it and was incredibly patient with me. Over the next few months Greg and I planned out everything that was going to be done to our house. I visited flooring showrooms, countertop manufacturers, plumbing stores, a tile warehouse, looked at LOTS of pinterest boards, and spent tons of time shopping for the perfect furniture and accents on Wayfair. All of this with my four kids trailing behind me! They were really good sports about it! I’m so glad we took our time planning. That time allowed Greg to line up his tradesmen, order his materials and schedule everything ahead of time. I was able to coordinate the furniture and fixture deliveries I was responsible for. It made the construction process much easier, quicker and enjoyable.

The design…

I love designing! I love creating beautiful spaces, thinking about every aspect and element that matters to make everything work together and flow in a way that makes sense. I’ve essentially been doing this since I was a little girl. Frequently rearranging my bedroom, drawing floor plans, dreaming up the perfect house for my family. Pouring over floor plan and architectural magazines. (I guess I was a strange kid). My youth was filled with creative arts. Dancing, singing, art classes and later drafting classes. As a young adult I fell into a career rooted in design. To finally get to work with a professional to create the space I had in my head was a dream come true!

My first BIG project!

I had the BEST time as I spent hours looking at paint colors, tile, wood floors, door and trim combinations, countertops complimented by the perfect tile. Light fixtures, rugs, furniture, artwork. Everything! And all of it needed to be seamlessly beautiful. It had to work for my family and aesthetically stand the test of time. I loved every moment! And the result was even better than I imagined.

I’m in love with the bright open feeling of my home now! The wall color is a warm antique white and has just the right amount of contrast with the clean white on the wood ceiling and trim. I was adamant that we should install wood floors, but was convinced by multiple sales professionals and installers that vinyl plank was a better option for my family. I am SO glad I listened and went with the latter! Although wood would have been beautiful and had the authentic look and feel I was going for, it just wasn’t practical. The vinyl plank has already proven to be exactly what my house needed! And I love the look!
On top of construction decor decisions, I also had plenty of decorating decisions, which was equally fun to plan! The newly painted wood ceiling lightened up the house a lot. I still wanted an overall warm, inviting feel, so I chose a medium wood tone for floor. I looked for something lightly distressed that had some texture and an almost matte finish to reduce the appearance of footprints. I used three different wood tones throughout the rest of the house, all in the same color family. Camel leather couches and natural fiber rugs add more contrast to balance out the dark wood tones. I used accent chairs and pillows for pops of color. The chalk painted hutch and matching French door add additional color interest.
Mixing metals and wood add to the rustic, industrial look I love for my family. It’s durable and masculine enough for all of the guys that live here, and still attractive for me to enjoy.
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I loved my DIY chalk painted kitchen! I wouldn’t have spent hours working on it had I known I was going to change the entire design of my house, but once that decision was made, I knew the kitchen cabinets needed to be white to compliment the new ceiling color. The original cabinets were cheap builder grade cabinets. Not worth the money to have professionally painted white. It was better to replace them all together.
Since we ended up gutting the kitchen, we made a few small footprint changes, added new quartz countertops, a farmhouse sink, brushed champagne fixtures that complement the knobs and pulls on the cabinets and a full subway tile backsplash. I used pewter grout on the backsplash to break up all of the white and tie into my existing black appliances. We replaced our refrigerator with a black stainless counter depth model. I love the black stainless! We’ll slowly replace the rest of our appliances to match, as we can afford to do so. I added wood planks to the back of the peninsula stained in the three finishes used on other pieces in the home. The iron corbels have a feminine touch as to not overdo the industrial features found in other design elements.
Adding an appliance cabinet gave me additional countertop space and allowed me to add in some character with a custom wood range hood where the microwave used to be.
The sliding glass door and window transitioning into the sunroom were removed to bring a more open feeling to the house. I had this custom transom window commissioned by my contractor Greg. It’s one of my favorite elements of the renovation, the perfect finishing touch in my new kitchen and looks incredible from both sides!

It all came together perfectly…

There is so much that went into this renovation. Every element was carefully thought out to compliment the project as a whole. I’ve really just scratched the surface with all of the details. There was construction work completed, as well as individualized design concepts created in each bedroom, bathroom, the hallway, living, dining, kitchen and sunroom. Each person that worked on my home was incredibly talented. I was there every day and saw firsthand the care and dedication these guys put into their businesses and in turn, people’s homes. Painters, craftsmen, flooring contractors, all of them were incredible! I immensely enjoyed putting together a design then seeing it come to life as a place I get to enjoy every day. From each light fixture, to every candle, tray or even cool toys as decor. I truly love every part of my home! The challenge of bringing my family along for the ride made the end result even more rewarding. Now that it’s complete, we all get to enjoy this beautiful home, designed with each member of my family in mind.

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8 thoughts on “The Hillside Home”

  1. I really like reading your blog and seeing the beautiful pictures of your remodeled home. You have done a beautiful job in creating your “rustic farm house”. I like all of your ideas and have done a few of them myself. You’re a very creative gal and I can’t wait to see your home in person. Your blog puts everything in perspective when I look at all the pictures that you enclosed. See you soon and Happy Birthday! Love ya💕

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