November 12, 2015

How We Updated Our 1970's House on a Budget (and the living room REVEAL!)


Hey guys!!!

So, I haven't blogged in nearly 4 months. It's crazy.

I barely even know where to begin! There's so much to say and so much to share, so let's just jump right in and pick up where we left off.










Our little Ava is now 5 months old and doing really great. We survived 4 months of colic/milk allergy/reflux and between that and a pretty difficult pregnancy, I felt like the wind had been knocked out of my sails. But, little by little, things are getting so much better and I'm slowly starting to feel like my old self again. Thank you guys so much for being patient with me and understanding that I needed some time off to focus on Ava. I'm so grateful for this precious girl, and I'm sure one day I'll look back and laugh about the past year.
But, like, not yet. 


Ava on Halloween...finally giving us all sorts of sweet smiles. 


So, let's get down to business. 
In the final few months before I had Ava, I was able to share with you guys the finished basement renovation, our upstairs flooring redo, and the nursery. But I kinda ran out of time (duty called) before I could share the finished living room. So, a quick 5 months after I finished it, today I can finally show it to you.

Many of you guys have been following my blog for awhile now and have already seen the before pictures of the upstairs living area, but I'll share them again, as it's always a nice reminder of how outdated our house was when we first moved in. 

So, here are the before pics.

This is the living room in May of 2010 when we first moved in...wall to wall carpet, outdated light fixtures, dark wood trim, and windows so old that you could feel the wind in your hair when you stood next to them.



This was what the entryway looked like. Outdated light fixture, parquet flooring and carpeted stairs, rickety old stair rail, and dark wood trim and door.


This was what the dining room looked like. There was a wall between the kitchen and dining room that made the room almost too tiny to use. There was an old glass sliding door that barely opened, dark wood trim and wainscotting, outdated light fixtures, and a tile/carpet combo.


This is what it looked standing in the dining room and looking into the living room. 


This house sat on the market for a really long time before we bought it, as it was obviously totally outdated. I was a little scared, as it was our first house and I had never renovated anything in my life. But, ultimately I decided to just go for it and I'm so glad I did. Renovating it took me almost 5 years to complete. Sometimes it was totally stressful, sometimes I wanted to quit, but ultimately it's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. And I learned a lot. Which is great because we won't live here forever, and the next time I renovate a house, I'll be much better equipped.


So, that being said, here are the pics of what this upstairs area looks like today. 
Let's start with a little recap of the dining room and entryway and then we'll move into the living room.

One of the things that made the biggest difference was knocking down the wall between the dining room and kitchen. We also built a new stair rail, painted all of the trim and wainscoting white, added new light fixtures, and installed white washed hardwood flooring.







I painted our kitchen cabinets and updated the hardware when we first moved in the house, and although in an ideal world I would have been able to fully renovate the kitchen, I decided that I could really stretch our budget by just painting the cabinetry and working with what we already had. 


In the dining room, I added a bold rug that I found for $60 (I know it's not for everyone, and that's okay.). I found the dining room table at a salvage shop, and the white leather chairs with metallic legs I found on Overstock. 
The original post about the dining room with sources can be found here.


Also, we've talked about my orchid sabotage many times, so...that's a fake orchid.
I've got a child to raise.



Here's a quick view from the landing at the top of the stairs. You can see where we also knocked down the wall and widened the old doorway into the hallway.


Here's a look around the corner. You can see how we painted the old outdated wainscoting white.


We also replaced the old sliding glass door in the dining room with nice french doors.


In the entryway, we replaced the light fixture, and installed double doors on the coat closet. 


We replaced the carpet on the stairs with hardwood treads and painted white risers, and we also built a new stairrail.


 I painted the existing front door Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze (favorite!), and added a little silver coat hook from HomeGoods.


One of the deer heads broke off after I brought it home. And now this little coat hook reminds me of Jesse tinkering in the garage for an hour, determined to fix it for me. I think there was some ametuer welding going on in the garage, but I was too pregnant to waddle out there and watch. 



And now, let's move on to the finished living room. I don't expect this room to blow anyone's mind. But, it's come such a long way, and it's where we spend most of our time, so it definitely deserves at least a little time on the blog.

We replaced the light fixtures, added some inexpensive tufted couches and a giant comfy ottoman, the rug is from awhile back, and then I thrifted the TV console.


Here's a pic of the TV console I found at the thrift store. It's obviously nothing special, but it was the right size and $20, so...sold!


I painted it (using the only furniture paint I ever use anymore) and changed out the hardware.



It has a super glossy lacquer finish and looks really great up close. I'll eventually mount the TV on the wall, too.


Here's a closeup of the hardware. Some little polished nickel pulls from Home Depot.


I haven't decided on what kinda curtains I want to hang yet, so for now the windows are just bare. It took us 5 years to finally replace those old windows, so I don't mind looking at the new ones in the meantime.


I added some Etsy pillows to the sofas.


Here's a view of the living room looking back into the dining room, one of my favorite views.



We built the mantel and made the stacked log insert for the fireplace (both were done awhile ago) and then I freshened up the mantle with some things I had around the house.


The little framed floral art is a print I found on Etsy.


And then, I made some art of my own...some black and white abstract art for above the sofa. 


I had Jesse build me a basic wooden frame. 


And I spray painted it with this Krylon Foil Metallic silver spray paint (affiliate link). It's good, ya'll. I think I'll be using it as my go-to silver spray paint from now on.


It made my little frame look like actual metal or like it was silver leafed. Either way, good stuff.



For the painting itself, I just used some Sherwin Williams Simply White paint (the same color that's on the walls), mixed it with a little gray, and then sketched out a doodle and filled it in with some Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze (the same black paint I used on the front door). It's probably not gonna end up at a museum, but it took me an hour and only cost me a few bucks, so homemade art for the win.


And that, you guys, is the finished upstairs living area! I'm sure it will continue to evolve and change, but it feels great to at least have it furnished and not under construction. We lived in the basement throughout most of my pregnancy, so it's nice to no longer be a cave dweller.

And I'll leave you with this picture of how the living room looks in real life, filled with baby stuff. Because it would be ridiculous to pretend like my house always looks like the above pictures....it took me at least twenty minutes to clean out all the baby apparatus before I could take some blog pics. Let's be honest. :)





As for the blog, a lot of you have asked what my plans are. I plan to slowly get back into the swing of things, as time allows, and as quickly as my brain starts functioning like normal again. Thank you guys for all of your sweet comments and messages. I appreciate it so much.
 I know I'll eventually find my groove again, but right now I'm still doing a lot of this. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


'Til next time!









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88 comments:

  1. Great job! It feels so much more modern now!

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  2. U have done an awesome job! U inspire me! My house is 80's so Ur 70's update gives me hope and inspiration!

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  3. Love it :)))

    http://sbr-fashion-fashion.blogspot.com/

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  4. Looks amazing... like always! Ava is too cute!

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  5. Where did you find that rug for $60?? I love it!!

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  6. So nice to see you back! The house looks amazing!

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  7. I'm so glad to see another post from you! I've been following your blog for awhile now and while I totally understand you taking time off to focus on the baby, (Ava is adorable by the way!) I was really happy to get to see the rest of your reveal! The house looks great, and your blog really does motivate me to fix up my old house!

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  8. Oh, Ms. Virginia, it is wonderful to see you here again. Your house is lookin' lovely, and your little Ava is so precious. You just pop in when you can. We will always understand and be delighted to see what you have to share. God bless you and your family.

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  9. I have been following your blog for a while now. I love all that you've done!! I just had a baby 2 and a 1/2 weeks ago so it's nice to see that your living room is as taken over by baby as mine. Haha I can't believe how big Ava is now!! What a cutie!

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  10. Not to be all weird and stalkery or anything but I missed you! So glad you took your time though, and Ava is so cute :) So funny you mentioned the baby stuff in the living room, I cleaned my living room TWICE yesterday to try and take a photo of my fireplace, and both times the place was trashed again before I got a chance to take it! :)

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    Replies
    1. The struggle is REAL! :)
      Thanks Linda! xo

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  11. Not going to lie, happy to have you back but so happy that bonding with bubba is ypur main priority :)

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  12. This looks incredible! Can I ask where you found your couches? I have been looking for a gray tufted couch for a few months and have been unsuccessful. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Erika! They are from Rooms To Go. Because who has $2k for a couch. :)

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  13. Where is that giant comfy ottoman from?! I love it! I have been looking for something similar for a long time! Great to have you back! :)

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  14. It is a beautiful transformation, Virginia! I love catching up on your progress. Have you ever thought about changing the set-up of your lounge to have the TV facing the windows and the second sofa opposite the doorway? Might be worth a try?
    Your daughter is beautiful, congratulations again!

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    1. Hey Natalie! Thank you! And, yes! In the 5 years we've lived here, I think I've tried just about every arrangement possible. I'm sure there is something that works better than what I have setup, but I have yet to figure it out!

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  15. LOVE! So happy to see you back and your place is looking gorgeous! Although my favorite is the shot with all the baby toys :) That's how you know when a design truly works cause it still looks great when real life happens.

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  16. Virginia, it looks amazing! With & without baby supplies. :) It's crazy to look back at the whole upstairs and see how far it has come. You got style, girl!

    Visiting from LorimerLiving.COm
    XO, Jaclyn

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  17. We just bought our house four years ago and have made a few minor renovations. We still have some ongoing projects, but we are looking to purchase a new house in the next 2-3 years and you have given me so much inspiration. I keep telling my husband to look beyond what it is, to what it could be. Thank you for sharing. You're so sweet and honest, that's why I love your blog.

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  18. Nice to see you back! OK, first: your baby is just adorable, congratulations! Second, the whole house looks fantastic.Third, I LOVE that rug in the dining room, I want it so bad!

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  19. Oh thank goodness you're back!!!!! I've missed your posts and hilarious comments so much. I think I've checked back about every other day just in case :) Congrats on your sweet girl!

    (Sorry if this comment came through multiple times, I had to create a new profile about three times before it took!)

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    1. Aw, Jen! You make me feel so good. Needed that!

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  20. Wow, beautifully updated! Love all the painted white trim and the floors are gorgeous. Congrats on the little one...she could slow anyone down...taking deep sighs and getting kisses. Happy Mommie!

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  21. Looks amazing! It's great to have you back! I'll be temporarily departing from the blog world soon for the same reasons, but I'm glad I'll be able to read your wit while I'm learning how to be a mom as well :)

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  22. Couldn't say what I feel any better than Lori (above)! Thanks for the update and kudos to your husband for doing such a great job too! Enjoy every moment with your beautiful daughter!!

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  23. We've missed you! Take your time coming back, but it's so good to see a post from you on my bloglovin' feed!

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    1. Thank you, Jessica. You make a girl feel special (which is so nice because I don't think I've showered yet today). xo

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    2. Ha! What is this shower you speak of?

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  24. Oh Sweet Virginia! Enjoy your precious baby. It never feels like it at the time, but it truly does go by so very fast. Live, Love, Snuggle...at least for now!

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    1. Yes! I used to always hear that, but now I know....it's so true! I feel like she was just born yesterday and she's already yelping and giggling at me!

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  25. Looks great Virginia. And I say 4 months is good work! My babe is 13 months and I think I've eeked out about 3 posts since she was born. :)

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  26. Congratulations on doing the most important job in the world (that would be the baby mamma. Decorating and blogging are high on the list, but......)

    Your house is coming along beautifully!

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  27. So glad you are back! Your little Ava is adorable! Thanks for showing us your house updates--everything looks charming!

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  28. Lovely!! I hope I will be able to get this posted....somehow whenever I respond to your blog it gets lost.
    You have done such a wonderful job with your home. I stumbled onto your blog a few years ago and have enjoyed your remodeling journey. My husband and I built our home 39 years ago and we are major DIYers. I have no patience with people who whine about not knowing how to do something....just plow ahead and learn! We have made some crazy mistakes that we still laugh about and done a lot of things we are really proud of. You have done such an outstanding job, the house looks great.
    Of course the most important thing you have done is have sweet Ava. My daughter had a very difficult pregnancy with her first child ( a girl) and I was concerned about you.

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    1. Thank you Martha! Love that you built your own home....I would love to tackle that one day! But I'm also cool with just renovating old clunkers. Both are so exciting to me. xo

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  29. 'Not for everyone'? My dear, that rug under your dining table is the veritable keystone for all your renovated architecture! Brava!
    And what a beautiful child - so smart of you to do the right thing for her and for you... take a peek into her future and see what I see: a lovely young woman who cannot imagine the nature of the difficulty of her beginnings (sorta like you, a mere year and some ago!)
    Life goes on, and as always you make it good (and look easy!!)

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  30. Babies are such adorable little interrupters! Love the "bold" pink rug in the dining room..it's perfect for the space... y'all have done a great job! Keep snuggling your little Ava..time well spent!!

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  31. Your house looks amazing! Enjoy your time with your beautiful baby girl - we'll wait for you even if we miss your funny and inspiring posts! (My kids are older now and I don't regret putting other things aside for a while to be with them. The grow up so fast!)

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  32. Thank you for the full update as you did it. Before S and afters. It simply flows!! What an artist you are. In every sense. I had lots of similarities in being pregnant and then with my first child. Everyone else seemed to not have it so hard!! So I totally empathize and was praying for you a while back for some reason for several days. Enjoy all the fruits of hard labor oh! That's kind of a pun. Not intended. But enjoy life and rerun some of your old posts for it's like going back to a well read book! Your Christmas ones we'd love you to repost. You just have that touch that does not go out of style!

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  33. Missed you and your funny, down to earth style. Glad you are heading back to the blogging world. Love on that baby all you want! My newborn son just turned one and my other baby just turned five. What?!?! Time goes tooooooo fast.

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  34. Your daughter is adorable! So glad you are posting again. I have been following you for a long time and I recently took a step back from reading numerous blogs. I thought about you recently and looked up to find your last post was after having Ava. So nice to see this today! Love everything you have done to your home. Your home looks so much like a friend's home and the way you have brought it up to date is amazing. Keep up the great work in between loving on your sweet Ava! Post when you can...ill be here.

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  35. Yay I'm glad you're back! I read basically your entire blog...the week before you had your lovely baby. Can I ask - is the beautiful rug in your family room hard to keep clean? How do you clean it? I love it and am considering getting the same one.

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  36. Great job, sometimes it's hard to think of ways to change things when on a budget. I must say though that I loved the old light fittings, I would have kept them. I hope you sold them on.

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  37. Happy new mom-hood. Reflux is no fun. It is ama zing all you got done with a little one!

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  38. This is my first time reading your blog and what a pleasure! Baby is beautiful, congratulations. Your renovation of your home is amazing! You have such a good eye for design and proportion. Love the dining room rug. I'll enjoy reading the earlier posts about the remodel.

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  39. Nah, you won't laugh about hard pregnancy or reflux/fussy baby but you will say that she was undoubtedly worth it!;-) I've missed you too, so I'm happy you popped back in! I have my own reflux/milk allergy baby after hard pregnancy so I'm in the throes of it myself. Solidarity, sista!

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  40. You are awesome & truly have no idea how much you have helped me navigate my 80's home remodel! Congrats on your beautiful new baby & thanks again for everything!

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  41. So happy to see a new post (though completely understand!!) I love a beautifully styled interior shot, but thank you for the honesty of the real life version, it's more beautiful in some ways!

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  42. Love it! Your artwork reminds me of a mom holding a baby for some reason - I really love how everything came out!

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  43. I am so glad to see you back, but I am glad that you have taken off a few months to spend with Ava, because you will never regret it! Even though I have been following you all along, I love seeing all of the changes put together in one post. It is so amazing what a big change some paint can make especially! You continue to inspire me with your budget friendly updates and I look forward to more in the future! Take care of yourself and that sweet little doll!

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  44. Yay! I am so glad you are posting again. Glad you are doing better and your adorable baby! I love your writing, you inspired me to create my own blog, too! =)

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  45. Congrats! Did I miss where you purchased the rug? Love it!!

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  46. You're back!!! Lovely to see you and great to see how Ava has grown too.

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  47. Virginia, your house is LOVELY. You've done an amazing job!!
    New Parenthood is HARD and it's ok if it knocks you down for a year or two. It gets so much better! You'll feel human again one day soon!! :)

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  48. What a fabulous makeover! Your house turned out stunning!

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  49. Seriously, I think unless you've had a newborn who literally screams the whole time they are awake, you can't really appreciate the hell that is colic. Our little guy had it too. It is THE worst. But I'm happy to report that dude (now 16 months old) is happy and funny and full of smiles (mama too!)- almost makes me forget the first few months of crying...almost. Glad you've been able to survive this long and make a reappearance on the blog; it only gets better from here! Hang in there!

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  50. I just love your blog! Recently found it and am hooked! Just wanted to say that as a fellow blogger and mother of 3, kuddos to you for taking some time after baby was born! Motherhood is difficult and wonderful and too many people forget to just cherish it in their race to get back in a routine, but "routine" will forever be different now. And that is ok! I am looking forward to reading more of your blog... as motherhood permits of course! :) best of luck!

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  51. Hi Virginia!
    I am SO HAPPY that you have been taking the time to be with Ava! Please do not worry about us! Believe kids grow up too fast, so enjoy all the time you can with Ava.
    About your house remodel, i think you and your husband are genious! Your house looks SO great! Light and airy!
    Congratulations for all your accomplishes!
    Come back only when you can and when you feel is time.
    Kisses from Portugal!

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  52. I love this! We also have a 70's house we are trying to renovate on a budget and this really gives me some great ideas! Love your little ones nursery as well! I also just revealed my 4 month olds nursery on my blog, check it out :) www.kemleydesign.blogspot.com

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  53. Love it! Where did you get your couches from? I've been slowly stalking the tufted couch market.

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  54. I have never commented on a Blog but I have to say I'm very impressed. I love the way your orchid reflects into the mirror on the rock work. Your home is very beautiful and "baby Bou tiful" is adorable.

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  55. In LOVE with your Dining room rug! Where oh where did you get it???

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  56. You've done a fantastic job - what a huge difference. Love the way you've opened up all that space!

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  57. Wow! Awesome transformation. Don't sell yourself short by 'explaining' your dining room rug or your TV console is nothing special--they look great and you should pat yourself on the back. I live in a 1970s split level, too and haven't gotten nearly as much done (or as nicely done) in the 8 years I've been here. My hat is off to you. Enjoy that baby!

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  58. The rug in the dining room is awesome!

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  59. You did a great job! I can't believe that you had the patience to do that over 5 years. Way to go! Looks so good. The before and afters really show the hard work you put in. First time visitor here, and very impressed =) Found you on pinterest

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  60. This is an amazing makeover!! I LOVE the dining area especially, and the rug is fabulous and really ties everything together. Just gorgeous!!

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  61. I love your house! You have excellent taste and a great eye!! Might cute baby too!

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  62. All the white is so clean, crisp and bright making it perfect to add any color and change the whole mood. I wondered where you found the white washed flooring? By any chance do you know the brand? That really makes the whole thing work. I bet its not bad to keep clean either. My granddaughter was Ava Grace while she was "inside". Then another family member used it just before she was born and the name had to be changed. Now she's Bella Rose, but I think she's really an Ava. They just have a certain way about them.

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  63. Beautiful work! And I love your rug in the dining room - what a steal!

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  64. All I can say is wow! beautiful house, and what an inspiration! My husband and I have a 1970's split level house that looks as ugly as your before house (ok ours is probably worse then yours i.e. a FAKE stone wall in our living room, dark brown FAKE beams (with matching valances), dark blue office carpet and those gross melamine kitchen cabinets with an oak strips for the handles) Your house is almost exactly like what we want so thank you for providing us with something to aspire to!

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  65. I love what you've done with the space! We are working on updating a 1979 home with similar architecture as yours. I wondered if I needed to embrace the retro-vibe rather than create a more traditional and modern look in the space like I originally wanted. Your post and pictures gave me the confidence to go for it and I'm happy to say it has really worked out well so far. We are blogging our reno experience at www.onhouseandhome.com but are still on the kitchen renovation and haven't completed the living area just yet.

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