Last year, my husband and I sold our charming southern home...oh how I miss that large front porch, hot summer days, and sweet tea. It was our first house, and we had put our heart and soul into making it our own. We tore down wallpaper, painted all of the rooms, renovated all three bathrooms, and did a partial renovation in the kitchen. The upstairs floors were redone, we changed out the banister and balusters, and landscaped. All of this by ourselves...at least for the most part. We successfully turned a near-dilapidated home into a cozy and breathtaking space that I, to this day, continue to struggle with letting go of. It was true love! And if you've ever owned and sold a home that you put everything into, you know what I'm talking about.
So fast forward a year, and we have been living in Pennsylvania, making tremendous strides in renovating our 1960's home. I wanted to share our journey of creating our new hygge home. And also to inspire you to take on projects yourself! We are far from done, but our house goals are on the horizon.
The Downstairs Floor
Our home was almost entirely carpeted on the first floor when we moved in. So imagine our shock when we discovered dog urine stains (and smells) everywhere on our first day in the home. It's amazing what furniture can cover up. We pulled up the carpet and to our delight, found beautiful hardwoods underneath. We kept pulling and pulling, and the farther along we got, the worse the nightmare became. After about 5 feet, we discovered that the urine had completely ruined large portions of the hardwoods and turned the light wood dark. Great! And when we reached the addition portion of the floor, we found that the hardwoods stopped, and only floorboards covered the space. And keep in mind this is a very large first floor, like 1500 square feet.
Instead of refinishing our old floors and somehow handling the addition, we decided to lay new hardwoods over everything. Just start completely over. At 6 months pregnant. I don't know why, but when I'm pregnant, I always get antsy and want to start new projects. So that is what I did for three weeks. I cut hardwoods with my husband's circular and jigsaws and laid new flooring throughout. We chose dark as a nice contrast to the white walls because I have always admired the look of the clean, museum-like contrast. We still need to repaint, but it's getting there.
The Master Bath
When we first toured our house, I noticed a small black spot on the window seal of the master shower. We had our home inspector take a look, and he said it was just a little mildew, nothing to worry about. A few weeks after moving in, we decided to take down the plastic shower walls and put in stone tile...we had a lot of experience in our old house with renos and are pretty handy in the bathrooms. But when we took down the walls, we discovered that the black spot was mold that had spread to everything behind the shower walls. The damage was so bad we had to tear the whole bathroom out down to the studs and then sister the studs to support the walls. A total nightmare. And again, I was pregnant, so not the best thing to be around mold.
So the bathroom project became mostly my husband's and father-in-law's. A strange wall jutted out several feet into the bathroom for no apparent reason, so they knocked it out...no dead bodies behind luckily! So much more open now. It's almost there...just a few more days, and it will be done.
One of the reasons I fell in love with our house was because of the attic. As long as I can remember, I have always wanted a house that makes use of all potential space. I cannot stand it when a beautiful attic is left unused or a balcony is for looks only (I see this all the time on newer homes...just WHY!?). So our attic was finished, but it was all wallpapered...like 80's style dollhouse wallpaper that was peeling off. And the carpet was pretty much a bunch of rugs, just placed next to each other. After pulling down wallpaper, painting, and recarpeting, it's truly an amazing place that is full of neat nooks and crannies. It's like a little retreat!
The kids and I spend most of our time in the den. We are lucky enough to have a gorgeous fireplace and now the hardwoods I laid, but we still have work to do. The den entryways have hidden sliding doors from the 60's, some of which keep falling down, so we've had to remove them completely. We also removed old curtains. Soon, I will repaint and put up my gallery decor to bring a little more life into this space.
Little by little, the house is becoming our hygge home. It is the place I see us being happy for so many years to come. And I am glad that we are making it everything we want it to be. I will keep you updated on our progress. Check out other real life hygge stories for more inspiration. And tell me about your home renovation projects in the comments below! I'd love to hear what you're up to.