Our Four-Year Home Anniversary

Our Chicago home renovation began four years ago. Back then, it was just us two and this big ol’ house that needed tons of work. We were eager for a project and boy, what a project it has been!

casey and finn bought a house
May 2019

Little did we know, our lives were going to change dramatically and very quickly!

Our front porch
May 2020

The week we moved into our home (in August 2019), I found out I was pregnant with Rory. This was the best news of our lives and we were so excited to finally welcome a baby into our family. Here she is (above), just a few weeks old!

Our 2 year home anniversary
May 2021

Fast forward another year, and I am unexpectedly pregnant with our second child. As you all know, this was a big shock to us, but it was the best blessing we could have ever received.

Our three year home anniversary
May 2022

And here we are, last year, with our complete family of four. What started as a big house for just us two, quickly turned into a home filled with two children and a tremendous amount of joy.

Our Chicago home renovation
May 2023

Today, we have two toddlers running around our very full house. And (am I even going to say this?) our house is pretty much DONE. Yep, it took us a good four years to work on every single space, but as you’ll soon see, I am just about out of big projects!

Chicago Home Renovation

Rory mopping the porch. Too funny!

Every year, I celebrate my “home anniversary” here on the blog, showcasing how much this house has changed since we first bought it. It’s been fun to see the evolution of our home and how far it has come in a short span of time. You can read those home anniversary posts right here.

I think it’s really important to stress that creating a home you love takes time, as well as money and energy. This did not happen overnight. My full-time job is working on our home and it has still taken us four years to complete, so don’t base your home’s timeline off of ours. Go slow and have fun with it!

Our Home’s Paint Color Palette

Our home's paint color palette

Before we get to the tour, I want to share our home’s paint colors. You can find details about each and every color in this blog post too.

The Backyard

Backyard shot before
Backyard shot after
Backyard of our Finn Fixer Upper
Our Chicago home renovation and backyard tour
Our garage before
Our Chicago backyard one year later
Our deck before
Our new deck in our backyard makeover reveal
Our rotting fence
Our backyard makeover reveal
Our backyard at night

All Sources & Tutorials // Lanterns // Solar Lights // DIY Tabletop Fire Bowl // Tiki Torches // String Lights // Garage Door Color, Benjamin Moore “Blue Note” // Pavers (color “Greyed Nickel”) // Composite Decking (color “Pecan”) // Black Contemporary Railings // Outdoor Dining Table & Chairs // Outdoor Sonos Speakers // Outdoor Sconces // Lounge Chairs // Side Table // Planters  // Outdoor TV // Chaise // Sectional // Coffee Table // Palm Print Pillows // Striped Pillows // Storage Box

During the summer of 2021, we gutted our backyard and created an entirely different outdoor space. It was quite the project and we learned so much along the way. While it was a pricey renovation (you can read more about the budget here), it was well worth it because we use this space often! The kids write with chalk on the patio; they sit on those big steps and eat their snacks in the sun; and they run all around the side yard playing soccer and t-ball. After bedtime, Finn and I often come out here for a cocktail or to watch a show on our outdoor TV. It’s really magical at night and you can see it all lit up right here.

One of my big renovation regrets was using sand in between the pavers, so last fall I replaced it with polymeric sand. It was a big project, but I’m happy to report that it still looks perfect, even after a hard winter. I’m happy I got that done!

Future Plans: A few of our plants and bushes have died and we want to replace some of the landscaping around the yard. I’ll be sure to share when that happens this summer! Plus, our garage needs lots of TLC and organizing!

The Living Room

casey and finn in the living room before
Our organic modern living room
Before photos of our finn Fixer upper
My best throw pillow tips
Before of our living room and old oak hardwood floors
Our organic modern living room style

Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White” (walls), “Simply White” (trim), “Tricorn Black” (back of the front door) // Flooring Details // Green Curtains // Brass Curtain Rod Hardware // Drapery Rod Connector // 9×12 Rug (Olive/Charcoal) // Sofa // Gray Chairs // Black Dining Chairs // TV Sideboard // Faux Olive Tree // Tree Basket // Entry Console // Glass Side Table // Wood Bowl (similar) // Blanket Basket // Gold Shadow Box // Colorful Couch Pillow // Modern Planter // Dining Tray // Custom Frames // White Vase // Marble Side Table // Faux Purple Tulips // Faux Cherry Blossoms // Gray Throw Blanket

The living room received the most attention when we first bought our house. We removed two walls and added a steel beam to support the entire second level. It was quite a process and cost an additional $25,000. You can read the entire saga right here.

We now have new floors, new windows, and a lot of beautiful furniture that feels just right for our family. We spend lots of time in here, playing on the floor, doing puzzles, and watching movies right here on the couch. This blog post dives deep into the evolution of our living room over the past four years.

Future Plans: I’ve considered building out an electric fireplace to replace the entryway console, but haven’t made any concrete plans for this big project. It’s a someday idea…

The First Floor Bathroom

First floor bathroom before
My best tips to create a cohesive home color palette
Bathroom after
DIY wood wall treatment in the bathroom

Paint Color: Sherwin Williams HGTV Home “Clary Sage” // Black Faucet // Brass Vanity Light // Flushmount Fixture // Towel Hook // Toilet Paper Roll Holder // Shower Curtain // Towels // DIY Wood Wall // Wood Mirror // Soap Dispenser // Cloe Tile // Shower Trim Package

Our little bathroom, which sits in between the living room and kitchen, got a refresh when we first moved in. We replaced the floor tile and installed this gorgeous cream tile in the shower, along with matte black fixtures. I DIY’ed a wood wall of molding for our towel hooks and it makes the space feel more high-end.

Future Plans: None.

The Kitchen

Family photo before kitchen renovation
Remember scale and proportion when choosing lighting for your space
Our kitchen before renovation
Our kitchen reveal
Empty side of the kitchen
Our kitchen renovation reveal
An honest review of my Castlery dining room table

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White” & custom color from this blog post // Kitchen Reveal // Budget Breakdown // Dining Room Reveal // SOURCES

In the fall of 2020, we renovated the entire kitchen and it turned out beautifully. We completely changed up the layout. We removed a window, built a breakfast nook, and added an entire bar area to the other side of the room. You can read about the entire process in this blog post, along with all of the sources for the space. This blog post shares a budget breakdown for this entire renovation project.

Future Plans: None

The Stairwell

The staircase makeover -before
OUr staircase makeover before and after
Our upstairs hallway before
Our upstairs hallway after
The staircase makeover before
My new stairwell accent wall

Benjamin Moore’s “Simply White” (satin) and “Ballet White” (eggshell) // Stair Runner Tutorial // Metal Railing Design // Stairwell Accent WQall Tutorial // Chandelier // Hallway Gallery Wall // Baby Gate 

Our stairwell has evolved a few times over the past four years. When we first moved in, we replaced the outdated wood railing, stained the stairs, and painted the risers. I then DIY’ed a stair runner to make the stairs a bit safer for our family. This past winter, I added the stairwell accent wall and wow, it was quite a project! You can read more about the entire evolution of our stairwell right here.

Future Plans: The stair runner has seen better days and I would like to replace it with a more durable rug.

Our Laundry Room – Before & After

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White” // Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White” // Washer // Dryer // Pedestals // Floor Tile // Green Tile // Wood Counter on Appliances // Buther Block // Drying Rack // Cabinets // Gold Pulls // Gold Handles // Hampers // Rug // Window Treatment (Color: Quince) // Wall Art 1 // Wall Art 2

We ended up stealing a few feet from the hallway to make our laundry room larger. This allowed us to add a big wall of storage for our cleaning supplies and hampers. I added green tile over our washer and dryer, along with butcher block countertops all around. This room sees a lot of action around here!

Future Plans: None.

The Main Bedroom

Master bedroom before
My favorite room transformations including my main bedroom
Our bedroom before
Our new closets in our main bedroom
Master bedroom windows before
Our main bedroom transformation

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore “Boothbay Gray” // Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White” // Bamboo Shades // Dresser (Restoration Hardware Outlet) // Door Knobs  // Nightstands (Vintage from Megmade) // 9×12 Rug (in natural/sand) // Cream Bed (Zuma White) //  Wallpaper // Rug Pad // Mattress // Gray Velvet Curtains // Curtain Rods (with European Gold Rub ‘n Buff) // White Duvet // Sheets // Cream Bed Blanket // Bench (Article no longer sold)  //  Large White Vase // Brass Sconces // Frame TV // Marble Tray // Marble Picture Frame // Planter // Faux Jade Plant // Flower Art

Oh, how I adore our serene bedroom. It truly is the best place to relax after a long day. The first thing we did was take out the wall between the two closets to make one large one for our custom IKEA setup. Then, a few years later, I wallpapered the ceiling and painted the walls a pale blue. You can read more about this entire transformation here.

Future Plans: None.

The Main Bathroom

Before master bathroom at finn fixer upper
My new black and gold marble bathroom
Removing the bathtub
Main bathroom after
our old bathroom
The tile in our black and gold marble bathroom

Benjamin Moore “Rockport Gray” (lower wall) // Benjamin Moore “Ballet White” upper wall // Shower Wall Tile with “Bone” grout // Shower Floor Tile with “Delorean gray” grout // Marble Floor Tile with “Mist” grout // Shower Hardware // Wood Stool // Black Hooks // Favorite White Towels // Sconces // Black Vanity // Gold Faucets // Sink Drain // Toilet // Toilet Lever //  Trash Can // Black Frame // Wallpaper // Match Striker // Black Marble Canister // Black Tray // Q-Tip Storage // Soap Dispenser // Linen Cabinet // White Rug // Linen Cabinet Pulls // Linen Cabinet Knobs // Baskets

Last year, we completely gutted our main bathroom to create a layout that works much better for our lifestyle with a large shower and custom linen closet that I made myself. It was so fun to transform this space into the bathroom of our dreams. I shared the entire budget breakdown for this project right here, and you can see the full reveal in this blog post.

Future Plans: None.

The Kids’ Bathroom

Our new skirted toilet in the kids bathroom reveal

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Boothbay Gray” // Sources & Tutorials

We tackled this bathroom last year and it has been a gamechanger for our family. This is the perfect space for our kids to bathe and get ready for the day ahead. I love the bright colors and deep bathtub. It started as an outdated beige box and I did a budget-friendly phase one makeover after living with it for over a year. We then decided to gut it and it’s now pretty perfect for our family. You can find all of the details right here.

Future Plans: None.

Ellis’ Room

Guest bedroom before
Ellis' nursery reveal
Our nursery before
Ellis' nursery reveal
Our guest bedroom
Ellis' nursery reveal

Wall Color, Benjamin Moore “Tarrytown Green” // Sources & Tutorials

This was our previously neglected guest room until our sweet Ellis joined the family. I adore the moody green walls and the picture frame molding I added to make it look a little more high-end. He loves his space and it’s the coziest room in the house. You can find all of the sources for this space right here.

Future Plans: We will continue to tweak things as Ellis grows, but it’s mostly done!

My Home Office

Old doors in office
Room transformations - our home office
Our office before the renovation
My favorite room transformations
Our home office space

 Wall Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White” // Trim Color: Valspar “Simply White” // Built-In Color: Valspar “Chimney Smoke” // Built-in decor sources in this blog post // Drawer Hardware // Cabinet Hardware // Chandelier // Wall Mural // Futon // Rug // Desk // Office Chair // Faux Fiddle Leaf // Basket for Fiddle // Gold Planter

We finished this office in March 2020, right when everyone was suddenly working from home 24/7. I’m relieved we got this space done when we did because it has served as an office for both my husband and me over the past few years. Finn has since moved his office to our basement, so now this space is all mine!

The DIY built-ins were by far the biggest project we did to this room, and probably the biggest project we’ve done…ever. They took many weekends to complete, but I am still so damn proud of them.

Future Plans: None, except to organize the cabinets and closet a bit better.

Rory’s Room

Before photos of our new house
Sharing our home's paint colors
Extra bedroom in our Finn Fixer upper
Our baby girl's nursery
My favorite room transformations - pink and green nursery

Wall Color: Valspar “Warm Fog” // Chair Rail Color: Custom (formula in this blog post) // Light Fixture // Vintage Rug // Crib // Mattress // Mattress Pad Cover // Wood Dresser // Table Lamp (spray painted this color) // Marble Side Table // Wood Frame // Personalized Ultrasound // Family Stitch // Wallpaper // Cabinet Knobs // Easy Track White Wood Closet Kit // Bow Hook // Bow Holder // Window Treatments by Urban Workroom

The sweetest room for my sweet little girl. From the wallpapered closet, to the DIY chair rail, and the custom built-ins, it truly turned out so beautifully. We haven’t changed much since I debuted it in 2020. I’ve just tweaked organizational systems, like her dresser, as she has grown.

Future Plans: Rory still loves her crib, so we haven’t moved her up to a big girl bed just yet. But, I think her days in a crib are numbered. Cue all of the mom tears!

The Basement

Kenneth basement before
Our basement transformation 6 month sin
Our basement transformation

Wall Color, Clare Paint “Greige” in eggshell // Door & Trim Colors, Benjamin Moore “Simply White” in a satin finish // Carpet by Dreamweaver in color “Gold Rush // Wallpaper // Book Ledges // Bench Cushion in “Renaissance Heritage Leaf” // Coloring Table // Dollhouse // Red Bench Pillow // Sofa // Leather Ottoman // TV Stand // Rug (navy/multi) // Throw Blanket // Finn’s Desk // Office Console // Office Chair // Web Cam //  Monitors // Monitor Mount // Clip on Light // Wireless Keyboard & Mouse // Finn’s Sand Timer // Marble Bookends // Closet Storage

Well, this space definitely took a different turn over this past year. I had big plans to make cosmetic upgrades to this level of our home, but then the entire space flooded with sewage water last September. This meant that we had to remove all of the carpet and drywall and start fresh. We ended up re-finishing a part of our storage room to make space for Finn’s office. In the end, it turned out better than we could have ever hoped. You can read the entire story right here.

Future Plans: I still want to hang a gallery wall and work on some organizational systems for the closets and kids’ toys.

The Basement Bathroom

Our new dark green bathroom in our basement

Paint Colors: Dark Green (custom color found in this blog post), Valspar’s “Clay Angel” (upper walls and ceiling) // Penny Tile with “Ivory” grout // Vanity // Toilet // Gold Faucet // Toilet Paper Holder // Sconces // Towel Ring // Hand Towel // Wood Mirror // Turkish rug from this seller // Wood Stool (similar) // Soap Dispenser // Black Marble Tray // Candle Hurricane // Toilet Tank Basket // Gold Frame // Art in Gold Frame // Matte Black Toilet Handle // Overhead Light Fixture // Bud Vase // Picture Frame

Welcome to my most recent project! When our basement flooded last fall, I decided to rip out this bathroom myself and build it back all on my own. I did the demo, tiled the floors, added the beadboard, and painted it all a lovely dark green. I’m absolutely in love with the finished product and couldn’t be prouder of this space. You can see the full reveal right here.

Future Plans: None.

Our chicago home renovation makeover before and after tour

Wow, that was a hefty post. As you can see, a lot has changed around here over the past four years. This Chicago home renovation has been a big one and we’ve really enjoyed every step of this journey. What’s next for the Finn family? I’m not totally sure, but I am excited to see where life takes us next.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.