Our Three-Year Home Anniversary
It’s wild to think that we’re celebrating our three-year home anniversary. In the spring of 2019, we bought this house not knowing what our future would bring. Did we really need a big house with four bedrooms for just us two?! Well, a lot has changed in just three years…
Here we are a family of four, filling that big house to the brim! It’s wild how life can change so very quickly and I’m grateful for everything that has brought us to this point.
Home Renovation Tour
Today, I thought it might be fun to share how far this house has come since we first bought it in May of 2019 and do a home renovation tour. Back then, it was hard to look past all of the beige, the silly layouts, and the outdated bathrooms and kitchen. Luckily, I knew we could make it our own and I somehow convinced Finn to love it too.
Before we dive into the before and after pictures, here’s a look at the layouts. These have changed slightly (the kitchen is now a bit different) and obviously, those guest rooms are now the kids’ rooms, but it might be helpful as you see the flow of our home.
- Built in 1921
- 2-story Red Brick Bungalow
- Location: Chicago, Illinois
- 4 Bedrooms
- 3.5 Bathrooms
The Exterior – Front
The outside of our house has gotten a bit of TLC over the last two years, but not nearly as much as the interior. Most notably, we removed the chain link/wood/aluminum fences and replaced them with a white vinyl fence. As for the front of our house, I painted the door (Benjamin Moore “Blue Note”), built a fresh window box, updated the landscaping, installed a new flag pole, fixed peeling paint, and had our front bricks fixed. Oh, and this spring we replaced our basement windows!
Future Plans: We plan to spruce up the landscaping a bit this summer and work on the right side of our house (the small space in between our house and our neighbor’s). Other than that, we don’t have any plans to ever paint the original red brick, so things probably won’t change much more out here.
The Exterior – Backyard
Last summer, we gutted our backyard to create the space of our dreams. It took all summer long and we finished in early September, just as Ellis arrived. Between the colder weather and life with a newborn, we didn’t get to enjoy this space nearly as much as we wanted. This summer, we will be out here constantly! I can’t wait to spend evenings watching our outdoor TV, while sipping on a cocktail. You can find details for everything we did back here over in this blog post.
Future Plans: Not many plans. We want to spruce it up this summer with more plants and flowers; we need to reseal the pavers; and we will potentially add a trellis onto the garage. We’ll see what happens over the next few months.
The Living Room
While the living room looks like an entirely different space from when we bought the house in 2019, it hasn’t changed much over the past few years. Except now, we don’t have as much home decor (no more coffee table) and the TV console is stuffed to the brim with toys! This is where we spend the majority of our time as a family.
During our phase one renovation, we removed the center wall, replaced it with a steel beam, which was a $25,000 setback, replaced the flooring, added new trim and doors, and painted everything. With the shell of the room looking good, it was just a matter of filling it with furniture and decor that fit our personality. About a year ago, we got new windows in here. Other than that, it has stayed the same since our initial renovation!
Future Plans: I’ll likely only swap decor here and there. Nothing big to be done.
Sherwin Williams HGTV Home “Clary Sage” // Sources & Reveal
We ended up doing a refresh to our first-floor bathroom. It wasn’t a complete gut, but we installed new tile in the shower and on the floor. We also added other pretty elements in the room. We DIY’ed custom molding on the wall for our towel hooks and the final touch was a new waterproof window in the shower.
Future Plans: None.
In 2019, I knew that this kitchen had potential. Yes, it was a super weird space with a pole right in the middle, but I saw beyond that. In the fall of 2020, we renovated the entire kitchen and it turned out beautifully. We completely changed the layout of the room. We had a window removed, we built a breakfast nook, and we 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.
Future Plans: None.
We ended up removing a section of the wall to open up the space a bit more and get rid of that strange “office” nook. Our contractor also extended the laundry room out on the second floor to get rid of that awkward landing. We then replaced the flooring and had the stairs stained to match the risers which we painted white. I had the railings custom made and we still love them. Before Rory’s arrival, we decided to DIY a stair runner.
Future Plans: The stair runner has seen better days, so someday I plan to replace it with a more durable rug. I also want to do a large wood wall treatment on the wall by the landing. It has so much potential and would look beautiful when walking up the stairs.
The Laundry Room
Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White”; Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White” // Sources & Tutorials
The laundry room was actually the first room we DIY’ed and finished in the winter of 2019. It was a fun DIY project and we now have tons of storage. The space hasn’t changed one bit since then, except we now use it more than ever with two kids. Overall, we love our laundry room.
Future Plans: None.
When we first moved in, we transformed the closet and DIY’ed a wardrobe system from IKEA. We still adore it. We then removed the carpeting, outdated trim, and paint. It then stayed that way for about a year and a half. Last year, I transformed it into a space to feel more like us. It’s now a calming blue oasis with a gorgeous wallpapered ceiling! You can find all of the tutorials and sources in this blog post.
Future Plans: None.
Benjamin Moore “Rockport Gray” (lower wall) // Benjamin Moore “Ballet White” upper wall // Sources
Oh boy, now this has been one of the most exciting makeovers of the past year! We lived with our outdated 90s main bathroom for almost three years. Then, a few months ago, we gutted the space, transformed the layout, and filled it with all new materials. The result? A hotel-like spa bathroom that feels so much more like us. I haven’t quite finished the space (still working on my DIY linen cabinet), but you can find the “mini reveal” right here with all of the sources.
Future Plans: Finish DIY linen cabinet and officially reveal the space. (I promise, it’s coming soon!)
Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Boothbay Gray” // Sources & Tutorials
This bathroom is another project that we tackled over the past year that has been a gamechanger for our family! I can’t even tell you how much joy it brings me to see my kids take baths in this bathtub and Rory climb up the stool to wash her hands and brush her teeth.
This room 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 a few months ago and it’s now pretty perfect for our family. You can find all of the details right here.
Future Plans: Organize the kids’ closet in here and maybe add some art. That’s about it!
Wall Color, Benjamin Moore “Tarrytown Green” // Sources & Tutorials
The final room that we completed over the last year is Ellis’ nursery. Previously, it was a neglected guest room that didn’t see many guests. It’s now the coziest spot for our baby boy. Those dark walls are perfection and he sleeps like a dream in here with the blackout curtains. 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!
We finished this space right before Rory arrived and it pretty much looks the exact same way now. It’s such a functional room and I’m so happy to have this space to work in each day. Last year, we finally made the most of the empty closet space and created an organized closet using the IKEA wardrobe again.
Since we lost our guest room, we swapped the loveseat with this futon. It’s surprisingly comfortable and we’ve had a handful of guests sleep on it. Oh, and I just hung a new planter from the ceiling to add even more greenery to the space.
Future Plans: None (except organizing and re-styling often!)
Oh, how I still love this sweet room for my sweet 2-year-old. 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: Eventually, it will be time for a big girl bed (cue the tears!) and I’m happy that the crib we chose transitions to one. Other than that, this room is working out great for Rory and our family.
Paint Colors: Valspar “Clay Angel” (bottom wall); Valspar “Chimney Smoke” (top wall); Valspar “Chimney Smoke” (vanity color) // Tutorials & Sources
In 2020, I transformed this yucky basement bathroom with lots of painting projects. The painted floors, the painted vanity, and the “window to nowhere” shelves all make this space look much better than before.
Future Plans: We don’t ever plan to gut this bathroom because it’s not worth the investment, so I think it will stay this way for now. Eventually, we will replace the trim and door when we work on the rest of the basement.
Well, friends…you’re looking at our next big project. As you can now see, our first and second floors are pretty much finished. That means, it will soon be time to turn our attention down here. This space was rarely used until the pandemic. Since then, it has become Finn’s office. He’s still working from home 90% of the time, so I want to somehow make this into a home office/playroom space. The only thing we’ve done down here is replace the windows and it was a great starting point for this future makeover.
Future Plans: Lots! Remove the carpet, replace the trim and doors, paint everything. Add a large couch, a TV area, storage for toys, and more! This will likely be a fall 2022 project.
A Whirlwind Three Years!
It has been a busy three years…having two kids and renovating a home from top to bottom. But I do want to emphasize that creating a home takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Enjoy the process and try to document your progress along the way. (It’s so fun to look back at some of these before pictures!) Oh, and try to take a picture with your family in front of your home every year. I cherish these front porch photos and seeing our group grow!
I’m not quite sure what is next for our family, but I do know that we have enjoyed our time here, creating a home ideal for our little fam of four!
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.