Our Finn Fixer Upper – Renovation Before and After

Well, I can’t believe this day has FINALLY come! It’s time to share our renovation before and after. It has taken a lot to get to this point. A lot of tears (both happy tears and sad tears), a lot of money (still not over that $25k setback), and a lot of time (we’re moving in a month later than anticipated). But the good news is —  we made it and we learned a hell of a lot along the way!

I’ve done my best to keep you guys updated over the past three months as I’ve visited the house and made design decisions. Here’s a little recap of the posts thus far…

Renovation RecapWe bought a house!

I shared the big news…we bought a house!casey and finn in the living room before

Here’s a look at all of the before photos of each room in the house along with our gameplan for phase one of renovation.

We even shot a video of the entire home before starting construction. You can read more about it here or watch it above.  I can’t even believe some of those before shots. I’m so happy I filmed it so I can forever see what it used to look like!Packing and moving tips

Once we officially closed on both our condo and our new house, we moved (and shared all of our packing tips here!). Choosing hardwood floors for our new home

First big design decision? New hardwood floors! Here are the ones we considered.

While our contractor and his team worked on the inside of the house, Finn and I got to work on the outside. I had the best time power washing our sidewalks, garage, and porch. Staining a deck

I also gave our deck some TLC and stained it!

Renovation progress at the house

In our first “surprise” of the renovation, we learned that we had to remove the entire subfloor because it was rotting. That wasn’t too expensive of a fix, but it did set us back some time. But damn, how about that wall being down? That felt good!Beam in kitchen during renovation progress

Finn and I really bared our souls when we shared our entire renovation budget in this blog post. I got such great feedback from you guys on this one because it’s eye-opening to see how much a renovation really costs!How to install a ring doorbell

Our first smart home upgrade…a Ring video doorbell. This thing has been a lifesaver over the past three months as I’ve been able to keep an eye on the house from afar (and know when workers are coming and going!).

My contractor asked for paint really early on in the renovation process, which left me scrambling. I tried out tons of samples (fourteen, to be exact!) and landed on “Ballet White” for the warm white featured in most of our home. Open laundry room

More renovation progress, this time showcasing the crazy evolution of our laundry room. Laundry room with new floor tile

Speaking of our laundry room, I looked through lots of patterned floor tile options and finally landed on this gorgeous one. The room is now so bright and fresh. Stairwell before

Our stairwell received a lot of TLC during our renovation. This post outlines my plans for this area and this one showcases the big reveal (well, at least the railing part!). Our new steel beam

Our renovation came to a screeching halt when we realized that our entire second floor wasn’t structurally sound (wtf). It cost us $25,000, nine trips to City Hall for a new permit, and four weeks of lost work time to get this all fixed. What a disaster, but somehow we persevered! Creating a time capsule for future homeowners

The silver lining of our ceiling fiasco is that we found a newspaper from 1938 in there that we fully intend to frame for our new house. This find encouraged us to create our own time capsule for future residents to find. New doors in the master bedroom

We started inching towards the finish line with new doors and black matte hardware. I swoon looking at these…

Tips to install the IKEA PAX wardrobe

While work was at a halt on the first floor, Finn and I planned out our IKEA PAX closet. We then spent a few weekends putting it together and learned a lot along the way (plus, made one big mistake!). I can’t wait to show you this closet all organized and filled up. Look for that post next week!

Planning my living room layout with Modsy

We got a glimpse of the potential layout for our living room with the help of Modsy. Can’t wait to reveal this space later this month, but I have a lot of work to do in the meantime to finish it up!

I turned to you guys for help deciding on a new front door color. You had some amazing insight and I’m planning to paint it later this month.

Our new hardwood floors

Our new hardwoods were laid upstairs early on, but they were the last task to happen on the first floor. I had them laid differently on the first floor versus the second and explained my reasoning in this post. Durable floor tile from Lowe's

Speaking of floors, I had to choose new tile for our first-floor bathroom and ended up going with this bold patterned one. My plan is to finish up this space in the coming weeks. Looking forward to this mini refresh.

Our Renovation Before & After

So clearly, things have been very busy over the summer. But let’s get to the good stuff –  our renovation before and after. I can’t even with these pics. The change is craaaaaazy good. And we still have so much to do to this home that we’re slowly going to tackle over the next few years.

Living Roomcasey and finn in the living room before

The living room pictures don’t show the completed space. I took these photos the morning of my contractor’s last day, so there still isn’t a closet door, the windows have paint on them, and there are some holes in the ceiling. Plus, it was soooo bright because it was early and the sun was streaming in. But I wanted to get some pictures of the space empty before we moved in the next day, so you get the idea. Before photos of our finn Fixer upperOpen concept living roomPlanning our living room layoutAdding a steal beam to our homehardwoods in our living roomLiving room at kenneth before renovationLiving room after renovationRenovation before and after progress

Front area during renovationPaint Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White”; Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White”

The living room saw the most action…by far! I’m so happy that we ripped that wall down in the center of the room. It opens everything up and makes for a large living room that I can’t wait to fill with inviting furniture. We also got rid of the bulky fireplace because we didn’t want it to be the centerpiece of the room.

You can’t really “see” it in the pictures, but there is a new steel beam holding up the house and the entire ceiling is brand new (more about that saga in this post!). All new electrical, new hardwoods, new millwork, and fresh paint complete this space!

KitchenKitchen and dining at the Finn Fixer Upper beforeKenneth kitchen after renovation

Kenneth kitchen before and after renovationPaint Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White”; Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White”

The kitchen is definitely improved, but we didn’t really touch much of it. Our plan is to live here for a while and figure out what we want from the kitchen of our dreams. It’s such a large space and I want to make sure we maximize every square inch!

You’ll notice we did take out the portion of the wall by the little desk area. Because we have an entire room for an office upstairs, we felt fine knocking this area out. It opens everything up even more! Sadly, the two posts have to stay…for now. My structural engineer looked at them closely and they’re pretty vital to the integrity of the back of the house. When we do the kitchen, I may see how we can incorporate one of them into the island or see if we can reconfigure things completely to add another steel beam. We’ll see, but for now…they stay!

The new hardwoods, fresh paint, updated electrical, and millwork really helped improve this space! We may do a little refresh to the kitchen before we fully gut it, but I think it depends on when we want to redo the kitchen completely. If it’s in more than a year, then I might paint the cabinets, add backsplash, etc. If not, then we may just make it work!

First Floor Bathroom

Paint Color: Sherwin Williams HGTV Home “Clary Sage” // Mohawk ForeverStyle Floor Tile // Black Faucet // Brass Vanity Light // Flushmount Fixture // Towel Hook // Toilet Paper Roll Holder

Here’s where things stand with the first-floor bathroom. Our little refresh is not quite complete. We have new patterned floors, upgraded lighting, and fresh paint on the walls. I’m planning to share this completed space in a few weeks, so be on the lookout for that!

StaircaseStairwell beforeWhite oak hardwood floorsOutdated staircase plansBefore photos of the railings in our homeNew hardwood floors after

Chandelier // Hardwoods

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White”; Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White”

The staircase was one area I didn’t know I would love so much. Honestly, I was a little hesitant about spending the money to completely redo the railing and move the laundry room wall out. I figured we could wait a few years until we tackled that. But holy smokes, I’m so glad we did it now, rather than waiting. The stairs themselves were sanded and stained a white oak to match our other hardwoods. Then the risers and sides were painted white.

With the wood railing removed, we had a metal one custom built for the space and added a new chandelier. It’s one of my favorite spots in our house right now!

Laundry Room

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White”; Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White”

Our laundry room gained so many square feet of room when we knocked that wall out in the hallway. I’m obsessed with the bold floor tile in here and can’t wait to finish this space up with cabinets and lots of organization. For now, it’s going to stay like this, but I’m hopeful we’ll soon tackle this laundry room.

Master BedroomMaster bedroom beforeMaster bedroom before and after renovationMaster Bedroom Closet Before

Master bedroom with new doors and black door knobs

Ceiling Fan // Door Knobs // Hardwoods

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White”; Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White”

Goodbye, carpet! Goodbye, green ceiling! Goodbye, dated everything! The biggest task in this room was tearing down the wall between the closets to make one large one. This allowed us to have pretty French doors instead of those orangey bifold ones. I’m obsessed with our new ceiling fan too…so sleek and pretty!

Master Bathroom


Before master bathroom at finn fixer upper

Master bathroom before and afterMirrors // Vanity Lights // Flushmount // Pulls

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White”; Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White”

As you guys know, we’re waiting to renovate all of the bathrooms ourselves. For now, they all just got new millwork, doors, and fresh paint. I also replaced the ornate mirrors with these round black ones, the vanity lights with these, and installed this new ceiling light. Not to mention, I’m adding these pulls to the vanity. Oh, and you can’t forget a new toilet seat!

I may end up painting the vanity in here because I doubt I’ll be able to stand that orangey wood for much longer…

Guest BedroomGuest bedroom before

New doors and black door knobs

Ceiling Fan // Door Knobs // Hardwoods

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Tarrytown Green”; Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White”

Yay for a dark guest room! Our last guest bedroom was a dark navy, so I was really eager to make this one a dark green. I’m obsessed with how it turned out. It’s going to be so cozy for our guests. And how about that gorgeous ceiling fan?! Love the brass and black.

Guest Bathroom

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White”; Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White”

Not many changes in this space, but just a few fresh upgrades make it feel a tiny bit better! Fresh paint, new millwork, updated electrical outlets, and my new favorite inexpensive toilet paper holder.

I think I may stencil this floor this winter (would be a fun temporary solution to hide that ugly tile!) and paint the vanity. Stay tuned for those updates.

Home Office

Office before
Home renovation before and after home office

Old doors in officeHome office renovation before and afterPaint Color: Benjamin Moore “Ballet White”; Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White”

It’s crazy how some upgraded finishes can transform a room. With the new hardwoods, fresh paint, new doors, and millwork, this room is a place where I actually want to work! I had my contractor remove the outdated ceiling fan and I didn’t replace it with anything. I just had him cap the electrical in the ceiling, so I can add a chandelier or something down the line if I want.

Someday NurseryExtra bedroom in our Finn Fixer upper

Bonus room after new floors and wallsOur “bonus room” got the same treatment as the office. Just a little fresh upgrade and it’s a blank canvas for something really gorgeous!

BasementBasement before

Ha, no before and after down here! It looks exactly the same (except I did get the carpets cleaned!). This will be a 2021 or 2022 project. Maybe…


Deck before and after renovationDeck Stain // Reveal & Sources

This blog post has the full reveal of this space. Our deck got lots of TLC this summer. I love the new color I stained it and it’s now full of some functional & stylish outdoor furniture. I think we’ll enjoy this little space up until winter comes rolling on in.

Before and after our renovation

Next year, we want to reaaaaallly tackle the entire exterior of the home. But for now, I love these updates.Getting settled on moving day

We can’t thank you enough for following along on our #FinnFixerUpper journey. It has been a hell of a ride and we still have lots of work ahead of us. But wow, we survived our first huge renovation and we couldn’t be happier!


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.

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