Our Finn Fixer Upper

Welcome to our Finn Fixer Upper! We purchased this home in May 2019 and immediately started a 3-month renovation to make major changes to the home. We lived in a condo here in Chicago before coming here, so this is our first large property and we’re thrilled to have so much space (and a yard…and a garage…and a basement!).

This blog post details our entire renovation process (along with loads of befores and afters). Head here for more information about each space. And the video above shows the complete BEFORE of the home, while this video shows what it looked like right after our renovation.

Our Finn fixer upper with modern organic style

To shop any of the below rooms in my house, head to my shop page.warm paint color palette

Finn Fixer Upper Stats

we bought a house

  • Built in 1921
  • 2-story Red Brick Bungalow
  • Location: Old Irving Park in Chicago
  • 4 Bedrooms
  • 3.5 Bathrooms

The Floor PlanFinn Fixer Upper floor plan first floorFinn fixer upper second floor plan

Finn Fixer Upper – Before & ProgressGetting settled on moving day

The Living Roomcasey and finn in the living room before

Before photos of our finn Fixer upperOpen concept living roomAdding a steal beam to our homeLiving room revealLiving room at kenneth before renovationLiving room after

Living room TV areaLiving room seating areaOur new living room gallery wallFlooring // Doors & Knobs // Living Room Layout // Living Room Reveal // Accent Chairs // Dining Room // Living Room Before & After // Window Treatments // Gallery Wall

Paint 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. 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!

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

Kenneth kitchen before and after renovation

Flooring // Doors & Knobs

Paint 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’re hoping to gut this space in Fall 2020.

The First Floor Bathroom

Our bathroom afterMohawk ForeverStyle Floor Tile // Black Faucet // Brass Vanity Light // Flushmount Fixture // Towel Hook // Toilet Paper Roll Holder

Paint Color: Sherwin Williams HGTV Home “Clary Sage”

We ended up doing a mini refresh to our first-floor bathroom. Not a complete gut, but a few small upgrades to tide us over until it’s time to renovate the shower. We DIY’ed custom molding on the wall for our towel hooks (such an amazing project). You can check out the transformation and sources in this blog post.

The StaircaseStairwell beforeTips to install a stair runner in your homeOutdated staircase plansTips to install a stair runnerBefore photos of the railings in our homeFinn walking up the stairs

Chandelier // Hardwoods // DIY Stair Runner

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, especially with our antique hutch that was a family heirloom. Oh, and after Finn fell down the stairs (true story!) we decided to DIY a stair runner.

The 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 and we gave it a DIY makeover in Fall 2019. You can find all of the sources and the tutorials in this post. And here’s a peek inside the cabinets at how it’s all organized.

The Master BedroomMaster bedroom beforeThe lindbergh ceiling fan from emersonMaster Bedroom Closet BeforeOur new organized closet system

Ceiling Fan // Door Knobs // Hardwoods // DIY IKEA Closet // Window Treatments

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!

The Master Bathroom

Before master bathroom at finn fixer upperOur master bathroomMirrors // 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…

The Guest BedroomGuest bedroom before

Our guest bedroom

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.

The 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 soon (would be a fun temporary solution to hide that ugly tile!) and paint the vanity. Stay tuned for those updates.

The Home Office

Our office before the renovationOld doors in officeLarge and bare officeMy wood desk from ArticleOur home office beforeOur office makeover and wall muralOur home office beforeOur new DIY office built-ins and budget breakdownOur office beforeOur home office makeover

How to make your own DIY acrylic erase boardOur home office makeover

Office Design Plan // Built-Ins Part 1: Installing the Base Cabinets // Office Furniture // Built-Ins Part 2: Building DIY Bookshelves // Priming & Painting Built-Ins // Built-In Reveal & Budget Breakdown // Installing a Wall Mural // Home Office Makeover Reveal // DIY Acrylic Dry Erase Board

Paint Color: Valspar “Chimney Smoke” (built-ins), Benjamin Moore “Ballet White” (walls); Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White”

This room sat empty until the winter of 2020 when we gave this room a complete makeover. It started with those DIY built-ins that were the biggest project we’ve ever tackled. I still can’t believe we made them all by ourselves. Then I installed a wall mural and added in the furniture. You can see the room reveal right here with all of the sources.

The NurseryExtra bedroom in our Finn Fixer upper

Our baby girl's nursery revealOur nursery beforeWhite crib with brass legsThe nursery beforeNursery before and after

Our baby girl's closet in the nurseryWindow bench seat in a nursery

Wallpapered Closet // Sage Green Built-In Reveal // Adding DIY Chair Rail // Painting the Nursery Blush // Nursery Closet & Organized Drawers // Nursery Reveal // Nursery Before and After + Sources

Paint Color: Valspar “Warm Fog” (walls); Trim Color: Benjamin Moore “Simply White”; Chair Rail Color: Custom (formula in this blog post)

Our nursery is my favorite room in the house. We took it from a blank space and added so much personality with DIY chair rail, custom built-ins, and the prettiest blush color on the walls. You can find all of the sources for the tutorials and items in this room right here.

The 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…

The Patio

Deck before and after renovation

Deck Stain // Power Washing Sidewalk // Reveal & Sources // Our New Fence // Painting Front Door

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.

Our new garage floor

Plus, here’s a look at the new garage floor we installed to keep it clean and organized.

The front of our house

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

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!

Casey