In Massachusetts, we had a lovely 1989 New England Center Hall Colonial. The builder was known for his exquisite trim work and ornate fireplaces. This was our first home and we loved so much about it. I loved
puttering around in the large flower beds, moving irises, pulling weeds, and watering my hydrangeas. It was a beautiful house! When Jake first accepted his position here in New Jersey, I was mostly afraid that we wouldn’t find a house that we would love as much as the first one.
The people who lived in our New England Colonial before us did a major interior renovation. Actually, when I saw pictures from the house before their renovation, I didn’t believe that it was the same house. They removed several walls, making the original center hall colonial floor plan into an open floor plan. It gave us a lot of flexibility on space and staging. We created an open dining space and Jake built a big beautiful farmhouse table. We found 7 chairs on craigslist that were all different colors, had names carved into the arms, and some had gum and ketchup stuck to the bottoms. We lovingly restored the chairs and were able to create a new favorite space in the house (and I think all of our guests’ favorite because that’s where we always entertained!)
In the living room, we hung our television on the wall and found a second hand sectional that filled up the space quite well. Jake built a pretty console table for behind the couch. I tirelessly searched the local antique shops and perused the local yard sales until I found the right décor for this space. As you can see, almost everything in our house was either second hand or hand made!
Our kitchen was just off the dining space. We had pretty wooden tall cabinet- so tall that I often had to pull a chair in from the dining area to reach the top shelves. We designed and built an island table to create an eat-in area in the kitchen. We rarely ever ate there, but it was the perfect homework spot for our boys. As I put it to Jake when we built the table, “This will be the perfect place for me to sit and sip wine while you cook dinner!” In actuality, it was a great addition of counter space in our kitchen and we liked the added seating if ever needed.
We had a cute little 3 season sunporch off the eat in kitchen area. The porch was the perfect place to sit to enjoy the singing spring peepers or crickets in the late summer. One summer, I took to painting my watercolors out on the sunporch. It was so peaceful and beautiful. We furnished the room simply with a set of furniture from Home Depot that we picked out when we moved to MA. I think that was the first and still only set of new furniture that we’ve ever bought! It is a very comfortable set of furniture and still going strong!
Rounding out the downstairs of the house, we had a room that we called The Fireplace Room. The name was mainly for a lack of another appropriate name for the room. It was also technically my office because I kept my computer there. We were very blessed that the home’s previous owners had installed a really nice Jotul woodstove. All winter long we had that stove cranking. It took the chill of the house. We’d muse that when there was a fire in the hearth that the house just felt alive. For years I debated about painting the fireplace room because it was an off white yellowish color that wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I often thought about painting it a moody dark grey but was a little afraid that the dark wood and wainscoting combined with a darker wall color would make the room feel too small and cave like. One day, I finally bit the bullet and painted the room Benjamin Moore’s Chelsea Gray and we all love it. We happened to already have a light colored sectional and chair in the room that brought a good balance of the light and dark. I’ll bet it’s no surprise that the leather set came from a storage unit sale!
Heading upstairs, we had a lovely guest room, a room that our boys shared, and our master suite. The New England house had a beautiful open staircase heading up to the attic where we staged a second guest room that we actually used on several occasions when we had the pleasure of hosting more than one guest.
Our master suite bedroom furniture was the first thing that Jake ever built. We used the farmhouse bed plans from this amazing furniture site to build our farmhouse bed and bedside tables. We learned so much working on those pieces!
For our guest room, we turned a piece of wood that was left in the garage from the previous homeowners’ kitchen renovation into a queen sized headboard by attaching a French cleat on the wood and wall. A thrifted dresser and table made a quaint mismatched bedside duo and a fantastic original Ella Fitzgerald concert poster looked so cool on the dark accent wall. This room made me smile every time I came up the stairs- except when coming up the stairs gave me the perfect angle to see dust laying on the pine floor, then I’d cringe!
When we moved from our previous tiny rental into this house we asked our boys who were 2 and 4 at the time if they’d like to each have their own room or if they’d rather share a room and they enthusiastically wanted to share. So we bought them each a little twin bed and put them together. Eventually, my handy handsome hubby (HHH for short?) built them each a storage bed, adapted from this plan. They were so adorable and functional too. The sweet family who bought our house when we sold it asked if we’d consider selling them these beds which we happily did. They would have been very difficult to move and were made to fit in this bedroom. I wonder how they look all decked out in pink now!
Our last space in this house was up the attic staircase to a cute loft. This was often a disaster area collecting Christmas decorations waiting to be put away, or a pile of things I intended to take to Goodwill on my next trip there. But we loved the potential of this space. It was the selling point of the house for Jake. There were two large rooms off this space just waiting for someone to finish them. We thought that we would be the owners to finally finish the attic in the house, but it just wasn’t meant to be. It served a great purpose and I think it was pretty sweet:
Thanks for checking out our first house!