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Renovation Series: The House That Made Us

The Journal

An artist + photographer's story blog. Nashville, TN.

Renovation Series: The House That Made Us

Amy Roberts

It’s been a very busy summer.

If you’ve followed along with me on Instagram, you’ll know that we’ve been working hard on renovating a home we bought in June of this year. You may not know, however, that this is actually the home my husband grew up in. Throughout our relationship, this has been the home of his parents. I’ve known this house since I was sixteen years old (twelve years ago now!) and now it’s in our very own hands. We couldn’t be prouder or more excited.

I can’t help but reflect on how much this house has meant to us through dating, engagement, and marriage. We always had an almost unspoken plan to buy this house whenever the day came for Justin’s parents to move on. It was one of two spaces (my parents’ house being the other one) where we really got to know each other and fell in love. We learned about each others’ families here, fell asleep on the sofa downstairs… I even had a stomach virus strike once when I was around seventeen and spent the night with my head in their toilet, unable to even make the five minute drive home. I mean, I grew up here almost as much as my husband, and it’s surreal and grand and really amazing to be trusted with it now.

For any who don’t know, it’s the original farmhouse for our area, built in 1961. Surrounded on three sides now by subdivisions, this entire swath of land was once dedicated to farmland for the original builders of our home. Yet we are not in a subdivision ourselves. The house has retained about four acres of that farmland, which we now own, and it is bordered by old, gnarly trees which block the views of the neighborhood. With three acres of field in front of the house and no neighbors across the road, it still feels very much like we live in the thick countryside, except that we are conveniently close to town and even have a trail being built through the protected forest next to our mailbox. We’ve really got it made.

So, this post is to catch you all up on what I’ve been up to this summer. I want to share bits of our home on here and update things in this series as they get completed. I’ll also show you a few images from my inspiration board for areas that are still under construction.

 

My Design Preferences

When thinking about my ideal design choices, I immediately jumped to a minimal yet bohemian style. I love neutrals, textured surfaces, and a less-is-more approach to knick-knacks. I also wanted plants everywhere, spilling out of the corners and making the house feel alive and homey. I wanted to be careful not to betray the spirit of the house in my eagerness, though. This is a farmhouse through and through, complete with a white picket fence, farmhouse doors, and a dinner bell still stuck to the back door. With that in mind, I’ve tried to find a sweet spot between bohemian and farmhouse decor, which I have a lot of anyway due to my own heritage and heirlooms. It’s been a fun challenge that I’m sure will continue to morph as my vision shifts.

 

The Living + Dining Room

This space is an open floor plan, which was pretty new for the 60’s. It’s bright, with a giant floor to ceiling window centering the living room area that faces the sunrise. There’s a brilliant exposed beam across the top of the ceiling from which we may eventually hang a long fan to circulate air upward better in the muggy Tennessee summers. We plan to replace the carpet soon, and later to put in hardwood to match as close as we can to the stunning originals in the other half of the split level. I’d like to work on window treatments (if not curtains, at least nice blinds) and I really want mismatched chairs. That might be goofy, since I have a great matching set, but, you know, I’m just weird.

 

The Foyer + Library

This is the space that people walk into from both the front and back doors. Wood paneling was so popular back in the day, and I keep waffling on what to do with it. I think I will end up painting it, but I love the wood trim and the gorgeous wooden shutters facing the back garden. I’m not a fan of light walls against wooden trim, though, so I’m at a loss. I’m considering painting the paneling dark, perhaps charcoal or indigo, but I don’t want to regret it later. I hope to make this room feel worldly and cozy, but it also has to serve as a pass-through for any traffic in or out of the house. Lighting updates and built-in bookcases will finish the room up nicely.

 

My Office

I was so excited to finally have an office again! This room is on the same level as the library and is extremely cold, even in summer. I love it. This is where I want all my whimsical notions to find a home. I only want to hang art in here that really means something to me, by artists who inspire me, and all my handmade items can find their places here. A thrifted wooden desk chair, a bed slat turned to a shelf, and some old wood blinds I found in the basement make this room one of my favorites. There are twinkle lights bordering the ceiling above my desk that give the room a warm glow at night. I still want to add a rug to make it cozy and to protect the beautiful floors from my chair.

 

More Plans

This is probably enough for now - bathrooms, bedrooms, and the basement will be for another post, and they all have more work to be done anyway. The plans are as follows:

The laundry room is the tiniest one I’ve ever seen, so I’ve tried to be very economical with my plans for it. I will need to turn the appliances to fit better, remove cabinetry, and free up the laundry shoot (YES! I have a laundry shoot!). Simple, minimal, and economical is the goal for that room.

The bedrooms will be cozy, fairly bohemian, and very neutral. I’d like to play up textures and minimize tech in those rooms. 

All three bathrooms will be remodeled to some degree. I’ve already got the half-bath downstairs stripped of half its wallpaper, but a paint job, a new sconce, and maybe a different sink will finish that up. The two upstairs, however, will be full jobs as I replace pink toilets and tile the now carpeted areas. They will earn a full blog post when they’re done!

The basement is my husband’s sanctuary, where all our technology and music equipment will live. We have very different interests, but that’s what makes our house so well-rounded! I hope to bring a lounge-y, exposed brick sort of vibe down there, with the possibility of an added wet bar and plenty of paint.

 

What a haul! But we love this process so much. We’re so grateful to have this chance for a taste of the countryside and space to spread out. Thanks for following along! For updates and tidbits on the house, check out my Instagram Stories.

xo,