One of the best things we did for our house in 2012 was to give it a face lift with new paint throughout.

I have a bit of wanderlust/ants in my pants:-)…whatever you want to call it and sometimes I need change in a big bad way!

We have been in this house for almost 10 years and that is the longest I have ever been in one house (even including the home I grew up in).

I grew up in an old farmhouse and our garage was the old barn.

I like big rooms, squeaky stairs (except when you were trying to sneak in late at night) and front doors with big windows.

I like the trees in your yard to actually be bigger than the house…not looking like a bunch of bushes around the yard.

But I don’t live in rural Illinois where property is affordable and you trip over old farmhouses as you go throughout your day.

We built our home and at the time we built it the neighborhood had planned to have “older” looking homes,  lots of color and big front porches.

9/11 happened…the economy happened…and our semi-custom builder and the other builder went out of business.

Sure, they waited until they had built our home to bail.

Life happens and some of our neighborhood didn’t turn out like we were told.

I am embarrassed to tell you that I used to walk along the “older” part of the neighborhood and cry that my street wasn’t going to look like that.



I would like to blame it on postpartum or something but that wasn’t it.

I am a crybaby. End of story.

I don’t deal with change well.

Sooooo……that brings me back to our home and making the most of our home.

Making it have that “feeling” even though we live in a new neighborhood with bushes instead of trees.

Even though when we need to borrow sugar we can just open our windows and they can pass it to us from their kitchen window.

I feel so blessed that we have a huge backyard (for a neighborhood), I have a big front porch and that our builder was semi-custom and allowed us to make changes that reflected the feeling I wanted for our home.

Here are some of the changes they let us make:

1. Divided Our Living Room

Our living room was actually a  much bigger room.

We knew that someday (didn’t know it would take us 10 years to start) we wanted a family room in the basement so we could handle our living room being smaller.

We asked them to cut the room short and create a library with the other space.

We had them add the fireplace on both sides and add a French door.

We couldn’t afford for them to build the bookshelves so Kelly built them for my birthday a few years after we moved in.

2. Took out their built-in entertainment centers

The builder had planned for a built-in entertainment center in living room and master bedroom.

I did not like anything about their design or the angle of the cabinets.

We had them take them out and leave a niche in the wall so Kelly could go back later and build shelves.

It worked out perfectly and changed the look of those spaces.

3. Took out the desk at the top of the stairs

The original plans of the house calls for a desk at the top of the stairs.

I thought this was the weirdest place to put a desk.

We asked them to take that out and put a window seat (with storage and bookshelves) in that space.

We drew out what we wanted and it has added so much to our home.

4. We had them paint all three of our fireplace mantels and trim white

All of the woodwork in the house was supposed to be oak and they painted it for us.

Of course we could have done this after the house was built but it would have been an enormous amount of work.

5. We upgraded all of our light fixtures

I didn’t like any of their light fixtures so I asked them if I could change them out.

They gave me the catalog they order from, the price limit on each room and purchased the lights I wanted instead.

We have continued to change some lighting over the years but I was so grateful to have a say in our lighting choices.

6. We upgraded our stove

This very simple addition has made a nice difference in our kitchen. It is nice to have the extra space for cooking and this would have been very hard to add after the kitchen was completed.

When our home has been appraised they always comment on it and confirm was a nice extra it was to include in our kitchen.

These are probably some of the bigger things we had done as our home was being built and over the years we have continued to try to add older character to our newer home.

Making your house a home is a labor of love and doesn’t happen over night.

We have spent 10 years so far adding moldings, wainscoting, trees, built ins and more.

We still have so many things we want to add, change, upgrade etc. but it all takes time or money and we rarely have lots of either!

As we work on our basement this year we will be sure to show you all the little things we are adding to make it feel older and full of detail.

We also want to focus on our front yard this summer.

I would love to add a picket fence (but I don’t know if I can get it approved with the HOA:-() and to add new landscaping in the front of the porch.

I want it to be more colorful and have more layers of flowers and plants.


Here are the new paint colors that we have added to our home.

Some are custom mixes but most of them are from Sherwin Williams, Home Depot or Lowe’s.

The paint names are written under the paint swatches and please email me or leave a comment if you have any questions.

I also am a big believer in shopping your own house first when you are getting tired of how your home looks.

You bought the things in the first place because you liked them.

Sometimes it just takes a fresh coat of paint or a new spot in your home to give it a completely new look.

In my e-course Creatively Made Home I did a video about shopping your house.

It gives four different looks for my living room with pieces I already had.

I have upload the video onto the creative network.

You just have to be registered (this is free) to see the video.

You will find this free video under Free Home Video {Shop Your House}.

One last thing!

While I was at my friend  Alexis’ home a few months ago I was admiring her windows.

I couldn’t place my finger on what was so awesome about them.

Guess what……she had taken out all of the screens!

As soon as I got home we took out all of the screens on our main floor.

It was free and made such a huge difference!

We kept them in our bedrooms etc. but our main floor living space was instantly brightened and looked “cleaner” and brighter.

I would also love to hear how you have added character to your newer home.

It is amazing what a few small things can do.


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