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Our First Fixer Upper: Before and After Home Renovations (Picture Tour)

You’re not going to believe this transformation! We’re taking a little trip down memory lane and looking back at all of the before and after home renovations from our first fixer upper. You’re going to love this picture tour!

A few months ago we moved into our 2nd fixer-upper and we’ve been digging out the moving madness since. We’ve already started some renovation projects over here – like adding privacy to our bathroom window and installing a garbage disposal.

There are tons more projects coming up, but I felt like I left our first fixer-upper a little “unfinished” here on the blog.

Before we completely moved on talking about the new house, I wanted to take a look back at all of our before and after home renovations, because there is A LOT of things you guys never got to see (P.S. I promise to be way better about sharing all of our projects on this house, mmkay?)

A couple of weeks ago, we looked closely at the exterior of the house and the backyard, which changed a TON while we were living there. You can check out the full details on the exterior house makeover here.

Our first fixer-upper looked like a completely different house when we moved out, so you’re in for a treat today! Come take a look at all of the big transformations we made on the interior of our first home.

This before and after home renovations post contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend anyway! Read my full disclosure here.

Home Renovations We Made Throughout The Home

Before we hop into taking a look at the rooms one by one, I wanted to talk about some renovations that we made throughout the entire house so you guys have all the details.

Skim Coating Walls

One home renovation we completed was skim coating the ceilings and walls in the bedroom to remove the rough texture on the walls.
We skim coated all of the walls to smooth the texture

The most obvious changes we make throughout the whole home are the nice smooth walls. This was done by a process called skim coating and let me tell you…it was NOT EASY.

Logan spent nearly 9 months skim coating the whole home while we were living there.

That horrible rough texture was something that was really important for us to change because we hated it. But we had no idea how much work the skim coating would actually be.

Logan did it all himself. It was hard work, time-consuming, and very laborious.

But when it was all done, we had nice smooth walls. The texture on the walls was so thick that it required multiple layers of drywall mud to be added and smoothed.

2 photos showing the before and after of skim coating walls. Before photo shows rough, splotchy texture and after photo shows smooth walls
Before and after skim coating on the walls

Looking back on this DIY, if we would have known how intense this project was, we would have saved up and paid to have it done.


Painting Interior Walls

Logan spent a lot of time painting the walls in our home with a dark grey. We regularly painted at night, surrounded by construction supplies.
We painted all of the walls throughout the home

After the walls were smoothed, we painted every room. And we’ve summed up everything you need to know about how to paint a room for beginners here!

Paint colors in the fixer upper


Replacing Flooring

One home improvement project we tackled was replacing the flooring. Here we're laying red underlaying flooring before adding new hardwood.
We replaced the flooring throughout the home
Logan installing new laminate hardwood flooring on top of red flooring underlay.
This light wood laminate hardwood was used throughout the fixer upper to replace carpeting

We also replaced the floors throughout the home with laminate hardwood.

It felt so good ripping out that gross carpet! As soon as I got pregnant with our first little one, I knew that it was something that we were going to have to do before the baby came.

I just couldn’t imagine letting a little baby crawl around on the gross carpet that had been there for years before we purchased the home.

We got the laminate hardwood on sale at Costco. It’s the brand Harmonics and the color is Camden Oak. Although it is not sold online, you may be able to find it in stock at your local store. Here’s another very similar option sold at Home Depot.

For a step-by-step, learn how to install laminate flooring here.

Our dog loves the new hardwood floor throughout the house.
Finished dining room with new laminate flooring and paint

Replacing Lighting and Adding Ceiling Fans

We knew we wanted to add ceiling fans in the bedrooms and living room.

When we were looking for ceiling fans, we were surprised to have trouble finding fans in the same style/model that were sold in two different sizes (for larger rooms and smaller bedrooms).

We wanted the fans to match throughout. We ended up with fans from Hampton Bay. This exact model is no longer sold, but a lot of the other styles of ceiling fans that Hampton Bay makes in both large and small sizes.

We installed new ceiling fans throughout the house, including in our son's room.
Newly added ceiling fan in nursery

We also replaced ugly “boob” lights with these awesome budget-friendly flush mount lights in the hallway and entryway. We also found matching pendants for our kitchen.


Replacing Door Hardware

Something that made a big difference during our fixer upper renovation was replacing all of the interior door handles and hinges. It seems like something so simple, but it was shocking.

We went with something classic with this oil-rubbed bronze knob.

An empty room with grey walls has a new ceiling fan and light installed, as well as new door handles and hardware.
The door hardware and hinges were replaced throughout the home

Adding Tamper Resistant Outlets and Light switches

A very subtle change that we made was bringing in new light switches and adding tamper-resistant outlets (a no-brainer if you’ve got little ones).

I was surprised how it instantly made the room feel “new” with fresh white switches.

This is something that can easily be done yourself. There’s not much electrical work involved. Here’s a simple tutorial for how to change an outlet.


Replacing Blinds

The blinds were so gross when we moved in, we ripped them out instantly. We decided to go with a cellular shade from Blinds.com and loved them! We had blackout shades in the bedrooms and light filtering everywhere else.


Adding Vapor Barrier In Crawl Space

One kind of “not fun” project we had to do was add a vapor barrier in our crawl space.

When we were buying the home, we learned in the home inspection that there were some issues with drainage around the house, which had inevitably led to some moisture issues under the home.

We remedied the drainage issues by installing a french drain around the house and then adding vent wells.

Luckily the moisture issue under the home wasn’t too bad, but we had to cut a huge hole in our floor.

Then we cleaned it up, aired it out for days with commercial-grade dehumidifiers, and once it was all dry, we added a HUGE vapor barrier (which is essentially a plastic sheet that you lay on the ground to prevent any moisture coming from the ground to get in crawl space and/or home).

It wasn’t a fun job, but we were lucky that Logan’s dad was in town to help out.

A man dressed in a white protective suit ready to install a vapor barrier under our house in the crawl space.
All suited up to work in the crawl space under the home
A large hole cut into the floor gives access to the crawl space below the house - this is where we installed the vapor barrier under our home.
We had to make this hole in the floor of our dining room to work on installing the vapor barrier
This large yellow plastic vapor barrier was installed in the crawl space under the home to prevent moisture issues.
This large yellow sheet was the vapor barrier we installed in the crawl space underneath the home

Before and After Home Renovations: Entryway

Our old home's entry way was small and inconvenient, with a diagonal wall cutting off access to the kitchen.
Entryway before we removed small diagonal wall near front door

When we moved into this home, the first thing you saw when you opened the front door was this awkward diagonal wall. To the right of the front door is the large living room with an awesome huge window and to the left is the kitchen.

All the weird wall did was make the entryway feel closed off and small and broke the line of sight from the kitchen into the living room.

We knocked this wall down within the first few weeks of living here. It just HAD to go!

A collage of photos showing the process of knocking down an awkward diagonal wall in the entry way of our old home.
In process removing wall in entrway

What a big difference that made, right?!

A pair of before and after photos showing a major home renovation we made - removing a wall in our entry way that cut off access to our kitchen.
Before and after comparison of entryway

We also swapped the ugly “boob” light out for this oil-rubbed bronze semi-flush light in the entryway.


Before and After Home Renovations: Living Room

Our old living room had tan walls and tan carpet, and felt small with two couches and a small entertainment center in the corner.
Living room before picture

This is what the living room looked like when we purchased the house. We loved that the living room is large and open to the entryway and kitchen.

An empty living room with dirty brown carpet and tan walls, a ceiling fan, and large window with no curtains.
Living room at move-in before renovations were made

Of course, the walls got smoothed and painted this gray color and the gross carpet was pulled out and replaced with laminate hardwood.

I was wanting a little more farmhouse in this living room, so we added this awesome accent wall with shiplap that we made from plywood (and got a new awesome gray sectional – check out these awesome gray sectionals under $1000 for some ideas if you’re wanting something like this).

Before and after photos showing home renovations made to the living room - we removed the carpet and installed hardwood floor, painted the walls and refinished the ceiling. The new living room is bright, open, and decorated for Christmas
In process and after pictures of living room
Our renovated living room, looking into the kitchen. The updating living room has newly painted grey walls, laminate hardwood floors, and a smoothed ceiling.
Renovated living room with new paint, laminate floor and reading nook with view into dining room and kitchen

The weird little “cubby” you see pictured here was where a fireplace used to be that was removed some years ago. We transformed this alcove into a farmhouse-style reading nook with storage.

Before and after home renovation photos showing an old fireplace alcove turned into a reading nook with DIY shiplap walls.
Before and after comparison of reading nook and storage bench in living room

Before and After Home Renovations: Kitchen

Our old kitchen before our remodel - the kitchen was dark and felt small, with laminate counter tops and dark cabinetry.
Kitchen view before renovations
Our old kitchen before the home renovation was small, with brown wood cabinets and laminate countertops
Small galley kitchen before renovating

For being an old 70’s fixer-upper, the kitchen was in decent shape when we moved in. Cabinets are nearly spotless and the appliances were all in decent shape.

The kitchen countertops were a bit bland and not necessarily my style, but they are in great shape, so we didn’t touch them!

After we knocked out the wall near the front door (see above), we ripped out the upper corner cabinet. It wasn’t very efficient. Those deep corner cabinets never are!

And it really made the area feel a lot smaller. We got it out of there and added this hanging pot rack, which I LOVE!

The vintage bread box is the perfect touch for some extra countertop storage. and Yes, we actually store bread in here!

When we renovated our kitchen as a home improvement project, we painted the walls and removed cabinets in the corner of the kitchen to install a hanging pot rack.
Corner of kitchen with corner upper cabinet removed and replaced with hanging pot rack

We replaced the kitchen sink with a black matte style and added this show-stopping faucet. We also installed a microwave above the oven.

Kitchens can be EXPENSIVE to renovate, so we were happy that we didn’t need to do much in the kitchen.

The home renovations we completed on our kitchen were minimal - here is a look at our finished kitchen with new light fixtures, updated hard wood floors and new paint.
Renovated kitchen and entryway
Before and after photos of our renovated kitchen, with tan countertops, cabinets, and new light fixtures.
Before and after comparison of kitchen after renovations
Before and after photos of our kitchen and living room. On the right, a bright kitchen with brown walls and tan countertops.
Before and after kitchen and living room after renovating in fixer upper

Before and After Home Renovations: Dining Room

Our old dining room before home renovations was just off the kitchen and hand old laminate flooring and no lighting.
Dining room before renovations

The kitchen opens up directly into the dining area, which has a door to the garage (and provides the only access to the backyard).

An in-progress photo of our dining room renovation - construction supplies are stacked against the walls
Dining room during renovations

The main projects we did in the dining room were smoothing and painting the walls and replacing the flooring.

Our updated dining room, with new hardwood floors, a gorgeous farmhouse style table decorated with a 6-person place setting.
Renovated dining room with farmhouse table and decor
Our updated dining room, furnished with a farmhouse style dining room table, bench style seating, and an American flag hanging on the wall in the background.

I scored the farmhouse style table at a thrift store for only $185 and it was already painted like that, which I loved. Logan built the farmhouse benches.

A look at our empty renovated dining room from the living room - you can see the new paint color and fresh hardwood floors.
View of finished renovated dining room area with two large windows from living room
Our updating dining room features a coffee station, complete with a coffee maker, storage, and farmhouse style artwork, including a wall mounted mug rack
DIY coffee station with vintage dresser and wall shelving for mug storage

We made this vintage dresser into a coffee bar, which I loved!! Read more about how this DIY coffee station came together here.

This photo is really more of a “during” and after, rather than a before and after pic!

A before and after picture collage of the dining room renovation. The top photo shows an in-progress dining room update with construction supplies scattered around the room. The bottom picture is the finished dining room featuring a farmhouse style dining room table, bench seats, and farmhouse style decor.
Before and after pictures of dining room renovations

Before and After Home Renovations: Hallway

The old hallway before renovations was plain with brown carpet and white walls.
Long hallway before renovations

From the dining room, if you turn to your right, you’ll be walking down the hallway.

This is the only photo I have of the hallway before things started getting crazy with the renovations.

During our home renovations, we updated our hallways with new hardwood flooring and added a gallery wall created with precious family photos in various rustic picture frames.
Hallway after renovations with new page, flooring, lights and gallery wall decor

The hallway got new lights, flooring, and nice smooth walls.

We also swapped out the old wooden shelving in the closets and laundry for wire shelves.

Our hallway linen closet was updated during our home renovations with new white storage racks and a faux brick.
Hallway storage closet with faux brick wall and wire shelving
Our hallways closet was upgraded with new wire shelving and a faux brick paneling for updated farmhouse style.
Wire shelving installed in hallway storage closet

We turned one of the hallway cabinets into a cleaning closet.

After removing the door fronts, we added a brick panel to the wall painted white and added wire shelving.

It was the perfect little spot for our cleaning supplies and our vacuum.

This stayed open the entire time we lived there, but we ended up building a wood door for the cleaning closet when we moved out.

Before we moved out of our home, we added a wood door to the hallway closet.
Rustic wooden door for hallway storage closet for cleaning supplies

Also in the hallway is our laundry room. We added the wire shelving and painted the colorful accent wall.

This hallway closet space turned into our laundry room - we updated it with a fun white, beige, black, and mint geometric pattern and functional wire shelving for storage.
Hallway laundry closet with colorful accent wall and wire shelving
A look at our updated hallway from the entryway - updated hardwood floors, white doors, and gray paint, with the living room on the right side.
Hallway and living room after renovations

Here’s a little before and after of the hallway.

A before and after photo of the updated made to our hallway. This home renovation include ripping up the carpet and adding hardwood floors, painting the hallway, and updating the lighting fixtures.
Before and after comparison of hallway renovations

Before and After Home Renovations: Front Bathroom

Our old front bathroom before the home renovations - a dark space with a typical shower, green plastic shower curtain, and vanity with a tri-fold mirror.
Front bathroom before renovating

As you start walking down the hallway from the dining room, you’ll first approach the front bathroom, which is your first door on your left.

This was the only room in the house that did not get skim coated. We were SO TIRED of it by the end and we had learned that small spaces were the hardest for skim coating.

Since we eventually planned some bigger renovations in this bathroom, we left the texture on the walls and just painted it.

A look at the guest bathroom before renovations - the bathroom vanity had a plain countertop and brown wood counters with a tri-fold vanity mirror
Front bathroom at move-in

We really didn’t do anything to this bathroom until shortly after we moved out,

Logan painted the mirror and the vanity, which needed some love. He used a Behr Premium Plus Interior paint in semi-gloss sheen for this.

We also gave the light in here a little farmhouse makeover with some simple spray paint and new light bulbs. Read more about that easy DIY light makeover here.

Our guest bathroom was updated during our home renovation with new paint - we painted the tri-fold mirror and vanity cabinets black and the walls grey
Bathroom with new paint, painted mirror and vanity

Before and After Home Renovations: Front Bedroom (Office)

Before our home renovations, our front room served as an office and guest bedroom with a mix of furniture including a bed, TV and small Tv stand, laundry hamper, and plastic storage drawers
Front bedroom before renovating

This is the only photo I have of the front bedroom because we had to start renovating in there immediately!

We had about 2 weeks of overlap until we needed to move in and I needed to have a move-in ready office because I work from home.

During our home renovations, the front bedroom became my home office - I added a wooden hutch for storage, the initials CRJ in wood letters on the wall, and a comfortable office chair with a faux fur throw blanket.
Finished front bedroom renovated into home office space
a look at my new home office work station - the home office has a desk with two computer monitors. Wall mounted floating shelves hold a gallery wall of gold-framed artwork.
Home office set up with marble, gold and mint green color scheme

The room eventually got a big makeover when I turned it into this modern marble & gold home office. You can check out the full details on this modern marble and gold office here.


Before and After Home Renovations: Back Bedroom (Nursery)

The view from the door of our back bedroom before home renovations shows a TV on a small TV stand at the foot of a bed.
Back bedroom before renovations

This bedroom is essentially the same as the front bedroom but flip-flopped.

This room was a “holding ground” during the major renovations of the house. At one point, this little room served as our bedroom (while we were working on the master) and then also served as our living room (while we were working on that).

Can you believe we were able to fit 2 recliners, an entertainment center, a TV and even a small table where we put a mini Christmas tree for our first Christmas in this house?!

After our home renovations, we turned the back bedroom into a rustic nature themed nursery with a changing table, gallery wall, and nursing station.
Back bedroom renovated into little boy’s nursery
Our boy's woodland animals nursery featured a wooden crib with wood wall art hanging above the crib, and navy blue area rugs and curtains.
Rustic woodland nursery makeover

Eventually, though, this room was completely transformed into an adorable little rustic woodland nursery for our son.


Before and After Home Renovations: Master Bedroom

Before our home renovations, the master bedroom had a king size bed placed in front of a window and a very small bathroom off the the right side of the bed.
Master bedroom before renovating

This is what the master bedroom looked like when we were purchasing the home. This room has so many weird angles.

The door on the other side of the bed shown here leads to a uber small bathroom (more to come on that next).

This room got smooth painted walls, new flooring and we positioned our bed to go on the opposite wall, which I think made a big difference in the overall layout.

Our updated master bedroom after home renovations featured new hardwood floors, a new wood bed frame and headboard, and new paint in the room.
Master bedroom after renovating with new flooring, painted walls and fresh decor and furniture
A look at our updated master bedroom - a king size bed with a wood headboard and bed frame dressed with white linens, white sliding closet doors, and updated hardwood floors with a light blue runner rug.
Master bedroom after remodel

We also installed new closet systems in the bedrooms, which helped make the small master closet more efficient.

During our home renovations, we updated the master bedroom closet with an efficient closet shelving system for more storage.
White closet system in master reach-in closet

Before and After Home Renovations: Master Bathroom

Before home renovations, the master bathroom was incredibly small and dark, with little light and outdated brown tiles.
Small master bathroom before renovating
The small walk-in shower stall with a plastic shower curtain and small vanity and sink in the corner of our small master bath before home renovations.
Stall shower and small vanity area before renovating
A look inside the small master bathroom before renovations shows the small bathroom vanity mirror and sink.
Small vanity and mirror area in master bedroom at move-in
Before home renovations, the master bathroom had a small, plain nook for the toilet.
Toilet area in small bathroom before renovating

Smakward… it’s the perfect new word to describe this master bathroom. A subtle blend of all things SMALL and AWKWARD. Update: Check out our farmhouse master bathroom reveal!

This room got the most “iconic” renovation in the entire house due to a video that went viral on Facebook (over 20M views, what!!?!).

The bathroom was also featured on Apartment Therapy. The renovations in here continue to be some of my most popular posts, so I know you guys love this renovation.

A faux shiplap wall installed in the master bathroom.
Faux shiplap wall behind toilet

We started the bathroom renovation by installing this easy faux shiplap wall. Read the full shiplap wall tutorial here.

A faux shiplap wall installed in the toilet nook with farmhouse style floating shelves mounted to the wall.
Rustic bathroom shelving on faux shiplap wall above toilet

Then we built these fun floating shelves to add some extra bathroom storage space (and, of course, a cute place to decorate!). Read how to build bathroom floating shelves here.

We installed a vintage medicine cabinet that's painted a light tiffany blue to give our master bathroom a more farmhouse look.
Vintage medicine cabinet added in bathroom

We installed a vintage medicine cabinet to give the room some major farmhouse charm.

This blue ombre painted wood sign was a fun DIY project that added a touch of rustic style to our master bathroom.
DIY wall decor added to bathroom

I had fun making some smaller DIY projects for the bathroom, like this ombre painted wood sign

A close up look at the vintage chipped paint bathroom sign that's mounted to the wall in our master bathroom, next to iron towel hooks.
Farmhouse-style decorations added charm to the bathroom

and this adorable chippy paint rub-a-dub-dub sign.

The renovated bathroom included a toilet nook with faux shiplap walls, floating shelves decorated with farmhouse style accessories.
Finished toilet area of master bathroom with shiplap, shelving and farmhouse decor

If you’re looking for tons more details on the farmhouse master bathroom renovation, check out the full bathroom reveal here.

Shortly after we moved out, Logan painted the wood vanity white, which was a long time coming.

I was totally saying…man, why didn’t we just do that earlier!? It looks great and fits in better with the farmhouse feel of the bathroom. He also did some painting in the shower and made it a nice bright white – looks so fresh!

Looking into the master bathroom shows a white shower stall with no shower curtain and a vanity nook in the background.
We painted the vanity white and refreshed the shower with white tub paint

I was so sad to leave behind this bathroom, which I ended up falling in love with.

Before and after renovating our master bathroom - the picture on the left shows a plain toilet nook; the picture on the left shows the toilet nook with shiplap walls and floating shelves decorated with farmhouse style decorations.
Before and after comparison on toilet area in master bathroom
Two photos showing before and after our master bathroom renovations - the top image shows the old bathroom, and the bottom picture shows the updated bathroom with new paint, updated vanity and lighting.
Before and after comparison of stall shower and bathroom vanity

Whew….I know that was A LOT of information and A LOT of photos. But this before and after home renovations post was about three years in the making.

Taking a look back and really how far we came in our first fixer-upper makes me so happy and proud. A lot of people thought we were crazy for taking on a big project like this, but we’re so glad we did!

By DIYing almost every improvement, we saved THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of dollars and built a ton of equity in the home as well (since the market has gone up considerably here since we purchased).

With the improvements we made and the rise of the market, we were able to retain this home and turn it into a cash-flowing rental property before buying our 2nd fixer-upper.

We were very blessed to be able to do this, but a lot of it was due to our hard work, blood, sweat, and tears that we poured into this home over the past three years.

I’m so glad we decided to take one last look back at the before and after home renovations because I feel like I have a little closure now! It’s safe to say that we’ve closed the chapter on our first fixer-upper and can’t wait to get going on the renovations for our next place, which has already started!


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