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Our Suburban Home’s 10 Year Plan: The Big Changes We’d Make If We Weren’t Moving

Our Suburban Home | Here's a list of all the crazy ideas we had for this home when we first moved in. #suburbanupdate #remodelingideas

We move a lot and we almost never complete every single project on our To Do List before our homes get listed. I still think it’s fun to look back on the big plans we have for our home’s remodels and how we’ve actually solved each little issue instead (if at all).

Here’s a list of all the crazy and fun ideas we had for our suburban two-story home when we first moved in that we never got around to (or couldn’t justify since it’s not our forever home):

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Building a loft over the open second story foyer to add additional square footage and potentially another bedroom

Having the cathedral ceilings in our entryway was a major selling point for Christine. Meanwhile, when I look at this space, I just see wasted square footage potential and higher energy costs.

Building a room over the open foyer would have changed the entire feel of the entryway. Christine was worried it would feel cramped but just look at this foyer from Jessica @decoratingaddict on Instagram.

From Day One, I began my campaign to build a loft or another bedroom over this space. Christine never quite got onboard and, looking back, I’m glad she didn’t. It would have been a large investment – around $15 to $20k – that we likely wouldn’t recuperate when we sell.

I even found an example of a couple who did exactly that – turned their wasted grand foyer into a new room – from Apartment Therapy! That gave me the confidence that we could actually DIY the new room over the foyer!

Of course, I never had to convince Christine to let me tackle this project (I would’ve won, you guys) because we decided to move instead. In case you missed it, here’s the full post on our impending move: We Are Downsizing: Why My Family Is Choosing Life In A Smaller Home.

lofted upstairs hallway leading to master bedroom

In the end, I think a woman is going to enter the home and fall in love with the exact same scene that Christine did: This open lofted hallway that sheds a ton of light into our foyer and leads into our bedroom.

So since I couldn’t talk her into the big build project, here’s what we did instead:

open two story foyer in a traditional suburban home - here's how we updated this space to make it feel fresh

Last Fall, we gave our open foyer a major update during the One Room Challenge. You can see the entire reveal here (ORC™ Week Six: Updated Suburban Entryway Reveal).

We added hardwood flooring on the stairs and in the upstairs hallway to replace the old carpet.

our new entryway looks really great with French doors leading to the office and this grasscloth wallpaper.

We also added French doors that lead into my office and gave the whole space some character with new paint, grasscloth wallpaper, and all new lighting.

Here’s the before and after for comparison. (Before photos is courtesy of the Nashville MLS):

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updated suburban home - adding style and character to a boring space


dark blue built-ins with wallpaper

Remember how upset everyone on Instagram was when I removed the floral wallpaper on these navy blue built-ins? Well I can only imagine the uproar I would’ve caused if I’d followed through and then had to reverse my original plan for this space.

That’s right. I’d originally planned to paint every inch of this room navy blue or black – even the trim!

This photo from Ashley Goforth Design was the original inspiration for the idea.

I was on the cusp of following through when we decided we wanted to move. To be honest, I actually still considered forging ahead with the plans to paint the walls and trim navy and / or black. After all, the bookcase was already navy, so whoever buys the house is probably going to need to like blue.

But I did worry that the dark paint would make the room feel smaller and could make it harder to get good photos for the listing. Plus, I have enough on my plate, so I didn’t really want to worry about cutting in around the ceiling.

Instead, here’s how we gave our home office a fresh new look that will appeal to buyers:

our neutral home office combines modern decor with traditional style and has space for every family member

You can see the full reveal here: Shared Home Office: Blending Decor Styles For A Space That Works Harmoniously 

And here’s a side by side comparison so we can all see how far this space has come (before photo courtesy of Nashville MLS):

our home office makeover - before and after
Shared Home Office: Blending our two decor styles for a space that works for a couple with different tastes


our tiny laundry room really should be a mudroom

Aside from the kitchen, I believe with all my heart that this tiny laundry closet, er room, is where Christine and I spend the majority of our non-working, non-sleeping hours and I dislike it to such an extent that I actually wanted to drop $15k to have it moved upstairs.


As a laundry room, it’s nearly non-functional but as a mudroom, it would have been a glorious space!

My solution was to move it upstairs into the bonus room storage space. It actually made perfect sense because that space is directly above the existing laundry room, so we wouldn’t have needed to do a ton of plumbing alterations to access the existing supplies and drain.

Here’s the space I’m referencing:

unused storage space in our bonus room

I didn’t plan to take up all the storage space with a laundry room. I still wanted to keep it small. But I did want to carve out a little nook in the bonus room and the storage space behind it to serve as a more functional laundry room.

I’d imagined a smaller version of this space, courtesy of Pottery Barn. The pitched part of the room would serve as the washer/dryer hub (side by side) and the taller portion would house a counter-height table where we could sort laundry and fold it.

laundry room ideas

Meanwhile, the old laundry room would transform into a functional spot for our family to house our miscellaneous bags, jackets, and seasonal gear. Plus, while it’s not deep enough to function well as a laundry room, the space would be perfect to house a utility sink because the plumbing is already there!!

I’d imagined a space similar to this one from Erin Hedricks Design:

While we never got around to moving (or even updating yet) the laundry room upstairs, we did manage to install vinyl flooring in that junky storage space.

vinyl flooring installation

And we didn’t get to cut open the wall and build a new room in that little nook but I did turn that space into a fun art station for my daughter.

You can see the full space reveal here: Modern Media Room For A Family To Share – ORC Week Six: Our Bonus Room Reveal

modern art space for a kid


small and colorful bedroom ideas

Remember this room that I turned into a second guest room last summer? You can read that full post here: DIY Upholstered Cornice Board from CARDBOARD + a bunch of guest room updates. It’s such a tiny space that I couldn’t figure out what to do with it for a long time. It really should be a nursery but we have no plans to make any more babies, so it stumped us.

Since it sits directly between our master bathroom and upstairs hallway bathroom, I’d determined the best long-term plan for this space was to steal it to make additional space for our master bathroom and hall bathroom.

It’s not that either of these spaces is exactly tiny. It’s just that their layouts and functionality aren’t ideal.

For example, we love that we have space for a large soaking tub in our bathroom but that kind of kills our shower space. While it’s nice to soak in the tub every now and then, we shower every single day. It’d be way nicer to actually have some elbow room in our shower stall but the current 3×3’ layout doesn’t really accommodate much movement.

The bathroom vanity space is also very small. In fact, it’s smaller than the standard double vanity widths and we don’t even have a single drawer under our sinks, making toothbrush storage kind of gross.

In our daughter’s bathroom, it would be nice if we could add a double sink for when company visits. Unfortunately, the layout is pretty tight. Right now, the closet for the nursery sits directly behind the tub. So if we stole that room for our bathroom and closet, we wouldn’t need that closet and could place the tub directly against the exterior wall of the house. That would give us enough space between the toilet and the vanity to add an additional sink.

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We’re still working on our master bathroom refresh at the moment, but we did actually get around to giving our daughter’s bathroom a little facelift earlier this year.

Here’s the full post: One Day Makeover: Staging A Kid’s Bathroom To Sell In Just 8 Hours For Under $200!

colorful kids bathroom renovation - here's what we were able to accomplish in just one day for less than $200



I typically try to photograph around it so you don’t see it because it’s so weird to me! This isn’t Greece and I’m not running a bath house so why is there a column right there?!

The 90s were a weird time for design, my friends.

our kitchen before makeover

The column just adds to a really strange layout issue in this house. There are so many weird angles already, between the angled adjacent laundry room and powder room walls and the corner fireplace, that it obstructs a lot of the natural flow of the rooms. Because that wall and column is there, we have to angle our sofa as well!

Living room leading into a kitchen

If I had it my way, we’d have taken that wall and column down and then opened up the entire back of the house with accordion patio doors like this space from Rasmussen Construction:

Photo by Rasmussen ConstructionBrowse living room ideas

Of course, we never got there but we did manage to update the living room a lot.

Here’s a good before and after montage for you (before photos courtesy of Nashville MLS):

Suburban Living Room Updates: Breathing new life into a tired 90s home #homeideas #diyupdates

Ad for the kitchen updates, we’re still working on the finishing touches but let’s see how far we’ve come from the beginning. Before photos courtesy of Nashville MLS:

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suburban kitchen refresh


suburban back deck

We got a quote for this project when we first moved in and I’m really glad I didn’t move forward with it because it was way higher than I’d expected and I just don’t think we’d see the return on that investment. But if we’d planned to live in this house for more than just a couple of years, we’d definitely be extending the back deck to the full length of the house portion of the backyard (minus the little nook for the garage.

back deck before

That would be a twenty foot extension and the cost was going to be $18k. Pricey? Yes. But hear me out.

If we’d extended the back deck, I also would have replaced the wood deck flooring with a composite material. Then I’d planned to replace the railing with aluminum. See where this is going? Maintenance free!

It also would’ve looked gorgeous, like this deck from Decks Direct:

composite deck with aluminum railing

Alas, we never made it that far. Instead, we’re planning to update the deck with some paint before we move because it does look pretty rough.

deck before


suburban brick home exterior - we have a pink brick and stone facade

It’s kind of crazy to imagine that there was ever a time when I didn’t like this stone accent but I really didn’t like it when we bought the house. Now, it’s my favorite detail of the front exterior. At the time, I wanted to remove it and remove that giant window to install a metal awning.

I really loved the look of this home by David Michael Miller Associates and wanted to get a similar vibe:

I wanted to replace all the windows with black ones ($35k quote), paint the house white (not quoted), and install double doors in the front ($9k quote).

Christine stopped me.

Instead, we spent that money on two brand new HVAC systems, a new water heater, and a trip to DisneyWorld. In the end, I guess it was worth it, eh?

ORC™ Week One-51.png

Really, some family is going to love this home so much. These little changes (okay, really big changes) we didn’t make won’t really matter. They’ll put their own stamp on it and the changes we have made will create a more functional home for them to enjoy.

But it is fun to look back on the “what if”, isn’t it?




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