Cozy Cottage/Rustic Decor' Ideas

Making Our New (23 year old) House, Into a Home

We bought a house…a house in the mountains rather than the city…a “modular” house rather than a traditionally built house…a house with (in many rooms) panels on the walls rather than textured dry wall…a house where most everything in it was the same age as the house itself, 23 years old!

But I fell in love at first sight. I loved that the house sits on four gorgeous mountain acres. And I loved that every single room in the house is bright and flooded with sunshine! And I loved that although in the raw, the house looked pretty ugly when we first looked at it, unlike some houses we viewed, it had such great potential!  

I mean how boring to move into a house that is finished, and finished according to someone else’s taste. My imagination went into overdrive when I entered this house. Oh, the places it could go! with a little imagination and at least a small budget.

So following are some of the changes we made so far. We had the windows and the bathtub with plumbing changes done by some professionals, but most of our changes are on our own.

I think I mentioned this window in a different blog, but windows are by far, in my opinion, the most important home improvement ever! This one started out as a “porthole,” as I affectionately referred to it, with a pine tree planted right in front of it, and ended up a window to paradise, opening up to the aspen grove and pines outdoors.

And speaking of windows, here is a before and after pic of the master bath. The tub has already been removed in this before picture, but imagine a 23-year-old non-cleanable tub, in a cubby-hole with no windows.

And now, we have a soaking tub with windows (I’m not that big on hot tubs, just give me hot water in a bathtub and I’m happy!). It’s incredible to relax and see the clouds floating by. And in this room, I left our mountain-themed decor’ that fills the rest of the house, and indulged myself in my beloved sea shells, and other nautical decorations.

That’s the beauty of decorating according to your own soul. There are no rules! If I want mountain and sea in the same house, I can do that. I love it!

Next, come outdoors with me for just a moment.

Here you see, in the first pic, the outside of the house as it looked when we first came. We still have a way to go, but we have made the entry-way so much more inviting by adding a fountain (which my husband gave me as a promise on Christmas and delivered in April), and some little inexpensive touches, like painting the old rusty flower pots and adding a rock path.  We hope to add a porch, and remove the ramp, sometime in the near future, to take away from that straight look that modular homes tend to have, and to give it some character.  But you wouldn’t believe how much more inviting it is to hear running water when the house is approached. Water adds such life!

Now back to the house, to another bathroom, the guest bath. Have you ever noticed how important bathrooms are? For someone like me, who along with my husband, run a home business, I spend lots of time, it seems, in the bathroom during the day.

And think of your guests. If your kitchen has flaws and conversely, beautiful things, your guests may or may not even notice. But in the guest bathroom, they have time to look around at their leisure and notice every flaw, as well as every delight in detail! The guest bathroom just may be your most important decorating venture in the entire house.

So the first picture shows what the bathroom looked like when the house was listed. Notice the motorhome-like panels on the walls. In the last picture you see my most fun achievement. I was able to hide those panels with a Sante Fe heavy texture. Some call this kind of texture “skip trowel” texture, but I did more of a swirl design, which gave it a Southwestern look.

The shower curtain hides the yet-to-be-made tile shower, but we were able to add some pretty tiles as a back splash on top of the vanity, which is still the original, but the tiles really add some appeal.

And, oh, changing the cupboard handles, which we did in both bathroom and kitchen, does wonders to bring out the best in the old yet still kind of nice cupboard doors.

Last but not least, at least for this blog, is the kitchen. I owe most of the transformation to my husband Mike.  This room also had the dreaded panels, and he transformed the walls to a nice orange-peel like texture. He also changed the original florescent recessed lights into really cool halogen fancy track lights.

Then we both worked on a “peel and stick” back splash. Above is a before and after (although the pictures are from different sides of the kitchen). The wall looked so blah, but this back splash really jazzed it up and made the kitchen look transformed, even though the same Formica counter is there, the back splash and the textured walls, along with the new cupboard handles and the new lights, makes it truly look like a brand new kitchen!

So that’s part I of our home improvement journey. Stay tuned for part II!

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