The First House

Improvements Made to the House

Brandon and I have done a lot to the house in our six years of ownership, and we did much of the work ourselves. We’re house-proud, and I wanted to gather some of the major work we’ve done here in one post! We (okay, I) made cosmetic choices that not everyone agreed with, like wallpapering the dining room or painting the not-so-nice wood trim white, but we’ve also made many structural improvements. We…

  • remodeled the kitchen (adding a dishwasher while we were at it)


Dark Bamboo Flooring

  • added zoned central air

  • upgraded the closet doors in two bedrooms

Craft Studio



  • installed a tankless water heater

  • updated the electrical wiring

  • updated the plumbing

  • created a new laundry room (with a gorgeous sink)

Laundry Room Sink

  • replaced the roof on the upper portion of the house (the rest of the roof was a different type and is fine)

New Roof

Backyard Patio and Garden

  • added a railing to the stairway

  • replaced light fixtures throughout the house

Eleanor's Room

(The Edison chandelier in our bedroom is coming with us though.)

Our listing agent has advised us to not do too much more to the house to prepare it for sale. There are still a handful of projects that we could have done had we planned to stay here longer, but there are always things that could be done to a house that’s over a hundred years old. We decorated it to our tastes, sure, but we also gave it a lot of love and a lot of new life. We hope the next owner(s) of this house will love it as much as we have.

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  • Lesley
    May 29, 2013 at 2:31 am

    I love it!!! Sure not all of it is to my taste, but that’s what I really like about your place! It’s you and it’s your home, not just a place that looks like it’s been “styled” to within an inch of it’s life.
    I’ve really enjoyed watching progress on your lovely home and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you all.
    Thanks for sharing it all with us…now onto the next project!!
    So exciting!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 29, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Thank you! We’re excited about starting on a new place. Soon!

  • Becky
    May 29, 2013 at 6:06 am

    I’ve been quietly following your blog for maybe two years now, but that means I came in at the tail end of a lot of your upgrades. You are truly an inspiration, and I’m very excited to see what you do next from the very beginning. Thanks for taking us with you. ;)

  • Ashley
    May 29, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Regarding the tankless water heater – We’ve been considering this, how do you find it as a family of four? Do you ever run out of hot water? How long is your typical shower?(haha) What size is yours? We have a 60 gallon tanked water heater, and we’re looking to replace it in the very near future; we were considering tankless but know very little about them and have no friends/family who have installed on, so we really have only the internet to go by at this time. A practical opinion would be much appreciated!

    • Rachael
      May 29, 2013 at 8:07 am

      I work for a company that sells tankless water heaters and one thing to consider is this – the distance from your shower to your heater determines how fast you get hot water. So if you install your heater in a closet in or by your bathroom, you’ll get instant hot water, but if you install the heater on the opposite end of the home it will take a few minutes to get hot water.

      Also, you can get a tax rebate for making energy efficient upgrades to your home this year (I think its a 1 time/$300) so if you do get a tankless heater, you can use your discount towards that.

    • Kathleen
      May 29, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      They are very noisy, so make sure it’s installed somewhere you will never hear it. We installed one in our older home and it drove us crazy! We ended up having it taken out. Total waste of money.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 29, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Our water heater is in the basement, so we don’t hear it (though it’s not that noisy). The hot water is not instant when we turn on the shower (for example), as the cold water between the basement and the second floor all has to get out of the way first, but that’s to be expected unless it’s installed right next to the bathroom. We did it for energy efficiency (since we had to replace the hot water heater anyway), and have been happy with it.

  • Nikki
    May 29, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I’ve been following your blog for years and just had to tell you how much I love your home, and all the changes you’ve made to in along the way. I SO wish I could just move right in, but alas, we’re in Texas. I’m sure someone will snap it up right away and love it the way you do, and your sweet family will find the perfect next home for yourselves soon.

    Good job trusting your instincts with the colors, white trim, wallpaper and fixtures. You have such a great eye for design and it’s been fun to watch you grow into yourself these last few years!

  • Eva
    May 29, 2013 at 7:36 am

    It’s sad and hard to say goodbye to a place that you’ve poured so much love into and that you’ve made so many memories in… But I’m excited to see you start over again on a new place! Good luck getting it sold quick!

  • Julie
    May 29, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Please tell us more about the sliding closet door upgrades! I have sad 60’s hollow doors, and would love to make a change.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      They were from Home Depot! They look so much better than the ones that were there before.

  • Christina
    May 29, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Everything is so pretty. Will you give us one last before and after house tour post before you move?

  • Anna
    May 29, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for about 5 years now and I’m so excited for you about the move… but I feel kind of sad that we won’t be seeing the old house anymore (I realise that sounds totally ridiculous!) all the best with selling it!

  • jackie jade
    May 29, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Ahh you’ve done SO much. We’ve been slowly working on our house and I hope we can complete more beautiful projects like yours. Good luck with the new house!

  • Ashley@BiggerthantheThreeofUs
    May 29, 2013 at 8:14 am

    You guys have done soooo much! Love it. I’m going to have to browse through all the links again for inspiration!

  • itziar
    May 29, 2013 at 9:11 am

    I love your home !
    A pitty you leave but i am sure you will do a great job in new one
    and i hope to see it ; )

  • missy
    May 29, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I’m glad you figured out that your children are only going to get bigger and that those tiny bedrooms were not going to work. Good luck on the house hunt.

  • Laura
    May 29, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I know what you mean about the never-ending updates that can be done to a 100-year-old house – we are just starting down that road ourselves, so your blog has been quite the inspiration. Can’t wait to see what your next house brings!

  • TammyLee
    May 29, 2013 at 10:02 am

    …to your last statement in this post – How could they not?!
    well done

  • Stacy
    May 29, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Nicole, I’ve just gotta say I have really, really enjoyed watching you upgrade your house over the years. You do such an excellent job and it’s been very inspirational. I can’t wait to see where you end up and to watch all the future improvements transpire.

  • SFDC
    May 29, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I second Julie’s comment. Would love to know more about the closet doors. They’re lovely!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks. They were from Home Depot – I think the brand was NuPorte.

  • Cathy
    May 29, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Magnificent! Your home is a beautiful reflection of you and your family and you leave a lovely legacy to the next people who live there! Good luck with the house hunting and moving and I look forward to following your adventures in improving your next home.

  • Holly
    May 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Well I have some catching up to do I see – congrats on making the decision to move. We listed our house in February and had 3 offers the day it hit the MLS which was both thrilling and terrifying (b/c we did not have our next house yet). We were so happy that our house sold quickly but then the race was on to find our next house. We unfortunately had 3 weeks of interim time where we needed a place to stay so we’re living with my brother and his family right now, but we settle on our new place on Tuesday and we can’t wait to move in and start making new memories. Best wishes to you and your family – it can be a roller coaster of a ride – fun, scary, and thrilling all at once :)

    • Making it Lovely
      May 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      Wow! I’ve heard that has been happening to a lot of people lately. I’m not sure what to expect — this is the first home we’ve lived in, so we have no experience with selling one!

  • jbhat
    May 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Oh, I love your home and your taste. If it were me buying it, I’d would add on replacement value costs of ALL the furniture to what I’d pay for the home just so that I could keep everything you’ve done/bought. It’s just gorgeous, all of it.

    And OMG, that laundry sink! It might be my favorite single element in your place.


    • Making it Lovely
      May 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      I’m going to miss that laundry sink!

  • Vidya Sudarsan
    May 29, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Your home is so cheerful. You guys have done an amazing job. Tackled all the upgrades that give you a good ROI and a list any buyer will appreciate. I think your new owner is lucky!

  • christa
    May 29, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I love your house. I can’t wait to see what you do with your next one!! I was wondering… how has your patio table held up? We were looking at the same one and were curious about the quality. Would you recommend it?

    • Making it Lovely
      May 29, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      The one in the photo above did not hold up well. It might have fared better had we covered it or put it away for the winter though.

  • Kelly
    May 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I just came across your blog and am really enjoying looking through your posts. Your house looks great. I love your style. Great job on all the improvements! Kelly

  • abby
    May 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I’m pretty sure you have made my dream home. Ah, I can’t wait to own instead of rent someday!! It is absolutely beautiful! I’m very impressed! :)

  • Sarah Mc.
    May 29, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Good luck with the house hunt! One question that isn’t very exciting: can you talk more about how you added zoned central air? We are looking into this for our almost 100-year-old house. We moved in last fall, so it’s our first summer w/o central air. We’ve read all about space pak/unico as well as other options. We don’t know anyone personally though who has done this so we’re curious to hear opinions, if anyone has any! (I know, definitely one of the less fun projects!)

    • Making it Lovely
      May 29, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Our house is heated with forced air, so the duct work was already in place for standard central air units. A lot of the houses we’ve looked at are heated with radiators though, so SpacePak would be the only option (besides window units) for air conditioning. We’re probably going to sweat it out this summer and see how we fare. Brandon and I grew up without air and we survived — it, uh, builds character. (We’re going to miss having A/C.)

  • Sarah Mc.
    May 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Oh! Yes, much easier if you already have the ductwork. For some reason I thought you had radiators. I am excited to see what you do with your new place. Best of luck with the transition. I will say that our radiant heat kept us nice and warm this past winter!

  • Holly
    May 30, 2013 at 9:54 am

    You really did make it lovely!

    I hope the new buyer appreciates it. Leaving my first house, in which I’d invested my heart and soul along with thousands of DIY hours, was heart-wrenching. But the most important things – my family and my memories – went with me.

    Good luck with the sale.

  • patricia
    May 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    You should have no problem selling it! Whoever doesn’t buy it must be out of their mind!

  • thelady
    May 31, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I’m glad to hear the agent didn’t recommend any changes other than taking down the light fixtures you plan to keep. You’ve done a lot of great updates so I’m sure the home will sell quickly.

  • thelady
    May 31, 2013 at 11:23 am

    What is the square footage for your current home?

  • Meredith
    June 1, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    I adore your house, such beautiful style. Can’t wait to see what you guys do with the new house!

  • Kathy @merrimentdesign
    June 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I love your home! And I can’t wait to see how you make the next one just as lovely.

  • Cotton & Rust
    June 9, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    the improvements on the home look wonderful, I like what you did with the backyard.

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