Buying your first home can be a daunting experience. From the overall buying process to finding the proper pieces to fill your home with love, it can be overwhelming. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you our journey and how we made our first house a home.
Photo compliments of One July Photography
We were engaged and our lease was nearly up. My (then) fiancé convinced me we should be buying a home, something we could make our own. Suddenly I was a master of Redfin searching every day. Every hour, sometimes. I wanted something unique. Somewhere I could make my mark. That’s when I found it. The home was …. Yellow. Literally, everything was yellow. It was a vintage, Chicago home in Lincoln Park near Armitage. It had perfect bones, but hadn’t been aesthetically updated since the mid-90s – a perfect ‘first home owner’ project, if you will. Looking back, I still can’t believe my husband, who’s known for not being able to visualize anything, bought into my plan.
We started with the living room
When we first saw this house, this is where I fell in love. The big, original walnut shutters had me at hello.
Photo compliments of One July Photo
Overwhelmed by the 14’ high ceilings and the amount of space surrounding the fireplace, I needed help with ideas. I enlisted Havenly to layout the space. It was our designer, Shelby, that gave me the idea to add the white shelves to brighten the space up. From there, I was able to piece together the flow of the room. The room is oddly long so I used the couch as a room divider. The shelves serve as a space to brighten the room and exhibit the objects that most inspire us. Once the living room was pieced together, the rest of the upstairs was in the works.
Onto the dining room
Surrounded by breathtaking character, it was time to breath new life into this home with elements that complemented the original walnut woodwork. My goal was to pay homage to the beauty that had been there since the late 1800s. For the overall color story, I chose warm gray tones to keep it cozy, cool blue accents for balance, and pops of white to brighten it up. Adding a living wall in the front hallway and greenery around the house put new life into our home. To me, it signified that we appreciated the past but celebrated it in its current state.
Photo compliments of One July Photography Photo compliments of One July Photo Photo compliments of One July Photo
Brightening a laundry room
With the laundry room, I was would describe it as dingy at best. We started with old (you guessed it) yellow machines. The new white washer & dryer certainly helped, but we brightened up the room by adding crisp white cabinets. Freshening up the shelves was super simple – I just covered them up with a plastic white shelf cover to beautify them.
Photo compliments of One July Photography
Creating a cozy family room
With the completion of the upstairs, it was finally time to work on lower level. Living in a duplex down, you don’t have as much natural light downstairs, so it was important to me to brighten it up as much as possible, which meant the (yes, you guessed it) yellow walls, yellow ceilings (that’s a lot of yellow, right?!) and brown trim had to go. We opted for super light grays and blues and replaced all the trim and doors to be a bright white. It helped make our beautiful ceramic floors pop. We added canned lighting to update it, and I chose New Hope Gray as our paint from Benjamin Moore. Coming in a later post, I’ll talk about how I chose each of the pieces.
Making our house a home was one of my favorite projects of all time. There is thought behind each piece of décor that ties to a bigger story in our first home, which I can’t wait to share more on later.
I hope you enjoyed our tour! I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Affectionately known to her friends as Millennial Martha for her love of DIY and decorating, Jen can’t help but pour her heart + soul into everything she touches. She’s loved to entertain since acquiring a table and chairs, and giving gifts is one of her favorite hobbies. Jen is the creator of Girl Meets Party. Her dream is to share her passions with the world in hopes to inspire others by making the seemingly unattainable attainable.