Nate and I got the keys to our first home (the “condo far, far away”) on July 13, 2009. We had just returned from our honeymoon in Paris, and were greeted with a home that (though built in just 2003) needed a lot of work. The previous owner had painted the main living area hospital-inspired mint green, left the kitchen and guest room dingy white, added a wallpaper border to the guest bath, and painted the master bedroom and bath lavender. Also, most of the walls had inexplicable stains that left both Nate and I wondering who was throwing cans of soda at the ceiling. Oh, and the carpets in the bedrooms were green. Stained sage green.
No fixtures had been updated since they were put in by the builder, except for the giant, palm frond-wannabe ceiling fan in the family room that was best suited for the Golden Girl’s lanai (as one friend told us). At this point, you probably think we were nuts for buying this place. In our defense, we knew the place had good bones. It was also the biggest condo we had seen (at almost 1500 square feet), and had a great layout that included a set-off dining room and space for Nate’s work-from-home office. I’m a huge HGTV and Apartment Therapy fan, and I knew that with some paint, an overhaul of the old fixtures, new carpet, and elbow grease, we could completely update the condo and make it our home.
Our first step was to take down the wallpaper border in the guest bathroom, patch and sand all holes left in the walls from her giant paintings of posey bouquets, and wash and prime the walls. We chose a gray-blue called “Breezy” for the family room, office, dining room, and hallway; “Jersey Cream” for the guest bath; a grassy green (“Shagreen”) for the guest bedroom; “Popular Gray” for the kitchen and master bedroom; and a robin’s egg blue for the master bath (all paints were from Sherwin-Williams). In our old rental, every wall was beige, and both Nate and I were absolutely ready for color. We also painted all the ceilings and trim (and even the insides of the closets) with a fresh coat of white paint, since they looked awfully dingy next to the new paint.
After painting, we had the bedrooms re-carpeted with a neutral beige carpet and said goodbye to its gross, green predecessor. We then took down every light fixture (save two ceiling fans that we’ll be changing this winter), and changed them for more modern, updated options. My favorite is the pendant lamp we installed above the dining room table. The fixture that was there before was a bronze, ceiling-mounted dome light that had fake, bronze grapes hanging from it. Nate’s favorite change was the ceiling fan in the family room — the palm fronds were replaced with normally shaped blades.
Nate also changed the faucet on every sink in the house. No longer “builder-grade,” we finally have nice looking, functional faucets. The bathroom light fixtures were updated (no more “Hollywood” exposed light bulbs), as was the cabinet hardware.
Last but not least, we (with the help of my lovely, crafty cousin, Jessie) stretched IKEA fabric across stretcher bars to create a “painting” to cover the giant TV-hole above our fireplace.
The next step for our cozy condo is to install new counter tops in the kitchen. I am really inspired by this beautiful kitchen at my new favorite home-design blog, Making It Lovely, but this design is another viable option. We’re also going to change the ceiling fans in the bedrooms for something a little more modern, and we’re going to buy sheer pleated shades for the family room/office windows and honeycomb shades for the bedrooms. When spring rolls around, we’ll buy some nice planters for our porch and make it more of a “secret garden.”
So stay tuned!