First Home Before & After {Interior}

Warning, some of the following "before" images are graphic. Continue reading at your own risk.

Our first home, all 900 square feet, and let me tell you it was a steal.
Then again, maybe the previous owners should have payed US to take such a headache off their hands.

As you can see the interior was, well...interesting to say the least.

Hubby and I renovated this house, entirely on our own, top to bottom (with the exception of the plumbing that was replaced under the crawl space, performed by an experienced professional) and helping hands from friends and family from time to time.

Let me apologize for some of the photo quality. I discovered these long lost "before" pictures, scanned them into my computer and started this post!

First things first, GUT THE ENTIRE HOUSE!

Below, you can see the climbing wall of field stone that surrounds the hand made wood stove, dark wood paneling glued to concrete cinder block construction, mismatched ceiling fans and if you look close enough,  parquet vinyl floor complete with a mis-matched patch of vinyl in an equally repulsive pattern.

Since the exterior walls are concrete, which we found out after stripping off the paneling, hubby applied a mesh netting and hot mud drywall compound directly to the concrete. Hot mud dries practically as hard as concrete and can not be sanded. So you have to apply it properly. It comes in varying dry times from 5 minutes to 45 minutes. Very useful stuff! You could not tell they weren't drywall! Drywall texture was applied over the hot mud and painted.

Interior walls were insulated for sound proofing, drywall was hung and finished.        

 We tiled over the hearth with Travertine and replaced the wood stove with a cast iron pellet stove.

Hard to believe it's the same place!

Sadly the wall furnace had to go. We put in an arch between the living and kitchen rooms and moved the fridge to the other side of the kitchen. The old wall furnace chimney hole was removed and patched but not yet in this picture.

All that hard work was so worth it!!!

Below is the doorways to the two bedrooms on the right and the bathroom is on the left. More lovely paneling.
You can't see in the picture but the doorway to the second bedroom on the right is only about 24 inches wide, not a typo that door was only 2 feet wide.

So the doorways were all re-framed and re-aligned, we also pit in a lighted nicho.

We replaced the carpet in the bedrooms with more hardwood.

We should win a prize for the worst kitchen, EVER!
Notice the lack of cabinets and counters?

We had a vision,  right???

More dark and dingy, anyone? 

Not anymore.

 Even though the walls take on fluorescent yellow vibrancy in the photo below, the actual color is more creamy than yellow as in the lower left hand portion of the photo. Light plays such an important role with color. But it doesn't even matter considering the former condition.

So much better!

We installed hickory cabinets, new appliances, and tiled the counters with granite.

 Notice the front edge of the counters are also granite. We have seen so many granite tiled counters with a wood trim on front. Reason being that cut granite has a very rough edge. We used a hand held grinder to smooth the edges and I love how it turned out!

On the kitchen used real Saltillo tile from Albuquerque, NM. Hand made, sun dried and nothing like the thin uniform ceramic you see in the store.  Thick grout lines are a must,  I used nickles to space them.  Hubby did the cutting and measuring. I picked out each and every tile, since they vary from yellow to dark orange, you have to make sure they look good next to each other. Love the rustic charm and warmth they give off.  

I think the worst part was the demo. It was just so gross!

I don't know what was worse the black widow spiders or the mouse droppings.  Miraculously, there were no live mice since there was nothing to eat as this house sat vacant for quite some time. Hindsight is 20/20 and if we EVER take on such a project again, we will have pest control come in first to take care of any squatters.

Living in progress, please disregard the clutter on the counters and fridge.
Even though there are no windows in this pass-through kitchen, it's very bright.

Here we are at the bathroom, it pretty much speaks for itself.

Gutted and now brand spanking new! Since we removed the window in the shower, there is a new skylight. If you time you shower just right, the Sun would stream down on you, quite lovely.

Due to the position of the toilet "drain", this tall narrow backed, ah hem, decorative, toilet was the only one that fit, and by fit, I mean the wall was notched out so the tank lid would fit.

The bedroom was more of the same...

There was no perfect solution here. The electrical box above could not be easily relocated, so it is hidden behind the picture. It is an odd closet configuration but necessary to increase closet space while maintaining usable square footage. The wood looks orange here, but is not.

All in all we replaced...EVERYTHING! Walls, floors, windows, fixtures, wiring, outlets, switches. Hubby ran the rope and I assembled every. last. outlet. and. switch. OUCH is that rough on the hands!
Insulation, drywall, hardwoods, interior doors, tile name it, we did it.

 We had to be creative at times, you know how it is nothing is square, unforgiving concrete (did you know concrete gets harder as it ages? this house was built in 1950.) You always uncover the un-expected.

Not much in the way of decorating at this point, but Rome wasn't built in a day, right?

 Hope you enjoyed the journey as much as we did!

But we didn't stop here, we put on an addition and renovated the exterior as well. We'll save that for another post or two. I'm worn out just thinking about it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Great places to link up to


  1. You have done a lot of work and my husbands's motto of doing it yourself if you want it done right is same as yours. Thanks for joining Wow.

  2. Wow Cristy, what a transformation. I have been in hunting and lake cabins that pretty much looked like your before pictures. Yes, places I was scared to stay in once the sun went down. LOL Anyway, I love your "new" place. Can't wait to see what's next. Thanks for stopping by Beyond the Portico and becoming a follower. I am returning the favor.

  3. OMG... that was amazing. How long did that take you? Your husband and you did a good job. Is that his job? I know what you mean about nothing fits...My house was built in the 50s and we kind of expect it now. Anytime plumbing or anything needs fixing I anticipate they'll say...gee we don't carry that size anymore. You are lucky the 2 of you worked together. My attempts at renovations are all me...electrical...tiling...painting...haven't done plumbing though. I think my middle name is google. My dad used to build houses ... so I called him a log...course he's 80 so he doesn't do too much himself anymore...but he gives me advice ...and tools. Really how long did this take? My projects are really less than perfect. I learn something with each one and say time I'll know that and do better. Most of the time I don't have to do the same thing again. I love the tiles...but perfect grouting... especially thick like yours and mine...take a lot of practice. Really enjoyed seeing this... Am now a follower.

    1. We completed it in stages, two weeks to demo, drywall, paint and replace the subfloors. Then we slowed down some, moved in. We installed the hardwoods and lived on them for months before sealing them. All in all, a few years on and off including the addition and exterior. We do own a drywall company, so there's an advantage;-) but hubby hung every sheet singlehanded. The rest was learn as you go.
      I don't think I would choose Saltillo again, what about you?

  4. Wow!!! Some days it feels like our house is falling apart around us because of the shoddy renos done by the previous owners, but I can definitely be thankful that they did not have a love for wood panels as walls! Your transformation is incredible and I hope now your "house" feels like a home.

    Claire @

  5. You did an incredible job on your renovation! It's hard to believe that it's even the same space. Your hard work brightened the space up and makes it so inviting. I can only imagine how much you are enjoying it now.

  6. Wow that is amazing! Stoping by from the link up party at Delightful Order. My husband and I have been looking into buying a house, and have founds lots that look like your before pictures. I wasn't sure I was up to the challenge of gutting a whole house, but you have given me a little bit of inspiration. I'll make sure I leave it on the table as a consideration :) Thanks for sharing!

  7. You and your husband did a great job on your reno project. I completely understand the frustration and living in the dust and mess of a full house gut as my DH and I did the same to a foreclosure we bought a year and a half ago - completely gutted the inside and started from scratch! I found you via Funky Junk Interiors Linky party - would love for you to come check out our reno project, if you have the time!
    Hugs -

  8. Holy Moly that is some major work! Looks completely different, great job!

  9. Amazing job! Wow, everything is simply gorgeous. Bravo to you and your hard work.

  10. Oh my goodness! You saved this wreck and turned it into a charming home! Your hard work certainly paid off. And I hope your hands are back to normal!

  11. You must have such a sense of satisfaction. What a transformation. Thanks for sharing. Looks great.

  12. I do admire you for all your hard work. You must be very patient and organized.

  13. Oh my goodness the afters are amazing! You had such a great vision and I can't get over the walls that were the before. I hope you are taking some time to really sit back and enjoy all of your hard work. Great After!!!

  14. Good grief, y'all've done a service for all of humanity on this one. I'm going to have bad dreams from your "before pictures" but I know you had to show them. Bravo.

  15. wow! what a terrific job! Our house, while daunting is in much better shape :) I can usually find something redeeming about older homes, but that one...not so much. You have given the house character, something I find many mid-century homes lack. (sorry for the mid century home lovers!)

  16. I cannot even imagine how much work and sweat equity that took. It's like you took pictures of two different houses. Phenomenal job!

  17. Wow! Nice job. I can't even imagine!

  18. Very impressive. Thanks for linking up to our “Strut Your Stuff Saturday.” We would love to have you back!! -The Sisters

  19. Hey Sweets! Well I am glad to know that someone else can appriciate a lot of hard work! Thanks SO much for stopping by and leaving such a sweet note about my bathtub, I hope you had some time to look at the rest of the house!
    I just made my hubs look at all your pictures, very impressive transformation, I must say!!!
    Stop by again soon!

  20. I love what you did, we just bought a home in VA, and it has wood paneling all over, don't know what to do, Paint, dry wall, let it be.... I love your before and afters....can't wait until we can get started changing our new home...

  21. That is so much work it doesn't even look like the same place! This project would be perfect for our linky party featuring "Transformations" called Repurpose-Remodel-Reveal, I know our readers would love to see it too! (It starts tomorrow- Friday, March 16th 2012 at 7:00 am and reoccures every 1st and 3rd Friday)

    -Whitney @ TheRoosterAndTheHen

  22. Beautiful transformations! Wow! This is my 2nd trip over. lol I just love before/after and you've done an amazing job at making your home beautiful. :)

  23. Ummm... wow! I cannot believe those befores. Good for you. New follower now.


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