The Scenery House

You Have to Start Somewhere – The First Floor

March 6, 2017

This is the view from our dining room as of this weekend. I wish we could start here in my tale about our house but isn’t it better to start at the beginning?

To tell this story right (the story of our first house) I have to start by saying this is not our dream house. We fell in love with a different house in perfect condition in a fantastic school district. It was a Tudorish-Craftsman home with leaded and stained glass windows, tons of built-ins, infinite charm and a fantastic river view. It had been meticulously cared for and loved and it was perfect. But it was not to be. We did not buy our dream house, with all its Hansel and Gretel charm, and we were heartbroken.

On our search for a home, we had looked at some serious fixer uppers, one with a roof so rotted that moisture caused mold in the basement 4 stories down. And then there was the one with an actual spring running through a wall in the basement. We were willing to do a ton of work for a house we would love someday but had to draw the line at black mold and unintentional water features.

When I first saw the listing for what would become our home, it was the sunroom that caught my eye. Surrounded by busy wallpaper, I saw the most amazing windows. As I perused the details, I that it had central air, a deck, 2 bathrooms, a 1st floor powder room, and a 2 car garage. All of these are things we never thought we would find in an older home within our budget. The listing photos gave us an idea of what we’d see but couldn’t quite prepare us for the visual overload we would see upon our first visit. The previous owner was a bit of a decorator. I must say that while everything did go together, there was just so much of all of everything.

See what I mean. Those. Windows. The wallpaper is somewhat divisive – some people think we should keep it and some think we should burn it to the ground. I appreciate the quality of it and like that it is a reproduction of a historical pattern but it will not be staying. At closing, the previous owner made sure to tell us that it was very expensive and we might want to think twice before getting rid of it. Thanks!


Connected to the sunroom is the living room. It was so stiffly furnished that it was probably not actually a living room but more of a room never meant to be sat in. The walls in this room had yellow striped wallpaper and the windows were dressed with drapes, valances and shades.


The good news here is that the entryway walls were painted an off-white instead of cranberry for the showing. You’ll notice one of the best things about this house is that almost none of the woodwork has been painted. That is such a rare find and something we’re very lucky to have. The carpet on the stairs was the first thing to go the day we got the keys.


The dining room served as a TV room for the family who lived here before us. As you saw at the top of the post, they kept their dining table in the sunroom, which must have been awkward as it’s on the opposite side of the house from the kitchen. When we went to the first showing of the home, we barely noticed the corner built-ins through all the busy decor.

The kitchen had been updated with newer appliances and granite counter tops. The cabinets are in worse shape than they appear here and the layout is not ideal for us. With the kitchen, as with the rest of the house, we are taking our time to learn how we use it before making huge changes. The drapey valance in the kitchen is really something.

There could not be more chairs in here. We’re currently using the breakfast nook as a coffee nook, mudroom and Penelope’s dining room. In this photo, you get a great look at the aggressive wallpaper border that goes very well with ceiling fan.

I will end the tour of the 1st floor with the powder room. The bird’s nest mirror is a true treat and perfectly complements the birdcage ceiling light you cannot see. You also cannot see the wallpapered ceiling with a border of cherubs.

I can’t wait to share more before pictures of our house along with progress pictures. Undecorating this house did amazing things but also revealed a lot of lazy work and quick fixes. As the house begins to feel more and more like us and as we pour ourselves into fixing it up, we are shaping its future as our dream home. We are very proud of our home and the opportunity to show it the love and care that it deserves, cherubs and all

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