I need to go back to the beginning and share how my husband and I started renovating homes and some details about the first Leslie Style renovation. It’s crazy, this first home took us two years to renovate and it fits into a pint sized post…lol!
Two weeks before we got married, on July 21st, 2012, we took possession of this dated and maddening home and our renovating lives began.
Minister: “Matt do you promise to renovate houses forever with Leslie?”
Me: “He said, ‘I do!’, I heard him…let’s do this!”
Oh my goodness I have to show a close up because we look so young!! Like we’ve aged a thousand years over the past 3 homes…I hope my husband doesn’t see this post!
When I first started renovating this backsplit I started a failed blog. You can read all about how I got completely overwhelmed with how to share and what to share in my next post! The failed blog was called whydidwebuythishouse.com and it was about transforming this dated disaster of a home. (Oh my gosh looking at the before shot pictured above is so cringe worthy…do you get where I got the blog name from or what?!) I actually started two failed blogs and I can’t wait for you to read that story!
We bought this home because it was in a great neighbourhood and had lots of potential. So much “potential” that after we renovated the home and to this day, people are still coming forward and telling us that they went through the home, when it was for sale, and thought that it could never be saved! I take a lot of pride in the fact that I can find the right home to buy and envision its potential…If I had a super power, seeing a home’s potential would be my Spidey Sense.
My husband and I are both teachers who work full time. We renovated this home literally every second after school, weekends, and every break. We had a ton of help from friends and family to bring it to life on no budget at all!
The first renovation was the living room. We took out all the carpet and put down hardwood, and put in these insane floor to ceiling 14ft high bookshelves, and of course painted the entire home white…which has come to by my signature and one of the reasons that I started the hashtag #BrightWhiteWednesday
Instead of going on a honeymoon, we decided to just renovate right through the summer that we were married in 2012. We were so lucky that my husband’s UBER talented friend Pete came back to our home after the wedding and built these bookshelves for us. Have a look at what Pete is doing now…definitely not working pro-bono any more for his friends…more like a FAMOUS architect! Go Pete!!
These bookshelves are still to this day one of my favourite and most memorable projects. He only stayed a few days and was able to build them completely. He would work all night. We were so lucky that our neighbours put up with the mayhem!
We removed the 1973 banister, carpet, and filled in the gaping hole that overlook the basement. This project took forever and we didn’t get a banister for like 6 months. I nearly went insane wanting things to feel finished so badly. We had so little money at the time that we relied on help and had to wait for that…however long it took. These days we finally have the money to work quickly and the building industry is booming so badly where I live that we still have to wait a long time! lol! Some things never change!
Mudroom / Entryway
Oh my goodness I hated this house. I mean it kept me awake every second at night and occupied all of my thoughts during the day. The entrance had these arches and there was no closet at all, so I kept thinking we needed a mudroom. That Christmas my husband’s friend, Pete, helped us AGAIN to create a mudroom. He left after building the benches and we took a wood working class in order to finish the rest ourselves. We actually did the mudroom on New Year’s Eve!
So first we removed the railings from the arches and painted…but we always piled stuff on them and sat on them and I just hated them, so finally I hung sheets over the openings to make sure filling them in was the right move and then we did!! It was the best thing ever! The entry become on of my favourite spots and it’s own little room.
This is a shot of Pete designing the benches right before we missioned it to home depot to get all the stuff on the day before New Year’s Eve. It’s also a good shot of how annoying those arches were despite my best attempts to shhhhush them!
It’s now midnight on New Year’s eve, the arches are filled in, the benches are built, and champagne is being poured!
Here’s a look at how far we got before Pete headed back to Halifax and our building blitz was over. Ok one last look at the true “before”.
The last renovation we did on this home was the basement. It was terrible! One night after a couple drinks I smashed into the terrible drywall that covered the fireplace over to see what was behind it and ANOTHER epic project was born! I feel bad saying this but, Pete helped up AGAIN!
This is a screen grab taken from the original listing photos…I don’t even have a before because I hated it so much. It’s hard to tell from here but there is not only a popcorn ceiling but popcorn walls and uninsulated walls we would soon find out! The front wall with the tv/fireplace combo is where we could tell they had just drywalled over an existing brick wall. When we opened it we saw that it had been badly damaged, not to mention that it was off centre in a completely 70’s way that I could not get on board with.
We gutted the basement, reframed, new drywall, potlights, builtins, and lighting fixtures. It became such a special place…I wish I had better pictures!
One more look at the before!
Please forgive that terrible t.v. glare! Seeing this big black t.v. in these photos of what WAS a perfectly white space had me enclose the t.v. in the next renovation, and then completely get rid of it in our current and I love being t.v. free! (k will still have a t.v. but it’s hidden! Win for the wife!)
Ooh I almost forgot to share an ‘”after shot” of the exterior. We replaced the windows, and the door. Replacing your front door is the number one thing you need to do if you’re house is dated! This one is in stock at Home Depot and super affordable;)
Can’t wait to share the next home with you, Colonial Revival Reno, but if you can’t wait I’ve already blogged its Kitchen! so have a look!
I’d love it if you’d subscribe…we have soooo many more transformations to share!