May 1, 2015

When house hunting, I did not want to even look at new builds; IT HAD TO BE A FIXER UPPER. Renovating a home has been something I have wanted to do for like, ever. The 1970’s colonial we found in Michigan has the perfect balance of being old enough to have personality and new enough to have, well, nice plumbing (usually).

It was in the summer of 2015 we bought this house – our first. We have been working on something, big or small, ever since.

All sources for everything in our home are linked below. If you want to see all the posts on anything home renovation and decorating related those are organized neatly here. Pretty much every room to me still feels “progress” status, not “after” – I REALLY NEED YOU TO KNOW THAT WHEN LOOKING AT THESE.


The exterior was one of the main selling points on the house. I find the simple symmetry of a classic colonial totally irresistible.

Just before we toured this one, we were seriously considering a mid-century ranch, and although it was close it ultimately did not feel “us.” Then here it clicked that the style we would want to decorate with and the vibe of this home fit each other.

EXTERIOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz EXTERIOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-2

I think the biggest boost and finishing touch to our outdoor space would be building a portico off of the front door, but I’m not sure we’ll end up doing those level of things before we move on to our next house.

All posts relating to the exterior can be found here, including planting a row of boxwoods, a diy simple shed, a diy basketball backboard, wrapping the porch in wood, and a diy picket fence.


Entryways are kind of my favorite. My pinterest board of them is always blooming. I CANNOT GET ENOUGH. I just love the little slightly unnecessary pomp it brings to a house. I pretty much am about a little slightly unnecessary pomp in all areas of life, actually.

The entry has a nice, wide hallway that stretches to the family room and back of house. That open visual line helps the floorplan flow well.

FIRST FLOOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-9

blue runner rug (similar) | art deco chandelier | ship art print | white arm chair | lamb rocking horse (similar) | dome lamp (similar)chest of drawers (similar) | leather ottoman (similar) 

We made the changes to the bones, and could still give it more life with art, details, you know.

All posts about the entryway are here, including removing the tile, laying hardwoods, stripping wallpaper using a clothes steamer, and painting the stairs.


To the left of the entry is our office, playroom, school room (where I am typing this wow!!). The previous (and original) owners used it as a formal living room, but we are not really formal living room people. (Who is actually?)

It only has one door which we agreed meant it would be a perfect secluded work space.


white ball lamp (similar) | faux succulent (similar)desk knobs | standing desk | drafting stool | white shag rug (similar) | blue & white throw blanket

We love this office and it could really be called the office, play room, school room, study, and like a million other things.

All posts about the office are here, including how to shiplap inexpensively, making ikea cabinets into a standing desk, and a diy countertop for $75!


While we are not much of formal living room people, I am completely a formal dining room person and one of these was a must. A couple of the previous owner’s furniture pieces I would have kept if they let me!

FIRST FLOOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz
rus white dining chairsdining table diy | dining banquette diy | paint color | bios sideboard |  mustard lamp (similar) | black lamp shade (similar) | ornate chalkboard | light boxsilver tray |  pearl photo frame (similar) | wall frames | audoban art prints | brass chandelier

We wanted the dining room to be stylishly casual. I feel like you have to be comfortable when you eat! We flipped the table orientation and built a wall to wall banquette.

Posts about the dining room are here – including installing the banquette, building a huge table, the audoban art gallery wall, the light fixture, and the wall paneling diy.


A wood burning fireplace is one of David’s great loves in life so that’s my inspiration for this room to have collected, library-type feelings.

If you are reading this, I am probably still debating if I should paint the wood ceiling beams white. Please develop a strong opinion and contact me with what to do. Update: we DID paint them and it was like, the best decision ever.

FIRST FLOOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-7

persian style rug | leather arm chairs | english roll arm sofa | blue basket (similar) | floor lamp (similar) | floor lamp shade | modern coffee table (similar) | ocean waves print | gold clock (similar) | ceiling medallion | wall framessputnik chandelier

When I finally got the courage, the walls got a coat of glossy black. And then I didn’t like it! It was my first big design trial and error. Whatever, it is all white now – and I love it. Slowly I’ve mercilessly been rotating out our hand me down furniture and bringing in pieces we like more.

All posts about the living room are here, including installing millwork on the walls, adding tassels to a rug, hiding the tv mount inside a cabinet!choosing leather arm chairs, and a family photo gallery wall idea.


The sunroom is right off the family room and this can really become something good with very little cost.

When we moved in it had a blue carpet of sorts and a lot of damage in the screens. Since our babies have gotten older, my desire to have this area play safe for them has increased hugely! We also wanted to work on this area soon because it would open up our options for hosting big groups, even when our dining room was not yet ready.


The floors have been revived and David built this hefty dining table that can seat 10+ people. (Especially if some are children. Benches are fantastic in that way.)

I would like to do a little wall mounted serving area, a cool chandelier made of greenery, and maybe a hanging seat too. Also that lattice HAS GOT TO GO MY EYES ARE BURNING. All posts about the sunroom are here, including build plans for the table and bench and refinishing the flooring.


The kitchen! It is one of my most frequented places, of course. The kitchen when we moved in was certainly not the original to the home, and it is nice that some updates have already been worked on. Where it was at, however, was not my taste. Beige is banned.

It is funny because when we first moved in people came over and would always compliment our finished kitchen and be like THAT’S NICE THIS DOESN’T NEED ANY WORK! and I have to sheepishly explain that we did none of this and I want to promptly change everything.

FIRST FLOOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-4 FIRST FLOOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-5

vintage rug (similar)cityscape print | portrait print (similar) | eucalyptus stems | metal barstools |  chrome faucet | counter depth refrigerator | hidden controls dishwasher | countertop microwave | electric slide-in range | marble utensil holders | articulating sconcescabinet knobs | black bin pulls | knife strip | lettered light box | high chair | floating shelves | vintage style green glasses | instax polaroid camera |  white frames (similar) | abstract art print

The kitchen was arranged to be an eat-in area, which we changed to install an island and some open shelving. This was MUCH better functionally and also much more modern. The fake wood linoleum floors were switched to real hardwood.

All the posts about the kitchen are here – like laying white concrete counters, painting the backsplashpainting the cabinets, changing the faucet, diy-ing the island with ikea cabinets, adding a knife stripbuilding floating shelves, and a post about renovating a kitchen without needing a gut job.


All the bathrooms and the entryway in our house had wallpaper, every one of which was a definite removal situation – except for this room. The paper kind of gave me pause because in a way I was totally into it.


In the interest of doing a full gut job and everything feeling really clean and fresh (and finally getting out that lingering musty smell) we stripped the wallpaper and everything else left. I think the star of the powder room is the hex tile floor we installed. And the details on the pedestal sink, faucet, and millwork.

The full reveal with all the details on the powder room is here.


For some time this was strictly a guest room (well junk room too), but we needed to make sure this space was earning its keep and converted it into a guest room plus nursery.

A baby can move elsewhere on occasions when we have a guest, and then when they are old enough they’ll be sorted into the respective boy and girl bedrooms.


metal bedjenny lind crib | black & white bed sheets | white knit blanket | white faux fur throw| crib sheetsgray patterned rugrug pad | changing table (similar) | roman shade | white storage boxes | step trash bin (similar) | ceiling light fixture | ceiling medallion | green seagrass basket | white laundry basket | navy arm chair (similar)large white frame | hands art print | wooden stacking toy | yellow ring dish (similar)mint bud vase | dried craspedia flowers (similar) | white ball lamp

I love the white in here because it feels clean and I find cleanliness is one of the things that makes guests most comfortable. But also because the crisp whiteness feels so precious newborn too. In here it feels sophisticated, but still with a touch of whimsy.

To complete this room, we installed the cheapest way I’ve found to do board and batten, used a trick of framing wallpaper samples for artwork, and built a $30 wall mounted nightstand. All the full details on the nursery are here.


I am 100% obsessed with decorating nurseries and children’s rooms. Our big(ger) kid bedrooms are in stable condition, but they will probably be one of the last ones we work on because I need to see how birth order and sleep need stuff shakes out.


oil painting (similar) | vintage tennis racket (similar)crib | rug (similar) | industrial light fixture | star wars album | wood dresser | rabbit lamp (similar) | love seat (similar)

For a young boys room I like sporty, a little prep, classic traditional, and slightly campy. This room isn’t done at all, but a collection in progress.  All posts about the boys’ room are here.


Getting married was kind of a decorating shock because I had to come to grips with that I cannot furnish our home in all lavender, frills, and florals. So as to not alienate the male occupants. Therefore, everytime I see a blush pink rug or floral wallpaper THAT I LOVE I hold my own face in my hands and whisper, “patience, Rachel, in due time.” 

The in due time is this bedroom and it is going to one day be the most CLASSICALLY FEMININE ROOM YOU HAVE EVER SEEN.

SECOND FLOOR BASEMENT BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-15new-lighting-for-the-childrens-rooms-copyFINISHED WOOD FLOORS IN THE GIRLS' BEDROOM-2 copy

But right now with all the kid rooms, they are not too gender specific in decor because I have wanted to keep flexibility until we know exactly who and how many we need to house where.

In here it is going to be board and batten, blush pink walls, floral wallpaper, and probably lots of lace white. YES. Posts on the girls’ room are here.


Probably the weirdest thing about our house is that we have a master bathroom that we have never used. It just needs so much work and we are not ready to do it so we currently all use the kids and guest bath for everything.


It is not at the top of list to get the full gut job it deserves, so we did a few changes to make it palatable like stripping that wallpaper. All the posts on the children and guest bathroom are here.


We focused on the first floor first, but the master bedroom being nice means so much. So it was kind of the biggest priority on the second floor.


I love a monochromatic blue-green color palette even though I am largely devoted to white walls in this house.

We have so far laid wood floors (bye blue carpet!), installed a seriously gorgeous light fixturea new bed, and wallpaper! All master posts are here.


I would like for this to be done because then I won’t have to shower in a bath with toys and a foam alphabet set. But this big guy is going to be the most expensive room in the house (I think). Bathrooms are like that. And our kitchen isn’t a gut job.

SECOND FLOOR BASEMENT BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-10SECOND FLOOR BASEMENT BEFORE from Rachel Schultztemporary-flooring-for-the-master-bath-copy

All we’ve done is ripped out the carpet and placed a temporary, inexpensive linoleum down.We are going to blow out that shower and have a pretty tub installed because this girl loves bubble baths. Pretty much everything will be different.

I feel like this room will be the biggest game changer of our whole house. We never go in here now! It scares me! And then maybe one day we’ll swing the bathroom of my dreams. It has such pretty light with that great window.


THIS IS THE PORTAL TO ALL THE ROOMS. That makes it important.


The key to the landing’s arrival will be replacing the doors and hardware. That is kind of an annoyingly expensive subtle thing, but I want to get cool hardware and doors to give it lots of historic personality and make an impact. I think I am opposed to a rug or too much furniture because I like it feeling clear and clutter-less. The cool hardware and probably adding some millwork details and art will be enough I think.

We stripped wallpaper, painted, and did flooring. We did a different light fixture than the one pictured. Here’s everything for the landing.


At first I gave basically no priority to doing anything on our outdoor areas. It can be hard to do the outside of the home when the interior has much more impact on daily life. But then my children reached a certain age and I was like I NEED A FENCED IN PLAY AREA TONIGHT.

EXTERIOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-5EXTERIOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-4

So we are refurbishing that basketball hoop and concrete pad and are putting up a picturesque white picket fence on the double. Some flower beds, seating, MAYBE A FIRE PIT will all occur. Okay but outdoors are the outdoors and they don’t need much to be fun for kids. Maybe a swing.

That’s it! Here’s before videos too! Even better!

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