Lemons and Basil

So Long First Home – You were Swell

Since we have officially said “So Long” to our first home, I thought I’d take the chance to share some pictures of it here on the blog. Josh and I bought this house in 2009 from the builder. While the house was brand new, we purchased it after the builder had already selected and installed all finishes. So unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to have input on the cabinets, flooring, etc.

And while I desperately wanted an old home full of charm, we realized that {being fresh out of college} our budget didn’t allow for potential issues to arise, such as the need for a new roof, plumbing issues or potential foundation problems. So, resolving ourselves to a “newer” house, we found this one and fell in love with its curb appear and rear entry garage.

Although it was new, we had every intention of tweaking it here and there, upgrading a few things, and putting our stamp on it. Of course we had to keep cost in mind, both for budget purposes, as well as making sure we only put into the house what we thought we could one day get out of it.


I’ll give you a brief virtual tour, highlighting the changes we made, as well as some of the things we would have liked to do, had we planned to be there a few more years, or felt we would have gotten a return on our investment.

We changed out the landscape over the first few years, pruning and shaping a little each Spring. We also added a storm door to both the front and back door. Tucker was pretty sure these were installed just for him! If the main door was open, you could pretty much bet he’d be there looking out, keeping an eye on things.

We painted virtually every wall in the house, with the exception of closets, in an eggshell finish to give the walls a more durable finish than the flat {watered down} builder grade paint provided.

Aside from painting the walls in the Living Room, we replaced the ceiling fan, then just decorated and furnished the room. Fortunately, I was able to work with a few vendors from work, to have the entertainment cabinet and shelves custom-built, then we saved out pennies and order the custom sofa from one of our furniture companies, while another vendor upholstered an antique Wingback chair I found on Craigslist.

Above is another view of the Living Room. We got an incredible deal on these two floor model sweep arm chairs from West Elm, {West Elm Coupon codes available here} then found and converted a couple of old coffee tables into ottomans.

In the Dining Room, we swapped out the original generic chandelier for a more modern drum shade pendant. We were extremely fortunate to get this round Restoration Hardware table top through work for a great deal! We had one of our custom furniture builders make the base for us, then found the two sets of chairs through Craigslist again – love Craigslist! I painted each of the chairs and upholstered the seat cushions of the white chairs. The old windows mounted on the wall are antique sidelights from the Nashville Flea Market.

The kitchen is one of the places we did a bit more work. We negotiated the stainless steel appliances into the purchase of the house, as opposed to the black ones that were originally installed when we looked at the first time. The floors were originally vinyl, which we removed and had large ceramic tiles installed. We also added the undercabinet lights and glass mosaic backsplash. The cabinets are not at all what I would have chosen had we been able to select the finish, but they were brand new and we couldn’t seem to justify painting them. The backsplash was also busier than we really wanted, but we felt we needed an option that tied in the color of the cabinets, combined with some lighter, more neutral colors, which is more our style. We also added the Euro cabinet pulls to the cabinet doors and drawers.

In our next home, we are really hoping to find something older and with more charm, that needs work! Ideally, I’d like to buy a home with a well laid out kitchen {so we don’t have to move plumbing}, that needs to be completely redone! And I would love to then have painted cabinets, a light airy color of some sort, with white marble countertops and a white subway backsplash. Wouldn’t that be a beautiful backdrop for food photos? See Josh…it’s practically a necessity! ;)

The above left is a picture of our back entry, which is also where the door from the garage is, the coat closet and kitchen pantry. I found this little old bench at an antique store and painted and distressed it.

The above right is our powder room, we had the barn wood framed mirror custom-made for the vanity.

Below is the landing at the top of our stairs on the second floor.

We found these two old doors at the Nashville Flea Market knowing they’d make a beautiful headboard for the Guest Bedroom.

Below is a picture of the upstairs Guest Bathroom. We added cabinet pulls in here as well and replaced the vinyl floor with ceramic tile. The tile is the same color/pattern we used downstairs, but in a smaller size. Again, this would not have been the cabinet color I would have selected, but being that the house was brand new, it just didn’t make sense to paint them.

The Master Bedroom in the house is huge and has a cute little nook {below} between the bedroom and adjoining bath. We ordered the upholstered headboard from Lee Industries through R. Higgins. Lee Industries is also who made our custom sofa downstairs in the Living Room.

We made the same upgrades in the Master Bath as we did in the Guest Bath: tile, paint, and cabinet hardware. My feelings on these cabinets are much the same as above.

And here is a quick shot of the back porch and rear entry garage. The yard was small, but it was great for our first home, hoping for a bigger yard in this next house.

We learned a lot through the purchase of our first home, as far as location, investment, upgrades, etc. There were decisions we made and loved and decisions we made and possibly regretted, or at least made a mental note to do different next time. From the time we started furnishing and working on the house five years ago until now, my {our} taste and style has changed and evolved a bit. I’m truly looking forward to working on our next place and making it home, while incorporating some of the things I’ve seen and learned over the years.

That ends the little tour, thanks for letting me share it with you!