The “Ugly” House, Our Current Home

We moved into our current home just over a year ago now.  When the house came on the market, it had everything on our wish list- the schools, yard, four bedrooms, storage, potential to create an open floor plan… the list was a little long.  The only problem with the house was that it was UGLY. Really ugly.  I distinctly remember the first time Jocelyn came with us to see the property and her face of disgust.  For the first 5 months we lived in the house, Jocelyn referred to our home as “the ugly house.”  We worked really hard and eventually the term phased out. “The ugly house” eventually transitioned into a home.


Our current house is a four bedroom 1970s rancher.  We had large 8 ft ornamental grasses in the garden bed and a giant X shaped gravel walkway.  X marks the spot. Some how the “ugly house” caught our attention.  It sits on a little over half an acre, which is just enough space for chickens- which was on the wish list too.  Free range chickens should always be on the home buying wish list ( :

I’ll begin at the fancy chain link fence in the front yard that has yet to come down (that’s a Spring 2016 project).  Past the chain link fence, we hired someone to replace our pothole ridden concrete driveway.  The driveway was something I never even noticed.  I walked around the house talking about  all the different spots where I could put a chicken coop and never even glanced at the driveway.  So many scraped knees later, we finally replaced it with an asphalt driveway.


Concrete Driveway


New Driveway

Then, we attempted to dig out the gravel walkway ourselves. John offered to give the kids $5 for each row of gravel.  Each row was probably 25ft+.  The kids excitedly used snow shovels to get up as much of the gravel as possible.  They seemed to enjoy themselves and had no idea that they were being subjected to child labor.  We wised up and had the driveway paving crew take it out for us.

While we waited on the walkway to be removed, John hacked out the pampass grasses and we planted flowering perennials that were hard to kill, supposedly.  I only lost a few here and there.  I’m working on it though! We took out all of the plastic pavers lining the garden bed and replaced it with salvaged bricks that our new neighbor gave us.

After the rock walkway was excavated, we poured a concrete walkway using a concrete mold that looked like pavers.  It took a lot of time but was SO worth it.  We saved so much money going this route.  The entire walkway cost about $250, including concrete mix, concrete dye, polymeric sand and masonry tools.  It was like icing a cake folks and I’m confident that anyone can do it if you’re in need of a walkway. Around the same time we were pouring concrete, we replaced our burgundy shutters with black ones, painted the exterior bricks, spray painted our outdated fixtures, and John built me some custom window boxes.




Exterior (After)


John and I added board and batten to our entryway, which is open to the living room and kitchen.  I placed the kids “coming home” baby outfits over the board and batten so that I can see their coming home outfits every time I come home. It makes me smile whenever I walk through the door.


Entryway (Before)


Entryway (After)

Living Room:

Our first project inside involved replacing our carpets to get rid of a foul animal smell that went unnoticed during our visits and walkthrough.  I’d love to know what product they used to mask that stink! A mama could really use that in the house after I give the kids bran muffins or sweet potatoes if you know what I mean?


After: (Phase 1 – Before taking down the wall)

After (Living)

After: (Phase 2 – After taking down the wall – still in progress)



We knocked down the wall between the living room and kitchen and did a budget DIY kitchen renovation.  Floating shelves were placed between our beloved huge bookshelves.  One houses backpacks and the other houses Pyrex and cookware.


Before (kitchen)


After (Kitchen)



We focused on the interior first to help get the kids more comfortable in their new bedrooms. We painted a little here and there and got some area rugs.  The last year has really been a blur as we jumped around from project to project with no rhyme or reason.  The first two weeks we agreed to take it slow and go room by room.  Not our style.  Who were we kidding?



In the basement, we tore out a huge Ravens purple ice block bar.  Not sure what that it? It’s this monster below.  We carpeted over 3/4 of the basement and left ceramic tile in the 1/4 area near the basement door.  I was happy to see the green carpet go!

We needed lots of room for toys and crafts so the big purple monster had to go.  Our craft space is over the ceramic tile for easy cleanups and we have the kids come in from the pool over the tile to let the water run off a bit.  John and I created an art wall to showcase some of the masterpieces made here.


Raven's bar

After:  Where the big purple monster use to live

After (basement)

Before: (Green carpet)

Green Carpet

After: (In progress)

After (Basement)


We did a lot of our outdoor projects during the Spring and Summer while the weather was warm.  Now that it’s getting colder, we are moving back inside to do some projects, like refurbishing outdated furniture and decorating for fall.

Our project list takes us into the next 3 years at a minimum and we’d love to share our journey with you. Many friends have asked us, where do you get the energy to do these projects and how do you find the time?  We spend very little time thinking about reasons why we don’t have time and a lot of time just getting it done!  It brings us joy to DIY and the ultimate goal in life is to fill our lives with joy.  We are blessed and grateful.  Thank you for visiting our blog!




My name is Amanda and I love to write about my home and family. It's a little chaotic here sometimes but it's a beautiful kind of chaos, the kind where sticky little children giggle and scream and make fairy trails with glitter in the living room. I'm an RN, mother of three amazing girls, and the wife of the most hard working and loving husband, John. Follow the trail of glitter and sawdust and you might find us there.

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