Our Starter Story – A Tour of Our Home

Happy Friday!

So, I’ve got some pretty cool news to share with you guys today. I recently got an email from a representative from Urban Compass asking me to participate in a project they’ve started called “Starter Stories”. They are basically sharing different people’s stories about their first home as well as all the details that make each story truly unique.

Urban Compass is a real estate platform that connects folks searching for apartments with the neighborhood that matches their personality and taste for finding NYC apartments.

Since I’ve only shared a few projects on the blog within the past year, I figured this could give me the perfect opportunity to show you guys how we have almost completely flipped our house over the past three years. What is unique about my story is that Brett and I saw potential in a fixer upper. I had the vision, and Brett (along with my Dad) brought it to life. The past three years surely have been busy, but through all the hard work we’ve made memories to last us a lifetime.

I moved into my first home in April of 2012 with mattresses, box springs, a folding table, hand-me-down chairs, and the little furniture I had during my years of college. So, as you can imagine the house was quite empty for the first couple of months. It was honestly so hard to envision the house completely done, but I knew that with time and dedication our house would soon grow into the home it is today.

Once Brett graduated college, he then moved in with me in 2013, but it was even before his move-in date that many projects had already began. We quickly realized that furniture was NOT cheap. Then suddenly our love affair initiated with flea market finds as well as DIY projects. Our house could not have transformed into the piece of art it is today without the countless hours of hard work from both my Dad and Brett. I honestly cannot thank them enough for their efforts.

So, without further ado, I’d like to invite you into my home! Enjoy the tour!

Outside Updates


Last Spring, Brett and my Dad took on a huge project. Not only did they paint the entire exterior of our home, but they also repaired all of the rotten wooden panels that surrounded our house beforehand. I wrote about these updates here and here. They used Behr exterior paint in Grey Squirrel to coat the house, and the finish is absolutely stunning. Check out the exterior paint that we chose for our doors here. Brett also replaced the exterior light fixtures, and in the earlier months of owning our house he also spray painted the fence black.

Laundry Room/Kitchen Update



If you are a frequent MCT reader, you’ll know that we just updated our laundry room, pantry and kitchen. Check out the cabinet doors my Dad built for our pantry and laundry room. He completely blew me away with his craftsmanship. You can also see more before and after pictures of the whole project here.

Before we tackled this project we also demolished a column that once separated the kitchen from the living area. For more details on that project, click here. Another fantastic upgrade was replacing the  florescent lighting in the kitchen with recessed lighting. We also added a dimmer to the switch therefore giving the kitchen a softer vibe.

Living Area Updates


One of the first areas I wanted completed in our home was the living area since I knew this space would ultimately be used the most. As you can see from the before picture, our initial living room furniture was pretty pathetic. Fold out lawn chairs didn’t particular cut it for movie watching, but we made it work for the first month or so.


In the end, we actually only splurged on three items throughout the entire living space: the sofa, this chair from Pottery Barn, and the buffet. All of the other furniture items were either redone or built by Brett. One of my favorites being the media center, but here are some other before and after pictures of Brett’s projects that have not been featured on the blog.

Dining Table




Projects Brett built for this area:

Coffee Table


Sofa Table


Other updates to the living area was a fresh coat of paint to the walls. We used Benjamin Moore Shaker Beige. The ceiling, baseboards and trim were also accented with Benjamin Moore Soft Shammy. We also replaced the closet door in the room, and upgraded to larger baseboards throughout the space.

Guest Bedroom


I swore to myself that this room would be the first room painted when we first moved in; however, it was close to the last. I absolutely despised those horrid, bright colors that incased the room. As you can see from the before picture we had a tough time choosing a paint color. After a few months, and before covering all the walls with sample colors we finally agreed on Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. This room is not only our guest room but also serves as our office. This room will likely be a work in progress for a while since we’re I’m hoping to turn it into a nursery within the next year or two. Fingers crossed…

Guest Bathroom Update


Our guest bathroom was the first room completed in the house. I actually give a detailed walk through of this space right here.

Master Bedroom


Our master bedroom is also a work in progress, but at least we’ve painted the walls (Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter), added crown molding, painted the base-boards and trim (Benjamin Moore Soft Shammy), and upgraded the entrance door (We did all of these same tasks to the guest bedroom as well). I’ve also added curtains and bedding to the space as well. Brett is currently working on a headboard for the room, and once it is complete we’ll be sure to create a DIY post with the step-by-step instructions. Lastly, here are some other pieces in this room that have been redone by Brett.





Master Bathroom


I thought for sure taking down the wallpaper in the master bathroom was going to be a complete disaster, but it was actually quite easier than anticipated. I even helped during this project, and actually enjoyed peeling off the wallpaper and glue.


Once the wallpaper was off, my Dad and Brett textured the wall again. Like all of the other rooms in the house, we painted the walls (Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter), installed crown molding, repainted the baseboards and trim (Benjamin Moore Soft Shammy), and updated the door. Brett also restained the vanity during the first few months of owning our home, framed the vanity mirror, and also made the little shelf above the toilet.

Patio Update

Installing a French drainage system was the very first project ever completed in our home. As you can see in the before picture below, the pavers were very messed up due to water build-up during down pours.


So, my Dad and Brett created a trench then filled it with a perforated pipe and rocks in order to redirect the groundwater away from the fence. They probably completed this project first since it was dreaded heavily by the both of them.


Almost two years ago, we made the decision to update the sliding doors that surrounded our outside patio. My design vision for the house was French Chic, so we decided to upgrade to French doors. This too was a rather large project, but the results are one in which I’m most proud of throughout our home. The doors add so much richness and warmth to the house. They are also well received by almost anyone that visits our home.

Here is how they look from the inside.


Brett and I also decided to stain our patio cement about a year ago, and the patio sofa seen in the picture below was refinished/built by Brett. The before and after pictures of this piece are quite phenomenal.


The Future of our Home

Very soon we plan to upgrade all of the window treatments throughout our home to plantation shutters. This is actually the Christmas gift that Brett and I decided to give to one another this past year. Then after our upcoming wedding, we plan to replace all of the carpet and laminate flooring with either a better quality laminate floor, hard wood floors, or tile that looks like wood flooring.

I’m sure more projects will cross our paths, but I’m beyond impressed with our progress! I think it’s safe to say that it will be very hard to say goodbye to our starter home, but unfortunately I have a feeling that we will outgrow our small house very soon.

Have a great weekend!


One thought on “Our Starter Story – A Tour of Our Home

  1. Jamie Noto

    oh my goodness! Your home is just beautiful and I know your and Brett are so proud of all the hard work! You all seem to work as a great team! I love everything you are doing! Thanks so much for sharing all you do!



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