Sharing all the details of our first house tour, a 3 story fixer upper house in a small suburban town with before & after pictures!
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3 Story Fixer Upper Town Traditional House Tour
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Twelve years ago we bought our first fixer upper house.
Newly out of college and very very pregnant we moved in.
Jason & I had dreamed of buying an old house & fixing it up.
As a lover of old movies my mind immediately went to “It’s a wonderful life” where Jimmy Stewart & Donna Reed fix up this dilapidated old house with little money & lots of kids.
And so the search began for “our big fixer upper” 🙂
Although we didn’t realize it at the time being newly married & in love this journey was going to require a lot of trust.
Two completely different people… me a quick decision making former dance major thrift store employee & him a needs to analyze everything math major computer programmer) having to make big decisions early on.
I wish I had more pictures to share our of 1st fixer upper house tour but before & after pictures are so dramatic…it’s hard to believe we did so much in 3 years!
Before & after Exterior House Tour
Our new house was a 100+ three story that had been neglected for a long time.
When touring the house for the first time one had to use their imagination as to what the rooms might look like without the clutter of “stuff” everywhere.
There was little more than a path to walk through the whole house & yard.
They had so much stuff outside that I had mistakenly assumed that there was a yard sale going on the first time I drove by.
I found out later that they always left furniture & Knick knacks in their front yard. 🙂
We both fell in love with this house located in the town I grew up in & around the corner from our favorite coffee & donut place.
We bought the house “as is” & above asking as one had to do in order to score a house at that time.
We took down 2 floors of ivy growing on all sides of the house.
Jason replaced all the windows in the house one by one.
A few days after we moved in the front door knob fell off & the wood was completely rotted through… Jason had to screw the door shut the first few nights.
We added a new front porch floor, columns, railings & deck to the backyard.
Jason built a little cedar fence on the right side of the house that had a gate with a simple arbor above it.
We added a slate walkway leading up to the front porch from the driveway & re-landscaped.
The 2 things Jason didn’t do himself was the roof… I didn’t want him up on a 3 story house & most of the exterior painting.
Interior Before 3 Story House Tour
When the clutter was gone all that was visual was lots of rooms with painted trim (every color of the rainbow), cardboard covered missing windows, a kitchen ceiling falling down due to a leaking bathroom, ivy covering the first two stories and coming in the house through the windows, and a furnace in the basement that was coal converted dubbed “the octopus”.
Foyer/ Staircase Before & After House Tour
Most of the updates in the foyer and stairway were cosmetic (patching, sanding, and painting).
Paint make such a big difference (see this post for why I love white paint).
I added a comfy chair to sit down on and put on your shoes.
I found some old vintage hooks in a third floor closed that I re-purposed for hooks in the foyer…a place to throw kids and guests coats which I used later for our old door turned coat rack. (see it HERE)
Living Room Before & After House Tour
We used Kilz primer on all walls prior to the finish coat to cover up the cigarette smoke smell baked into the walls.
The fireplace needed a good cleaning & was always pretty smoky so we added some gas fireplace logs.
This house was pretty drafty so this helped to make the living room cozy & warm!
Dining Room Before & After House Tour
This room had 3 layers of “beautiful” wall paper that we had to strip.
I had always wanted a barn red dining room.
It took 5 different coats of red paint before I got it just right.
This dining room was where we started a family tradition of big Christmas Eve dinners.
Before & After Kitchen House Tour
This was a complete gut job.
Unfortunately we had to take out a 2nd stairway to create enough space for sufficient cabinets & an eat-in area.
The door to the basement was right where the fridge is…we had to move that to the hallway.
We removed a window where the stove is & replaced the rear window with a sliding door that led to a new deck we built off the back.
3 Story Fixer Upper House Tour Takeaways
We have many crazy memories of this crazy fixer upper 3 story house.
We will never forget my mom falling through the front porch floor while moving us in, a huge bathroom leak that started while I was in labor with our first, me falling through the same bathroom floor and landing on an upper kitchen cabinet while pregnant with our second.
We dove right in & started remodeling it from top to bottom over the next three years.
Looking back I wish we had taken things a little slower & taken more pictures of our 3 story fixer upper for a house tour.
We are thankful for all the lessons and knowledge we learned and the fun memories we had along the way & learned for our next 2 fixer uppers.
(see our split level fixer upper HERE & our current fixer upper farmhouse HERE)
Lastly, we are incredibly thankful for a lot of help & tips from family & friends along the way.