Blog, DIY Project


Our second DIY home Annabella

Welcome to Annabella, our second home. Annabella means beautiful and graceful. That is exactly what we thought when we first saw this house even through the 70’s styling inside and matted shag pink rugs and even a jungle room. If you miss my post “Why You Should Name Your Home” you can read it here. She was a Spanish style home with stucco exterior and decorative wrought iron on the windows that was very unique to our neighborhood. We thought this was our forever home right up until the umpteenth meeting with my sons school. All that changed with one 3 word text I sent to my husband “WE R MOVING”. Of course it wasn’t that easy but that is what got the ball rolling and within weeks we had our house on the market.

Our second home

My husband and I really learned how to create a DIY home here because of our growing family and becoming a stay at home mom, there were times when we had a very tight budget. I learned to sew pillows and window treatments, honed my painting and decorating skills and I learned a beautiful flower bed takes a hell of a lot of work. My husband became Mr. Fix It, master plumber, tile worker and also learned that his wife’s beautiful flower garden takes a hell of a lot of work. We lived there for 11 years with iron chandeliers and old world brown leather and jeweled tones and I loved it all right up until we started looking for a new home.

I have these pictures from when our house was put on the market. Keep in mind we thought we would be there forever, so we were in no rush to finish any of the rooms. That is one big lesson that we have tried to keep in mind in our current home: Completely complete one room at a time!

So in the first picture you see the front of the house is stucco with decorative wrought iron on the windows. We removed every over grown bush, a couple trees and those dreaded landscaping rocks. I’m not a fan of river rocks but they seem to follow me everywhere we move. I dreamt of round steps leading up to an old wooden exterior arched door. When entering the house it was the quintessential bi-level home. You can go up to the main living area or down to the playroom, craft room and laundry. Before we go up, on the landing area as you walk in the door, we had an IKEA shoe cabinet that held a ton of shoes without taking up too much floor space. The entryway chandelier was from Overstock and was a big wrought iron beauty. (sorry no pictures) I remember when the box was delivered thinking “Holy &%$& G- is going to hate this” but once it was hung, it was perfect. It lit up both the entryway and the upstairs living room.

Coming up the stairs, straight in front of you is the kitchen. I will spare you from seeing a picture of the kitchen because it was terribly old. Other then the appliances and flooring we really didn’t change anything. Remember, we planned on living there forever and we were not prepared to tackle that beast yet. Our current kitchen is the same way. I have so many ideas for it but shutter to think of what it will take to pull them off.

diy living room decor
DIY living room Annabella

Moving on to your right of the entryway steps was our living room. For years we kept it as a sitting room-no TV-but after our third son was born we felt it necessary if I was to get anything done in the house. We added a “for now” entertainment center from IKEA that was great for housing the TV, DVDs and the IKEA baskets on the bottom worked like a charm for a quick clean up of toys that inevitably always ended up in the living room. The storage boxes on top of the entertainment center, also from IKEA, I covered with fabric and that is where I kept any craft projects I was working on at the time.

diy dining room decor
DIY dining room Annabella

To the left of the living room was our dining area. That is were we had our first non IKEA dining table. I am super huge IKEA fan.  With 3 boys in the house, it is my go to place but sometimes it’s nice to have a craved wood piece of furniture with 2 pedestal legs and an easy to install center leaf for more seating. Ooooh yeah, and I completely remember regretting that purchase once my middle son began playing with Beyblades. If you don’t know about Beyblades, their slogan is “Let it Rip” and you pull this cord to release a 2 inch metal circle of destruction. It’s all fine and good when the kids use the plastic arena but when those things are released from midair and are spinning off your newly purchased dining table onto your hardwood floors or down your wooden steps, it’s enough to make me loose it. The good news is that the dining table won. The Beyblades are now gone and the table survived. I will be posting a tutorial about how I refinished that table later. JCPenny no longer carries that set but this is a link to their tables. The chairs I bought with the table were just as detailed but had upholstered seats and they lost the battle against 3 boys so they were replaced. The Pier 1 Imports chairs and banquette were a fantastic replacement. They hold up to anything my boys can dish out and are completely wipe able. I still have them in our current home and they look brand new. Anyway, the dining room looks pretty blah because we had to remove a lot of things due to the impending sale. The only thing left with some bling is the light fixture from Wayfair and the large mirror from  Lowes.

Before we go to the back deck through the sliding glass doors, I would just like to mention that when we initially moved in to this house, the entire upstairs was covered in wallpaper. Not your run of the mill wallpaper mind you. This was high quality, well installed, thick, textured wallpaper covered with pink flowers and mint background. I was floor to ceiling in each room including the 2 story entryway. It was a nightmare getting it all off because water would not penetrate this stuff. My fingers and back ache just thinking about the work that went into getting it off. Horrified? Let’s go outside through the sliding doors in the dining room onto 1 of 2 decks at this house.

diy deck annabella
DIY deck Annabella

This deck is where all the “grillin’ & chillin'” happened. We opted for a metal table with chairs around it and black and white cushions that I made. We previously had a larger glass top table but one windy day, that table flipped over and smashed into millions of pieces. There was a step up on this deck where we kept the BBQ grill and some tomato plants in the summer. I attached these black window boxes to the railings and add lion head knobs to jazzy it up a bit. I loved filling those boxes with flowers each season. Actually, a usually jam packed the deck with flowers in pots.

DIY backyard landscape
DIY backyard Annabella

Looking over the deck railing is my absolute favorite part of the house, the backyard. Our realtor even commented that our backyard was a big selling point. A lot of sweat, blood and tears lay in that yard. When we first moved in there was a gate to the right side of the shed where the kids play area is pictured and behind that gate the previous owners would house junk. Yes, junk and trash. Old paint cans, large metal pipes pretty much anything I guess they thought the trash men wouldn’t pick up, they threw behind the gate. We removed the gate and hauled all that trash to our local recycling station. I made a huge chalkboard and attached it to the fence. The boys love creating art on that chalkboard. The playhouse was another favorite of theirs. My husband and I drove hours to buy that playhouse off Craigslist and even lost a piece of it on the highway home and had to go back and get it. The swing set was also purchased off Craigslist but we removed the swing part of it to make it more like a fort. In pictures to follow you will see we put the swings for the boys under the pool deck. Before the pavers where laid there was a small brick area surrounded by, you guessed it, landscape rocks and under the top deck was dirt. It looked like they had intended to build a pond under there years back and then just decided not to. Anyway, we will get to the backyard later. Back on the deck there were steps to the left going down to the backyard and to the right there were steps going to the swimming pool.

DIY swimming pool decor
Swimming pool Annabella

It took years and years to get G- to agree to a swimming pool. I even taped a picture of a swimming pool to our refrigerator it stayed there for about 2 summers. I guess I was thinking if he saw it everyday he would eventually give in. Did it work? Who knows, but we eventually did get an above ground pool, I never wanted an in ground. The pool ended up being so worth the wait because at that time I was a stay at home mom so the boys were home with me all summer. They loved going in and out of that pool everyday and sometimes night all summer long. Even though people say its expensive to keep up a pool, I actual think it’s a money saver. During the summer I was not always trying to think of places to go and things to do with my boys. Other then a few outings to different places, we stayed home most days hanging by the pool or playing in the backyard. With summer right around the corner, I am definitely missing those lazy summer days. Let’s now go back inside. We can quickly cut through the kitchen to get to the upstairs hallway were you can get to our 1 full bath and 3 bedroom. Don’t stop in the kitchen, it’s a scary place!

diy bathroom
DIY bathroom Annabella

Down the hallway was our 1 full bath. Tiny yes, but it worked. These bathroom walls used to be covered in some sort of plastic wall paneling with brown and gold swirls. It had a peach shower and tub enclosure and a seashell shaped vanity top with brownish cooper swirls. It had a large non medicine cabinet mirror that I think was stuck on with Elmer’s glue flanked by 2 1970’s Hollywood strip lights that would burn your eye sockets from the amount of light and heat they put out. This bathroom was the acid trip no one ever wants to go on. But then in enters my husband G-. He gutted this bathroom down to the studs and built it back up. This was a moment to be proud of. I could not believe the amount of work he put into this bathroom. The picture does not do it justice. We were so proud of this transformation and I believe that is when the light bulb went off in both of our heads to complete a full room before moving on to the next. At that point we were still into the Mediterranean style vibe but also trying to lighten things up. Believe it or not after buying that Target shower curtain is when I fell in love with the color gray. I really wanted to start lighting things up and you can see that when we head downstairs in the playroom.

I will stop here for now and next time show you our 3 bedrooms and we can head downstairs and back outside to the “fun places” of this house. I will link it here.

Thanks so much for stopping by.


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