Blog, DIY Project


Julie our third diy home. DIY home decor/DIY home projects

Welcome to Julie, our current home. Why Julie? I feel like it is any all American name that suits this 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 home, 2500 square foot home. Not too big and not too small for us. I have had 2 previous homes and I’ve name those too. You can read more about “Why You Should Name Your Home” here. I have also posted a lot of details about our second home, Annabella, here and here. That was were our love for DIY home renovation and decorating really began.  Now let’s get into our 3rd and favorite home to date, Julie. Before I show our pictures before pictures of when Julie was on the market, I thought it was important to tell the story of how we got here. It was not all rainbows and butterflies. It was actually one of the worse times my husband and I have experienced and how we came through it on the other side, I’d say closer and stronger then ever.

diary of a diy mama 3rd home Julie
Diary of a DIY Mama- Julie

When we first decided to put Annabella on the market, we were completely unprepared. It was a very quick and emotional decision that we made because we were extremely disappointed in the school my oldest son D-was in and eventually my other 2 sons would be entering that school as well. I do not recommend to anyone to go into selling your home the way we did. So we kind of went into the process of selling our home with a “let’s see” attitude. Let’s see if we can get approved for a mortgage with the amount we have saved as a down payment. Let’s see if we can sell our house for the price we want/need it to. After meeting with our real estate agent and finding out that we would qualify, we were on our way. I agent advised us to wait and find a buyer first and then we could look for a house for ourselves because we hadn’t prepared to move, we wouldn’t qualify for a loan without first selling current one. After about 3 months, we were under contract and the search for our new house began.

We had done our research on the school districts in our area. There were a few that we were very excited about living in but there was one school district that stood out from the rest. Great! Wonderful! Awesome! Right? Wrong-I had lived in that area myself before getting married and starting a family and it was pretty congested. Of course there are plenty of beautiful homes there, but from what I knew about that area is the major shopping centers and malls and lots and lots of traffic. Even though it was only 30 minutes from our current home, I felt like it was a whole world away. I pictured us in more of a rural area then we currently lived in with lots of land-but in reality we were moving from our “forever home” for a better school, not for a bigger house and that school district was hands down the best. So we were off.

We only looked at a handful of homes. Some brand new that needed no work at all and some that needed so much work, we would never be able to fix it ourselves. We had in our minds it was not the house but the neighborhood and the school that was the most important. This area is considered an “old” area. We found there are a lot of home owners here that have been in these homes for 30+ years, raised their children, sent them to fantastic schools and now that their kids are gone and they are retired, they were ready to move on. This idea quickly grew on me. Just about 2 weeks into our house hunting with my sisters, WE FOUND IT! The house was in a great neighborhood. Far enough away from the mega shopping centers but close enough to some major stores we frequented (cough) Target (cough). No, having a Target in close proximity was not a requirement, but it definitely is a plus.

Anyway this house had hardwood floors, crown molding, and a beautiful deck off the kitchen. There were still things that we would have to do like painting, the kitchen overhaul and the basement was unfinished but everything was doable. I was so excited I called G- screaming “WE FOUND IT! WE FOUND IT!” I couldn’t wait to go back with him and the real estate agent so he could confirm we had found the perfect house for us. Two days later our agent called not to make that appointment, but to give the good news/bad news. The bad news of course was there was a full price offer on the house. It was already at the top of our price range and we were not looking to be house poor, so we would have to let it go. But wait, where’s the good news? Well-the twin sister of that house is in a culdesac 2 blocks away and it was 40K cheaper. What?!? Yes, we want it! The next day my husband and I went to see it. Yes, the floor plan of the house was exactly the same but it was definitely missing all the bells and whistles. There were old matted carpeting and the walls were all freshly primed but not painted, no crown molding, no deck and again an old kitchen. That explains the 40K cheaper. But it did have a sun room, a finished basement and even a little room for my crafts. It took G- a little coxing, but I knew I wanted this house. By the next day we made our offer for our new home and it was excepted!

I would love to say that we packed up and waited for settlement but that was not the case. Remember what I said earlier about not being financially prepared to move? Well this is were it comes out and bites us-hard! If you take only one thing away from this post, please let it be-Do Not Ever try to buy a home without being 100% financially prepared. I will not go into all the details but in a nutshell we should have never been approved for a loan with the down-payment we had and even after many many conversations with our mortgage company it was never told to us until our house Annabella was under contract with no contingency of us finding somewhere to live.

When we went to settlement for Annabella, we were homeless. By some small miracle, we were able to rent the house week by week not knowing if we would ever own it. Forget even owning it at this point-it was if we would have some place to live. It was such an emotional strain on us, I would not wish it on my worst enemy.  I’m extremely grateful to my family for all their love and support at that time. Eventually we were approved and were able to call it home. We did miss out on the new house excitement. While the kids were running around picking rooms and excited about their new school, my husband and I were trying our best to keep the look of panic off our faces. He was way better at it then I was. Was it all worth it? Well, yes and no. Yes because thanks to my husband it all worked out in the end and now my boys are in the most amazing school district and we are living in a fantastic neighborhood. But, I don’t think anyone should ever have to go through what we went through to buy a house. No house is worth that.

Now that that part of of our lives is over…We Are In! The house is ours and we get to make it our home. In this post I will be showing you the before photos from when Julie was for sale. In later post, I will be going through step by step on our DIY updates and different DIY projects we’ve taken on.

DIY home projects, home decorating, gardening, home renovation, crafting and more.
Diary of a DIY mama – Julie (before)

Julie is located in a culdesac, which is awesome! No through traffic to worry about. The boys can be outside playing basketball or riding their bikes and we don’t have to worry about cars speeding by every 2 minutes. It is definitely a plus. Before pulling up to our 2 car garage, you find a bunch of overgrown bushes that are now the size of trees and my favorite thing (not) landscaping rocks. There is stone and vinyl siding and lots and lots of brown.

diy entryway, before photo diy entryway
Diary of a DIY Mama – Entryway (before)

When walking in the front door, you are greeted by a super shiny peel and stick flooring what was trying to look like wood floors but really wasn’t fooling anyone. There is a nice size coat closet to your right and on the left side and all the way up the stairs was a wrought iron railing that was painted white.

Diary of a DIY mama - Living Room (before)
Diary of a DIY Mama – Living Room (before)


Going up the 3 stairs, to the right are the stairs going up to our 4 bedrooms and 2 baths and to the left is what my boys call the living room without the TV but it’s probably better described as a sitting room. Notice the bright teal rugs? It actually doesn’t  look half as horrible as it did in person.

DIY home projects, DIY home decorating, DIY dining room decor
Diary of a DIY Mama – Dining Room (before)

Next to the sitting room is our dining room with more teal rug. We have since removed this rug and installed new flooring but I haven’t desided on that chandelier. I kinda like it but then again, I kinda don’t. What do you think?

DIY home projects, DIY home decorating, DIY kitchen decor
Diary of a DIY Mama – Kitchen (before)
DIY home projects, DIY home decorating, DIY kitchen decor
Diary of a DIY Mama -Kitchen (before)

Next is the room that scares me the most- The Kitchen. Is it as completely horrible as my last kitchen? No, but is it a nice place where I would want to spend my time and bake some treats for the kids, also no. Let’s get out of here. IMG_0312

DIY home projects, DIY home decorating, DIY family room decor
Diary of a DIY Mama – Family Room (before)

Through the kitchen down 4 stairs is our family room. In posts to follow, with before and after photos, this room may be the one with the biggest change. We have removed the fireplace because of issues with our chimney, and used the wet bar window to display our salt water fish tank. Oh yes, we also removed the off center ceiling fan with the wire that went across the ceiling into an extensions chord and then into the outlet. This was one of those “Oh What The…?” moments.

Diary of a DIY Mama - Sunroom (before)
Diary of a DIY Mama – Sun Room (before)


Next to the left of the living room there is a door to our sun room. My boys love this room and I had a lot of fun decorating it. Unfortunately it is not a 4 seasons room. There is no heater or air conditioning in this room and to add that I think we would have to replace the not so energy efficient windows. Not something that we want to do at the moment, so for now we use a space heater in the winter and a window ac unit with the ceiling fans in the summer. From the sun room you get access to the backyard. I will take you there later. For now we can go back inside.

DIY home projects, DIY home decorating, DIY half bath decor
Diary of a DIY Mama – Half Bath (before)

Coming in from the sun room, through the family room, on the left is a little hallway were the wet bar was but now is our fish tank room and past that is our laundry room. On the right is the door to the basement which is where the kids playroom and my craft room is. At the end of the hall is our half bath.

If you go up the 2 stairs on your right you are back in the entry way and we’ve made a complete circle of the main living area. There are a lot of step ups and step downs in this house and it did take some getting used to. Now Let’s go up the entryway stairs and to the right are more stairs to the bedrooms.

DIY home projects, DIY home decorating, DIY kids room before
Diary of a DIY Mama – 1st bedroom (before)

The first bedroom on the right is currently A&M’s bedroom. Pretty plain in this photo, but this bedroom has the best closet space in the house. The boys have a “World Traveler” theme that I just carried over from our previous house and I will be changing that up as soon as A- moves into the 4th bedroom.  For now they like sleeping in the same room.

DIY home projects, DIY home decorating, DIY master bedroom before
Diary of a DIY mama – Master Bedroom (before)

Next to A&M’s room is the master bedroom and bath. See the alcove between the closets that I am guessing was used for a vanity? One day I’m hoping for a built in dresser but for now we just shoved our old dresser there. That ceiling fan was another “Oh What The…?” moment. It was installed in the front of the room and not even centered. Crazy. It has since been removed along with the carpet and we have added recessed lighting.

Diary of a DIY Mama – Master bath (before)

The master bath has nothing really master about it. I can’t wait to remove those sliding doors and add frameless glass doors and tile. Lots & lots of tile.

Diary of a DIY mama – Boys Bathroom (before)

Across the hall from the boy’s bathroom. I didn’t realize, before moving in how much I would enjoy not having to share a bathroom with 3 boys. Yes!! The bathroom is a decent size but again needs a lot of work and more tile. For now I just put some lipstick on it by getting a city themed shower curtain and some photo’s of NYC taxis on the wall.

Diary of a DIY mama – 4th bedroom (before)

Next to the bathroom is the bedroom A- will be moving into. I have big plans and a small pile of things I’ve been collecting for this room just waiting for A- to move in. He likes to be with his brother for now but is warming up to the idea of having his own room. He wants the theme to be “awesome” which give me free rein to put anything that is awesome in the room. This will be fun!

Diary of a DIY mama – D’s room (before)

Across the hall is D’s room with the pink rug. Yes, the manliest man child gets the room with the pink rug. We have already started redoing this room by removing the carpet, changing out the ceiling fan and G- will be adding some storage shelves to this closet soon. Now let’s go outside and finish up in the backyard.

Diary of a DIY mama - Backyard (before)
Diary of a DIY mama – Backyard (before)

This backyard is a far cry from the one we left back at Annabella. It’s a lot smaller, which we are fine with, but it also has a major issue. First off it is soggy. When we first went through the backyard before buying it, G- mentioned it to the real estate agent. She assured us it was because we just had some rain. Well guess what, she was wrong and now that we actually live here we see this yard has some real draining issues that must be fix.

Diary of a DIY mama - Backyard (before)
Diary of a DIY mama – Backyard (before)

Then there is this area in the corner of the yard with the 8 foot bushes, more landscaping rocks and patches of cactus. This is another “Oh What The…?” moment because those cactus grow in the dessert and our yard is more like the wet lands so I’m sure how they thriving in my yard. They also grow underground and pop up all over the yard, which is not so great when you have kids that love to run around the backyard barefoot. But we know we can make this into a great place to have fun, relax and enjoy our family.

Thank you so much for stopping bye and touring our “before” photos of our current home Julie. Don’t forget to like and subscribe so you can get alerts to all the great DIY projects we have planned for this home- Please leave any questions or comments below.

See ya soon


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