Isn’t it funny how so many things come full circle? When I started this little ole blog {closing in on eight years ago!!}, it was all to chronicle the renovation and design of the first home I ever called my very own – a teeny tiny condo in Seattle {#34 of course!}. But as life has a tendency to do, things took a sharp left turn shortly after I purchased #34 and I didn’t manage to do a dang thing to it. Well I did remove the watermelon pink striped wallpaper, but that’s as far as things ever got. We actually sold the condo last year {as you may remember} and while I was happy to see it go, I also felt disappointed that I never got to see the project come to fruition.

Well I’m thrilled to announce that I’m finally going to get my chance to design my dream home, but this time, in a very big way because WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!

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Yup – we’re going to live there! I can still hardly believe it!!! Holy-begeezus you guys, this amazing, classic, historic Victorian is our house. It feels unbelievable for all kinds of reasons, but right now it’s still not quite real because we haven’t actually moved in. While it may look rather fabulous from the outside, we discovered a house that is a totally insane, over-the-top, and a major fixer-upper.Β To repair what’s broken or damaged, make needed improvements and update the space to make it conducive to modern life, we have to make a pretty dang extensive renovation. Needless to say, it’s going to be a little while before we officially call our new house, home. So what do we have to work with? Well, I’m so glad you asked!

The house has a lot of amazing things to love. Fabulous details like huge bay windows, dramatic high ceilings, period crown molding and fireplaces in nearly every room! However, it was a little hard to appreciate those details at first sight as they currently look like this…

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Built in 1870, the house has only had three owners – well four now. But the last inhabitants took liberties with their design choices. Very questionable liberties. Every room in the house is painted in colors I don’t think I’ve ever seen anywhere. Certainly not in any home. The dining room above, for example, features pale peach walls and a ceiling painted in what you might describe as magenta. It’s almost impossible to actually give the color a name. The fireplaces have lovely features – like a 2×4 as a mantel! And those chandeliers are a beautiful form of some sort of 1970s plastic. Now that’s classy.Β You may say, but Erin, the floors look interesting at least. They would be, if they weren’t a laminate. At least those really spectacular pocket doors dividing the dining and living rooms make up for it because they still open and close – even after 140 years!

But of course, everyone says kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. Again, that wasn’t exactly true in this case. This is currently our “kitchen.”

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The photos above don’t even do the kitchen situation justice. In case you can’t tell, there aren’t any permanent shelves in there. Nor counter tops. Nor any built-in appliances. Everything is just free standing or rigged up on the wall. The first time I stepped into the room was…a little mind boggling to say the least. And the bathrooms – well they’re just as special.Β This is the “master bath.” It can be described simply: as a formica museum!

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As you can see, we have our work cut out for us {and this is really only the half of it!}! And I couldn’t be happier. I finally have the blank slate I’ve always dreamed of. I’m sure I’m more than a little naive about what we’re really in for – but I promise we’re going to share everything we learn with you! From the fun of creating mood boards and setting a design direction to the brass tacks of how to pick a contractor, shop for slab counter tops or select the perfect shade of white paint {I’m on the hunt – anyone have a current fave?!}, we’re planning on taking you all along for the ride – however long that might be. We hope you’re just as excited as we are!

 

What do you think?

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60 Comments

  1. I can totally see the potential!

    We just bought an old farm in Michigan build in 1909 and the house has severe decorating handicaps….wallpaper in the bathroom with naked baby cherubs on it..

    I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

    Cheers to new house projects!

    1. We have wallpaper for days too Abigail. Certainly have our work cut out for us! Thanks so much for the well wishes πŸ™‚

  2. Oh, wow! What a gorgeous house! Congrats! There are some good bones to this one; can’t wait to see how you bring out the loveliness that is hiding under that peach paint. If anyone can, you can!

    1. SO crazy, right Colleen. That’s only a tiny portion – the same theme ran through the majority of the house!

  3. We are so excited to share this ride with you guys.. Erin….I am totally delighted with you description of the house… ((**

    1. Thank you SO much! Counting down the days (well months) until your first stay there!

  4. OMG! Phoebe lived here?!? She must have -as there is Glynnis over the fireplace. Seriously, this place has gorgeous bones – I cannot wait to see what you do with it.

    1. This is exactly what I thought when I saw the picture of the dining room!! Truly amazing…

  5. Congratulations!!!!!
    The house certainly looks like a blank slate (no guilt over not re-purposing the kitchen cabinets!) and clearly has great bones. The paint of course is an easy fix, but tell me…do you get to keep the gold and purple sculpture over the fireplace? haha

  6. wow erin, how exciting for you! the bones are stunning and it’s obvious that the house has MAJOR potential. i can’t wait to see what you do with it. congratulations!

  7. Congratulations! What a stunning Victorian. Also, that fireplace detail is kind of amazing πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks lady! We’re pretty dang excited. I just cannot wait to get construction under way!

  8. Wowwwwwwwwww!!!
    The premises are so good, I’m sure you will do wonders in there!
    πŸ™‚

  9. This house look incredible! The artwork and painting is questionable though… lol. Enjoy designing your dream house!

  10. Wow!! That’s a mess! But it’s your mess and there is great potential. My favorite white is BM Linen White, which is warmer, and for a whiter white, I like BM White Dove. Have at it..

    1. Thanks for the tip Gray! I’ve always loved BM Decorators White so I’m excited to try new options πŸ™‚

  11. I have a Victorian banister and newel for sale. Contact me if you are interested

  12. OMG Erin!!!! So excited for you!! I know you’re going to do amazing things and I cannot wait to see!!! xx

    1. Thanks Sarah – it’s going to be an epic project but a super fun journey. Best part we’ll have a guest room so you’ll just have to come by and see the finished product in person! xo

  13. What a beautiful house! Yes the decor and cosmetics all need to be changed, but this place is actually not as bad as some that I’ve seen. You will have a lot of fun fixing this one because as you said, all the charm is there and it’s got great bones! Congrats! πŸ™‚

    1. The bones are exactly what sold us on it. We’re excited to see how we can breathe new life into this house and turn it back from a shell into a home!

  14. Welcome to the Bay Area homeowner’s club – looks like a great project. Is this in Noe? Looks awfully familiar.

  15. So exciting! Wow this will be an adventure though….seriously can’t get over the artwork over the mantel!!!

  16. Congratulations!! What a wonderful home. Looking forward to your renovations =)

  17. OMG, CONGRATS!!!! That’s so awesome!! Wow….those interior choices….I have no words for them other than you are going to have SO MUCH FUN redecorating.

    The bones are awesome. that’s the important thing.

    Happy moving!

    PS – should you happen to be leaving an amazing rent controlled spot somewhere in the SF area, please do let me know. lol….

    1. Oh if only we’d ever experienced rent control in this city Caren!

  18. Holy shit this is gorgeous. I know you told me it was a mess but it’s really spectacular and I already see the potential. Let me know when you’re ready to host guests. Hey – I can use a drill!

    1. You’ll be the first person I call when we get to the DIY stage Jaime! Things will be pretty much left to the major pros to start πŸ™‚

  19. The bones! The bones! The bones! We are in the middle of a remodel, and I’m not nearly patient enough for the work we have ahead of us, so this project would have me up at all hours, day and night with my brain on overdrive. But it’s amazing! And you will make it 100x’s more so. (My favorite ‘studio’ white that has enough warmth to not look like primer is BM Bright White.)

    1. I’m the same way Mckenzie. It’s all I can do to not totally obsess! I just can’t wait for the demo to begin!

  20. Congratulations on your new (old) home! Are you going to fix it up as you go along? Once you get rid of all of the stuff in the kitchen and repaint everything, you will find that things are not so bad. I don’t know where I would start after that….the bathrooms and kitchen maybe? It may be one of those “vicious cycle” remodels if the plumbing and electricity need to all be redone – you can’t do it very easily in bits and pieces, but I’m sure you’ll manage!

    Even though it is not in the critical path – my first instinct is to rip up the carpet on the stairs and replace the bannister!

    1. You’re reading my mind Kate. We’re going to making some major changes – all of which you mentioned and more! It’s going to be fun πŸ™‚

  21. wow, you are so lucky to have this opportunity. the house looks gorgeous on the outside & i’m sure you will work wonders on the inside. Can’t wait to watch your progress. & to see that pink ceiling disappear. πŸ˜›

  22. Amazing! Congrats!! It has so much potential that will become very evident with a little clearing out. I know you’ll turn this quirky charmer into a dream!!!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Jane! We’re pretty excited to see where we can take it.

  23. Amazing! We have spent the better part of this year hard at work on an 1800s Florida farmhouse. And we still have a long way to go! Best of luck, Erin.

  24. We did a to the studs reno of a 1911 Edwardian in the Richmond a few years ago. If you need suggestions of Bay Area vendors, shoot me an email. Good luck!!

  25. congrats! what a project…and a dream come true! no doubt you’ll make it stunning!

  26. It is even more amazing than I remembered. You might have to keep that 2×4 mantel. That’s special. It will be fun to watch the project evolve into your vision. You will cherish these photos, and need a before and after pic installed in each room! I am visualizing greatness that comes in on time and under budget. Hey, we can dream big, right?!

  27. Congrats girl!!

  28. Child! First, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Second, lord have mercy! In the words of Tim Gunn… “That’s a lotta look!” But what a fun project! Thrilled for you two! xx UB

  29. Congratulations! How exciting. The house has lovely ‘bones’ by the looks of it so now you can put your own touch on it. A big job I’m sure but so rewarding in the end.

  30. This is a great house. I can’t wait to see what you do with it. As my mom would say, it has great bones. You buy it for the bones and then you build on it.

  31. I haven’t commented on a blog in EONS but you’re new house pushed me out of lurking. That house is AMAZING!!! I did get a hearty giggle at the kitchen.. whoa.. but overall, a stunningly lovely home. Am I weird that I LOVE that woman thing over the fireplace? Maybe painted all one color, it would be a nice piece of art. I dunno.. I’m jazzed about it.

    I have a Victorian built in 1892 and we painted the interior BM Moonlight White flat finish and the trim in BM Simply White semi gloss. It’s lovely. I liked how it looked in Darryl Carter’s home and it works famously in my home.

    I look forward to seeing what you do to make this fab house your home. Congrats!

    1. Thanks so much for the comment Zena! We’re rather excited about the possibilities this house holds. And I will definitely be taking notes on your paint suggestion. I’m OBSESSED with Darryl Carter’s house!

  32. This is such exciting news. The bones of your new abode are stunning and I know you’ll do your magic to all of it! Bravo!!!

  33. Congratulations on your new home. I just discovered you on IG and im so excited to see this renovation. I live in Sacramento and I absolutely looooove SF. One of my fav things to do is go into the city and just ogle over the architecture, mynfav of which being the victorians. Your new gem is something special. Im so happy for you.