There are obviously some things we can't change, and that I will continue to be frustrated by (the busy road, small property, lack of basement) but I am really happy with all of the things we have done over the past month to help us fall in love with the house.
1. Immediately we bought a new stove. It was the last of our kitchen appliances that needed to be updated and it is wonderful having an oven that takes less than an hour to preheat!
Also in the kitchen we cleaned out all of the cabinets, consolidated to what we really needed and used, and made more room to work with. In the process we have created a great "sell at a garage sale" pile in the attic.
2. Then we moved to the garage and the utility closet. We only have half of a one car garage (the other half is my salon). Mike re-organized the garage to make to most storage space as possible for the kitchen/household stuff that we don't use on a daily basis but we don't want to get rid of. The motivation for this is because we wanted to empty out our utility closet on the first floor so we could use it as a toy closet for the kids.
Obviously, we can't make our house bigger or add extra rooms... but we really really needed more space for toys and kids things. By cleaning out the kitchen and garage, Mike was able to totally empty the closet and we can now use it as a toy closet. This helped soooo much! We still have all of the big things in the "play area" of our family room, but having a place to hide all of the smaller games, crafts, random toys is a huge help.
Here is the toy closet after Santa came to help us fill it up:
3. Home office- Mike and I both work from home, so having a real home office work area is a must. We needed to find space for a desk, book shelf, work supplies, two printers, a fax machine, file cabinets... you get the picture. But the place was for Ryan to move into the old office/guest room, and for the new baby to use the nursery.
The only option was to move the whole work station into our master bedroom. I was not happy about it at first, but now that we made the move I actually love the set up.
Old (hard to tell but it was kind of wasted space on the other side of our bed):
Next step with our bedroom is to update the décor... new lamps, duvet cover, wall art. (** We have actually updated this even more, but I can't seem to find the pictures)
4. Ryan's Big Boy Room- I guess its a good thing that I painted the guest room with yankee pin stripes and decorated it sports themed, because it made for a very easy transition into a Big Boy bedroom. We basically ordered the furniture, bedding, curtains, new fan, and a few little extras and it turned out great. Ryan loves it! We set up the furniture so that we would have room to keep some toys in there, we are literally out of space in the play room downstairs.
5. Baby's room- Once we finished the moving of the office to the bedroom, and Ryan into the new room, the baby's room was pretty simple. I am waiting until after the baby is born to really decorate (depending on if its a girl or boy), so it was just some fresh bedding, fresh paint, and organizing the infant stuff and its ready for baby to come home.
6. Last step will be the back yard. Mike had a few ideas on how to improve the kid friendly area, created a play zone, without taking away from the entertaining space. Since we don't have a front yard, or a neighborhood to play in, we both want to back yard to be as useable as possible for young kids! But one of the huge perks about staying is that we still have our pool :)
In the process of doing all of this, it did happen.... we fell back in love with our home! It seems comfortable and cozy, not cramped and crowded. I still have no plans on staying here long term, but for the next couple of years it will be just fine!