Before: The Studio

Last set of before images, the studio space! This is about 95% of the reason we got this house. When shopping for our new place the office/client/studio area was the biggest hindrance in the search. We actually never intended to buy a fixer upper. Honestly the idea of spending months on a house to make it what we wanted first repulsed us, yes repulsed. Growing up my parents fixed up two houses and as a kid I swore I would never do that… Never say never. My mom could find the most interesting house and see all the potential the place had. Together with my dad, my mom turned some pretty funky places into pretty awesome homes. As a kid when my mom told us something had a lot of potential that meant one thing, lots of work and lots of time or paying someone to do all the work 🙂 As owners of our own business having lots of free time really isn’t on the table so we tried to avoid fixer uppers. But as we searched for our new place we just couldn’t find what we needed in anything that was new. Actually we couldn’t find anything that fit our need.

Then we found this house and it was exactly what we were looking for and needing. It just happened to be a foreclosure but it had so much potential 🙂 After weighing all the options we both decided that we could not pass this place up. Yes it meant that we were going to need to take some time off so we could get some of the work done but in the long run we would be benefiting on all fronts. The timing of us taking possession of the house actually worked out perfectly. Summers are typically our very busiest season for work since we are wedding photographers but this year the bulk of our weddings are in the fall and we have been able to shove in some off days to really tackle the bulk of the work…

Enough of that. Now on to the before of the studio. A refresher of the exterior. This will be the client entrance and we are planning on adding a good bit to the front to spruce it up and make it more official. Not a hundred percent sure what will happen to the front but something fun (I hope 🙂 ) :

Left side of the main room. This room will serve as our work space, the gallery area, client meeting/viewing area, and shooting space for when we do studio work. See those lovely holes. Yeah there are 8 of them in the dry wall. Apparently the previous owner loved surround sound; this room was wired and ready for 8 very large speakers.

More of the main room and part of the printer/product room. We do all our own printing and our printer is a massive beast that is 6 feet long by 3  feet deep and about 4 feet high weighing in tat 450 pound. It deserves its own room 🙂 Currently the printer is in Philip’s office at our previous house and his office 11×11 and upstairs. Getting that beast up the stairs was a nightmare since only Philip, myself and our dear friend Jason were available to carry it. The printer weighed more than all of us combined! Ummm yeah we might be hiring movers to get that thing back downstairs. Thank goodness no more stairs to carry that up!

PS love the natural light in this room! The French doors and this pretty window let in a gorgeous amount of light throughout the working hours.

More of the main room:

In the printer room looking into the main room.The main room is about 25×25:

Looking into the print room. You can see the covered patio and “our entrance” from the house:

Printer room. Again great light in here thanks to a huge doorway and window:

So here is a look at the main room post dry wall patching. In order to close on the house the appraiser had a list of things that had to be done to get final approval. Since the house was bank owned, the bank was not going to do the repairs… so that task fell on us  to do. Yes before we even purchased the house we had to invest into it. One of the down falls of purchasing a foreclosure (more on that later):

More of the printer room, additional patching, and my sexy husband 🙂

A great plus on the studio, the crown molding! Yes both rooms are finished out with crown molding. Oh beautiful crown molding, I love you! also the light fixtures and fans are all brand new and fit pretty well with our design plan. Can I get an amen?!

From the best of our knowledge this was the detached garage at one time and the previous owner finished it out, added the additional room, and added the cover patio that connects the house to the studio area. While finding a detached garage that has potential to be finished out is decently easy in house searching, finding one that is completely finished, fully wired for electrical, and has its own HVAC system, yeah not so easy. Can you see why we are so pumped about this place!?! The studio is actually the easiest room in the house to have ready for move in. We’ve already had the dry wall patched so painting and moving in our furniture (which we are actually building our new desks from scratch, pretty excited about that!) is pretty much all that we will need to do for the studio to be ready. We are super pumped about that! We’ll be able to work during the day in a finished studio and at night we can work on the house. I think that is a win!

So that is a full tour of our new house and studio. We closed on the house on Friday May 25th and started working on it immediately… wellllll actually we worked on it two weeks before that in order to get it to be ready for the appraiser but that is another story 🙂

The changes we have already done look pretty good and we can’t wait to show you! But we have spent the last two days painting all day and we’ve got about another two weeks of painting and work ahead of us so some after will have to wait 🙂

 

 

An introduction.

Well let’s see, who are we?

We are Savannah and Philip.

We are twenty-somethings and we will celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary in August.

Amydog (our border collie) and Troubadour (our Ragdoll cat) are about as close to have kids as we will get for the time being.

We are wedding photographers and love our jobs! You can see our professional work at Avagraceblog.com.

We just purchased our first home and we will be remodeling it over the next couple of months.

Philip is also a professional musician and basically play anything that has strings.

Savannah is a strong willed, passionate, opinionated and very spirited lady full of sass and spunk.

Philip is an old soul who keeps Savannah grounded and out of trouble.

Savannah adores sky high heels and will wear them just about any chance she can get.

Philip can rock a classic British skinny suit and Italian Oxfords like no ones business.

Savannah frequently changes her hair style, color, and length. Six months is about the longest she can go with one look.

Together we are semi vegetarian and try as often as possible to be gluten free. Truth be told, we still love meat and gluten but Savannah is intolerant to gluten…

We are deeply in love with one another and we are huge fans of PDA.

We love adventuring and try to travel as much as our schedule allows us.

We adore hosting dinner parties and having our friends over for a good time.

So there you have it. A little bit about us. On this blog you will probably see a our random projects and the remodeling of our house, tons of images of our pets (trust me they are really cute 🙂 ), a look into our fashion and decor inspirations, and probably our travels around the world.

We hope you enjoy!
Savannah and Philip

Before: The Exterior

One of the main reasons for starting this blog was to showcase a lot of our DIY projects on our new home and also share our journey in being first time home owners. In the journey to purchase our house we learned so much along the way and we both said that we would have loved to have some of the information shared with us before we started the journey. We hope to share our journey so that others might have a little bit easier time in the future. 🙂 But first…

Welcome to our little house! We couldn’t be happier than we are right now! This 6 weeks has been a whirlwind of an adventure trying to purchase this home. We will be sharing plenty with you guys about the purchase but that can wait for another post 🙂

Let me give you the quick history of our new home. The house was originally built in 1981 and then at some point one of the owners added a detached garage which later became transformed into a finished “great room”. From what we can tell the owner before us were in the process of updating the house and by some turn of unfortunate events (that we are unsure of) they defaulted on their loan and the house was foreclosed. While we hate it for the previous owners it worked out great for us.

There is a good bit of updating that has already been done to the house and we are forever grateful that we don’t have to do those parts! But there are plenty of projects left for us to tackle to finish the remodeling. This house is full potential and we can’t wait to bring it to its full glory.

Since we are planning on doing most of the remodel by ourselves we wanted to make sure we had plenty of before and after images for everyone to see. So without further ado here is the exterior of our little home (which I like to call the square house… more on that later) as we saw it for the first time.

The front of the house. The entrance is actually on the left side of the house and this is a view from the drive. Please excuse the poor quality of the images as they are from my Iphone.

The entrance to the detached “great room” which will become our studio for our photography company.

The side flower beds have 5 huge rose bushes that I love! Also a plethora of ivy and over grown trees…

The above image is from the walkway that goes between the house and the new studio. It leads to the wrap around porch and the breezeway.

The backside of the breezeway and part of the studio.

A better view of the back of the studio.

And a look at the back of the house and the balcony from the master bedroom.

Overall some of our favorite features of the exterior are:

-the wrap around porch
-the four balconies
-the established flower beds
-the cover patio and breezeway
-the perfectly size backyard for our dog (Amydog).

Some of the projects that will be done to the exterior:

-repainting of all the trim
-repainting all the railing for the wrap around porch and balconies
-replacing a few split pieces of siding
-taming the flower beds
-adding flower beds to the front of the house
-finding a way to close in the wrap around porch so Amydog can’t get out
-changing the front of the studio to have a more welcoming appeal for our clients
-getting grass to grow in the front and back yards
-and I’m sure we’ll be constantly adding to the list…

So there is a really quick view of the exterior.
We can’t wait to show you the inside.

-Savannah and Philip

Before: Downstairs

When we first started looking for house Philip and I both agree on several key “must haves” in a house. They were as follows:

1. Open floor plan
2. Tall ceilings
3. A fireplace
4. Preferably a house that was square (most efficient with the energy bills 🙂 )
5. A loft area would be a plus and really nice to have but not a deal breaker
6. A separate area for our offices and client area that had its own entrance

The first 3 were easy to find in houses and 4 and 5 were things we would both like but didn’t have to have. The last component was the hardest and that one was the deal breaker. So many houses would have just about everything but no place for us to run our business. The many reason for us moving and buying a house was for larger office and a dedicated client space. So when we found this house we were thrilled. Not only were we getting what we wanted personally we were getting a full studio space that was completely free of the house! Can a girl get an amen! It literally had everything we were looking for!

To help you get an overall feel for the house here is the floorplan of the entire house:

Look a square house! It tickled me to death to find out that we really did get a square house. The second story of course isn’t square but I’m cool with that. The detached “rec room” is where we will have our office and client space. We are still pinching ourselves that we found this place!

(Here is a look at the exterior if you missed it)

Here is a look at the interior downstairs of the main house, my little square house. These were taken quickly on our walk through with the relator and only on our point and shoot. I’ll share a little about our plans for each space as we go 🙂

This is the dining room. On the right side of the image you can barely see the front door. The front door is actually on the left side of the house if you are facing the house. The entry way is all brick. In the dining room we will be raising the lighting fixture (possibly replacing down the road) and painting to a light gray:

Here is another view of the dining room and you can see the brick entry way and part of the door to the kitchen. Oh and look, we got our loft 🙂

I love that the stairs are split level! I have never liked when a staircase is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door but with a split level it feel less threatening and not as bulky:

From the stone looking into the living room. There is a set of sliding doors on the right that leads to our covered patio and studio:

The living room is going to be painted the same light gray as the dining room and the the half wall on the left is coming down! We really want this area to feel really open since we like to entertain so knocking down the wall is a must!

In the living room and dining room we are ripping up the carpet and doing stained concrete for flooring. We went back and forth for weeks about what to do with the floors and we really think the stained concrete will go well with our love for modern design.

Hey look we got a sky light! The light it provides in the living room is pretty nice! Philip is a huge natural light person when it come to indoors so he loves this feature!

Knocking down this half wall is going to open this area up so much! I can’t wait to see it go.

Our wood burning stove. We aren’t really sure yet if this works but we are hoping it does. Come winter we would love to be able to heat the house with this sucker!

And on to the kitchen. All the walls are going to be painted white. As in super clean bright white. I love all white kitchens and I can’t wait to paint this room:

Eventually we will be building new cabinet doors but these will do for now 🙂

Being a foreclosure we have no clue how old the appliances… These guys are getting replaced very quickly. Joy of a foreclosure, you save money on purchasing the actual house so you can have more funds for replacing the fun stuff like fridges, stoves, dishwashers, and microwaves 🙂

One beautiful thing about this house, even with it being a foreclosure, was that the previous owners spent a ton on updating the kitchen. All the tile is pretty much brand new and they installed granite counter tops. Yeah, you don’t find many foreclosures in this condition; we got lucky!

Oh bless this pantry. I love the space but dear this shelving color has got to go! All white in here too.

All the cabinets are an off white so they will be repainted as well.

The breakfast nook and laundry closet. To the right is a set of sliding doors that leads to the wrap around porch:

New doors and some paint for this area:

Hall to the downstairs bath and guest room:

Bless this bathroom… the paint color is hideous! But it has new tile (and a natural color at that) on the floor and the shower/tub. Can’t complain about that.

All doors downstairs (and upstairs) will be replaced. We think they cut a cat door here… It is a little odd.

Guest bedroom:

And the closets in the guest room. This room will eventually be painted and will serve as a nice little resting place for all our friends and family who come to visit. 🙂

So that is the downstairs. Simple but just what we wanted!

-Savannah

Before: Upstairs

Time to take a little look at the upstairs of the house. First up is the loft area that is above the front entrance. There are four total rooms in the upstairs and each one has it own balcony. The loft area will be painted the same color as the living room and dining room. What can we say, we love monochromatic houses 🙂

Looking over into the living room from the loft. Painting the wall on the far right is going to be a challenge… it goes all the way to the peak of the roof which would be over 20 feet. Gonna need one tall ladder for that project.

Looking into the dinning room. The

Ok lets talk about this room. This will be Philip’s music room and these little lady bugs will be going immediately! The first time we saw this room I laughed hysterically that the paint job. Eventually as we visited the house more in the buying process these lady bugs started creeping me out. Can you imagine being a kid and waking up with these on the wall! Yeah, probably not the smartest paint job 🙂

Another fun little thing about this room is the brown trim, baseboards, and doors. I jsut through they were jsut original to that house and 1980s dark wood. Nope, they have been purposefully painted this shade. I’m not really looking forward to having to paint over these and get them white again… BUT a huge plus to this room, the 8 foot by 8 foot closet. Pretty sure it is really just another room inside a room:

This next room will be our bedroom. The bedroom downstairs is actually a good bit bigger than the upstairs rooms but we picked this room for a couple reasons.

1. The bathroom connected to this room is bigger and has a better tub 🙂

2. The closet is again a huge 8×8 room (hello plenty of space for shoes!)

3. The view from the balcony in this room is pretty nice and we enjoy having lots of natural light in our room.

4. Since there is only one bathroom downstairs that will be the one that all our guest use and we want to make sure that all our personal stuff isn’t in that bathroom.

This room will be painted either a light gray or white. If you haven’t guessed by now, we love gray and white. It feels so fresh, clean, and modern. We love very clean lines in rooms and picking really natural bright walls colors has shown to be our favorite thing in room designs.

A peek into the master bedroom closet. There is already some pretty good shelving but we will probably be adding some more. I’m a huge organization freak and I like closets to be perfectly organized with everything having its own place.

Part of the master bath. One great thing about this bath is that it is about 75% finished. We LOVE the slate tile that is on the floor and we really like the shower/jacuzzi tile as well. The previous owner did a really great job picking out natural tiles. They might have done a crazy paint job in their kid’s room but the tile wins an A+ in our book.

A look at the shower and jacuzzi. After really long days photographing weddings, this tub will come in very handy in soaking our tired muscles 🙂

The rest of the bath. This part will eventually be gutted. We want to pull up the carpet and finish out the rest of the room with the slate tile. We want to pull out the double vanity and make it more streamline and more modern. That will probably be a project on the long term list 🙂

Now this balcony door is a little odd being in the bathroom… definitely will be needing some curtains 🙂

Out on the landing to go back down stairs.

Up next, the studio!!