Our First House: The Main Floor

Welcome to our new house! The main floor is the one we will be focused on renovating before moving in, so here are all the “before” photos. Beware, it’s slightly odd and a little outdated, but hopefully it will become what we have envisioned after a lot of hard work.

The main reasons we purchased this house, our first house, was the location, the space, and the potential we could see in it. It is not a bad commute for work, close to a park and many stores and is in a nicely developed neighborhood. The indoor space is quite big, perfect for our soon to be family of 3 and our lifestyles. I needed a room to run my business, Birds Kept North and to create in. Brian wanted a space for wood working and other projects we constantly seem to be working on. We wanted a 2 stall garage (because Minnesota winters, you know), a nursery, a guestroom, a decent yard, multiple bathrooms, and a large, open kitchen. We found nearly all of our wishes filled with this house, and what it doesn’t have, like an open floor plan, we will create.

So, here it is. The house was built in 1992 with some out of date features, like a sunken living room (does anyone know the purpose of these? UGH.) and black and white checkered linoleum. Notice those odd walls…the actual ceiling is 14 ft. high so the “half” walls make the space awkward. You can easily see over them and their only purpose seems to be to make the space as weird as possible. The door on the right leads to the garage.

Main Floor Entry

Turn to the right and you’ll see the front door. A ton of natural light streams though it during the day. This abundance of natural light drew us in because that isn’t an easy feature to add if you don’t have it. To the right of the door is a staircase that goes up to the bedrooms and down to the guest room and finished basement.

Front Entry

Now looking over to the left is the kitchen, oh, you can’t see it? We will be fixing that.

Looking into the Kitchen

Now, if you stand over by the garage door and look back into the space, you’ll see the formal living room with the sunken floor, the gas fireplace, lovely lace curtains, and where that odd wall ends.

Formal Living Room and Fireplace

The fireplace isn’t exactly what you’d call “modern” but hopefully will be after we are done with it.

If you look from the top of the stairs, you can really see how odd those walls are. You can also see a little more of the kitchen on the left. The room on the right was the formal dining room, notice the ridiculously long fixture for the chandelier.

From the Top of the StairsNow entering the formal dining room, you’ll find yourself in a tiny space that wouldn’t fit more than a small table and chairs. We are going to forgo a formal dining room and create a library/study space here instead.Formal Dining Room

Entering the kitchen, you’ll find yourself surrounded by standard oak cabinets, chunky, dark metal hardware, and not very exciting linoleum flooring. We do like the layout of the kitchen because it can be opened up to the main room and still makes sense. It has an abundance of storage and an island, which I really wanted. The counter tops are black granite, and those will be staying.

The Kitchen

Back up a bit, and you’ll see where the fridge is located. We got lucky that all the kitchen appliances are very new and don’t need replacing.

Kitchen from the Sunroom

Turn around and you’ll find yourself in the sun room. During the afternoon, this room floods with natural light and is quite beautiful. This will be where a dining table will be. It feels like a natural space to put a table and has the best views when all the shades are open.


Next to the fridge is the pantry. It is basically a set of 4 super deep cabinets with pull out drawers. I’m really excited about this because it frees up all the other kitchen cabinet space and leaves us plenty of room for food storage as well as our odd assortment of appliances, like a waffle maker and quesadilla press. There isn’t such thing as too much storage, right?


So, basically that is the main floor. The projects we hope to get done are as follows:

  1. Tear out all flooring
  2. Take down “half” walls separating the kitchen and formal dining room from the living room
  3. Reconfigure the electrical
  4. Raise the sunken floor
  5. Raise the fireplace and give it a makeover
  6. New hardwood flooring for the whole space
  7. Paint the kitchen cabinets, update the hardware
  8. Replace the kitchen island with a larger island that fits 5 bar stools instead of 2
  9. New, bigger island counter (we are thinking quartz)
  10. Paint all trim white, including windows and stair railings
  11. Paint all the walls
  12. Library shelves to the ceiling with built in desk for the “study” room
  13. Updated light fixtures

I’m aware it’s quite the list, and we may not finish it all before moving in, but I believe all the “dirty” work that causes dust and chaos can be done before moving. SO…..are you ready to start some projects? I know I am!