our home reno

in the last few months, we’ve spent so many hours traveling back and forth between our row home in baltimore and the house we just bought near dc! every day off was spent doing parts of projects here and there: sanding, staining, painting. the hard part is over now that we’ve moved in, but we still have to finish some small details.

we moved in friday, and while i should be spending these free moments unpacking, i’d rather sit on the sofa, watch the mindy project and document our renovation journey. it’s been both challenging and fun, and it turns out this chef of mine is also quite the handyman! here’s the before and after (or, rather, after and before) in our new living room.


so much has changed in this house! we’ve: ripped up carpet, refinished hardwood floors, painted walls, painted doors, built garden boxes for our veggies and did some landscaping. we are so, so happy with how it’s turned out.

when we first toured the house we knew this place could benefit from a few gallons of bright white paint. we’ve spent the last year in a baltimore row home with minimal natural light, at best. and while our house has a decent amount of square footage, the living and dining rooms are a little snug. the white really helps make the space feel so much more light and airy.

before we moved in, every single room in the house was this gray/blue color. it took approximately 983,493,493 gallons of paint, but the walls in our main living spaces are now super white! so much brighter and more airy!

refinishing the floors was a huge endeavor, but definitely the right decision. the floors were in good condition, but they just just screamed 1990s. that light oak color wasn’t doing it for us, or for the space.





we still have to paint the walls of the stairs and the baseboards, and install the shoe base (see that little gap of black between the baseboards and the floor? that’s where the shoe goes).

painting walls:

the first thing we did was paint the walls. i tested a few different whites before settling on behr’s ultra pure white.


it took me two days to paint the dining room, and it took steven’s dad about one day to paint the entire rest of the house. really thankful he came to help or i might still be painting the hallways!

we used behr marquee one coat guarantee, and spoiler alert: despite the $42 price tag, these cans of paint absolutely do not cover the walls in one coat. we did two coats everywhere and in some places three. i should have researched ahead of time, because a lot of other people had the same problem. boo.


mochi was not very helpful, but he was super cute.


sanding floors:

steven and his dad rented large sanders from home depot for this project. it took two to three days to finish sanding every room. they started with 60 grit to force the old finish off the wood, then worked down to 240 grit for a smooth finish.


we taped off all the rooms that wouldn’t be sanded to cut down on clean up. you wouldn’t believe how much sawdust/sand got everywhere. i’m still finding little pockets of it!

steven found a huge shop vac on craigslist and it really came to the rescue. we vacuumed every room, then wiped every surface down with tack cloths. no clue how i’m still finding sand!

staining floors:

next came the staining. we did a trial run in a bedroom closet first, with three different colors of minwax stain. steven decided on jacobean, and i think he made the perfect choice.

we’re all so thankful for kneepads.


they let the stain sit on the floor for about 15 minutes, then wiped off the excess. we let it dry for 24-36 hours, then finished with a satin polyurethane topcoat. we did not want glossy floors, and something else to be mindful of when using gloss poly: it really shows imperfections. the satin poly didn’t hide them, but it definitely doesn’t call extra attention.

steven did three coats of poly, letting it dry for 2-3 hours between each coat.

we redid floors in the living room, dining room, guest bedroom, master bedroom, hallway, and stairs.

we opened a home depot pro xtra account to keep track of our spending. these accounts are designed for contractors: you can keep track of all your purchases online and don’t have to keep receipts to make returns. they also email weekly deals which is awesome, because we were able to buy most of our paint and stain for 20% off.

according to our pro xtra account, this whole reno only cost $1,200.


we ordered a custom brass chandelier from triple seven home, but it hasn’t arrived yet. can’t wait for it to be installed so we can get rid of this boring thing.


i’m in love with the look of the black doors against the white white white walls.


this post brought to you by: youtube, craigslist and lots of trips to home depot.


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he's a culinary institute of america grad in medical school. she's a journalist, who prior to their meeting, used the oven solely for storage.

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