State of the House, 2017 – Main Living Areas

Alright, who’s ready for an interior house tour? Fair warning, this is not some beautifully staged, perfect house tour that you find all over home blogs, this is a very unfinished and unpretty tour so you know exactly where the house stands. Today I’ll show you the main living areas (areas in red below), and in the next post we’ll do the bedrooms, bathrooms, and loft.


blue prints

Just as a recap for any newbies, this is a custom home that my husband and I designed. We hired a builder to build the shell of the house (to drywall) and are finishing the rest of it ourselves. Why are we finishing it ourselves? Because we are big dreamers with a real budget…and we really like projects and chaos, evidently.

We broke ground in August of 2015 and moved in August of 2016. We’ve been living in it for about ten months now, slowly (keyword slowly) making it more and more livable for our family of six.

Anyway, lets start at the laundry and mudroom and work our way into the main living area. So here is the laundry room as of yesterday –

mudroom in progress

laundry room in progress

mud room sink

It’s functional, yes, but besides that it is pretty bare bones and hideous. So far my husband has built the cabinets and we poured the concrete countertop, but that is as far as the progress goes.

The plan for this room is to plank the wall and paint it white, do a herringbone brick floor, dark green cabinets, shelving, and lots of functional and pretty things. Oh, and that giant cabinet will hold six laundry baskets, one for each member of the family. I plan to take things out of the dryer and put them directly into the correct laundry basket, then each person can put away their own stuff. I think it’s genius….lazy moms produce the most self-sufficient, hardworking kids, right?

There are two doors in this room, one leads to a small bathroom containing a toilet and a shower (the sink in the laundry is double duty for this bathroom).

mud room bathroom

This room still needs all the basics (flooring, trim, shower door) but is small and will be easy. Also, the shower currently stores the remaining cabinet doors for the kitchen and laundry, as it has for the last six months or so.

The other door leads to a small storage closet.

misc storage closet

Next is the mudroom, which is the main entrance for our family.

mudroom entryway

ship lap mudroom

The walls in here have already been planked but they still need to be trimmed and painted. The brick floor from the laundry room will continue into the mudroom, and on the right side will be lockers (I’m thinking wood), one for each person. They will store backpacks, shoes, coats, and everything else that currently gets scattered around the house.

Walking into the house, the dining room is to the left, though it’s really more of an alcove than a true dining room. We are a casual kind of family so we decided to skip the formal dining room and just have one eating place.

home tour: dining room

Since the area is fairly shallow we decided to put a banquette to maximize seating. We have a large family and like to have them all over, plus it’s the perfect spot for our boys to eat. Besides that, nothing has been done in the dining room…we still have to add trim and window treatments, choose a light fixture, add cushions to the banquette (leather or faux leather), and eventually we will build a table that fits this space better. The current one is slightly small, plus the base is terrible for banquette seating because the legs are in the way.

simple dining room

On the other side of the dining room is the kitchen.

farmhouse kitchen

open concept kitchen

open concept floor plan

We’ve been working hard in the kitchen (my husband built the cabinets from scratch, and we DIYed the countertops) but there is still a long way to go. We need to finish the cabinets, add a backsplash and trim, a wood ceiling, a range hood cover, and lots of finishing touches.

open space kitchen

We did recently finish the pantry though, it turned out really well and is super functional. It gives me hope for the rest of the house.

rustic pantry

organized rustic pantry

Here is the view from the living room from behind the island….this is my view of the house most of the time.

open floor plan

As you can see we still have a giant, patchy, drywall wall as the focal point of the house. One day soon it will be a giant planked wall instead, we already have the material (you can see the pile of wood blocking the back doors to the right of that photo).

kitchen island with seating

After the wall is planked we will do a built-in to hold the TV and stuff, hopefully it will look as good as it does in my head and make the off-center fireplace look  a little less awkward.

Here is the living room from a different angle…

living room current status


I am completely in love with the bones of our house, when it is finished it will be amazing. Right now though all I can see is the cringeworthy furniture situation we have going on in the living room. The two lighter pieces are the same ones we’ve had for over a decade, and they are gross. They are microfiber, worn and uncomfortable, abused by my boys, and are leaving as soon as I figure out what to do with them. The leather couch we picked up from a neighbor for $180 a few weeks ago, and even though it isn’t pretty it IS real leather (wipeable, hallelujah) and very comfortable. Also, the “rug” is a carpet scrap…basically the only thing I like in here is the baby on the floor.


Imagine a sexy leather sectional in here, a nice large rug, and two chairs by the fireplace. Also, lighting and decor and rustic wood flooring. Nice right?

ugly brown couches

One of the good things about having a blog is that it’s easy to go back and see the progress you’ve made. Here is a shot from nearly a year ago (the builder was finished at this point).

living room progress

Even though we are moving slowly, when I look at both pictures and feel pretty darn good about how far we’ve come. I mean, it’s not like this is our full time job or anything, all of this was done in our spare time.

Here are a few more pics from different angles…

living room angles

stacked shiplap

interior bones of the house


aeriel view of living room

aerial shot of interior

And that’s the tour! I’ll be back next week to show the rest of the house, and if you have any questions just leave them in the comments below!

State of the House, 2017 – The Exterior

State of the House, 2017 – Bedrooms, Bathrooms and Loft


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    1. He’s pretty sweet isn’t he? He turns seven months old today and is crawling like a pro, he’s all over the house and into everything. Yesterday he even pulled himself up to standing holding onto the couch…why is it that my last baby and seems to insist on growing up the fastest?

  1. Ashley, I’ve been a reader for a long time–never commented before. I just wanted to comment on your living room furniture. My children are grown but my five grandchildren are young like yours and visit often. In 2000 I bought a l leather couch. While not the most beautiful, 17 years later it still looks good. Someday I will replace it but these kids will have to be a lot older.

    1. Thanks for commenting Carolyn, I always love hearing from my readers! Good to hear about the leather…so you are saying I should jut buy the fancy sectional I want because it can handle my kids? Are you reading this Adam!?

  2. Funny, in every picture of the living room, Abram looks like he’s in exactly the same place, like you somehow froze him and flew around the house like Tinkerbell, taking pictures from every angle. I kept checking to see if he was in a different position and he wasn’t! Like a little doll. I’m sure it belies his actual activity level, haha.
    The house is coming along beautifully. I can’t believe how neat it is!! I know it’s for photos, but jeez, where are your boys and all their stuff?? It must be a testament to the spaciousness of the house in general, that you can put everything away out of sight.
    I actually really like the off center fireplace now that the house is done-ish. It gives a certain flair to your view from the kitchen, I don’t know how to describe it, but I think it adds something. I also really like those pillars by the front door. I can just picture the living room as you describe it. I’m imagining a super shaggy rug and some pattern and colour on the chairs – there’s just so much potential!! You’re getting to the fun part now. :)

    1. I took most of these pictures right before our breezeway party a few weeks ago, then I realized I didn’t take enough and took more yesterday. Abram not moving was in the older pics, before he started finding every crumb and dead bug in my entire house to eat off the floor. As for all the kids and their stuff, it’s in the loft :) The loft is a disaster and I’m totally okay with it…I can’t see it, the baby can’t choke on it, we’re good.
      I feel like we are somewhat getting to the fun part, but not yet…we still have plenty of walls and floors and ceilings to complete first, not to mention our very unusable bathrooms. Soon though! I’d would so love to go out and buy all the stuff to make the living room complete, but since we’re cash flowing finishing this thing it will be awhile. Also, my husband seems to think everything costs like $4, and the sectionals I’m lusting after have a few more zeros on the end!

      1. LOL! My husband thinks everything costs $4, too! And if it doesn’t, he thinks it should. I wanted a totally unpractical woven sea grass sectional from Pottery Barn a few years ago. I settled for one from It’s been 4 years and it’s held up to my family of 11 really well. I would totally buy it again. I can’t remember if they have a leather option. My sectional was cheaper than IKEA’s, SHIPPED! I love not having to leave my house.

  3. I always look forward to reading your post. I don’t remember the size of your house, but my question is what does the utilities run? example electric in the summer?

    1. Our house is just under 2900 square feet (2400 downstairs plus the loft) and so far the electric bills have been cheaper than our last house (which was only 1600 and didn’t have the high ceilings). Our bill has ranged from about $70 to about $140 in the summer. I’m crediting the low cost to our spray foam insulation!

      1. I was wondering the same thing about your utilities. That’s a huge plus for insulation. Does the insulation also dampen noise in your big, beautiful open space? Your home is too gorgeous for words! I’m loving every step forward in your journey. I know you have only been living there a short while, and so much has changed in your lives, especially with your precious baby, (please don’t hate me for this question) but do you see areas of your home plan that are not happening as you imagined? Or to put it another way, is there anything you would change with hindsight? You both spent soooo much time in planning your home and it must feel amazing to see it all become a reality. I’m only trying to plan renos and keep doubting, rechecking and often redoing my plans….ergh.
        Thank you for sharing all that you do, bumps, bruises and fabulous successes!!

        1. I would never hate you for that question, it’s a great one and something Adam and I have talked about a few times. Honestly, we haven’t found much we would change if we were to go back and do it again, at least not floor plan-wise. Neither one of us love the stone on the outside of the house, it’s too plain and doesn’t have nearly enough mortar. There is also a light switch in the master bathroom that drives us both nuts, and it’s kinda annoying that the front and back porches are so close to attaching to the breezeway without actually touching. Not quite sure how I would change that though. Having only three bedrooms is fine and everyone sharing isn’t a problem. If it becomes an issue in the future we can always finish out the attic, which is big enough for two bedrooms, or a teenage hangout area, or a guest suite, or whatever we need it to be. Adam and I doubted, rechecked, and redid our plans so many times when we were designing the house….it will all work out in the end!

          1. I missed your insulation question, sorry. I wouldn’t say the spray foam insulation lessens the noise within the house, it just helps keep it sealed up from the outside (I got our electric bill today and it was only $77 bucks!). Right now the inside of the house isn’t what I’d call quiet. We are basically living in a glorified gymnasium…there’s no soft surfaces to absorb noise, and there isn’t flooring in the loft so its crazy loud when the kids are playing up there. The house doesn’t echo or anything though, so I think that when we make it more homey it will be fine. I think four boys is just going to be loud no matter what.

  4. I love your home and I think it’s so awesome that y’all have done it yourselves on a budget. My question is how are the concrete floors? We have tile (that I hate) throughout our house but (nasty) carpet in the bedrooms. We want to replace it all with some kind of wood product but won’t be able to afford that for almost two more years. My idea is to rip out the stuff I hate now and live with concrete until we can get the floor we really want. My husband thinks I’m crazy. He says it could be painful for our 3 small children and 2 dogs. Thoughts?

    1. I need to write a post about the floors because I get asked about them all the time. Our concrete is also temporary, we plan to live on it until we can afford to put in a wood floor throughout the downstairs. I have mixed feelings about the concrete….the pros are that it is easy to clean, it doesn’t look bad, and overall is a great temporary solution. Cons – I hate it, haha. Okay, that is a little dramatic, but it’s so hard and cold. My feet and ankles hurt after standing on it too long, just like tile. Some soft mats in the kitchen would help that though. I also don’t like the look, it just looks unfinished to me…which it is so it’s okay, but I wouldn’t want it as my forever floor. As far as kids it is fine, I wouldn’t let that stop you. Although, my baby is crawling now and its not the best for that, I see him crawling on his feet and hands sometimes just to get off his knees. The big kids have no problems with it though…they like sliding around in their socks and I like that they can’t hurt it.

  5. It looks amazing! Any chance you could give an idea of how much it cost to have the shell and drywall done foe a home this size? We are considering this same venture but we don’t want to meet with an architect until we know we can afford it :)

    1. Building the shell of the house was about $265,000. That included the whole house to drywall, including electrical, HVAC, and plumbing rough in and the builders fee. There are lots of other fees though….the fees are killer. There are fees for the construction loan and interest (about 12K for us), plus closing costs, permit fees, license fees, and fees for any and every ridiculous thing people could come up with. With everything together it came to about $285,000. Not sure how much it will cost us to finish it out, we are just taking that a day at a time. Adam guesstimates 50K though, and I think he’s on the low end by quite a bit.

      1. I love your house design and the way everything flows from the entrance to all the rooms. I love the high ceilings on the front and master bedroom. I love the open living room and the porches.
        Wow $285 just for the shell! Did you hired a builder or you hired different contractors to build the house? Was there anything that went way over what you had budget for that you would do it differently? Was metal roof and outside walls expensive? How much you had to spend on the fireplace its so beautiful but i was wondering if there is a cheaper way to have one?
        Thank you!!

  6. Your house is looking lovely. The pride of doing it yourselves and within your budget will be worth the time it is taking to do it. BTW your little one is adorable. I had to look twice in the first picture-he looked like a little doll lol!

    1. Thanks Pam! I know it will all be worth it in the end, though while we are here in the middle I have certainly had my doubts!

  7. Your blog has been so interesting to follow, it’s so true to life when undertaking a project like you’ve done. Glad you only post one pic of each room or angle, don’t find it interesting when sooo many pics are taken from just a little bit different angle! We’ve gone thru 3 remodels and add ons of our home so know how trying it can be to live in amongst the mess! Your home is gorgeous! Also was wondering with the open floor plan how the noise level is? I’ve been to some friends places that have vaulted ceilings and the noise level is not tolerable for my husband!! Does the foam insulation help with that?

    1. The foam insulation doesn’t help with the noise level inside the house, it just keeps the outside noises (and heat) out. Our house certainly isn’t quiet, but we have four little boys and no soft surfaces yet… I’m thinking your husband would hate it over here, haha.

      Also, I’m glad you like the tour! I see so many house tours online that are mostly zoomed in pictures of knickknacks on a shelf, and I’m like “This is NOT a house tour”.

  8. Oh woman! I am sitting here in the mess of my renovation that is taking over 13 years and having fights as I type with the male of the house to replace the hole in the upper bedroom floor he made 13 years ago (it was his idea to put a spiral staircase in so I could get to my workroom below……) and I am fed up with, and here you guys are living in LUXURY! Well, to ME it is luxury! You want to see MY place….no you don’t really, you’ll need a valium and lots of therapy afterwards. My point; don’t feel bad about your place looking and feeling like a glorified gymnasium! I’d sell my male friend (mind you, people would pay me to keep him) for your place!
    Oh how I drool and sigh over your progress. Too gorgeous for words. You guys are the best!

  9. Came across your blog looking for painting shower surrounds
    What a great blog! I spent another hour reading past posts
    My wife and I DIY everything. You and your husband do an awesome job.
    Glad I came across you
    I really enjoyed your posts

  10. Your home is beautiful and so much progress! I love the green in the kitchen – when you posted about using that color, I was sure – but wow it’s beautiful! Your industrial shelving is also something I would like in my next home (we are looking). Remember to take a moment, or two, for yourself – momma’s need rest so they can take care of everyone else!

  11. Oh, yes, I know the struggle with microfiber upholstery and babies. Switching to leather couches was totally worth it even when we stick to them in hot weather. At least they’re super easy to clean.

  12. I just recently found your blog, and I’m in love with the layout of your house and the exterior. It is beautiful! It is awesome y’all are finishing the house out yourself while having four boys! I have only one baby and can’t imagine! Props to you and your hubby! I love the idea of your office nook and how it creates an entryway, so you don’t just walk straight into a big room. I can’t find any photos of your office nook other than ones showing the entire living room. We are in the early planning stages of a figuring out a floor plan. I’ve never seen an office nook like yours and was curious how you are liking it and what it completely looks like. I get that it’s probably not complete since you are finishing everything yourself. I was just hoping there might be a post I missed about your office nook.
    I will be following your blog! I look forward to seeing your progress. Your photos have me excited and ready to get our house started!

  13. Hey Ashley,
    Enjoyed the tour :) … and I tell you what !

    I would’ve had that home as it was right now, just the way I can see it in the pictures here. It looks so beautiful and the flow of the house it’s amazing, I love the distribution, it’s pretty clear that in this house it’s all about he living room, huge and open space living room!

    Such a beautiful place to live in … I envy you :)
    Thanks for sharing,


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