This giveaway is no longer accepting entries. Congrats to Diana C, and thank you to all who participated! If there's one thing we could use around here, it's a simple project (the most satisfying) and a teensy bit of normalcy. Unfortunately for us, the normalcy isn't too close in our future, but fortunately for our spoiled, pampered (loved to bits) pup, we've squeezed in a mini project to enhance his every day routine. (In addition to his new yard, front porch and all day naps, this is just …

As we share the unraveling (and subsequently, the re-raveling) of this house with you - between demo, clean-up, more demo and more clean-up - it's been mentioned a few times that, wait a minute!, this isn't making sense. You need to see the layout of our home. How are the rooms connecting? Where is that orange wall in relation to the future studio? Luckily, our awesome friend and architect (and home-woes-therapist and cheerleader) Nancy whipped up floor plans, and now (finally!), we can share with you what in …
  • Rachel - August 2, 2013 - 8:53 AM

    Wow! I love this – thanks so much for laying everything out. Your photos are beautiful and your home is coming together so nicely. You can tell that you are there and making such a difference. I am so excited to be able to follow along with you on this awesome journey. I know you will do great things with your new place.
    Have a great weekend!! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Sarge in Charge - August 2, 2013 - 8:58 AM

    For some reason I am picturing the sun nook becoming an unofficial pet dormitory! If your pets are anything like my basset hound, they will be snoozing in the sun all day.

    One idea for the bonus storage- maybe you could rip out the wall and add built in seating and a table. It would be a perfect breakfast nook.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 2, 2013 - 9:57 AM

      Sarge, yes, I can guarantee that the sun nook will fast become the pet dormitory (love that!). Good idea for the bonus storage. If we take Melissa’s idea, technically, we could put the breakfast nook in the left corner OR the right corner. Regardless, Scott and I have definitely been discussing a casual eat-in-kitchen-corner!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie - August 2, 2013 - 9:35 AM

    Is it just me or is that orange wall just awesome?! Also, I wish you could win the lottery so you could just do everything you want to do now… watching this remodel is like having to wait ANOTHER week for the next episode of your fave show… it’s awesome but also excruciating. I’m sure you don’t feel the same way at all? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - August 2, 2013 - 9:48 AM

    what a cool house! You guys are going to make it look amazing. I had a thought about the first floor bathroom. What if instead of taking space from the storage room you moved the wall that the shower and toilet touch out to the LEFT. Meaning extend the hallway that leads into the kitchen by taking away the counter area and moving the bathroom wall out to where the counter is currently. If you reconfigured where the counters would go in the kitchen you could open up the storage space completely into the kitchen.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - August 2, 2013 - 9:51 AM

    Rachel, you’re so sweet! Thank you!

    Emily, haha – you hit the nail on the head! Send some lottery vibes our way (I guess we should buy a ticket first though, right?). The wait is hard, but it also allows us to more thoughtfully plan our next move. What’s the most important? What can wait? It’s been fun and scary, and we’re just so excited to keep diving in…

    And Melissa, that’s a GREAT idea! Out of all the things we’ve discussed, that never crossed our minds. Thank you so much! It would create a little bit of a hall (a very, very small one), but it would make the kitchen more square and allow the the first floor bathroom to be more functional. Such a good tip!ReplyCancel

  • Katja @ Shift Ctrl Art - August 2, 2013 - 11:41 AM

    I am so excited to follow along in this adventure of yours. Looking at your floor plans, I was wondering if I could throw out an idea I had? I don’t know if it is good or not. You decide… :)

    How about turning the upper part of the Guest #1 room into part laundry (accessed from the hall) and part closet for the guest room.

    That would free up the bonus room by the master for a walk-in closet?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 2, 2013 - 12:55 PM

      Hi Katja, that idea could definitely work, but the number 1 reason we want the laundry upstairs is since that’s where all our clothes will be :) Also, the bathroom we use for showering is up there, too. Otherwise, we were thinking of putting it in the downstairs bonus room – but your idea works much better!

      Jessica, that’s actually a REALLY good idea. Melissa (above) suggested that as well! We can see that working – thank you so much!ReplyCancel

  • jessica - August 2, 2013 - 11:45 AM

    For the first floor bath/kitchen/storage…what if you bumped the bath out to the left where the kitchen counter and sink are? Then you get a bit more space in the bathroom and can use the bonus storage for kitchen and pantry space.ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - August 2, 2013 - 12:33 PM

    so exciting!!!ReplyCancel

  • Helena - August 2, 2013 - 1:30 PM

    Sarge in Charge – I can confirm that my sister’s sun nook is now “The Cat’s Room”. She goes there in the morning, bakes, and leaves at night for tunas.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 2, 2013 - 2:15 PM

      Helena, that had me cracking up. I imagine our girls will be no different!ReplyCancel

  • Laura at Rather Square - August 2, 2013 - 3:29 PM

    It looks so ambitious, and yet I know you will power through and make it amazing! For all our (millions and millions, it seems) house projects to do, I just keep chanting “it’s not a race, it’s not a race!” It helps keep the pace reasonable.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - August 2, 2013 - 6:36 PM

    Hi there,
    Not sure if it is common in America (I’m in Australia) but I don’t understand the laundry coming off your master bedroom? Would it be better to have an ensuite and walk in robe in that space and move the laundry to another location? Possibly where the current bathroom is.
    This is really exciting to be a part of and thank you very much for sharing. Hope my comment doesn’t come across as rude. I guess it’s because in my mind I had a vision of your home and you are going in a different direction so it’s messing with my mind hahaReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 2, 2013 - 8:02 PM

      Hi Emily,

      That’s not rude at all! We’ve seen this popping up more and more – laundry rooms off of master bedrooms. It makes sense because that’s where all your clothes are going once you put them away! Scott was hesitant at the idea at first too, but then I showed him a few examples and he warmed up to it. Nothing is set in stone just yet, so plans could certainly change. However, our bedroom is big enough, that we’d love to install a wall of “built-in” closet space and still have room for a whole dedicated laundry room.

      Time will tell! We’re getting antsy though :)ReplyCancel

  • Blair @ the fox and she - August 5, 2013 - 12:15 PM

    ahhh! it’s going to be amazing! I can’t tell you how jealous I am that you get to do this. I’m hoping for a similar project someday. And I can’t wait to see the studio, I know it will be amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Janet - August 5, 2013 - 12:15 PM

    Are you living in the house as you work on it or are you living else where?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - August 5, 2013 - 12:17 PM

    Janet, we’re living through it! Meaning, we’re still living out of boxes… ;)ReplyCancel

  • Julia @cuckoo4design - August 6, 2013 - 1:17 AM

    Wow, love seeing all this!ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House - August 6, 2013 - 3:07 PM

    Ok, I read this post when it went up, but I’m late to the commenting party.

    Thanks for making a floor plan, it makes it so much easier to visualize things! I love the changes you have mentioned, and I also really like Melissa/Katja and Emily’s suggestions.

    On laundry placement – our laundry is off of the “master” bedroom (otherwise known as “the guest suite” for the past 4 years, and we’re finally starting to move into it ourselves). Originally the “master” was a carport, and the laundry was an outdoor closet accessed (we’re assuming, based on the neighborhood) by walking out the backdoor. Later the carport was converted into a bedroom, bathroom, and walk in closet, so the laundry was connected. I have always felt a little weird about having the laundry off our master, and have been racked my brain for a way to change this configuration (maybe make a tiny hallway, or a sliding partition so that future non-furry kids don’t have to walk into our bedroom to do laundry?) Now I’m finally beginning to warm up to its placement for the same reasons you listed. I’d love to see the examples you showed Scott. (Are they on Pinterest? Or could you maybe email them to me?)ReplyCancel

  • jane - August 19, 2013 - 11:31 AM

    Love the blog – it’s certainly keeping me focused on my own home renovation (it’s also shaming mine a bit – you guys are killing it!).

    What program do you use to make the floor plan? It’s so helpful in visualizing what you guys are doing that I think I need to make my own!


  • Kim - August 19, 2013 - 11:39 AM

    Hi Jane, our friend and architect, Nancy, made these floor plans for us, then I used Photoshop to add the text and numbers. There are free online floor plans you can make though, such as I’ve tried to use them myself, but honestly, got a little flustered! Sorry I can’t be of more help…ReplyCancel

    • Anna - June 13, 2017 - 2:52 PM

      Hi, I’m a big fan of your blog, I’m planning to build a house similar to yours and I would like to know if I may the dimensions of the house so I can compare my notes!

      Thank youReplyCancel

  • The Great Door Hunt of 2013 | DIY Central - August 27, 2013 - 7:13 PM

    […] wrapping our brains around the reconfiguration of our house’s entryway, we knew that there were two big things we needed to take care of: […]ReplyCancel


When the Vargo parents dropped into town last weekend to help knock out our to-dos (and oh boy, did we have to-dos!), they also brought with them a new addition for our home: another Grandma Chair. Last year, you might remember the evolution of my grandmother's chair - a wedding gift to my grandparents over sixty years ago and passed down to us. (This was the result of losing my grandpa, and my gram downsized to a condo.) It's one of my favorite material …
  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - August 1, 2013 - 8:43 AM

    Oh! This just about brought a tear to my eye thinking about Aaron’s grandma. She is the sweetest, spunkiest woman I know. I’ve basically fallen head over heels for her and pretty much claim her as my own. It sounds like you had a similar connection with Scott’s grandma :)

    What a sweet memento that will totally work in your new, bigger space. Any plans to change it or are you just loving the charm as is?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - August 1, 2013 - 8:49 AM

    Heather, grandmas are the best, aren’t they? No plans to change this chair – we think it’s perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Ryan - August 1, 2013 - 9:03 AM

    You continue to inspire me with your sweetness! What a great tribute to Betty!
    Much Love,

  • Amanda @ Our Humble Abode - August 1, 2013 - 2:35 PM

    Such a sweet tradition you’ve started. So many memories are linked to pieces, so it’s nice to have that daily reminder of a loved one. Even better that these items are beautiful and full of character.

    I’ve got a bookshelf from my great grandparents and a tiny rocking chair that was my mom’s when she was a child.ReplyCancel

  • ann - August 1, 2013 - 3:53 PM

    Thank you Kim for the special thoughts. I know Mom is happy that you and Scott will enjoy the chair so much. Now I must get a tissue!ReplyCancel

  • Julia @cuckoo4design - August 6, 2013 - 1:14 AM

    I wish I could take my grandmother’s chair with me to the US too, I have to pick smaller things to bring from Germany. Love that you have the chairs.ReplyCancel


There are so many things that go into making this a livable home that, quite honestly, are just not exciting. Especially since this is a home that was once used as a rental property for the last 20-some years. Because our house wasn't owned by the seller himself (at least, this is our theory), we've found that many of the projects we've been tackling lately are simply getting this place up to snuff - a home that someday, we'll feel comfortable walking around in barefoot (as opposed to our constant …
  • Christine @ Little House On The Corner - July 31, 2013 - 6:52 AM

    You’ve just described our exact situation. Our house was so dirty that the windows wouldn’t open because they were so sticky! We’ve been in the house for 3 years now and have cleaned multiple times, but I still won’t use the bath because I know what it uses to look like!ReplyCancel

  • Giuli - July 31, 2013 - 8:38 AM

    Wow!! I’m exhausted reading this but I can sympathize. My husband and I went through the same thing with our home 10 years ago. It was a rental property as well and not loved at all. We bought the worst house on the best street and after a few years, it fits right in. Needless to say the neighbors were very happy. Good Luck and don’t forget to Have fun too!!ReplyCancel

  • Anna K - July 31, 2013 - 9:02 AM

    Sanding drywall mud! It is the WORST! The dust gets everywhere and it is impossible to sweep up!ReplyCancel

  • jackie - July 31, 2013 - 9:33 AM

    You guys rock!!! I can’t wait to see your place evolve!ReplyCancel

  • Laura at Rather Square - July 31, 2013 - 9:37 AM

    We too are in the stage of “must get fixed vs. want to make pretty” decisions. Things we have done that have not been super fun are: cleaning a raccoon nest out of the garage, killing weeds, bleaching the basement floor, and filling all the cracks in the stucco exterior. I will be posting about that last one soon, but the others are just a little too unpleasant to recount.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly @ Turning It Home - July 31, 2013 - 10:00 AM

    Right now, my least favorite to do is working outside (it can get miserable during Florida summers) and painting (more like keeping the kids away from wet paint and cleaning up the mess), but after reading this… I think I have it easy compared to your to-do’s. Keep on trekking on, it will all be worth it later on!ReplyCancel

  • Jaimie - July 31, 2013 - 10:47 AM

    I’m right there with you. There are so many things that need to get done, and not enough time or money to do them all RIGHT NOW, so things are getting prioritized by what’s most urgent to make the house liveable (such as ceiling fans and storage).

    Our seller only rented our house out for a year, but it was a hot mess. And he lied to us about making it move in ready after the tenants left (since when does move in ready not mean removes nails/screws in the walls, patch holes, and touch up paint??)

    I’ve been pulling nails, screws, and upholstery staples out of the walls for longer than I care to admit. UPHOLSTERY STAPLES. That is my least favorite task, pulling those out of the wall without damaging it.

    I would estimate there are probably over a thousand holes in the walls that aren’t filled. And I found out that all of the interior paint peels from the walls if you pick at it. *sigh*ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 31, 2013 - 11:02 AM

    Kimberly – thank goodness it wasn’t hot this past weekend! It was actually a little chilly, so at least we weren’t sweating to death.

    Jaimie, SAME! Everything in this house was adhered to the walls with staples or caulk. EVERYTHING. Medicine cabinets were installed with NO SCREWS. Just caulk. Crazy. Good luck with your staple-pulling adventures. We’re right there with you!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - July 31, 2013 - 11:49 AM

    Dry walling the basement was my least favorite. I spent an entire winter muddying, sanding, scraping, and priming in a poorly ventilated area. You’ll start to hit that point where rooms start to look livable and you’ll get a second wind. Other times you just have to stay in bed for a week and watch Twin Peaks or Buffy on streaming and refill your tank. :)ReplyCancel

  • Julie - July 31, 2013 - 12:12 PM

    Oh how heavenly to have so much help even if for just a short time! I don’t envy you all these projects, but the mundane will add up to beautiful and satisfying at the end (is there ever an end to house projects?).

    My least favorite project of all time was removing all the lawn from our backyard with our two shovels, then shaving 6 inches off uneven dirt off the top of the whole backyard, shovel by shovel full in 90 degree heat. I distinctly remember looking down at a trickle of sweat down my tummy, that made a clean streak on my disgustingly dirty skin. Yes, I had to go ghetto and wear a bathing suit top to do yard work–it was SO HOT!

    You guys are doing great–love watching all your progress and if we lived in your town, you know we’d be helping!ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - July 31, 2013 - 12:48 PM

    Any kind of yard work gets a thumbs down from me. I think a lot of things contribute to placing that last on the list. It’s always harder and hotter and sweatier than I expect, and the results usually aren’t instant. Planting a tree = waiting years for it to grow. Painting a wall = instantly done.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 31, 2013 - 12:59 PM

    Julie, we wish you guys were here! We have so many “Jim Jobs” that we’re sure Brian would know how to fix :D

    Heather, I’m not a fan of yard work either. I’m thinking that’s going to need to change soon though!ReplyCancel

  • jenn - July 31, 2013 - 4:27 PM

    just wanted to say i am in awe of you guys. my husband and i just bought a hundred year old house a few months ago that was a very soft flip (white painted wood paneling EVERYWHERE), and we haven’t had the time or money to do just about anything we really want to it. your recent posts have been inspiring and give me hope (=ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 31, 2013 - 4:43 PM

      Jenn, you can do it! You can do it!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - July 31, 2013 - 7:04 PM

    Stripping away old flaky grout in our master bath so we could lay down fresh new caulk took way longer than I thought, but was also pretty satisfying to do myself!

    Good call on the Spotted Cow – we had it at our wedding! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Helen - July 31, 2013 - 11:08 PM

    The multiple trips to Home Depot in one day (sometimes one afternoon) sounds oh so familiar and yes it is frustrating. Every time we end a project, I alway say f it! Next time I’m hiring someone! But I always find myself picking up a hammer and DIY. You guys have such good taste I can’t wait to see it when done!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - August 5, 2013 - 10:27 PM

    So fun!! Mom & Pop Vargo are soooo cute too :) Can’t wait to see this in person some day [SOON I hope]!ReplyCancel

  • louize - August 17, 2013 - 2:22 PM

    Oh I can so relate to the endless list of must do’s before the fun do’s… I have spent every weekend this summer pulling 80 years and 5 layers of wallpaper off every wall in my “new” apartment, often with sections of wall crumbling with the paper. I finally finished today. Now the plasterers can finish rebuilding the walls and I should get to start the fun stuff soon… although paying for the essentials – complete rewiring, major plumbing and changing all the windows has left me too broke for any other major projects for a while yet!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 19, 2013 - 10:12 AM

      Louize – we know the feeling! Once you get the more “boring” projects out of the way, it’s hard to find the moolah for the fun things! Best of luck with your transformation!ReplyCancel


First! Ten million thank yous to our wonderful, gracious house guests: Kalli, Julia, Jillian, Heather, Rob, Jodi, Meg, Rex and Julie (whew!). We sincerely hope you enjoyed "meeting" some of our closest friends and blog favorites. We couldn't have gotten as much done as we did without them, and for that, we owe 'em. Big time. Now, while we were out…
  • Jodi - July 29, 2013 - 9:03 AM

    phew! i’m tired just reading about all that. good luck to you both!!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie - July 29, 2013 - 9:33 AM

    Looking better and better each day!ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House - July 29, 2013 - 9:39 AM

    I totally second what Jodi said! haha

    It looks SO MUCH BETTER without that partition! Also, so funny about the fortune cookie fortune. I am the worst at having patience, so I can commiserate.ReplyCancel

  • Gloria - July 29, 2013 - 10:10 AM

    I can so relate to astro turf stink. I moved into my new house the weekend before last and had to deal with carpet on the front porch. Weirdest thing ever.

    Your place is looking so good! I love watching your progress without doing all of the work :)ReplyCancel

  • Rachael - July 29, 2013 - 10:21 AM

    I’m glad the weather was nice and cool this weekend for you-here’s to hoping it stays that way! And I bet the kitties love those stairs!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom - July 29, 2013 - 11:24 AM

    Wow, you guys are just moving right along in this process, every time you post pics it just gets better and better!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 29, 2013 - 11:44 AM

    Gloria, what’s with the artificial grass? The smells. Oh, the smells!

    Thanks, guys. It really DOES look better without that partition! It’s so, so much bigger.ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - July 29, 2013 - 11:44 AM

    Yay progress!

    Ha! We also had to get used to stairs at the firehouse. We joke that it’s part of the ‘Firehouse diet.’ Mojo has definitely lost a few pounds thanks to the constant up and down. I haven’t noticed any weight loss, but I have gotten good at never walking up or down empty handedReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 29, 2013 - 11:52 AM

    Heather, aren’t stairs so weird to get used to? My childhood home didn’t have stairs either, so it seems like we have to climb a mountain for everything! We are, however, trying to get in the habit of never going up or down empty handed – as we continue to shuffle things around, it’s best to combine the “trip” with a small task.ReplyCancel

  • Julia @cuckoo4design - July 29, 2013 - 2:31 PM

    I’m so excited to see all this and it’s the harsh reality that Rome was not built in a day. I get mad when people tell me that LOL but I guess we all have to learn that lesson.
    Hope the furry kiddos are doing well too!ReplyCancel

  • Laura at Rather Square - July 29, 2013 - 2:34 PM

    Looks great! What is the wood like under the astroturf? Is it in good condition? We have a small deck with mostly rotted wood, I’m not looking forward to the process of tearing that down at some point.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 29, 2013 - 3:07 PM

    Julia, the girls are having a BLAST exploring all the new nooks, and Jack cannot get enough of the front porch. If we allowed him to, he’d sit on that porch all. day. long. It’s so heart warming to see how much they’re loving this home!

    Laura, the wood is great! However, the whole deck needs some work, but down the road, we’d love to tear it down and start over… but that’s a different phase for a different day.ReplyCancel

  • Christine @ Little House On The Corner - July 29, 2013 - 3:42 PM

    You must be so pleased that the partition is gone. I bet it makes a huge difference to the room. We just knocked down a wall between our kitchen and dining room and I can’t believe we didn’t do it much earlier! We’re still cleaning up brick dust though…ReplyCancel

  • Mercedes - July 29, 2013 - 6:49 PM

    I’m so looking forward to following your home adventures. We suffer from the slope issues in our 100+ year old farm house and will be paying close attention to your remedy and the ballpark cost. Yowza!ReplyCancel

  • Helen - July 30, 2013 - 12:59 AM

    Oh I love the exposed bricks! Will you keep?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 30, 2013 - 9:32 AM

    Christine, I just checked out your blog – WOW, that wall looks SO much better now that it’s down! Awesome.

    Helen, that’s the plan! As long as it’s not harming the house by being there, we plan on keeping it.ReplyCancel

  • Emma - July 30, 2013 - 12:52 PM

    Yeppers…hiring moving is definitely a sign that you are growing up. We hired our first movers 2 years ago. Buying mulch is another indicator of adulthood. Your new home looks great. And you’re so lucky to have your very own private deck!ReplyCancel

  • Agela - July 30, 2013 - 6:20 PM

    I’m so curious what this stink is or came from?! You are giving me serious itchy feet to get my flat in shipshape!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 31, 2013 - 9:05 AM

    Angela, from what we can tell, there were several pets that were using the carpets and plastic grass as their personal potty…ReplyCancel

  • Stairs! Done! | Bichona - October 20, 2014 - 8:03 PM

    […] the house (you might remember that our master bedroom – the ex-second-floor-kitchen – has a door), we wanted to tackle this project before the cold settled in, allowing us to use those back stairs […]ReplyCancel