Since at least two or three of you were so kind as to humor me when I offered to give a little house tour of a house we no longer live in, I am here to oblige with lots of photos. (One such reader, dear Clarice, is the one who called it our Okla home, which made me feel a little bit like I wasted the last three years of my life not referring to our house that way…)
One of the advantages to moving often is that it forces you to commit to things, homemaking-wise, faster than you otherwise would. (At least if, like me, you’re a sort of overthinking, commitment-phobic, perfectionist type with a limited budget.) You have to move in quickly so you have time to live before you start moving out again.
An advantage to the actual moving is that it forces you to declare things done, homemaking-wise (ready or not!).
And if you’re selling your house, you even have pictures to prove it. (Which is good if you keep promising After photos without delivering.)
So here, at last, is a tour of the house we just left in Oklahoma — or at least the start of it, because who can do a house tour in only one post? Not me.
You’ve seen most of it before in pictures here and there, but never in any sort of systematic way. But I figure that I always appreciate poking my nose around someone else’s home (even just virtually), so I’ll assume that you won’t mind looking at mine, even if we don’t live there anymore.
Since these photos are mostly from our real estate listing, I’ll try to point out when they don’t correspond to how we actually lived our life there (spoiler: any clear horizontal surface is a LIE!) and supplement with a few others and link up to past posts so you can see it in all its ordinary glory as well.
We took the listing photos ourselves, since we were not in one of those hopping housing markets where house staging consultants and professional photographers are the norm. I was pretty sure my husband and I could do a better job than your average realtor with a point-and-shoot (not that our realtor wasn’t great, because she was!), if only because I was willing to take pictures over the course of several days so I didn’t have to have all the rooms ready at once.
We took the photos before our garden was looking its best, but it was much more colorful by the time we were showing the house. But, you may recall, there was a water feature here when we moved in (look at the last pic on that post for the best shot of it), which was not our thing for many reasons. So we ripped it out and used the millions of landscaping stones to line the path to the front door and, eventually, to make a sort of rock garden there by the door.
I don’t consider myself any sort of expert in the gardening department, and goodness knows the clay and the heat and the droughts and the flooding weren’t on my side, but I was pretty pleased with it by the end.
When you go in through the front door, you’re in the main living area, which is very open:
(All the “before” photos are from the old listing when we bought the house. So obviously, the furnishings don’t belong to us.)
Painting all this space and the kitchen were the two big projects we tackled as soon as we moved in, and you may recall that we ended up hiring some guys to paint all the walls and woodwork — and some of the ceilings, too. It was a huge job! (More on this project here.)
Totally worth it, though. I remember seeing all that brown trim and the yellow and blue walls in the photos on Zillow, and thinking, “if we just paint it all white…”
This is basically what I imagined it would look like.
You can see our little oratory tray there on the homemade bookshelves. That trunk has been used as a coffee table by three generations of our family at this point. The green sofa is a hand-me-down we inherited from Nick and Natasha when they moved to Hong Kong, and the brown leather one is from the as-is section at Ikea (I don’t think they have this particular one anymore). It used to be held up by a stack of magazines, but now we’re really classy folks who have sofas that stand up on their own four legs.
I never got the curtains hung up in here. Fail.
That blue chair bounced back and forth between the living room when we had guests and a few feet over in the eat-in-kitchen area, so Capt P could sit and keep me company while I made dinner. And in reality, we do also keep toys in our living room, and it more often actually looked like this:
We always sort of wished we had a bigger rug for this room, but having that stretch of hard floor between my desk and the rug made it so there was plenty of room for the kids to spread out and play. The big Legos lived in that basket with the lid under the window, the baby toys got tossed into the basket by the fireplace, and the trains all fit into that very glamorous plastic bin (complete with lid held together by packing tape!), which tucked under my desk.
So it did all tidy up nicely, when it was tidy.
This little corner between the bookshelves and the bar counter is where we kept our current picture books (in the bin on the left), board books (right), and wooden blocks (Nora’s chosen seat). I find that my children are well nigh incapable of putting books back neatly on a shelf, but they can tidy them into these wooden bins pretty well.
This setup had the added bonus of cutting off easy access to the corner under the bar counter, which was just high enough so that kids wouldn’t really see it, but low enough so that they’d smack themselves in the forehead if they tried to casually walk under it. Ouch.
Ok, on to the dining room, which you can see over the green sofa’s shoulder up there. The one with the huge windows.
Goodness, did I love all that light. Our dining room table was a craigslist find in California that at this point has seen better days. If I weren’t committed to finding a bigger table, one that wasn’t an odd-sized square, I might be motivated to fix the wobbles and scratches, but the time has come to move on.
(Exciting development: we brought a new old dining room table down this summer from my in-law’s barn, and Capt. P is refinishing it for us.)
We actually have six of those chairs, plus my trusty green high chair for the baby and two adjustable high chairs (affiliate link!) for the bigger kids. (We can talk about those more sometime if you want to, and it sort of kills me because I couldn’t find them used anywhere nearby, so I had to stalk sales and stack coupons and they still each cost more than the rest of my dining room chairs combined. But twice now it’s gotten to the point where I’m being driven crazy by a squirming child at every mealtime, and my husband tells me it’s worth any price to keep our sanity, and I finally agree, and then they can reach the table and rest their feet and be strapped in, and our lives are so much better.)
But anyway, we moved all the extra chairs out of the room for the pictures. Normally the high chairs are all up at the table, and the extra “grown-up” chairs are against the wall. That’s why the room looks so empty.
Ok, one more room before I wrap it up for today. This was the “bonus” room — the previous owners had it set up as a fourth bedroom:
It was at the very front of the house — the very first door there just on your left as you came in through the front door. We called it the study, because of the big built-in bookshelves (cue angel choir) and Capt P’s desk area in there. It’s also where we kept our TV, but I declared that I didn’t want to call it “the TV room,” so study it was.
(We do have a TV — a rather nice, big one, actually, because my husband is the kind of person who cares about electronics and we like to watch movies and baseball and things like that. But we don’t like having a big TV right in the middle of everything, and we especially don’t like it to be the first thing you see when you walk in the door. With our very open floor plan, this solution worked very well for us.)
This is the last room we tackled before we moved — it was really awful. I shared a few “before” photos in this post (and if you’re at all tempted while seeing all these photos to think I have my act together, you should really click on that link…) but never got to the afters:
The curtains are the ones I had always intended to hang up in the living room, but I think I had miscounted when I was buying curtain rods at Ikea, and ended up short. So they never went up there, but by the time I was dealing with this room, I no longer had these curtains mentally earmarked for another room, so up they went, thank goodness.
The sofa and desk were both Capt. P’s from before we got married (the sofa is from Ikea, and I did get a new slipcover for it at one point) — oh, and there’s one of the other dining room chairs at his desk! The rug is a nice indoor-outdoor one from Target that we got to replace the one Nora spilled the can of paint on while we were painting the bookshelves.
(I was actually super happy about this, because I hated that old rug, and there were lots of things in that room — including Nora herself — that I did not want paint spilled all over!)
I know everyone always says that they wish they didn’t wait until moving to make their house look nice, and this is the room that I do really wish we had tackled earlier, not that I’m sure I know when we would have done it. (Actually, when we hired the painters on first moving in, this room and the laundry room were supposed to be part of the job, but when it took them much longer than expected, we sacrificed these last few areas in order to have our home restored to us. So it’s not my fault after all!)
But it’s a room that we used all the time, and the paint (and the new rug — thanks, Nora!) made such a big difference. Next time! Next time.
Ok, I’m signing off for now, but next time I’ll show you my kitchen (ooh!) and laundry room (aah!). If it’s possible that you still have questions about anything after this long post, go ahead and ask away in the comments — obviously, I am happy to chit-chat about homemaking things for days!