We’ve continued to chip away at our first round of house projects and I can’t believe how different this place looks just since last week! I know I’m going to be really happy I documented this process — any time I feel like we’re not moving quickly enough, I look back on my Instagram “home” highlight or this post with before photos from the day we moved in and I realize we’ve made great strides in a short period of time. Plus we intend to be in this house for the long haul so I’m trying to remind myself that despite my intense nesting instinct being in overdrive at the moment, we have years to tackle all these projects beyond my due date next month! Here’s where we stand at the end of our second week living in the house (here are before pictures from the week we closed and here’s what we got done in our first week).

Some of the biggest progress since last week has been on the painting front. We finished painting the trim and bookshelves in the library and the trim and walls in the dining room and it made a world of difference in both spaces. Our plan is eventually to wallpaper the walls and backs of bookshelves in the library (you can see some of the options we’re considering in this post) so we didn’t paint the walls, but the bright white trim is going to be beautiful against whatever wallpaper we ultimately choose. And the dining room was one of the darker rooms in the house but two coats of Behr Ultra Pure White (which we’re using in a satin finish for the walls and a high gloss finish on the trim throughout the house) made a huge difference.

design darling house progress week two library

The tan walls in the library will ultimately be wallpapered, but at least we’ve freshened up the trim! Now we just have 42,682 boxes of books to unpack…

design darling house progress dining room behr ultra pure white

The dining room has come a long way since these grimy before photos.

I’d intended to tackle all the painting ourselves (Will, my mom, and my brother Grayson have all pitched in to help me out over the past couple weeks!) but it turned out removing the wallpaper in the foyer, stairwell, and upstairs hallway was a more complicated project than we’d anticipated. The contractor who’s doing work in our master bedroom (see more on that below) recommended hiring a painting company to skim a light coat of plaster over the wallpaper (which may have been there as long as 50 years!) and paint on top of it and honestly it might be the best money we’ve spent in this house so far. My mom did an amazing job sanding the stair risers and prepping them for paint, but it was a pretty big relief to all of us to have a team of experts take over this trickier paint project. My pregnant belly was definitely happy not to be hunched over those stairs for hours on end! This whole area is one of the most striking before and afters — can you believe everything was covered in carpet when we bought it?

design darling house progress plaster skimming and stair risers

Photo taken August 8 — walls skimmed with plaster and risers sanded and ready for paint!

design darling house progress painted stair risers

Photo taken August 14 — what a difference a week makes! And let’s recall the same stairs covered in dirty old carpet on move-in day…

design darling house progress painted foyer

The freshly painted foyer, which was carpeted and wallpapered when we closed three weeks ago.

design darling house progress upstairs hallway

The upstairs hallway, where we got particularly lucky ripping up the old carpet and finding these wide plank pine floors.

Our master bedroom project is ongoing but it’s come a long way since the before pictures a couple weeks ago! Our contractor and his team moved the wall between the bedroom and a sitting room back by approximately three feet and tore out a small closet in the bedroom to give us space to fit a king-sized bed and ultimately build out a walk-through closet in what was previously the sitting room. He also leveled the floors (there was a dip between the bedroom and sitting room that would have been problematic once we moved the wall) and installed recessed lighting in both spaces (which we’re realizing we are sorely lacking in this house and will need to add lots more of over time). Starting today and into next week he’ll install trim and new hardwood floors to match the newly refinished floors downstairs and then we’ll paint the walls and trim and move our furniture in hopefully by the end of next week! (We’ve been staying in a spare bedroom down the hall and are very ready to have space to properly unpack our clothes, etc.!) The closet build-out will be a project for a later date so we can save our pennies and start shifting our focus to getting the nursery ready for baby boy’s arrival next month (you can see our plans for that here). 

design darling house progress master bedroom framing

Photo taken August 8 — old wall gone, new framing up! The room closer to the camera will be our master bedroom and the room beyond it will be a walk-through closet to the master bathroom beyond.

design darling house progress master bedroom new wall

Photo taken August 13 — sheetrock and recessed lighting in place! It’s amazing how much bigger this room feels just moving that one wall back by three feet.

design darling house progress moving wall in master bedroom

Where old meets new!

design darling house progress future closet

Future home of my dream closet once we’ve lived in it long enough to know what we need and saved up the funds to make it happen!

design darling house progress former closet

Photo taken August 8 — this is the wall to the left where we tore out a shallow closet to give us space to put a dresser across from the bed.

design darling house progress master bedroom wall

Photo taken August 13 — ready for trim, floors, and then paint!

design darling house progress guest bedroom closing wall

The master bedroom wall above backs up to this wall in the guest bedroom, where we also closed in this shallow closet to allow us to center a queen-sized bed on the wall. This will be ready for paint early next week!

I just started painting the living room (second coat of trim paint will go up today, followed by two coats on the walls) in the same Ultra Pure White. I may ultimately want to do something a little more interesting in here since it’s a big room that gets a lot of light, but we have hardly any furniture for this space right now so I’ll have plenty of time to dream up a decorating scheme and in the mean time I’m on an eight-months-pregnant mission to rid this house of icky yellow-y trim as far as the eye can see. 🙂 

design darling house progress behr ultra pure white paint in living room

Unfortunately the fireplace in the living room needs to be converted to a gas fireplace as the chimney is too narrow to insert a liner to bring it up to code. The ginger jars are a temporary placeholder until we’re ready to tackle our next round of projects in 2020!

That’s it for now! I hope you’re enjoying these updates as much as I’m loving writing them. Pop over to Instagram stories if you’re interested in daily progress snaps — I’m having so much fun documenting the process and sharing along the way! 

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  1. The house looks beautiful—I can imagine how gratifying it must feel to see how much you’ve gotten done! And how happy you must be to have a home to prepare for the new baby when you spent so long wondering whether or not it would work out in time. I’m very happy for you guys!

    One tiny suggestion—some of the words you use to refer to the way the house used to look make me sad. (Grimy, gross, icky, etc.) I know it wasn’t your style—or perhaps more accurately has gone out of style—but I’m just picturing the former owners’ grandchikdren coming across this post, and it makes my heart hurt. Perhaps just extra sensitive because we recently sold my grandparents’ longtime house and got lots of similar comments from the realtor and her team. It may have been full of dirty old carpet and dated window treatments, but that’s the carpet I grew up playing on, you know? Just food for thought as you continue to share updates.

    Again, very happy for you! Congrats on the house, the baby, your hard work—all of it!

    1. Hi Grace, thanks for the kind words and constructive feedback. I truly didn’t mean any harm — the carpet was literally black in some places so it wasn’t a question of something simply not being my style, but I can see how a certain word choice could hurt someone who knew the previous owners. I’ll keep that in mind moving forward! Thanks again!

  2. There’s nothing like the romance of a wood burning fireplace. We considered having our gas fireplace replaced with a wood fireplace. Then, we had an awful snow storm and lost power for a week! Our gas fireplace saved us and we never gave a second thought to replacing it.

    There was a great article in the NYT last Sunday about geothermal energy systems, which offers an even cleaner and efficient heating and cooling option, for when you have time to research.

    Congrats on all of your progress and enjoy your design journey!

  3. I’m loving the house updates! I’m amazed at how far everything has come in the past few weeks – it’s been so fun to follow along.

  4. Oh wow! Y’all are making some crazy progress! It really looks beautiful! Your bedroom and closet will be fantastic. I CANNOT get over those floors-people are crazy to cover that beautiful wood, but at least that carpet kept them free of scratches and gouges for you.

    One of the best things we ever did in our house was to put in a gas fireplace insert in our living room. We had the same problem you do, and it’s so nice to just be able to flip a switch and have instant fire! You won’t miss firewood, trust me (you can always burn a Feu de Bois candle!), and you know that it’s completely out when you turn it off.

    That baby’s going to be here before you know it, and everything will fall right into place! 💙

  5. Paint makes such a big difference! So exciting! A quick thought on your fireplace— maybe paint the inside black while you’re waiting to convert it!

  6. I’m obsessed with reading your house updates! We bought a house built somewhere between 1890-1920 and moved in last year and are just starting renovations – love watching your progress and seeing a similar style home come to life!

  7. It looks great!! I am so impressed with all that you and your support team have gotten done in such a short time. We’re living through a master bedroom/bathroom reno right now and it is hard holding all the pieces together while the house is in chaos.

    One tiny suggestion (based on 2 houses and 13 years of home ownership and 2 kids in that same time): paint your tan walls now something you like unless you are certain to wallpaper before your wee one arrives. I know you intend to wallpaper but babies (and then small children) upend the very best of plans. You will be home more with a little one and those tan walls will bother you most days, particularly on the days your baby is fussy or is getting a tooth or has a massive diaper leak that knocks out your outfit and his as well as some furniture.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. My husband is renovating our older home and it is so rewarding to see the rooms finish one by one. He is renovating himself and it is so much work, but I am so proud! There is really something so special about documenting the changes. You’ll look back years later and marvel at the transformation! Loving the choices you’ve made for the master bed/closet/bath!