Greetings from North Carolina! It’s so hard to believe that we’ve been here for three weeks. As previously mentioned, I’d never seen the house we bought in person so I was rather nervous (though mostly just excited!) to arrive. Thankfully, the house did not disappoint. I’m still pinching myself that it’s ours! I have dreamt of owning my own home for years and since we’ve arrived I’ve been wandering through the beautiful rooms each day feeling overwhelmingly grateful. Of course I have a “to do” list a mile long. Some tasks are “needs” (a fence for the dogs), but most are “wants” (a checkerboard marble floor in the sunroom). Below, I thought I’d share some before photos of our new home. Keep in mind that these photos show the previous owner’s furnishings (no, the knight in shining armor did not come with the house) so things look far more modest now. We don’t have nearly enough furniture to fill the place (a nice problem to have), so I’ll be acquiring pieces I love over time.
I was charmed by photos of the home’s facade–it just seemed so Southern to me! The house was built for a prominent Greensboro family in 1960. We’ll be updating the exterior light fixtures, potentially painting the brick, front door, and shutters, and removing the decorative ironwork on the balcony in favor of a wood railing (I’m thinking a Chinese chippendale design).
The foyer has a striking marble floor. We’ve already stripped off the beige wallcovering pictured here and I’m debating whether to wallpaper the space or simply paint it (our meager budget may decide for me). I’ll be replacing the stair runner and lighting (there’s a chandelier that’s not pictured, but you can see more in my “Our Home” instagram highlights). I plan to place a skirted table beside the stairwell.
The formal living room has a fireplace and four gorgeous, tall windows. I’m hoping to have the wood floors refinished and stained darker. We’ve already had our wonderful handyman remove the curtains and the trim on the walls flanking the fireplace. I’m close to finalizing the paint color and designing the new curtains. You can also see more recent photos of this space in my “Our Home” highlight.
On one wall of the dining room are six hand-painted Chinoiserie panels by Paul Montgomery. I so wish they were on every wall! I’m having a wallpaper hanger stop by to discuss what my options are. I’m considering having them removed so that I can frame them individually (or if possible, perhaps rehang them in a powder room).
The dining room also features this lovely window.
Above is a glimpse of the breakfast room and kitchen. We’ll be removing the curved shelves at the end of the kitchen cabinetry and replacing all the tile floors here with hardwood.
The kitchen has well-made inset cabinetry so we’ll simply be painting it and replacing the countertops and hardware. We’ll also be replacing the lighting, sink, and faucet.
In the laundry room I’m hoping to redesign the cabinetry and add a mudroom-like area. The floors will be replaced with a different tile. There’s also a small powder room here (not pictured) that could use a makeover.
The family room is where we’ve been spending most our time. Last week I painted all the brick with primer (don’t ask how long it took me…) and the space already looks twice as bright (there’s a newer photo in my “Our Home” highlight). The walls, brick, and window trim will all be painted Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. I’m toying with the idea of painting the floors in this room a bold color like green. There is also another powder room and coat closet off this room that could use some TLC.
The sun room is another aspect of the home that feels extra Southern to me. I dream of having black and white checkerboard marble floors here and lots of Mainly Baskets wicker furniture. I’d love to remove the two ceiling fans, but perhaps I’ll need them come summertime…? Feel free to weigh in!
The library has handsome wood paneling. Unfortunately, in person it is very dark in here so I will likely paint the paneling (I know this is controversial!) a fun color. I was thrilled to learn from a neighbor that legendary Southern decorator Otto Zenke designed the home’s woodwork. I’m also planning to add picture lights like these above the bookshelves. To the left of the fireplace you can see the quirky mirrored wet bar that connects the library and the family room (it’s completely hidden when the panel is closed). There’s also a built-in gun cabinet in this room which we intend to fill with books.
This is one of the house’s three first floor bathrooms. It’s actually a full bath (there’s a bathtub on the other side of that door), but as there are no downstairs bedrooms I think we will be drywalling that doorway and converting this space into a powder room. The Brunschwig & Fils wallpaper is fun, but will likely be replaced during renovations. The bathtub area (which can be also be accessed from the library) will probably become storage for all my tchotchkes.
And now we’re upstairs! It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the master bedroom is very spacious. Simon and I are looking forward to treating ourselves to a king-size bed. We will likely rip up all the wall-to-wall carpet on the second floor as there seems to be handsome oak hardwood underneath.
This area houses four master bedroom closets and an old-school built-in vanity.
The master bathroom needs a gut renovation. We are considering flipping the location of the master closets and bathroom so we have space for a separate shower and bathtub. We’ll have to save our pennies to make this happen!
This bedroom has become Gabe’s room. It’s easily three times the size of his previous nursery and it makes me so happy to see him running about it chasing Alfred and Wilbur (his pug brothers). We’ll be hanging wallpaper, ordering new curtains, lighting, and more. On the far right you get a glimpse of the very blue jack and jill bathroom that connects Gabe’s bedroom and the guest room. Needless to say, it is long overdue for a makeover.
This is a guest bedroom. We’ll be repainting (or wallpapering!), adding new curtains, replacing the lighting, and so on.
This fourth bedroom has become Simon’s office. We’ll be removing the grasscloth and painting the trim. We’ll likely put a sofa bed in here so we have plenty of room for visiting family from England and California.
The last bathroom has Cole & Son’s iconic David Hicks wallpaper. We eventually plan to renovate this space and double the size of the shower.
I’ll leave things at that for today, but promise to share lots more photos as we tackle each individual room (feel free to subscribe on the top right corner of this page so you don’t miss a post!). I hope you enjoyed this tour! Thank you for all your kinds words and excitement about our move to North Carolina. I can’t wait to share all the “afters” with you as we renovate and decorate. Stay tuned!
P.S. For those interested, I also just put up a new Daily Hunt full of fun new finds for your home and wardrobe.