Our First Home: Before and After

It’s happening! We accepted an offer on our home and as of today, we are under contract. Knowing that in less than a month’s time, we’ll be saying goodbye to our old home and hello to New England, I’m feeling all of the nostalgic feels.

We bought this house in late 2011 as our first place as a family. We had been looking for a couple of weeks, with no luck, when it was listed as a foreclosure. The day it was listed, I saw it. (Without an email alert. I was lurking that hard.) It didn’t have any photos listed yet, but I read the stats and was so excited it had a POOL(!) for my triathlon training that we went and saw it in person that very day.

It wasn’t all that pretty.

Home Outside Before - home before and after

But I walked in, and I knew. I hadn’t seen pictures, I hadn’t seen the rest of the house, but I remember walking in the front door and thinking it was perfect. Woman’s intuition. (Or maybe I just really wanted that pool.)

It had been uninhabited for over a year, and neglected for some time before that. We had a lot of initial work done to it, and we moved in, all three of us, in February 2012. Over nearly four years, we poured love into this house and filled it with joy, memories, and laughter.

Oreta Place After Scroll through the photos of the evolution of that old foreclosure to our first home, and click on the photos to enlarge.


Foyer Before - home before after

The foyer, living/dining room combo and den all had really crazy textures on the walls. We had those removed ASAP. The foyer went through some wall color changes over the years (this being my favorite), we installed keyless entry locks, and, shortly before we listed (much to my irritation ;]) we replaced those terrible old floors.

Oreta Place After (1)Living/Dining AreaLiving and Dining Rooms Before - home before and after

We resurfaced all of the hardwoods, painted every room in the house, changed the light fixtures, filled it with books, travel souvenirs, photos of family and friends, thrift store finds, and lots of silliness.Oreta Place After (4) Oreta Place After (5)

KitchenKitchen Before - home before and after

If you thought you might have seen a fan with blades in the shape of chilies in this photo of our kitchen when we first bought it, you are not mistaken. And, yes, those are various fruits on the tiles that covered the backsplash and countertops. We did away with all of that, and got new appliances.
Oreta Place After (7)Oreta Place After (14) Oreta Place After (15)

DenDen Before - home before and after Oreta Place After (11)

I stayed up all night a couple of years ago painting these hallway stripes. I’m just going to try and not think of the possibility that they may be painted over.Oreta Place After (16)

Master BedroomMaster Before - home before and after

The master bedroom is the only room that I ever thought was “finished.” I still have the beginnings of many projects that may or may not happen in the next house.

Oreta Place After (12) Master 2 Before - home before and afterOreta Place After (123)

I made that leaner mirror by hand!

Master BathMaster Bath Before - home before and after

In the master bath, Mark picked out the shower layout. Had we already been married, I might’ve vetoed him. (Same with the kitchen backsplash and counters…I’m bossy like that.)Oreta Place After (81) Oreta Place After (10) Oreta Place After (9) Oreta Place After (8)Hall Bathroom
Bathroom Before - home before and after

Oreta Place After (6)

I just loved this bathroom. I spent so many hours over the years getting ready in here, and it had plenty of space and mirrors for three girls to get ready to go out. LOVE. (Especially when I was still in college and I actually went out, hah!)

Oreta Place After (17)Tobias’ RoomT's Room Before - home before and after

When we moved in, Tobias’ favorite color, and his walls, were bright orange. He decided a year ago it was turquoise, and I surprised him after a sleepover with his father before Christmas with a brand new turquoise (and cleaned by mom, for a change) room.Oreta Place After (13)


Office Before - home before and afterWhen we moved in, Mark declared that the office was his only room. There were more photos, my vision board, my degree, a painting of Yoda, ect. in here before we listed and took these photos.

In the next house, all of the rooms are mine to decorate. 😉Oreta Place After (1234)

Back YardPool Before - home before and after

I don’t garden. I’ve tried, don’t get me wrong. But have you ever been OUTSIDE in Houston? The yard didn’t change much at all–we eventually tore down that old ugly shed, and we never got around to putting our little waterfall pond into working order on the side of the yard that doesn’t have the pool. Then again, I ever got around to building that playhouse and I’m thankful for that!Oreta Place After (2)

pool 2 Before - home before and afterOreta Place After (3) Oreta Place After (12345)

The buyers worked my patio furniture into the contract this morning. Mark bought it for me for my 25th birthday. I was like, “My patio furntiure?! What?!” I need it less now that we won’t have a pool and it was relatively inexpensive from World Market, so it’s not a big deal…but, still!Oreta Place After (123456)

I’m going to miss this house so much. For the last few months, while it was listed, I kept looking at things like mirrors, light fixtures, even our master bathroom cabinets and feeling disbelief that the things I picked for our home back in January of 2012 were never actually ours. I even made #oretaplace on Instagram weeks ago as I went through some of the memories I’ve shared.

That being said, I am exhilarated about beginning this new chapter, and sharing it with y’all–though “y’all” may get phased out of my vocabulary, whether I like it or not.

14 thoughts on “Our First Home: Before and After

  1. I am amazed at the transformation!!! (That pink bathroom!!) You did a phenomenal job and have great taste!
    Congrats on the sale! As bittersweet as it is, sounds like you are ready for your new adventure! 🙂 xo

    1. Thank you!! The sale felt like such a long time coming, I was beginning to be exhausted by it all. You’re right, I can’t wait to settle into our new place. Still a while away :/

  2. Wow you guys really turned that place into something warm and inviting. I never owned a home, not even with my family growing up, but I can relate to the sad feeling of realizing that when you build something, or make it better, you’ll still have to leave it behind. I’ve moved so many times, and also having good taste, I’ll make places look great, and even improve things that came with the apartment, and when I leave it behind its just like….I’m leaving behind pieces of me. I wish you two the best of luck in CT! Im excited to see what you do to the house up there.

    1. Thank you! It really does feel like I’m leaving a piece of my heart here in this house, but I know that I’ll be able to make the new one feel like home, in due time.

  3. Really love the house, Kelsie! I’m so happy that your family is getting to move to such a different place. It seems that Tobias is already becoming an extremely well-rounded human, but I think exposing him to even more culture/diversity/etc. will only be good for him. I LOVE the stripes on the wall, by the way – so much so that I may take on a similar project here soon! I love your style of the house. I’m excited to read about your new life!

    1. Thanks, J.C.! I think it’ll be a pretty cool experience, and he isn’t upset about leaving behind his friends or anything so that’s really good. Guess it’s a good age to move.

      I’d love to see the photos if/when you do a similar project! 🙂

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