before tour

Samuel Family Fixer Before Tour

If you missed our new house news, head to this post first and you’ll be all caught up, but to summarize… we bought a big family home in Michigan and we are going to do our best to turn it into our dream house in the woods, where we can raise our littles. We are trading the palm trees for pine trees and 1,200 square feet for 4,300 (!), in hopes of giving our kids the best childhood we can offer. And if we hate it, well at least we have an exit plan. We are keeping our LA house and renting it out, for the time being (my business will still also be based out of LA), which is helping us rationalize buying a house over the internet, while we were sleep deprived from a newborn and a toddler, and moving our family across the country. So now, let’s get onto the house!

The house was built in 1980 but has the mid-century modern lines I’m drawn to, along with unique features like a 5 foot round skylight, spiral staircase, 22 foot ceilings, a reading loft, and a screened in porch. I fell in love with the project house’s architecture, the peaceful wooded setting that feels miles from anything but is just minutes to downtown Grand Rapids, and that it’s ready for us put our stamp on it. The previous owners were the original owners and they had vision. They worked with an architect to build their own custom dream home and their attention to detail is spot on. The bones of the house are incredible (unique homes like this are much fewer and far between in Michigan, in comparison to California) and while I am calling it #samuelfamilyfixer, it isn’t a major fixer like our a-frame was (thank God). Which means we, hopefully, won’t be having to sink a ton of money into the structure of the house, but all the bathrooms, and kitchens (yes that’s plural) will be getting full renovations, we will be putting new flooring throughout and there will be some walls moved and adjustments to the floorplan made. So, if you didn’t think driving across the country with a baby, a toddler, and two dogs was enough madness, we are adding living through renovations to the mix.

As I mentioned, we still haven’t seen the house, so I’m sharing a tour using the listing photos. I’ll post a full empty house tour once we see it for ourselves and can take some pics!

MAIN KITCHEN

This kitchen technically doesn’t neeeeed renovation. I actually love l.o.v.e. love the cabinets BUT, we do want to open it up to the living room by dropping that wall of tall cabinets and then expand the kitchen to include that breakfast nook so that it fills the space and flows right into the living room. I am planning to save all the cabinet doors and possibly use them somewhere else in the house or for a future project. It does look like the range could definitely use an update but overall it is a great kitchen and I hope to make it even better (and more us). How good is that rug/runner in front of the sink though? I kinda wanted to ask if it would come with the house.

MAIN FLOOR FAMILY ROOM & LOFT

Right on the other side of that wall of cabinets is the family room which, as you can see, if we took out that run of cabinets would flow right together. One of my favorite features of the house is the loft area (hello kids play space) and the half-moon shape nook that houses the spiral staircase leading to the lower level. The wood cladding and the cut-out in the floor, how awesome is that? I am going to have to get creative on how to child-proof it but it is definitely staying. Right now I am hoping to make that lofted area in to a play space for Archie so we will definitely have to figure out a safer railing situation.

MAIN FLOOR LIVING ROOM

Hello amazing HUGE room with tall wonderful ceilings. To give you an idea of the scale of this room, those are full sized sofas and that is a full sized grand piano in the corner (not even a baby grand). I have no idea what I am going to do with all this space but I can’t wait to get in there and start figuring it out. One thing I need to make a decision on soon is the flooring and I am so torn about it. I don’t love the look of wood on both the floor and the ceilings and I do love the wood on the ceilings here, so while installing some wide plank light-ish wood flooring would be the most cost effective and easiest way to go, I feel like then I would have to paint the ceilings, which I don’t necessarily want to do (even though I love me some white paint). I won’t be making this decision until I see it in person because in these photos the wood reads pretty orangey, it is after all that 80’s, probably pine, wood, but it could look totally different in person. In a perfect world I would keep the wood ceilings and do terrazzo in the main living spaces but it may be cost prohibitive given the large amount of square footage. Oh decisions, why is it so much harder when it is for yourself?

DINING ROOM

Look how grown up I will be with my very own dining room. We can even throw dinner parties where everyone gets a chair.

MASTER BEDROOM

The master bedroom won’t need much outside of some new flooring and a lick of paint. Seeing the green through the windows alone is getting me excited about waking up in this room.

MASTER BATHROOM

And on the less exciting side is the master bathroom. You know me and carpet in the bathroom aren’t friends, for starters, but also in a house so big the master bathroom is relatively small. I have plans to expand it and re-work the layout all together. When we added our master bedroom and bathroom onto our Los Angeles house, we didn’t go crazy with square footage because we wanted the extension to not feel like an extension at all. We wanted it to blend in with the cottage size and style of the house, so even though we built it from the ground up, and could have technically made large rooms, we kept both the bedroom and the bathroom on the small side. But in a house this large you better believe I am going to finally get my dream bathroom, freestanding tub and all (I hope).

LAUNDRY ROOM

On the main level there are only two bedrooms and we almost passed over this house at first glance because of that fact. In my opinion, my kids are too young to be on an entirely separate floor than me at night. But when I saw the size of the laundry room (I’m pretty sure it is about the same size as Archie’s current bedroom) and where it is situated on the floorplan, my wheels got turning and we are planning to knock down a wall in here and steal some space (and some windows) from the garage to turn this into a third bedroom and bathroom on the main level. We will then move the laundry room into the lower level, which isn’t the most convenient but I’d rather my kids close at night than the wash.

DOWNSTAIRS LIVING AREA

This space will be my office for the time being while we get our feet wet in Michigan.

DOWNSTAIRS BEDROOMS

The two downstairs bedrooms are quite large and will be reserved for guests. I want to pinch myself that we will finally have space to host friends and family. Currently visitors from out of town sleep on make-shift beds in my studio, so this will be a nice change to have a dedicated space just for them. Guests will also will have their own bathroom and kitchen to boot… who’s coming over?!

DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM

They didn’t skimp on space in this bathroom. We will be tackling the main floor renovations first but this bathroom is on the list for a big update as well.

DOWNSTAIRS KITCHEN

The layout is a bit funky but the kitchen feels huge, especially for a second kitchen. All that counter space…woah. This will be getting an overhaul but again the priority will be the main floor first.

SCREENED IN PORCH AKA THREE SEASONS ROOM

This screened in porch is another space that I am itching to get my hands on. I think this ranks right up there with the spiral staircase as one of my favorite features of the house. Once we paint over the red (sorry to those of you who like the color red. It is my mom and my sister’s favorite so I don’t judge but I can’t take it in large amounts or almost any kind of amounts. It is just one of those polarizing colors) and swap out the flooring, this will be the perfect spot to hang on the warm summer nights.

There is also another bedroom and another bathroom on the main level that I don’t have photos of, but you know I already have plans for. I am sure some plans might change once we are able to see the house in person but for now I think we have a good start. Once we do reach Michigan I will have to document our first impression of the house and will be sure to share it with a video tour on my IG story so follow along at @sarahshermansamuel!

So what do you think now that you have seen just as much of the house that we have seen. ha Would you have bought it from these photos?

P.s. I’ve started a new category on the blog for this renovation which you can find under the “categories” tab on the right under “michigan home renovation” or click here.

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