(when we shared a room)
I’ve been scrolling through my photo folders over and over again this past weekend in search of a before photo of our backroom. I haven’t found it. But before I give you a visual image of this backroom, did you guys even know I have a backroom? I mean, our living room is in the back of the house—-but our living room was actually a later addition to the house by some previous owners, who have left here long ago. And next two our living room, behind our built-in shelves? There’s a door. It’s sort of creepy like an ‘are you afraid of the dark’ vibe if you ask me, but whatever. That door must have led to a carport or the yard at some point in time, but really, I’m not sure. What I do know is that this house has a lot of stories and has definitely had some interesting and colorful people living in it before me.

(the backroom, not a before but not an after photo)
So let me tell you about this backroom— it’s still not exactly a room that’d I’d show off as an accomplished before and after, but if you saw the before, well, you’d be impressed with its current state— as unfinished as it is. It looks A LOT better than the picture above). The previous owner created a music recording room in that back room. I laughed every time I gave a tour of my new to me house “oh this is my music recording room. Here is the vocal booth, please step inside” or with my ever oh so hysterical humor, I’d tell people, “this is the timeout room, it’s soundproof.” Not only was it soundproofed, but it was also not insulated and lacked AC— and before a music recording room? Well, I’m not 100% percent sure, but I have reason to believe that it was a kiln room. Yes, I have a feeling there was a potter in this home and they used that backspace for a kiln! (Amazing, right?)  Which, if you look at the details of my home, like the stained glass fixtures, for example, it makes sense that someone incredibly artistic may have been in this place— and without knowing it or planning it, they created a space that is quite fitting for me and my family!

(after two years, this room finally got a floor this summer! it’s coming together!)
What I also know about this place I moved into, is that it needed a lot of work when I bought it. This month it will be two years (two years!!!) since moving in here. And two years later, there are rooms that are only finally starting to come together.  Cliq studios asked me to talk about the top five traits of a successful kitchen remodel. Along with the top three things to avoid during a remodel! And even though I’ve never gone through a full-on kitchen remodel and there is not one in our very near future, I think I absolutely know a bit about small and big remodels as well as home projects! I don’t think I’ve really shown much of the real before and in-process photos of this space (I’ve collected some for this post), but man, it was a big overhaul.
When you move into a place, you allot enough money aside for repairs—well, if you don’t, you should haha! And ideally, not just “enough money”, but a good amount of extra, just in case money, because you never know what can happen! It’s also important to give yourself proper (and realistic timelines)—- because whether it’s an extra expense or a project that will take a bit longer than planned, you don’t want to be left feeling stuck— in or even outside the house!
I tried to arrange a time and money plans, both as best as I could— but with slim to no extra money and absolutely no extra time moving into this space, well, it the whole process wasn’t a nightmare, but it wasn’t exactly easy either! And it didn’t happen the way one dreams up when planning a new home. Granted, I probably could have stayed with friends or family to give myself more time before leaving my old place— but I’m a bit too stubborn for that! So I do consider this partly my fault and part necessities (and money-saving tendencies) fault. And even with more time, there wasn’t extra money to work on decorative and non-necessary projects—-think: gutting out that magical backroom, removing popcorn ceilings and textures walls, fixing broken stained glass. Luckily, again, tuts decorative. But, what I was able to do was make smart (enough) decisions based on the very real timeline and budget I had.

(this picture was taken yesterday in daytime, womp.)
Our house is old-ish. There are newer features, like the backroom addition, but things like the kitchen and bathroom really show the age of this house. I mean, I’m well aware that people in New England are living in century-old houses, but this house is old by Florida standards. And even with these minor details (in the photo above) and alllll the minor details throughout the house, this place has come very far! Marlowe and I lived the first year without air conditioning (okay, more like 7 months, but still) and it reached high 80’s – low 90’s inside every day. Marlowe and I also shared a room for the first few months because my room was the only room without broken (completely open) windows. And as you know from the before and after photos in my home tours, this place needed some major floor fixing in the bedrooms and paint jobs throughout.
I guess you could say, I almost completely was able to avoid the top three traps for remodeling. Sure it could have been planned out slightly better, but I did the best with what I had at the time. The kitchen, while it’s not bad, is dated—- with empty pocket doors and warped structures, (a still) broken sink, along with a few other things. Do I want to fix all these things? Absolutely. But when I can allot enough money, knowledge, and more importantly, time to get it all done right. Also, maybe not when I’m in my kitchen everyday writing a cookbook or working on other food projects! 😉

But looking through this space and given our restrictions, I think that not only did we manage, but this place really has become our home. I’m happy to have taken the steps within our limitations. Paint can typically be done yourself to add to a space. Floors, sometimes/depending. Popcorn and texture removal? Eh. Wait on that. Kitchen cabinets? Well, I’ll be honest, Alex could probably put up some half-decent shelves (not cabinets)— but the actual ripping out and re-building of everything– that’s another story. And if we’re taking the time to rip everything, then you better believe we want it done right, with professionals and we’ll be smart enough to invest in a well functioning design (we’re both extra ocd in the kitchen), something good quality, and of course: something really good looking! When chatting with cliq studios about different ideas of cabinetry— I couldn’t say it enough, white, clean, and useful! And luckily, that’s exactly what Alex wants too! Marlowe probably just wants to be sure she can reach the fruit and cereal on the counters and shelves 🙂
I’m happy with the work that we’ve put in. And I’m happy that I know what we can and can’t do by ourselves. I’m also happy to know, very well, that “a home is never finished”— we’ll be changing and evolving in this space forever. And when we’re ready, it’ll be right. We’ll take the right steps we need to properly invest in this place and we’ll avoid all the bad things.
Alright, guys, I’m taking this puppy to the vet! Then I’m cleaning up this space for another home tour photoshoot this weekend 🙂 Happy Thursday, friends!


  1. Oh goodness that is hot! Okay fair enough then :). We are also considered sub tropical here but I supptwe have what you would call very comfortable summer temperatures. New Zealanders are totally in denial about winter though! Most homes have no insulation or proper heating so we tend to sit around inside with our warm winter coats on. Silly really! Anyway I'm not complaining too much, we're so incredibly lucky to have homes with big gardens and lots of beaches :).

    • haha well, I guess it's still a work in progress! If I had to give it a specific titles it's more or less washer/dryer/ extra storage room. Hopefully it can be more one day!

  2. Thank you, you're house adventures are really inspiring me to get off my butt and start fixing up some things around our home. We are lucky enough to live in a (tiny) house rent free and owned by my mother. We recently came to the realisation that we'll be unlikely to buy a house of our own for a pretty long time due to the insane housing market right now (it's seriously hard to find a good home under 1 million dollars and a mortgage you'll be paying off for the rest of your life). Anyway it has sort of been a nice realisation because it means we may as well settle in where we are and really make it our own!
    Your home is becoming absolutely beautiful! So homey but bright and clean at the same time. I did have to laugh regarding the air con, is that an American thing? It's not something anybody has here or anywhere else I've lived in the world so far. Very interesting. x

    • wow! thats a lot of money! My home was VERY inexpensive— because of the house and neighborhood and also because I found it when the market was still low. I wouldn't have been able to pay for this otherwise. For the air conditioning: haha well! Here in south florida it's very standard to have air conditioning— other parts of the country, no, because it;s not needed. It might get hot for a few weeks in summer in other places, but here its mostly hot year round— and in the summer, it's so hot that every day there is another story of broken air conditioning and people dying due to over-heating. A bit crazy, but I guess that's south florida for you. Good luck with your home! A rented home is still very much a home!

    • Fun Fact: Air Conditioning was invented in Florida sort of… a Florida Doctor developed a machine to keep yellow fever patients cool. This was before modern air conditioning though… like 50 years before… 🙂

  3. I love taking a peak into another creative souls home. There is always such inspiration to be found and I love all that you've done

  4. This is a great sponsored post, btw. Seriously good.

    Also – do you have a dishwasher or a garbage disposal? Really struggling without them right now.

    • thanks lady.

      So, yes on dishwasher, no on disposal. My last home was revered– it had a washer, but didn't work. And it def had a disposal— which omg is/was a life saver. The dishwasher, we can skip (though I do like how its more eco-friendly) but holy hell, it was great to have during cookbook cooking time!

  5. You've transformed your house into a beautiful home, a real reflection of your creative side. It's lovely, and very inspiring. CJ xx