For the last two years since Karla moved to her current house, she was busy renovating and decorating, creating a beautiful nest for her family. The end result is absolutely gorgeous. Each room was decorated with great attention to detail and a lot of love.
Karla, who is admitting to be "obsessed with interior design", is always at work on some project around the house. She is also pursuing a career in design and we can't wait to see what other great designs she will inspire us with.
I'm very happy to introduce you to Karla and her blog It's the little things that make a house a home
Please tell us about your "first meeting" with your house to be
Our situation with this house is a bit out of the ordinary. In November of 2006 we got the call that my husband, Will, had been hired by Alaska Airlines. In one months time we had to pack up our home, put our house on the market, find a rental house up in Seattle and, with three kids in tow, make the three day drive up from Arizona where we had lived for the past 2 & 1/2 years. Luckily, we found a rental house on short notice and moved right in. In June of 2007, I got a phone call from my mother-in-law asking if I could quickly drive over to her neighborhood to look at a house that was just put on the market. A little confused, but admittedly excited to go through an open house (we love to look!), I went over and we did a walk through. At the end of our tour, she asked me if I thought we could handle living there. Without a doubt, I said "yes" and a little less than two months later we had moved in. We now rent this house from my in-laws and we live three doors down from them. And yes, we love it! Living houses down from your in-laws isn't as bad as everyone thought it would be! The house is a one story - which we love - and is similar to the house we sold in AZ. We were sad to leave that house, so getting back to something familiar felt great! Besides, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to have the grandparents so close to our kids. Watching those relationships grow has been the best part!
The first step of your remodeling process
Paint, paint, and more paint! When we moved in, the house was 13 years old. It still had the builder paint on the walls - except where they had tried to "touch up" spots where photos had been hung, prior to putting it on the market. The color of every wall in the house was a beautiful shade of packing paper grey (note the sarcasm!) and the house just felt lifeless. The first thing was to get all of that old, original paint covered up and start fresh. Our first big construction project was to give the fireplace in our family room a makeover. It had a tiny mantle over it that was really just a thin shelf. We tore that down and put up panels, trim and molding to make a big, floor to ceiling impact. It was a lot of fun! And the difference was amazing!
The biggest renovation challenge you faced
Our biggest renovation challenge has been the one we are just finishing up. The house came with a formal dining room just off of the front entry. We set it up as a dining room when we moved in because we had the furniture from our house in AZ to do so. Recently, we've been feeling a bit cramped in the house. It is just over 2000 sq. ft., but with a formal dining room that we only use for Thanksgiving dinner, it meant that we were letting an entire room sit unused the other 364 days of the year. We decided to close off the arches and walkways into the dining room, install French doors, and turn it into a playroom for our kids. My husband has done framing and dry walling before, but this project was an entirely new experience for me! We learned a lot and now that it is nearly finished, I can say that we had fun doing it. It was definitely worth the work!
Your favorite style and colors
I'm not sure that I can put a name on my favorite style. The feelings that I want for my home are cozy, comfortable, relaxed, casual, while still feeling clean, contemporary and sophisticated. We have three young kids, ages 7, 5 and 3, so while I can't always achieve the look that I may want, I can always achieve the feeling that I want. The colors that I love are that of the ocean: watery blues, cloudy skies, the colors of the sand and seashells and pebbles. My absolute favorite color is Wedgewood Gray #HC-146 by Benjamin Moore. It is vibrant and refreshing in the morning light, and calm and relaxing when the sun starts to set on it.
A spot in your house that makes you very happy/proud
I would have to say our family room. This past January we did a Board and Batten treatment that included our family room, kitchen, and eating area. In the grand scheme of things, it was an easy project. It gave us a whole lot of bang for our buck! It freshened up the room and gave it the detail and architecture that it was lacking. I love being in there!
Your precious accessory/furniture/art
I treasure our old family photos. My mom passed on my grandpa's old military trunk to me and in it are photos and mementos from the past. Will and I cherish the history of our families and where we come from. I display some of the old black and whites from when our grandparents were young. Our kids ask questions about them every once in a while and it's fun to have those conversations with them about the "olden days". As far as furniture goes, Will has built some beautiful pieces of furniture that will be with us always. Things that are handmade are of great value, but when it's made by someone that you love, that's when it really has meaning. We're not big art collectors...yet! But that doesn't mean that we won't be someday!
Your next house project
Our next big project will most likely be tearing out the old, original, builder grade carpet in our family room. It borders our kitchen and we have a peninsula the runs between the hardwood floors in the kitchen and the carpet in the family room. The countertop on the peninsula extends beyond the cabinets so that people can sit at the countertop on bar stools and eat, drink, etc. The carpet goes all the way up to the cabinets which has made for a lot of stains made by kids and adults alike. There are also French doors leading from our family room onto our deck. We've never understood why the original owners laid carpet through such a high-traffic area where you transition from outdoors to indoors. We're hoping to lay new hardwoods, or find a suitable option for the family room that will make it food and outdoor friendly!
5 things that houzz readers need to know about you and your blog
1. We are DIY'ers to the core!
2. My blog is written from our home, so first, I am a mom. That means that I am in our home, with our kids, every day of every week, so it's important for me to love where I live. Your home should be uniquely yours! And that's what I strive for in my designs.
3. My husband/carpenter would tell you that it is my blog, but I will tell you that it is OUR blog! He is just as much a part of making the design a reality, as I am. (I am working on him to do a couple of "How To" posts. We'll see if I can make it happen!)
4. I love to look through magazines and catalogues for inspiration and then find or make the same thing for a lot less! For me, it's not a matter of whether I can afford to buy the item - it's the thrill of finding it for less, or making it custom ourselves!
5. I crave change! So you will always find a project happening on our blog. Whether it's a makeover happening inside, or furniture being built out in the garage - something is always changing!
Best tip for the remodeling beginner
It's worth the work! I cannot stress this enough. There were definite moments during the renovation of our dining room that I thought "what were we thinking?" or "I don't want to do this anymore!", but the mess, the exhaustion, the stress of it all was worth every minute of work. If you have an idea - a game plan - for a way to make your space work for you, instead of fitting your family into the builders idea of how your house should be lived in - put in the effort to make it happen! Throw out the traditional ideas of how a house should be used and customize it to work for you! These days, a 2000 sq. ft. house for a family of five would be considered small, but we're well on our way to making it suit our needs. And honestly, more house equals more cleaning. And I would rather spend my free time designing than dusting!
Last but not least: as a houzz friend, you get to choose a giveaway gift to one of the lucky readers that will share their thoughts about your house and interview.
Since this interview comes on the heels of our latest renovation, I've selected a $50 Lowe's gift certificate for this giveaway. If you've been waiting to start a project in your home, this may be the perfect beginning! And if nothing else, $50 will buy you two gallons of paint - and paint is the easiest and most inexpensive way to transform the look and feel of a room.
Thank you for sharing your charming home Karla!
For your chance to win the $50 Lowe's gift certificate, selected by Karla, comment on this interview by Sunday, September 6, at 5pm EST.