Our First Home

It came through our email on a Wednesday. August 20, 2014. Our realtor had set up automatic notifications for houses listed in our price range, and the Mister had seen it first. I don’t even remember looking at it on the computer because I was more worried about a different house I thought I wanted. We went to look at it, and two other houses the next day. The first house we saw was in a super great neighborhood and was actually a really nice house, but it had some quirks. The second one was just so-so… I don’t even remember anything about it except it was in one of my not-favorite parts of town. Then we pulled up to this one. It was so cute on the outside! The neighborhood was pretty good, and the lot was large. Right as we walked into the house, our realtor said he had a few thoughts about it but he would save them until we saw the whole house. I thought that meant something bad so I just half looked at it as we walked through, not wanting to fall in love with something he wouldn’t recommend. I remember thinking about how the bedrooms were some of the biggest we’d seen so far. And there was a place for the kitchen table. And the basement was finished! With a third bedroom that had an egress window! A living room upstairs and a family room downstairs. The laundry room was a little iffy because it was unfinished, but there was a separate area in the basement that could function as an office if we didn’t want to (or couldn’t) use one of the bedrooms for an office (you know… someday kiddos).

Once we were done walking through it, we went outside to the yard. At first, we weren’t sure how big the property was. There was a random shed which we thought belonged to the neighbor and marked the end of the property. But then we realized it was part of this property, and that the lot was actually massive! I couldn’t help it, I started to get my hopes up. It seemed to have just about everything we wanted. As we were getting ready to leave, our realtor, Dean, said that if we didn’t have our awkward lease situation (we still had 6 months left to go), he would have suggested making an offer that day. Regardless, he said we should think about it, see if we could find a sub-leaser, and talk it over.

This house was all I could think about from that moment on. For two days I daydreamed about it, looked at the listing photos a gazillion times, and planned how I would decorate and furnish the house. I prayed so hard those two days. Prayed that God find a way to get us into the house. I prayed that God would let me be okay with walking away from it if that’s what we were supposed to do. I just wanted an open door if it was the right decision, or a closed door if it was not.

We asked to walk through it again on Sunday morning. Dean set it up. The second walk-through was mostly to convince the Mister that this was THE house. He did like it, but was skeptical because of our lease situation. I was in love. I knew I would cry if we didn’t get it. We left the house without submitting an offer (knowing full well there was an open house for it that afternoon) to go floating down the Iowa River with friends. I was instructed to put it out of my mind and just relax for an afternoon.

That night we sat down to talk about it again, and decided to put in an offer. Monday over lunch, we met with Dean and signed all of the papers. He called us at 5:15pm to say they had countered our offer. We countered again. And at 9:00pm he called with good news. They accepted! Dean drove over to our apartment, we signed the updated paperwork, and started the most exciting journey of our lives. (Well, besides marriage!)

I listed our apartment on Craigslist and Facebook to find someone to take over our lease, and we were able to move into our new home in October. We’ve been slowly updating it and making it ours, and this is a little peek into our progress. We are forever grateful to our dear family and friends who have helped us pack, clean, move, unpack, paint, paint, paint, and everything else under the sun. We could not have done any of this without you people, and we love you to the moon and back. ♥


The exterior

When spring time rolls around… imagine pretty cottage garden flowers in those beds.


The Kitchen

Yes, the kitchen we inherited was that color. Dark. Blood. Red.


But everyone agreed a lighter color would be SO much better, so it was the first thing to be painted and the light blue really makes the kitchen brighter and appear larger. Fun fact: Behr has THE best paint in the world. It only took TWO coats to cover that red using their Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint that has a stain blocker. No, I’m not paid by Behr to say that… I just really dislike having to do more painting than I have to, and people couldn’t believe this was only two coats.

Also, yes that is blue painters tape on our range hood. I had a little trouble with bumping my head on it because 1) I’ve never had a range hood and 2) it blends in with the cabinets.



We obviously need some artwork on those walls, but just haven’t gotten there yet. And that little cube storage thing will probably not stay there permanently. We’re not really sure what to do with that space, but it might just end up with a nice framed piece and a space for Dixie new dog bed. Little houses can’t handle tons of furniture without seeming cluttered, so we will probably go for a “less is more” approach for our small kitchen.


Living Room

This is what the living room looked like when we first moved in.


We haven’t changed anything in here yet except for plopping down some second-hand furniture. But now that some of the other rooms are starting to come together, I’m really getting the itch to paint this room. It’s really quite yellow.

The plan:

  • paint the walls light grey
  • paint the trim white
  • new window treatments
  • larger dresser to function as tv console
  • rug + coffee table
  • LOTS OF PLANTS (aka an indoor jungle)



We bought the bakers rack on Craigslist (randomly ended up being the previous owners of our house!) but after deciding on a layout for this room, I don’t want it. So if you know someone who is looking for one, it’s up for grabs! ;)



The Huskers sign on the wall (made by the Mister’s sis!) actually goes on the front door, but I don’t have a hook for it yet. So it’s just hanging out on one of the nails the previous owners left behind.

The Bathroom

The bathroom hasn’t changed at all aside from one photo being hung above the toilet. So these are just before pictures. The trim in the hallway going into the bathroom has been painted white, but we haven’t painted the door yet! (It kinda sticks out like a sore thumb. But whatever.)



Master Bedroom

The master bedroom had lots of size going for it. We weren’t so sure about the window coverings, wall color, or that closet, though…


So we painted the walls and then my mother-in-law spent three days painting all of the trim and doors with me. It took a long time. But it looks SO much better. I was actually even shocked pulling that before photo up… it’s so incredibly different.


So, we bought a new bed. A king sized bed. Then we bought a duvet. But we don’t have a duvet cover yet… So the bed probably won’t stay white like this once I finally order a cover. Not sure what color it will be yet. And I have plans for a big 30×40 canvas above the bed, the Mister wants to make a headboard out of barn wood, and I’m thinking about getting a fun framed mirror to put on the wall to the right of the bed.


I just love looking into our bedroom. It’ll be even better once we’ve got things hanging on the walls. And grown up furniture… ;)


The Hallway

Okay, so this is the worst before and after because the living room wall colors look completely different but are actually the same still. So please just trust me that this is a HUGE change. The walls in the hallway were also a yellow-ish color, and since there’s no light fixture in the hallway, it was really dark. The white walls really help brighten it up, and my awesome Paris painting (from Kohl’s hahaha – shh don’t tell!) is just so beautiful. White walls and white trim. Heaven. I really think the hallway is one of my favorite places in the house.

Side note: remember I said we ended up buying the bakers rack from the previous owners without realizing it? The before picture is from when we did the home inspection and they hadn’t moved out yet. I got the idea for a bakers rack from them, and just happened to find one similar on Craigslist a week or so after we moved. Yeah, turns out it was the same one!


Spare Bedroom

This room hasn’t been painted yet. The color is not my favorite, but it was the best out of all the other colors so this will be the last room to get painted. It also already had painted trim.


We have pretty much just plopped our old bed and some furniture in here so far.

I’ve also got a temporary office in here since our basement (where my current office is) is a train wreck AND it’s like 55 degrees down there. We’re working to address that little issue ;)


The Basement

So, we have a (mostly) finished basement, which is awesome because the upstairs is only 862 sq ft. It has a family room, laundry room, office nook, tons of storage, and a third bedroom with an egress window. BUT, it currently looks like a war zone (were you curious how my upstairs looked so clean??), so you only get to see the photos from before we moved in for now.

This is the family room area… which currently has our entertainment center and our only TV, as well as one of the couches we had in the apartment. The Mister is pretty much the only one who hangs out down here because it is consistently 55 degrees down here (which we are working to fix). I need to get an electric blanket so I can start hanging out down here…


This is a laundry room. Standard stuff. It’s dark, ugly, unfinished, and super cold in here, so I pretty much hate laundry even more than I used to. I didn’t think that was possible. I’d love to eventually repaint those walls white so it is brighter and maybe try to somehow hide some of those unsightly necessary wires/pipes/etc. Oh, we also need a new washer and dryer at some point, and my new chest freezer sits underneath that window.


This is our third bedroom that (yay!) has an egress window. It’s currently functioning as a landfill office, but is so completely unorganized and just ridiculous. One of my projects for this winter for sure.


Uh, yep. So that’s our humble but pretty cute (in my opinion!) house! We’ve got a long list of projects we want to do for this baby and I love seeing all the progress. Turns out homeownership is hard work… but it’s pretty fun, too!


  • Amy Becker - so cute! i love it!!!ReplyCancel

  • Lynne Becker - Awesome!!! T’was meant to be…Your house has lots of character and you’ve done a great job decorating! Babies next??? lolReplyCancel

  • Cathy Sabata - This looks great Rachel and Corey!. Am so happy for you. I like the red walls but I would not have put that in the kitchen either.
    one wall in the bedroom maybe or in the living room. Love the wood floors too. Home Sweet Home for now.ReplyCancel

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