First Things First

Now that I’ve explained a little bit about my emotional reasons for moving out to an acreage here, I’d like to get into the nitty-gritty plans to make this 1979, original everything, sat-empty-for-eight-months house into our dream home.  But, first things first.

The main theme for renovating this house is to encourage a family culture of Christ-centered, ever-thankful, outdoors-connected living.  The only reason we can make this move is because of the grace of God and the blessings He has given us.  This includes my husband’s great job, where he can work part time from home, the support of friends and family helping us through this transition, and the patience to get through the daily grind as we complete the work and live in an apartment.  Our new home will be a haven for our family, but also for people close to us, and, God willing, for people we don’t even know yet.  This house and our family are His.

Floor Plans

So how do we make this house such a place? We’re starting with an overhaul of the basement.  The layout and functionality of the basement were subpar.  We’re upgrading the existing family room and bedroom, as well as tearing out and replacing everything in the lower bathroom.  What else can you do when you find six dead mice in the bathroom wall, amiright? The new shower will be a low step in shower to accommodate my parents as they plan to stay with us during the fabulous Wisconsin summers.  And, I think it’s ok to get rid of this wallpaper.

I’m totally ok with getting rid of this wallpaper. I don’t even have words to describe it.


We want guests, whether family or otherwise, to feel comfortable here.  The designated guest room and bathroom will be in the basement for privacy.  The doors we are putting in are nice and wide, to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs.  The kitchenette/craft space will have a few appliances for making simple meals. There was a two-car tuck under garage too, which we will be finishing into a mudroom, the kitchenette/craft space, office, and laundry/storage room.  We have installed an entry door where one of the garage doors was.  We will, in essence, have a walk-out basement.  This is awesome for kids running in and out of the house, and for guests for whom stairs are a challenge.  I cannot tell you how excited I am to have a real mudroom since I’m hoping the kids will be romping through the yard and woods daily.  And how awesome will it be to have a kitchenette for my parents and a separate space for homeschooling crafts and projects away from the rest of the living space!

Storage is key.  There will be storage in the craft room.  There will be extra storage in the adjacent laundry room.  I have a plan of an organized system for our laundry where each person is responsible for bringing dirty clothes downstairs every morning, where they will find a cubby with their own folded clothes ready to be brought back upstairs. A mom can dream!

Cleaner Surfaces

I am keeping an eye toward using materials that are as eco-friendly and healthy as we can afford.  We are installing Marmoleum flooring in the main level.  Marmoleum Click is a DIY floating floor plank (like laminate) that is made of linseed oil, jute, and cork.  It’s almost completely plant-based material, is beautiful and durable, and is a fantastic option for a cleaner, more hypoallergenic environment.  We’ve chosen a color called Concrete because I think the color and mottled pattern will wear well in a busy household. We are putting some carpet in the bedrooms, but I am choosing a fiber called Triexta that is partially made from corn and doesn’t require stain-resistant spray treatments.  Here are some pictures of the living room and two bedrooms before our demolition.

Fabulous 70s shag carpet.
I’ve always wanted a pistachio green master bedroom. Just kidding.
More glorious shag.


We did consider quartz countertops, but with three little kids I was concerned about scratches, chips, and stains.  I found a great price on a nice looking solid-surface countertop called HI-MACS by LG.  It is made of acrylic like the better-known Corian.  So although this isn’t a natural material, it’s low VOC and made from some recycled material.  Also it is repairable, so I am hoping that being able to buff out scratches and stains will outweigh the drawbacks.  Solid surface countertops are not porous like natural material countertops, and do not harbor bacteria.

A Little Fun

We were going to keep the original cabinetry in the kitchen, but realized they weren’t particularly high quality, and we didn’t love the color.  We chose semi-custom cabinets that aren’t too fancy, but will provide a major upgrade to the kitchen.  We will be reusing the old cabinets and some of the countertop for the basement craft and laundry rooms. I love reusing materials when possible.

We will reuse these cabinets, appliances, and countertops elsewhere in the house.


I can’t wait to show you before and after photos of all these projects!  If you have questions or comments about any of the materials we are using please leave a comment below!

3 thoughts on “First Things First”

  1. So happy you are realizing your dream; and thinking of us and others as you plan the house changes. We are looking forward to our visits where we can breathe the fresh air, help with the flowers and gardens, and especially love on the littles who are blessed to be yours. Mom n Dad. (Grammy n Papa) ❤🌠😍

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