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1st time homeowners. Do we start from scratch?
realtour
November 14, 2012 in Design Dilemma
So my wife and I have lived together for about 5 years and we close on out first house at the end of the month. I have posted almost every room for design advice and everyone has been so great but our conundrum is that all of our furnishings are a hodge podge that we accumulated over the past 5 nears. Do we decide on a style for our new home and slowly fill in the blanks, or try to paint the home and update the rooms around our random stuff? My wife and I can't agree on color or styles, partly because she wants to make sure the paint matches the stuff we have, like our area rug($50 at home depot). So do we start from scratch or work with what we have? Thanks!
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Aggie Purvinska
Are you moving in the space or are you going to live elsewhere while remodeling? Are you remodeling or only painting? Is there a remodeling budget, painting budget, furniture budget? If the money is tight, but the old furniture is awful, get creative, buy stuff from craigslist, etc. First make an inventory of what you have and assign furniture to different rooms by function. Get nice rugs, sofas, lamps, ( from craigslist) if need be. Don't rush with paint color choices until you have a better idea of what goes where and if you need to buy stuff. If you absolutely HAVE to paint, pick a very light neutral beige or gray. Work on this in stages, it doesn't have to get overwhelming.
November 14, 2012 at 6:18PM     
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realtour
We HAVE to paint. 1. The current walls are awful, and 2. We will be living in the space and my wife is pregnant so I need to get it done the week before we move in. We plan on just painting for now, and remodeling the kitchen within the next year. The floor plan is open so if she wants to paint the living room brown to match the furniture we have then it will affect what I can do with the kitchen when we get there. See what I mean? I want to start over, agree on a style we both can live with, and slowly furnish the home based on that style as we can. What I want, and what I get are not always the same...
November 14, 2012 at 6:25PM   
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Aggie Purvinska
OK, but why does the furniture HAVE to match walls? Furniture rarely matches the walls, you are better off with a contrast, or if it does "match", it's a subtle purposeful contrast usually. Maybe you both can start an ideabook, then look through each others ideabooks, pick whatever images you like from the others and compare notes, explain what you liked, etc. Then pick one and move in the direction of the inspiration photo, instead of "matching furniture to the walls".
November 14, 2012 at 6:33PM     
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jweber71
when is the baby due? and agree on how you will do the nursery first. Get that painting and decorating done - this will likely help. if you have to paint everything pick a neutral hue of a very light taupe - its cool and warm and can work with many styles - then make some lists - you make yours and she makes hers and prioritize the rooms you want to address first. the nursery is first - get her what she needs to feel settled for that room, then your bedroom living area etc. compromise is key in this arena but if you each get to choose your number 1 priority then those become 1 and 2 (she is 1 and you are 2) then go to your number 2 area and work bit by bit - it takes a couple of years in a home to figure out what you need to work in the space - move in with your stuff and get settled in with the basics then work on it bit by bit. enjoy that baby :) yay!!
November 14, 2012 at 6:37PM     
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the essentials inside
Hi realtour. How's your doors? I'd suggest taking it slow. No reason to hurry - even if you hurry you'll probably want to change things in a couple of years anyway. With a baby on the way you've got a lot on your plate and pregnancy is stressful enough.

If you don't want to take it slow, have you thought about hiring an interior designer or decorator? I think it is a great thing to do in your situation. A skilled designer/decorator can filter through you and your wife's different tastes and come up w/some great ideas that will please you both. Plus, they are not always as expensive as you might think -- especially when you look at things in terms of long-term cost & the stress of doing it yourself.

As for painting, to get ready for the baby you can always go w/a neutral throughout all the rooms and change, update later as your decor comes together.

Just my thoughts. I also agree w/Aggie Designs.

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
November 14, 2012 at 6:44PM   
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realtour
My daughter is due Feb. 22nd but she's not the first, we have a 3 year old as well! Our hands are definitely full. I did think about hiring a professional, then I found houzz! Honestly though I think that may be the way to go, at least for a starting point, then we can have the great people here to help us along the way.

We can't decide on doors because we don't know what to do with the trim because we don't know what to paint the walls......

Thanks for the tips!
November 14, 2012 at 7:07PM     
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Natalie
Hi---ok, so you have a hodge podge of things---well you have heard of slipcovers-yes? That's my answer to you---cover up the different pieces, unite them by adding color and pattern with pillows-art work-even painted furniture. Keep your walls neutral and go crazy with colors, patterns, and textures. Very little labor involved. Sending you a link to etsy---you can buy pillows with a click of a button. EASY!
Now if you want to invest time, labor, and money, design a nursery for your little one on the way and your 3 year old-how sweet! :)
Hope this is helpful. Good Luck and CongratS!

[houzz=pillows][houzz=Home][houzz=Winter Living Room][houzz=white sofa][houzz=Living Room / Dining Room.][houzz=Stacey Costello Design][houzz=Sleek, elegant kitchen with frosted glass backsplash, staniless steel island][houzz=Life in the Fun Lane Blog]http://www.etsy.com/listing/98345973/four-gray-zig-zag-and-green-ikat-accent?ref=sr_gallery_17&ga_search_query=modern+pillow+sets&ga_order=most_relevant&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_page=8&ga_search_type=allhttp://www.etsy.com/search?q=modern%20pillows&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US
November 14, 2012 at 7:25PM     
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PRO
the essentials inside
Natalie - great ideas! Love the photos.

RealTour - a baby on the way + a 3 year old. Surprised you are awake enough to post here. :)

If you can, I'd interview a few local decorator/designers. Houzz is fantastic, don't get me wrong. I LOVE it. But given your circumstances, hiring might be best. They really can save you money in the long run. But--that's a cash flow issue.

Def start w/the neutral paint so that is out of the way. And. like Natalie said, "Keep your walls neutral and go crazy with colors, patterns, and textures." You can spruce up the walls w/fabulous works of art + LOTS of pics of the little ones (in unique, beautiful & colorful frames).

Just saw the pic of your kitchen (pre any change you may have made since posting the pic) so can see there are some things you want to change in a hurry. Can you upload all your house pics to one project board/idea book? Maybe get some suggestions on what to prioritize?

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
November 14, 2012 at 7:42PM     
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Natalie
Thanks Lyvonne! :)
November 14, 2012 at 8:04PM     
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realtour
Thank you both!

My wife does the sleeping, I do the research. The nursery is a top priority and the one area we have agreed upon so I haven't even thought to ask.

I like the styles you posted Natalie, and I think my wife will too. Do the slip covers really fit that well? I was affraid they would look cheap and be uncomfortable, but I could be wrong. We do have an IKEA dining room set so they will be easy to change around.

[houzz=BJURSTA Dining table][houzz=Henriksdal Chair - Blekinge White, Birch]
November 14, 2012 at 8:07PM     
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realtour
Here is the idea book of our home, minus all furniture. It is your blank slate! [houzz=
w=300]
November 15, 2012 at 4:53AM     
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Natalie
Morning! Yes the slipcovers fit quite well---do check Target and JCP too. I went in and browsed your ideabook for all the pics and I have a few questions for you. #1 are you willing to paint all your wood trim white? #2 I notice ceiling fans in just about every room---must they all remain? #3 carpet on the stairs---is it staying-what color is it? #4 what are your favorite colors and your wife's favorite colors? #5 last question-time and budget constraints---if any, how long and how much?
Looking forward to hearing your answers.
November 15, 2012 at 5:25AM     
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realtour
Top of the morning to you as well! 1. YES! Just need to convince the boss. 2. No, but I'd be willing to update them rather than remove them. 3. The Carpet is getting replaced and one of our first projects, color depends on everything else! 4. We like the color scheme in the photo below. 5. I have about 3 months until the new born comes, and then my time will be minimal. Our budget for upgrades is about $5,000 over the next 3 months. With that being said, we don't mind doing a little now, and then getting the rest done over the next year or so as time and money permit. Thanks!
November 15, 2012 at 5:33AM     
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Natalie
Hmmm, I didn't see a photo below for color palette---could you direct me to it?
Great your time and budget are fine. Do you feel like doing any demo this weekend? If so, tear down those upper cabs in your kitchen (over the peninsula), remove all the doors and hardware on the cabs. Rip out the carpet and remove everything from the fireplace except the brick and the mantel. I know you're in a time crunch so if you're up for more---there's plenty---but with Sunday football and all-I don't want to overload you. :)
November 15, 2012 at 6:03AM   
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realtour
Sorry!
November 15, 2012 at 6:11AM   
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apple_pie_order
The colors in your inspiration art are lovely. The house looks like a well designed split level from the mid 1960's.

Where is the carpet now? How many square feet, roughly, so we can estimate cost of replacing it in your budget? If carpet is only on the stairway and upper hallways, it's probably there to reduce noise or cover up some problem with the floor. I'd go with a neutral mid-tan that matches the tones of the hardwood floor. That way you are not introducing a new color.

The ideabook photos showed oak hardwood floors. Are they in good shape?
November 15, 2012 at 6:40AM     
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Karen Tiede Art Rugs
One (older) woman's opinion on this:

>Do we decide on a style for our new home and slowly fill in the blanks,

You already picked a style. It's called "parents of young children." Do what has to be done to make the house tolerable and bank the rest to replace what gets ruined in the next 3-4 years.
November 15, 2012 at 7:13AM     
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houssaon
I would go slow, because you have small children function and space requirements will evolve.

I would not paint the walls brown (unless it were a light brown), maybe a light green to compliment the sofa. Cream or taupe can go inmost of the rooms. Paint is cheap especially if you do it yourself, so if you change it in a few years it is no big deal. Once you get the house painted you can move in. By the way use matte finish on the walls. It is washable and doesn't reflect light. So the color is truer and it doesn't show imperfections in the walls.

Decide what furniture you want to keep and what can go. I have had second-hand furniture in my bedroom since my first apartment in 1971. It works. But I did buy new living room and dining room furniture in 1984 when I bought the house I live in now. With two little ones, I would not be rushing out to get new upholster pieces unless I really needed it.
November 15, 2012 at 7:28AM     
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Nancy Hehmann
I would go with light walls like antique white. If you look at most decorator mags, they use light colored walls and use accents for pops of color -for drama. Light colors make everything else look good.

Buy quality furniture when you do replace b/c it will be more comfortable too. Check out Drexels website for quality and there are a lot of other good brands.
November 15, 2012 at 7:52AM   
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Natalie
LOL!!! Karen I agree about that "older" woman's opinion-my motto: "been there done that"---I'm sure I'm older than realtour and I might even be older than you---:)
Having said that---Realtour how's this for slipcovers? : http://www.surefit.net/shop/categories/sofas/index.cfm?ppage=1&mrow=99999
November 15, 2012 at 8:08AM   
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the essentials inside
realtour - Thanks for posting all the photos! There are a LOT of split levels here in DE, has me wondering if you are in the DE area.

Love the color scheme in your photo - it actually matches the color scheme of a friend's house which is also a split level. Love the floors! Are you keeping them or carpeting over? Can't remember if you said. I vote no carpet - except replacing the carpet on the stairs.

Love Natalie's surefit suggestion, especially the snug fit.

As a parent to a young child (& two dogs), I agree w/Karen too. I think if you get the coat of paint on (a nice neutral that will go w/anything in your color scheme as suggested) & pull out the cabinet in the kitchen, you'll feel much better. If you have time b/f baby to re-do the entire kitchen, that would be ideal. Take your time with the rest - that way you'll get quality pieces that you really love and will keep for a long time.

I will stop rambling about things you already know now. :) Will check back in later!

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
November 15, 2012 at 10:17PM   
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PRO
Custom Home Planning Center
Since your looking at carpet as a first major change here are some considerations.
1.If your planning on doing a garden select the area and use the carpet you pull out as the initial ground cover for that area. By placing the carpet upside down on an area you will kill off the grass and the weeds while creating mulch of the existing organics. It takes about a year, but in the near term just cover it with (mulch, gravel, or if it is a future play area shredded tire mulch.)
2. Remember carpet takes a few years to stop off gassing volitals unless it is natural fiber such as wool or flax. This means serious consideration should be given to cork or wood floors many of which are DIY friendly for the kids space instead of carpet.
3. when I use carpet I double pad it for the pleasure of the feel under foot. This requires running a plywood strip about 2" wide and 1/2" thick on the outside edge of the room to raise the area for the tack strips that hold the carpet in place. This can require cutting off doors if they are too close to the floor, though this is seldom a problem you should be aware of it. Pointy leg furniture may require load spreading pads to keep it from punching through the carpet. With all that it the only way I do carpeted rooms.
4. When installing carpet use 15' wide wherever possible to reduce seams.
5.Before cutting have the installer roll out a large piece in the room and then rotate it 90%. Carpet has a reflected light bias and can look substantially different depended on the direction of the nap.
November 15, 2012 at 10:41PM   
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realtour
Thanks for all the input. We only plan on replacing the steps and hallway with carpet, and possible a bedroom or two, and we plan on using remnants. I will be looking into getting the floors sanded and polished, but we may have to DIY for now. Hope this helps!
November 16, 2012 at 4:52AM   
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apple_pie_order
If the floors have not been refinished since the house was built 50 years ago, they probably need to be refinished. (If you are very, very lucky, they can be cleaned and waxed instead.) Refinishing is a 2-3 day job for a professional (longer if you DIY) for 2 or 3 coats of polyurethane because you need a day in between coats. You cannot live in a house where the polyurethane is drying, especially with a baby and a toddler who'd be exposed to the fumes. It should be done before you move in.

If I had your $5000 budget, I'd get the floors refinished, then get the house professionally painted inside in an off white color. That gives you a clean slate for the future. Those would be my highest priorities, everything else can be done while you live there. IME, it takes 2 painters 2 or 3 days to prep and paint a 1500 square foot house in pretty good shape; you get a cheaper rate if the house is empty. It is also a bit cheaper if the paint is all one color because they don't have to change the sprayer. The baby's room can be a separate, one-off color, of course, that is not a big deal. Your real estate agent will have references for painters and floor refinishers.

I've lived in two houses where the floors had to be refinished. The results were beautiful.
November 16, 2012 at 6:31AM     
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realtour
So are the floors a higher priority than a kitchen makeover? As the cook I am pressing for a kitchen. I am the realtor, (RealTour) and a friend of mine is a professional painter so we are lucky in that respect.
November 16, 2012 at 8:40AM   
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Natalie
Hi---what kind of condition are the floors in? A good wash and wax might be all you need.
As I told you yesterday---demo the cabs and pitch the carpet. Since you do want to carpet the stairs, hall and maybe a bedroom---get that done asap as others have mentioned. Otherwise, wait and do it just before taking a vacation while some of the chems dissipate.
For the kitchen, you had posted that room a few days ago and received some wonderful and helpful advice. Since you're on a budget and cannot afford a total reno-others and myself gave you very cost effective and appealing designs which would suffice for at least a few years. Laminate countertops, fresh paint, new hardware, backsplash, and floor in there. Fresh neutral paint throughout the house, slipcovers, fun colorful pillows, rug, window panels, (oil rubbed bronze or chrome) spray paint to update those ceiling fans and you're good to go. :)
November 16, 2012 at 8:52AM     
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apple_pie_order
Yes, floors are higher priority because of the amount of disruption involved in moving all the furniture out, living somewhere else for several days, boarding pets and then moving everything back in after the floors have thoroughly dried. IIRC, your kitchen is light, bright and has a good layout now. Live with it for a while before you make decisions about your priorities there.

It's great to have a professional painter friend. He/she can estimate the time required for the two of you to paint top to bottom. If he has professional spraying equipment, that will save a lot of time over the roller and brush methods.
November 16, 2012 at 8:59AM   
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the essentials inside
I agree it would be easier to do floors b/f move in but I'd go for kitchen first IF you can't do both at the same time. I say kitchen b/c I'm pretty sure its going to drive you the most crazy in its current state. With all the great cost saving tips from your Houzzer friends, it might be possible to do both!

P.S. Saw this pic when I signed on to Houzz. Obviously a very different house but shows wood trim can look great.


Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
November 16, 2012 at 9:17AM   
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Natalie
Yes I agree Lyvonne---the kitchen is the "heart" of the home and that one leaves a lot to be desired. :)
November 16, 2012 at 9:21AM     
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realtour
Trust me, I desire a lot to be done with the kitchen!
November 17, 2012 at 7:19AM     
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Natalie
I know you do and I'm behind you 110%... Keep us posted. :)
November 17, 2012 at 9:43AM     
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Monique Jacqueline Design
I would love to answer your questions directly in more of an interview process that would allow you and your wife to see different visions that would then get you on the same page. The first thing that you should do together is catalogue the existing pieces that you have, that you both love! Then we can look at those pieces and analyze how we use them as a spring board, moving forward with a plan of action.
Should you be interested, please contact me directly, moniqueflesher@gmail.com
Cheers!
m.
November 17, 2012 at 10:13AM   
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Monique Jacqueline Design
I would love to answer your questions directly in more of an interview process that would allow you and your wife to see different visions that would then get you on the same page. The first thing that you should do together is catalogue the existing pieces that you have, that you both love! Then we can look at those pieces and analyze how we use them as a spring board, moving forward with a plan of action.
Should you be interested, please contact me directly, moniqueflesher@gmail.com
Cheers!
m.
November 17, 2012 at 10:13AM   
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realtour
Gee thanks Monique. You brought zero value to this discussion before asking for my business. I suggest you try a different approach if you would lie to use houzz as a source of finding clients. Good luck!
November 17, 2012 at 4:06PM   
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orangecamera
Back to the original question of keep what you have vs starting from scratch....

I say keep what you have that you LOVE, or that you NEED. You obviously NEED beds, and a table and chairs for meals/work. Fill in with whatever you currently own that you really love and will fit nicely in your new space.

Then look at whatever else you currently own.

If you HATE it, don't bring it to your new home. At. All. Ever.

Then there's all the rest of your stuff. Keep whatever makes sense...(it fits in the room, is functional in the room, and you don't hate it). Repurpose furniture if necessary...a desk that you like can work as a changing table if you put a cushion on it. You won't need a changing table forever, and then you'll still have a desk that you like.

Next step is to move in and enjoy your family and your new home. Trust me, you WILL accumulate more stuff as time goes on, and you don't need it all done right away.
November 17, 2012 at 4:56PM     
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lefty47
HI -- Best thing to do when starting out with a new place is just get a contracters 5 gallon pail of primer (this could be tinted a color) or one paint color and that should do the whole house . This will save you some money and with a baby on the way you are pressed for time. Try BEHR Paint in " Anitiue White" OR Benjamin Moore"s "Classic Grey OC-23 OR "Florintine Plaster" OR " Revere Pewter". Then after the baby and you have been in the house for a while then your walls will be all ready for your color scheme .
November 17, 2012 at 4:56PM     
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judianna20
Do you and your wife have one thing you both love and want to keep? Every home needs an inspiration piece. Ours was a 19th century wrought iron fireplace bench we found at an estate sale and that solidified our design direction. You have a great life in front of you. Been there, done that, and, 45 years later, we still have that fireplace bench.
November 17, 2012 at 5:07PM   
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Monique Jacqueline Design
Hello Realtour!
I am a bit taken aback with regards to your comment. I do not recall seeing or stating that you would be paying for my services! Here is what your original post stated!

" I have posted almost every room for design advice and everyone has been so great but our conundrum is that all of our furnishings are a hodge podge that we accumulated over the past 5 nears. Do we decide on a style for our new home and slowly fill in the blanks, or try to paint the home and update the rooms around our random stuff? My wife and I can't agree on color or styles, partly because she wants to make sure the paint matches the stuff we have, like our area rug($50 at home depot). So do we start from scratch or work with what we have?"

In reading this, this is what I came away with: 1. You have already posted each room and didn't get the information that you were looking for. You still have a BUT in your statement, after receiving all your prior advice. 2. You are still asking the question, after posting each room, "do we start from scratch or work with what we have?" 3. You and your wife can't agree on color or styles.

Without asking proper questions and those questions being in a phone interview atmosphere, due to answers leading themselves into the next question or other questions all together, you were just going to get all the information again and not be satisfied! How do we know what you have??? How do we know your style??? How do we know what style you are wanting and what style your wife is wanting. You haven't provided any of these answers in your initial statement that began this specific string, to this get us started. So, without answering questions, how can ANY OF US provide you with valid information, which in my opinion is the reason why this string was started, after not getting needed satisfaction from prior strings.

As mentioned previously, with verbal conversation, some of these questions lead themselves into the next. It is much easier than spending all day doing email back and forth. Then once we have the needed answers/details, we email ideas and bounce ideas off the forum!

Again, I didn't mean to offend, but I thought that there were some underlining questions that needed answers before direct solutions can be determined.

Cheers!
m.
November 17, 2012 at 5:54PM   
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ccwatters
Hi realtor. I remember your kitchen, and also remember the doors. Suggested getting rid of the uppers in your kitchen, paint cabinets white, and do the oiled-soapstone formica. Also thought new doors would update the house with white trim.
Congratulations on your house and growing family! Having been in your shoes 14 years ago and three kids later, my advice is to put your money toward your floors, paint and doors.
Refinished hardwoods, white trim, fresh paint colors on the walls and new white doors/hardware will dramatically update your entire house.
Your kitchen can be tansformed rather inexpensively for now. We waited 5+ years before getting our ideal kitchen, but it was worth the wait. I'd keep essential furnishings you have now (slipcover option), and then.....take your time on the rest, save up more money to tackle projects as you go.
I would go with a neutral paint pallette for now in the main living areas, putting color in your kids rooms.
As an aside: I plan to have someone sand/prep my daughters room, and then stain it myself using a [no VOC] one-coat-only oil product called Rubio Monocoat. It is a matte finish, no poly needed, and can be EASILY spot repaired. Thought it may be something you may want to investigate. Easy, potential money savings, no VOC and 35 color options.
November 17, 2012 at 6:25PM     
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judianna20
Monique,your intentions are good, but Houzz keeps convos in a discussion forum. Any attempt to make it more appears as solicitation. Bet you have a lot to offer realtour, but your advice needs to be done through the Houzz thread. It is difficult to recognize needs without that personal touch, but most of the time, it works for the poster...maybe frustrating for you, but...keep offering your advice.
November 17, 2012 at 6:27PM     
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dcer
I agree with all of Natalie's suggestions 100 percent! Slipcovers, fresh neutral paint, fun pillows/pops of color, new carpet, spray paint for fans, etc. congrats on the new home and baby!:) oh, and one last thing. Make sure that you get area rugs that are soft for little ones to crawl on. No jute! :)
November 17, 2012 at 6:52PM     
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ccwatters
One more thing i forgot to mention since this is a new house and you are talking about budget (and I suggested waiting on furniture since you should put budget into floors, etc)...
Craigslist can be a place to check out from time to time for some very cool things like kitchen tables/chairs, benches (can make very cool coffee tables), accent furniture, etc.
I found the most amazing table and 6-chair set for our cottage for $180!! And I didn't have to do anything to them! They are by far my favorite pieces of furniture in the place.
You can actually find decent things if you are patient....and esp if you don't mind sanding/refinishing.
Sorry, just had to share :)
November 17, 2012 at 10:30PM     
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Natalie
I love craigslist too. Great finds! :)
November 17, 2012 at 10:36PM   
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realtour
Nice table and chairs for 180!
November 17, 2012 at 10:52PM   
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realtour
Quick update for everyone, we settled on the house last Friday and finally have settled in. Here is a picture of the living room decorated for Christmas. I will post pictures of the other rooms when I get a chance. Thanks to everyone who provided tips, we are implementing them one at a time.
December 11, 2012 at 9:32AM     
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realtour
Is there a reason Houzz won't except panorama photos?
December 11, 2012 at 9:35AM   
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pcmom1
I read a book a few years ago titled, "No Compromise Decorating". Can't remember the author! But very good for most of us that start out with a little of this and that. When you get a chance, it suggests looking at each item you have to place in different groups: stay, go, maybes. Post pictures of your stuff!

Good idea about building idea books. Just be patient and take one thing at a time. First thing is usually function of the room: where to place tv, seating for a desired number.

One source for you to check out: furniture consignment stores! Lots of great armoires for holding TV, for example.
December 11, 2012 at 9:54AM     
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realtour
Thanks. My uncle is a carpenter and will be doing this for a TV stand as soon as we get a new tv. Cracked the 47 in LCD during the move!
December 11, 2012 at 10:05AM     
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ccwatters
Lucky you to have an uncle who can create those kinds of things! Your place looks great :) Enjoy your first Christmas there!
December 11, 2012 at 11:14AM   
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Natalie
Looking good... Happy Holidays!
December 11, 2012 at 11:16AM     
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the essentials inside
Your room looks very cozy and warm - perfect for a visit from Santa! Glad to hear things are going well. Happy Holidays!

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
December 11, 2012 at 6:31PM   
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Ramona
I agree with the others who say go neutral all over and have the floors done. It looks like you have hardwood everywhere. I'd pull that carpet up on the stairs and hallway and put down a runner in wool so you don't have the out gassing problem. It will last longer and look better.

I agree with the suggestion to pull down that overhead cabinet in the kitchen and have the cupboards painted when the walls are being painted. You can change the hardware for minimal money at that time. If the floor in the kitchen is awful, put a temporary vinyl tile or linoleum in there. Laminate counter tops are very inexpensive if you want a clean, fresh one.

Kitchens should be planned carefully. You will be unhappy if you make a quick choice, spend big bucks and then don't like it.

Consider painting the woodwork. My personal choice for updating this sort of house, which I once lived in, is for the doors and woodwork to be painted. It immediately removes the 'this is a 60s house' feeling.

Live minimally till the kids are both in school. This way you won't be worried about damage they do to things and can save your money to get exactly what you want.

I love Craigslist and have found temporary useful things and long term valuable pieces. This will help you get to know your style.

You are excited about the house and baby as you should be, but you are facing a lot of decisions. If you wait till things calm down, you will make fewer costly mistakes and have a chance to hone your style.

Once you are in a home six months or more, the things which bug you start to stand out. If you've saved your budget and energy, you can start addressing them.

Going neutral and spare doesn't mean you can't decorate in any way. A lot can be done with a few accents. A lot.

I made curtains out of sheets for one of my first apartments and a friend just mentioned them to me decades ago because I had made a little go a long way.

Enjoy all this transition without worrying about making things perfect. Things will never be perfect with toddlers in the house.

Enjoy that chaos instead of trying to tame it.
December 11, 2012 at 7:17PM   
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