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If you are coming to visit from Brooklyn Limestone for her Beautiful Backyard Tour, a big welcome. I’m Jen Migonis and my husband and I live in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. I’m going to share with you our backyard as part of Stefanie’s Beautiful Backyard series but since my hubby AJ and I are renovating our 1966 Colonial that we just purchased exactly a year ago this week I thought that I’d do a before and after tour to show you what we’ve accomplished thus far in addition to that.
The backyard was definitely one of the selling points for the home when we looked at it. We came from a house that had neighbors on literally all sides so we always felt like we were in a fishbowl even in our fenced in backyard. This backyard is wonderfully private, especially in the spring and summer when the leaves are on the trees. We eat our here frequently in the summer and generally grill whenever we have friends over. (Similar dining set here.)
This conversation area set isn’t what I’d love to see here long term (it’s a lot more plasticy than I anticipated from photos on the website) but for what we paid it’s been great. I love being able to hose it off and not worry if it’s out in the rain.
One of my greatest obsessions is Freecycle. Are you a part of that website? I get a daily email with things people are getting rid of for free. My latest find was this incredibly charming little playhouse. I think it looks like it belongs in the woods.
The other reason why I love our backyard is because we planted a real garden this year. “We” is a loose term since all I’ve done is purchase the plants and water it a few times. AJ is definitely the gardener in our family.
Before we continue with my tour let me remind you to join Stefanie at Brooklyn Limestone for the fantastic line up of tours for the beautiful backyard series!
When you walk in from the backyard you enter into the kitchen / playroom space. We have done absolutely nothing to the kitchen. We view this, as AJ puts it, as our “big boy and big girl house” so we plan to do more saving / putting off renovations instead of doing quick little fixes to make it sort of what we want.
I’ve add little touches like sweet little flower arrangements, our cooking utensils in this Pottery Barn champange bucket and glass jars filled with cereal and baking essentials to make the space useful and pretty until we can rework the floor plan and utilize more of the addition’s space.
The back of the house has a long addition that was added in the late 70s / early 80s and when we looked at the house it sort of threw us for a loop trying to figure out how to best use the space. The kitchen is on a platform so while I make dinner I look out on this area here. This was taken a few days before we purchased the house.
After Christmas AJ and I did some switching around and put the electric fireplace in here with some love seats the previous owners left for us (the slipcovers on the love seats were a brand new Freecycle find!). When we redo the kitchen I expect this area will look pretty similar to the way it does now but with hardwood floors and French doors (where the windows are above) leading into the dining room.
Playroom Sources: Rug | Coffee Table: Side of road then restained | Love seats: gift from previous owners with IKEA Ektorp slipcovers | Pillows: Hobby Lobby | Fireplace: Home Depot (similar HERE… I actually like this one better than ours!)
We set up our kitchen table, which I painted white, in the space overlooking the backyard. We currently have IKEA chairs that I despise around the table. I have had the chairs longer than I’ve had AJ in my life and they need to go… nine years later they are grody and stained. I plan on getting six of these gorgeous X-back chairs in natural wood shortly. Definitely a better choice for a family with young children. 🙂 We love all the natural light the sliding doors add but in our long term plan we’d love to see these doors be white French doors (or look just like them and be sliders, our decision isn’t set in stone).
The first room we tackled when we moved in was the living room… everything was pink:
Shortly after we moved in we painted the walls Light French Gray by Sherwin-Williams. Any trim we’ve painted throughout the house is Ultra Pure White by Behr (I love it because there are zero undertones).
I’d love to get some additional comfy seating for this room because it’s prime space whenever we have company over. I would love to see two love seats on either side of the couch because the more we have people over the more I realize that’s the kind of seating space we need, but I haven’t even measured to see if that would fit. 🙂
The window seats were painted white and all the pink paisley wallpaper was removed. I’m still filling the room with pillows and would love to add some curtains… maybe a new rug but this room is definitely one of the lowest priorities right now until we tackle some other spaces since it feels comfy, bright and not pink (our top goal).
From the living room you walk into the dining room. I haven’t even painted this room since moving in but as you can see from the before photo below it’s very neutral (although the walls are darker in real life).
We got a gorgeous piece of artwork that set the color scheme for the whole house. The walls will be painted an incredibly light color because this is, without a doubt, the darkest room in the house and I am seriously thinking about lime washing the fireplace. My photos of this room are always horrible quality because I can’t figure out how to photograph in such a dark space.
We have our eye on a very large dining room table from the Restoration Hardware Outlet but only want to purchase it during one of their 30% off sales. I’d love to see some navy chairs around the table.
Dining Room Sources: Table: Craigslist | Chairs | Artwork | Buffet: Thrift Store (makeover project) | Lamps: Marshalls | Mirror: Thrift Store | Vase on table: Hobby Lobby
The first renovation project we did in this home was our first floor half bath. We were flying high to just have an additional bathroom (we only had one in our last house) and it was completely usable so it wasn’t our first priority but when the toilet’s wax ring went (it’s stinks, literally) and the kids started pulling off the wallpaper because they helped me do it in our bath upstairs we knew we should get on it so it wouldn’t look and smell dreadful whenever we, or a guest, wanted to use it.
We replaced all the fixtures and flooring in the half bath plus we had our builder add some amazing wainscoting. This bathroom makes me happy every time we go into it. We splurged on the wainscoting and the floor but since we were given the toilet and sink by the parents of two of AJ’s cross-country runners we could justify it. I loved the faucet we purchased for this bathroom so much that I just ordered two more for our upstairs bath makeover (more on that later this week!). I want to hang the mirror that we have for this space and get a new light but then we’ll be done!
Last month I completed a mini makeover of our front hallway. It wasn’t a bad space, it was just darker than I wanted for the nearly windowless space.
The walls were painted a very light gray, we swapped out a slatted door for a six-panel door, spray painted the door knobs dark bronze and I added framed outfits Drew and Elle wore when they were little.
Hallway Sources: Frames: Michaels | Drew’s outfit: Nordstrom Baby | Elle’s outfit: Carter’s | Six Panel Door: Building Supplies Outlet, Peabody, MA
The last part of today’s tour is our office. Let’s make our way in there from the front hallway.
When we moved in we knew we wanted to use the space the previous owners used for a dining room as our office. It was the perfect size and had a door on one side which would make it slightly more private. I’ve been working navy into nearly every space and maximized the color in this room with the navy walls (Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore), and a blue rug. We sold a great couch the previous owners left for us in order to make space for these two chairs that I had my eye on for months. I adore them… as I write this AJ is sitting in one directly across from me.
More later this week on our progress upstairs since we moved in one year ago!