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The Big Move

by Meghann on April 10, 2018

Let’s play a game of catch-up, shall we?

Back in January Derek and I said good-bye to our first joint house purchase as a couple.

When we purchased the house back in 2014, we knew it was never going to be our forever home. We were hoping to get at least 5-10 years out of it, but quickly realized that it just wasn’t working for our current family’s needs. Plus, the market was ripe for a big sale and purchase. After a few months of casually searching and toying with the idea of a new build, we eventually found and fell in love with a home that did fit our needs. Our offer was accepted the next day and the seller graciously agreed to our request for a 60-day close. In a whirlwind of events we put our current house on the market the Monday before Thanksgiving (not the best idea we’ve ever had, but sometimes you gotta do, what you gotta do) and accepted a full-asking offer a week later. Talk about a relief!

We closed on our new house the day after selling our old one. If you’ve never done a back-to-back closing, it’s quite a rush. There’s just so many logistics you have to consider, like what do we do with all of our STUFF the 24 hours we’re homeless? Luckily the house we were moving into had been vacant for a couple of months and the previous owners granted us access to the garage so we could move all of our worldly possessions the weekend before we closed. My parents came up and helped us make multiple Uhaul trips, as we turned our new garage into a real-life game of Tetris. Someone we managed to make it work, and it was the first of many, many times I’ve been thankful for our new 3-car garage and everything it can hold.

We spent the last night in our old house on an air mattress, and I squeezed one last run in around the old neighborhood. We dropped Annalynn off at daycare, Maddie at doggie camp, deep cleaned the house, and then handed over the keys.

We stayed at a hotel that night, then signed our second set of closing papers first thing in the morning. We did it! We were homeowners -again!

We didn’t exactly buy a “fixer upper” per se – the house was built in 2012 and overall in great shape with good bones – but it didn’t exactly fit everything we had in mind either. The main living area was covered in carpet that was stained and pulling up, the kitchen was comprised of “builder grade” everything, and the whole house was painted a weird burnt orange color that really darkened the place up. Again, nothing that would stop us from buying our house, but things we knew we wanted to take care of ASAP. We also had the goal of slowly replacing and upgrading most of our old furniture to fit the new space.

We moved into our last house with these grand ideas of changes we wanted to make, but 3 years later had not accomplished any of them. I refused to let that happen this time, so we immediately took the profits from the old place (what was left after putting down 20% + closing costs) and re-invested it into upgrades at our new one. Knowing we were going to make the changes, we didn’t really move anything in at first. We spent the first few weeks living out of suitcases, sleeping on an air mattress, and patio furniture in the living room.

Our original goal was to have all our paint and flooring picked out before we moved in, so we could immediately have everything done as soon as we signed the dotted line. I knew I wanted gray walls and rustic wood tile. We spoke with contractors, collected tile samples, paint samples, and spent an entire afternoon comparing carpets. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted – turns out I actually had no idea. The contractor fell through, we moved in, and a few days of actually being the house I realized that nothing I picked out actually worked with the space.

While my husband was extremely frustrated with the pushed back timeline, it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Instead of rushing into making choices I would potentially regret in the future, I was able to take my time and figure out what really worked with our space. I discovered the gray tones I had tested at our old house were way to blue in the new place and that a warmer beige-y gray was the way to go.


The gray-rustic tile I’d been eyeing competed way too much with the busy, dark granite countertops in the kitchen and that something lighter and blonder would actually complement them more.

We eventually made the decisions and got to work. First up- painting!

We chose Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams for the kitchen and main living area of the house, we also ended up painting Annalynn’s room and the master bedroom the color as well.

Let me tell you, if we ever decide to paint again – I’m hiring painters. Holy moly, was that a lot of work. It’s especially difficult when you have a 2 year old and have to paint around their schedule. We divided everything up into sections and would basically spend one night doing prep work for that section, the next night doing the first coats, and the night after that doing the second coat – this cycle repeated 6 different times. Ugh. It took forever.

However; it was nice that we were able to do most of the work before the new floors were been in. This at least let us skip the step of dealing with drop cloths or worrying if we got anything on the floor. I f we spilled paint – no big deal.

It felt like it took forever for our flooring material to come in once we placed our order. What we originally thought was going to be a week became two. Once the materials were in, installation took another 5 days. One for rip-up and the rest for laying and grouting. Between the foyer, main living area, kitchen, laundry room, and hallways it came to about 1100 sf ft of tile.

Carpet Before:

I’ve had a lot of people ask me why we decided to go with tile in the new place, especially since I’ve been very vocal about how much I hated it in our last two places. Well, it wasn’t exactly the tile I hated about the other places – it was the look of that particular tile. What I didn’t like was that the tile was white squares with thick grout lines and looked really dated. We live in Florida and tile is very, very common here. I actually didn’t realize it wasn’t like that in other parts of the U.S. until I started receiving so many comments about it. Maybe it’s just popular here because of the humidity and heat?

Anyway, we love the look of hardwood, but it gets pricey. Laminate is also popular around here (is it as common in other states??), but it doesn’t hold up as well and we’re nervous about how it would hold up with the mix of kids and dogs. After that is wood tile. We discovered wood tile through and episode of Property Brothers years ago. They had used it in a house and it looked great – it seemed to be the perfect answer to our “what should we do with the floors?” dillema. Of course it took use another 8 years to finally pull the trigger on it, but they’ve definitely made tons of advancements in the technology in that time and it seems to have grown in popularity as well. Wood tile was pretty much used in every model home we toured when we thought we would be going the new-build route and every contractor and flooring store we spoke to were also very familiar with exactly what we wanted.

When we were shopping we knew we wanted a tile that had a lot of character to it. We ended up finding a series that consisted of 8 blonde wood prints with a lot of grain and depth to it. It was the perfect look to add some rustic charm to the place, while also lightening it up.

It was exciting to watch the tile go in. Every evening was like a new surprise, as we opened the door not knowing what to expect.

It took the full 5 days, but it was worth it. It’s crazy how much of a difference new floors can have on a place!

Once the new tile was put in, another company came in and switched out the carpet in all of the bedrooms.

And with the floors and paint complete, we were finally able to move in all of our furniture – woo hoo!

Of course, that’s also when the real fun began. I’ll be back (I swear!) with follow-up posts on more projects we’ve taken on around the house. Stay tuned!

1 Kath April 11, 2018 at 8:19 am

LOVED reading this post!! Please come back with some after shots soon 🙂

2 Linda @ the Fitty April 13, 2018 at 11:53 am

Me too, Kath!

Talk about new beginnings. And for a house built in 2012–that’s relatively new. I can’t wait to see how you furnish everything. Snap lots of photos!

3 Cindy April 11, 2018 at 8:22 am

Looks great!! How bad was the dust when they pulled up the original tile in the kitchen? I’m in Tampa too and have tile throughout most of our loving space that I’d love to pull up, but thought it was pricey (like $2 a square foot just to pull up) and someone told me very messy.

4 stephanie April 11, 2018 at 9:20 am

It all looks great! Good choices!
I’ve also found in our home projects we have to choose between cost and speed. We hired painters for our house and they had the whole house done in 48 hours. It would have taken us WEEKS.


5 Mrs B April 11, 2018 at 10:18 am

Wow! What a great transformation. We just finished a major remodel and new construction (addition) on a historical home. I totally get everything in your post.

1. The color gray is the most daunting task ever. I tried about 15 different colors before we settled on Sherwin Williams Passive. I actually tested the color you went with but it showed to be a little purple hue in our home.
2. Painters. Go you for doing your own painting. We spent a small fortune on painters. They are fast, but they are not cheap. I actually wish we would have done a little more painting ourselves. You saved yourself probably $2K + painting it yourself so for sure celebrate that. Our two painters were like $750 a day.
3. Wood tile is AMAZING! We restored the original hardwood floors (oak) in the original part of our house and went with real hardwood in the new construction. I would have gone with tile if it matched. Real hardwood took WEEKS to install. It was shipped from Cali to Texas. Had to acclimate for TWO weeks before installing. Literally sat in the warehouse. Then, we installed it and it had to acclimate for another week before sanding, finishing it.

Congrats again. The house truly looks amazing with your choices! 🙂

6 Amber April 11, 2018 at 10:43 am

Yup, painting is not fun haha! We did a ton of painting when we moved into our house 3 years ago. We have a stairwell/entry way area that I’d like to paint at some point and I think hiring someone will definitely be the way to go. I don’t want my husband to be doing anything crazy on a big ladder!

The floors look awesome! Congrats! Can’t wait to see more.

7 Kirsten April 11, 2018 at 12:23 pm

We used to have white tiles in one of our old places that we owned. Boy did I hate them! When we renovated it was the first thing to go. Buy-bye! Unless white is your look and you have very modern looking tiles, they just always seem to look dingy and dated.

Your new home looks amazing! That was a smart move getting all of the major work out of the way before you properly settled in.
Kirsten recently posted..Tips for a good night sleep…zzz

8 Jen April 17, 2018 at 11:53 am

Congrats on the new house! Your new flooring looks great!!!

9 Chelsea April 19, 2018 at 4:15 pm

I don’t live in Florida anymore but grew up there and I think you’re right about the reasons for tile. I also think it helps rooms stay cooler and can feel cool to the touch more than wood or carpet, but that’s just guesses. But yes, most of the house I grew up in and the houses my friends who still live down there have are mostly tile, and a lot who are redoing them are doing the same as you and tiling in the wood-look, which is such a neat idea!

10 Jess April 19, 2018 at 11:23 pm

Looking forward to more updates! Good on you and Derek to do so much honey improvement yourself. I’m very intimidated by DIY Home Improvements despite constantly reading Young House Love.

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