We moved into our 1972 Leawood fixer upper in 2015 and have spent the last few years remodeling and updating nearly every room in the house. It has character galore, which is what drew us to the house. Some unique features include a finished attic with an observatory and “secret passageway” bookshelf door, built-in Murphy beds, and more. If you’re curious you can see all of the before, in progress and after photos of all of our DIY home improvement projects at OhSoLovelyBlog.com.
When we moved into the house the kitchen was closed off in a small corner of the house. It was dingy with old, broken cabinets and original appliances from the ‘70s. After living with it as-is for a year, we gathered quotes from local remodelers (which were all way out of our budget), so we decided to do the complete gut and remodel ourselves. We removed one whole wall and cut to a passthrough window to the dining room, which really opened up the room and made it function so much better. It took us two very long years to finish the kitchen remodel project, but we love how it turned out and are proud that we built it on our own. Bonus: We saved so much money.
We updated our dining room (which started out serving as a secondary living room) with new flooring and fresh paint, which really helped brighten the space. The cutout window we created to the kitchen makes the room feel so much more airy and functional. My favorite part of the room is the shallow coffered ceiling that came with the house and adds some nice detail. We spend a lot of time in this room as a family.
We recently updated the focal point of our lower living room by updating our fireplace, which used to have two very creepy wooden faces with eyes as the corbels as well as some dated tile. We removed the faces and the wall and base tile surround, which revealed some good quality brick that we decided to paint white. We also added some marble-look porcelain tile at the base, which really helps it pop. Over the years this space has also seen fresh paint and new flooring. I love the built-in cabinets and coffered ceilings that came with the home. We also have a corner wet bar that we plan to update soon.
We updated our small laundry room off of a half bathroom by removing some bulky cabinets and adding tile, open shelving, lighting, and some colorful accessories. It was a very affordable update that helped brighten up this frequently used room.
Our five-year-old daughter Vivienne’s bedroom didn’t need many updates. We kept the original grey paint color and simply added carpeting and decor. I wanted to make the space colorful and fun for her. The closet has functional shelving on the front and actually has a small secret passage doorway to the adjoining bedroom inside.
Vivienne’s playroom is a fun space that only needed some fresh paint and carpeting. The teepee I made for Vivienne’s first birthday serves as the focal point of the room. There’s a cute window seat in between two built-in Murphy beds that we will probably use down the road, and my favorite feature is the “secret passageway” faux bookshelf door that opens to the attic and observatory.
ATTIC AND OBSERVATORY:
The attic is a fun finished space that we use as a secondary playroom, and the only change we made was adding fresh paint. I love all of the built-in storage and unique character, especially the observatory. I can picture this room serving many different uses in the future--possibly a giant walk-in closet or a craft room. So many options!
OFFICE NOOK AND SEATING AREA:
The office nook and small seating area used to be our formal dining room before we gutted and opened up the kitchen. We decided to flip-flop this room with what is now our dining room to make it better fit our lifestyle, and the updates we made were the removal of a wall, new paint, lighting, and wood flooring. I love the vaulted ceiling and sky light window and am proud to say I scored the midcentury-modern desk and cabinet for free from neighborhood trash piles. I use the office nook to store all of my craft supplies, which I use to make projects for my blog and monthly DIY TV segment on KCTV5’s Better Kansas City.