We are SO excited today because it's finally time for us to reveal the final before and after looks of our Habitat for Humanity project house. If you're new here, you might be wondering what this is all about. Well, this past year A Beautiful Mess (this blog you're reading right now), decided that we wanted to find a project that allowed us to use some of our strengths as well as give back to our community. You can read the whole story on how we came to this decision here, but the conclusion was that we decided to buy a house in our city that needed some serious TLC, fix it up, share that process with you fine folks (who are the reason this project could happen—thank you for reading and for your support!), and then donate the house to our local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
And that's exactly what we did. We got lucky because Real Simple heard of our project and wanted to help furnish and feature the project in their magazine. So you can see more about the project in this month's issue.
We'll be taking you through each room in the house, and later we'll share a before and after video where Elsie will give you a complete tour from her point of view. Oh yes, you're gonna get to see it all!
First up is the living room. This is one of the larger spaces in the house and the first room you encounter as you walk through the front door. When we purchased the home, there was old, smelly, stained carpet throughout this space. The walls and windows were dingy and filled with small holes and some minor cracks (probably from settling, this house is quite old, but the foundation is good—we had an inspection). And the ceiling displayed quite a few dark spots and stains.
So about that carpet smell…here's a funny story. Shortly after Elsie and I purchased the house, we invited everyone at ABM over for a pizza lunch so everyone could see the space. Almost everyone ended up sitting outside on the porch because they couldn't hardly stand to sit inside (with the smell) and eat. It was bad, to say the least.
The good news is that older homes (this house was built in the early 1920s) often have lovely old wood floors underneath old carpet if you are willing to get a little dirty and take the time to restore them. So that's what we did, and you can read more about how to restore old wood floors here. That was probably the biggest change in this space, along with some painting and bleaching ceiling spots.
By removing the outdated wallpaper border, hanging our curtains high, and adding a fresh coat of white paint to the room, we were able to make the space feel that much bigger and, well, cleaner. And with the carpets gone and that old wood restored to its former glory, I think the family that eventually moves in will truly enjoy this space for years to come.
Many of the doors in the house we kept or refreshed with a coat of paint, but the front door of this house was in serious disrepair. So we had to replace that (and we painted it blue for a fun but small pop of color). We also added a small coat rack in one corner (that faces the front door) so there is some space to remove jackets, coats and shoes since this house does not have an entryway or mudroom.
If you want to see more details about this space or any of the spaces in our Habitat For Humanity project house, stay tuned or check out this month's issue of Real Simple.
Big thanks to our mom, Elizabeth Chapman, for allowing us to use the large abstract artwork you see in this room and to our dad for helping me hang all the light fixtures (including the one in this room). xo. Emma, Elsie, and the ABM team.
P. S. You're probably curious about the fate of this house, right? We are too! We actually officially donated the house to Habitat in May (see here). I emailed a few of our contacts there last week to see if a family has moved in yet, and I was told not just yet. The house is still under review, but a family should be moving in sometime later this year. We'll keep you updated as we hear more from Habitat for Humanity.
Credits// Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions. Couch + Rug/West Elm, Floor Lamp/Shades of Light, Pendant Lamp and Rattan Chairs/IKEA, coffee table/built by Josh Rhodes, abstract artwork/Elizabeth Chapman (go mom!), Home Sweet Home print/ABM.