Reno Update at our HFHS House Project

Habitat house inspirationLast month we shared some updates about our Habitat for Humanity house project renovation planning and some details on the overall budget (you can read all about it here). We are nearing completion on all the contractor renovations, so I thought we'd share an update on the house with you. Also, I thought it would be fun to show you a few inspiration images throughout this post to try give you some idea of what we're planning to do. I don't want to spoil all the surprises—but a few inspiration images never hurt, right? 

One thing I love about the above two images (linked in the credits below) are the simple, pared down color schemes. Elsie and I LOVE color, to say the least, but in this home we don't want to go overboard as we don't know the future family's preferences, and we don't want to leave them with a rainbow bright house they don't love. So, we're looking to create spaces that feel open, clean, and feel interesting but not overdone.

A Beautiful Mess and Habitat for HumanityHere's what you see when you walk through the front door. Still pretty rough, right? But I promise this is what progress looks like! Let's take a closer look. First let's head back to the kitchen.

Kitchen inspirationHere are a few inspirational images of kitchen spaces we love (linked in the credits below). 

I truly love the layout of the kitchen in our project house. It's not a huge space, but the layout is great. I like how much counter space there is and with the addition of a few bar stools (or chairs) it can do double duty as seating/eating area! I know we'll be looking to add some storage options in this kitchen as we move forward so the future family will have space for pantry items, dishes, cups, cookware, etc. Storage in small spaces can make a world of difference in keeping everything feeling organized and uncluttered.

Kitchen counter progressKitchen wallpaperOne update you haven't seen before is the new white tile backsplash! Wahoo! I love tile backsplashes as they are SO easy to clean, wish I had one in my house. 🙂 You can't really see it in these photos, but the peeling linoleum has also all been removed from the floor, the broken counter top removed and updated (though not completed), and we started painting the cabinets. We still have some wallpaper to remove, walls to paint, floors to polish, light fixtures to update, and storage solutions planned for this space. It's a long way from being done, but it's shaping up nicely. 

Next let's talk about the bathroom. Wanna take a walk down memory lane with me?Original bathroomA little dingy, no? The linoleum was in three pieces and coming apart, the window had moisture damage, the shower was… well, you can see for yourself (which I think contributed to the moisture damage in the window). Overall the space felt dirty and wasn't being utilized to its full potential. It's certainly not the smallest bathroom I've ever been in, but it felt crowded and cluttered. This is the only bathroom in the house, so we want it to feel clean and as spacious as possible.

Bathroom tileBathroom floor peek
Here's a few sneak peeks at the bathroom updates so far. Lots of white subway tile on the walls. But we're doing something just a little unique with the bathroom floor tile. The room will be mostly white when we're done, but with a few pops of black to add a little contrast. I love a lot of white in a bathroom, makes it feel so fresh. 

Original bedroomSecond bedroom progressNot a ton has changed in the bedrooms yet. Mainly we've just rip up carpet and cleaned up the floors some, although they still need some work. You can also see the wallpaper border has been removed. We are prepping for painting already. 🙂

Laundry room missing floorRemember the surprise we encountered in the laundry room? If not, click here. Last time we updated you, this is what the laundry room floor looked like. We had to basically remove the entire floor because of rot, then new subfloor needed to be installed along with some updates to the foundation in that part of the house (it's an add-on room to the original house).

The laundry room has a floorYay! The laundry room has rot-free floors! We're not done though… we have some tiling in our future still. 🙂

A few other updates…. remember the front door?Front doorYes, this front door.

The front door is fixedIt's gotten a lot better. Could probably still use some paint though…

Living room light fixtureDining room light fixture update timeAt the moment we are thinking about light fixtures. Should we update them, donate & replace, turn a blind eye, keep talking about them but never really do anything… so many options. Just kidding. Basically it's a choice between updating what we already have or replacing them. We'll likely do a combination of both. We will for sure be perusing our local Habitat for Humanity Restore in the next couple of weeks in case they have any good ones that fit our space. Have you ever shopped at a Restore? It's a pretty rad place plus it (obviously) benefits HFH, so that's pretty awesome too.

Contractor to-do listHere you can see our contractor's to-do list. It's almost all marked out!!!

Just FYI we are working on creating some kind of landing page for our HFHS project. We want to make sure you guys will have easy access to all the posts we do about this project as well as links to help you learn more about Habitat for Humanity. Also, one reader had requested we share a layout of the house so you will have a better idea of the spaces as we move forward with these posts. Great idea! You guys are too smart! We are working on that as well.

Thanks for letting us share a small update with you! xo. Emma + The ABM Team 

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Emma Chapman and Sarah Rhodes. Inspiration Image Sources: Blue Door Room, Black and White Room, Mint Chair Kitchen, Pegboard*Habitat homes are sold to qualifying families at a reduced price with a zero-interest loan. Mortgage payments then go into a revolving fund that allows Habitat to build additional homes for families in need.  To learn more about Habitat for Humanity or to make a donation, visit

  • I’d love to see what you can do to update at least one of the ceiling fans so I can learn how to update mine!!

  • Congratulation! Noble idea, great implementaion, I admire you! One thing though, big mistake not leaving a window to the ONLY bathroum in the house. The future family will definitely spend money to reopen it. Maybe rethink it, if not too late?

  • I love these posts! I’m so glad those problems are getting resolved with the bathroom layout and the rotten floor in the laundry room! I can’t wait to see what happens next!

  • It’s coming along really well! I love the inspiration photos and can’t wait to see what you girls come up with for the finishing touches once all of the renovations are done! So cool of you to give back like this!

  • I love everything about this post. Love seeing the updates as they happen, love the idea to see a floor plan. Love that you’re doing a HFH house at all! Not only is it a great way to give back, but selfishly, it’s so much fun to have even more spaces to see as a blog reader. Made my day. Thank you!

  • really love this series. Maybe it’s the whole bit about doing good for the community. Kudos for all your work & effort. And thanks for keeping the rest of us inspired. At least the laundry room has a floor now! :] // ▲

  • Somehow I missed your post about removing the window in the bathroom. Did you ever consider moving the window up near the ceiling and changing it to a narrow one or was it just too expensive? Here’s a few examples: (see, the shower head is below the window —> no (or at least a lot less) water damage)

    After seeing that you’ve already tiled the wall I guess it’s too late to do that… But I do hope you put in the solar tubes, like many people suggested in the comments of the reno budget post (I would have suggested that myself, too), because to me natural light is very important in such a small space. Whatever you decide to do, I’m still looking forward to see the rest of the whole process! 🙂

  • In the bathroom ‘before’ photo there’s a window… but there isn’t one in the ‘after’ – have you guys taken it out? The project is looking great – can’t wait to see further progress!

  • The kitchen inspiration pictures are so cute and unique. I love it. Its great to see your progress.

  • Love seeing the process and change of this home. Excited to see more!

    Lulu x

  • How was the white floor done in the room with the blue door? That’s what I want to do for my office- “rustic modern industrial” with white and black and wood.

  • Is the HFH house considered a Feature? I love the posts about it, but completely forgot it might count as a “Feature.” As a HGTV lover, it’s so fun to watch people I “know” do all these things. I can’t wait to see what projects lie ahead!

  • It looks so nice. I love the way the backsplash in the kitchen angles out. This is a fantastic project overall. Can’t wait to see some carpentry from Josh go into it, plus some specific Laura touches (love her style!) Emma are you designing the kitchen mostly? I should probably stop compartmentalizing you guys.

    Anyhow – light fixtures. The little one in the now borderless room – it’s just too cool depending on how the room ends up. And if you guys found a way to rehab those horrible, brass, flowery glass fans? I’d love to see it! Realistically a fan in every room is actually a luxury to me – they just are not as pretty as chandeliers. And if you saw the fans in our rental you’d… see the same fans in your HFHS house. Can’t wait to follow along!

    And I know you are making this as likable as possible for people who maybe aren’t into super bright colors. But I’d love to see some ABM recognizable touches. Ah! Make a guide to Springfield in a folder for the future homeowner. I always wanted to make one for my city so I could put it in the house we own…

  • This is such an amazing project and I’m so happy to hear how it’s coming along. I know that you can never really know with these things, but when are you aiming to have it done for? Thanks for the updates – and kudos to you ladies!

    xx Kathryn

  • I love this project! I cannot wait to follow along and see what you make it into!

  • I really love this series. Maybe it’s the whole bit about doing good for the community. Kudos for all your work & effort. And thanks for keeping the rest of us inspired. At least the laundry room has a floor now! :] // ▲

  • Love that you guys are doing this and really wish I could do something similar in my town. Might have to contact HFH

  • Hi Mollie—thank you! That’s very kind of you. I would encourage anyone interested to go ahead and donate to their own local Habitat for Humanity. We don’t feel right taking any donations on behalf of this project because this is our opportunity to give back when we’ve been given so much. But I love that you are thinking about giving—go for it!


  • The inspirations boards look so good, cant wait for you guys start decorating this space…


  • the updates are very promising…I’m sure this will be a fabulous house once you’re done with it!

    love that last pic…winning smiles!!!!

  • Love it! Y’all are gonna make this a beautiful place for some lucky family. Can’t wait to see the updates. <3

  • Have you ever thought of setting up a way for us readers to donate to the renovation? I know I’d be willing to donate at least a few bucks to go towards the house! Just know you guys ran into some bumps that made you check some things off your wish list, and I bet the readers could help add a few back on!

  • Love! Though I have to ask, why did you do modern builder-grade sized molding around the front door instead of the larger craftsman-style size that is around the house (and the door right next to it)? I realize that you’re donating the house, but it would irk me if I were redoing the house. But I do love all the white subway tile! And totally agree with white. As long as you stage it well, people will still be able to feel warm and cozy (and painting over white is much easier than painting over beige).

  • I can’t wait to see this house when it’s all done! It’s going to be so amazing!!!!

  • I can’t wait, I bet it’s going to look so cute in there! I actually have those exact same doors in my apartment that are in the first bedroom photo, huge wooden frame, wood door, and clear crystal doorknobs. I’d love to see what you guys do with them, especially the frame. My space is tiny so I’m thinking of painting them white because the dark doors make it a lot darker in there.

    Looking forward to seeing more!

  • I happen to have the same space-agey light fixture in my kitchen and I love it! Mine is lowered a little and it adds so much character to our house. You should try lowering it a little!

  • Its so nice to see in process pictures and not just before and after, you get a much better sense of how everything comes together. The bathroom tiles are looking like they’ll be amazing!

  • I was just thinking the other day that it had been a while since we had an update on this house! So glad to hear it’s coming along. One of your best ABM projects to date 🙂


  • I’m really looking forward to more updates on this house! What originally drew me to this blog (in 2008, what?!?) were photos of Elsie’s loft. From the beginning this blog has been so good at highlighting ways to create fun and unique spaces! Good work team! =)


  • Love seeing the HFH posts! I am the executive director for the Seward County, Nebraska HFH! Advice for the fixtures is to try and find something energy efficient! Even the small things make a big difference in affordability for the families that need these homes. Great work ladies!!

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