Have you ever seen a blogger do a home tour? I totally have and you know what I thought?
I thought: I could never do one of those.
Because the truth is that I'm a mom and I also work full time - and I have two tiny roommates (that would be my children) that make keeping my house tidy really really hard. So when you see pictures of a clean, neatly styled room in a post I wrote, it's probably because I cleaned that room only solely for the purpose of photographing it. In fact, a friend of mine came over one time and said "you know, from your website, you'd never know that your house actually looks like this." This, of course, meant like a 5 year old and a baby had "helped decorate" and several days of dishes were piled in my sink. Sigh.
But then we decided to sell our house
Deciding to sell our house was both easy and hard. It was easy because I have been dying to have a garden on my own property (I've been "farming" a community garden for the last three summers) and also to have chickens. It was hard because I'd spent the last 3 years really focused on fixing up my home and improving rooms that needed love. And then just as I was finishing that up, we decided to leave. It's a long story about why we decided to do it this summer instead of waiting, but I think it was the right choice in the long run.
All that to say: In order to sell one's house, one needs to clean it - the whole thing - and keep it that way for several days.
I'm sure some of you keep your homes clean and tidy all the time. For me, this was a big deal. So while the mystical unicorn of a very clean, put away, house was manifesting itself, my realtor had Travis Stanley pop by to photograph it - and he did an amazing job. Any photos below with the Travis Stanley watermark are his (used with permission) and the Creative Green Living watermark photos are mine.
Now that the sale of this house is over and done, this is my farewell tour. I hope you enjoy it. Come on in and I'll show you around!
Let's Get Started
(photography disclosure: this is Travis' photo and I used Photoshop to take out the"for sale" sign in the front yard to give you a better feel for what it looked like before we put it on the market)
Welcome to my little townhouse in the heart of suburbia near Portland, OR. It's a 1500ish square foot home with a small courtyard. It was built in 2006 and we bought it in 2009. Everything when we bought it was very "builder grade"
The courtyard is small. It has a couple rhododendron bushes (Pacific NW native plants), a rose bush, a huckleberry bush and a couple blueberry bushes. You can read about the changes we made to the courtyard between 2009-2011 here.
Tucked behind the bench and the large rhododendron by the front door is this small herb and veggie garden. I built this stone garden wall with my husband in 2011. You can see the before and after post about the courtyard here. You can also learn about all the plants growing in this particular photo here.
When you walk in the front door, this is what you see (on days that the kids' toys are picked up, that is). The photos on the wall are different prints and photographs of Europe that I collected in college and grad school and eventually framed. The large iron scroll thing is actually a "Halloween decor" item I bought on post-Halloween clearance from Michael's in 2004 and spray painted black. It has served me well for more than a decade now! The walls are painted with a zero-VOC paint (from a Home Depot house brand that has been discontinued) and the trim is Colorhouse Bisque.02. (Colorhouse is another zero-VOC brand of paint).
If you walk in and turn around back toward the front door, this is what you'd see. The red curtains are actually tablecloths that I bought on clearance at Target years ago and hung with clip rings. They have a great embroidered border on the long side and you'd never know they weren't supposed to be curtains. The black box next to the couch is a small storage ottoman from Target that we use as a toy box. The big ottoman is what we got to replace our glass coffee table when our oldest child started crawling. It doubles as storage for blankets and DVDs. Those feur de lis decorations on the wall to the left of the couch? Also Halloween clearance items from 2004. Thank you, Michaels!
This is our family photo wall. You will notice I have no photos of my one year old on it. I'm just that awesome of a mom. The shelves are from IKEA. The frames are things I collected over the years or picked up at the Dollar Store. The "You are so very loved" canvas is a blank 8x10 canvas that I put a big sticker on (big sticker from Michael's). The B on the bottom shelf was our wedding cake topper. During the spring and summer when I have fresh flowers, I like to have a bud vase with flowers on this table. To keep my kids from knocking stuff over, I use Museum Putty - which is seriously the best stuff ever if you have kids (or live in an earthquake prone area)!
Keep walking past my photo wall and you'll end up in the dining room.
I think this may have ended up as my favorite room in the whole house. If you've been following me for a while, you may remember that I painted this dining room teal without telling my husband I was going to do it. (Yes, we are still married) You can get all the juicy details about how I did that and see some awesome before and after photos in this post here. The paint is ECOS brand (all their paints are non-toxic and zero VOC - also, beautiful!). I used their tinted primer because I was covering up dark red. The teal paint is ECOS eggshell interior paint color matched to Olympic brand "Safe Harbor." The table is the Camille table from World Market and the chairs are from Sauder. Get more info about the chairs and how I chose them here.
This mirror wall is my pride and joy. I made that mirror from duck tape, foam core and plastic spoons. No joke. Check out the Chrysanthemum Style Sunburt Mirror Tutorial I wrote to see how I made it. The shelves are an IKEA hack of a couple of their floating wall shelves and their wire wine glass holders. The succulents are fake ones from Michael's (I tried real succulents and they died since this room doesn't get much light from that tiny window). The lanterns are from Consumer Crafts, IKEA and Target. The sideboard is a Craigslist rescue that I transformed with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. See the before and after photos and tutorial for how I made over the sideboard here.
This is one of the rooms I never got around to fully upgrading. If we'd stayed longer, I think I would have chalk painted the cabinets and painted the walls grey. Above the cabinets, I have a collection of vintage style kitchen ware - some of it was my grandmother's and great-grandmother's. Some of it was garage-saled and some of it was picked up brand new but it looked vintage enough to make it into the kitchen.
A couple years ago I painted the side of the fridge with zero-VOC chalkboard paint from Lullaby. I love how it looks and it has held up amazingly well. Here is the tutorial I wrote about how to chalkboard-ify your fridge.
Above the shelves, I have a collection of vintage kitchen items. The green handled food chopper was my great grandmother's. The mixer is about 50 years old - I got it at a garage sale and it still works!
The cookbook is Pieography by Jo Packham. It's not vintage but goes great with everything else. I like to change up which recipe is on display a few times a year.
My large walk-in pantry is definitely something I'll miss. This is just a tiny part of this pantry. There were 8 huge shelves like this! If you want to organize your pantry like mine with glass jars and labels, check out this post all about pantry organization and downlaod my free printable template.
Welcome to my coffee nook. My programmable coffee pot is admittedly not the most green coffee brewing option there is, but until they invent a programmable french press, this is what we'll be using. We also have a Sodastream that we love for making fresh seltzer water (if you haven't yet, be sure to download my e-book: Infused with 120 recipes for infused water - including seltzer water!). The mug rack is actually a wine glass rack from IKEA.
As you walk past the kitchen you'd notice my command center. This is where to keep all the papers and mail sorted. Joe and I each have a folder box and my kids like to hide toys in the lower mail box.
Read all about how I put it together and see more photos on my Simple Command Center Tutorial.
We made over this bathroom in a hurry when we listed the house for sale. The paint is a pale grey which is a mix of Colorhouse Bisque.02 and the tinted primer from ECOS that I used to paint the dining room. See all the details about the bathroom makeover and more photos here.
The signs on the wall are made by Fat Dog Farms from reclaimed fence boards. I have the tutorial for the bee towel here. Again, you can see all the details about the bathroom makeover and more photos here.
I love my soap pump and have a tutorial for how to make a mason jar soap pump here. The flowers are from my courtyard in an empty Sweet Drops jar. Using museum putty helps keep everything in place and keeps my kids from knocking things off the sink.
This bathroom is at the top of the stairs. It's the bathroom my kids use as well as the one any overnight guests use. We did a makeover of it last year in collaboration with Delta. The cool new glass shower doors and hand shower are from them. See all the details about this bathroom's makeover here.
The trim paint is non-toxic, zero VOC paint from Colorhouse in Bisque.02 and the wall color is that same Bisque.02 color tinted just a bit grey. I wrote a tutorial for how I made the washi tape monograms to go above my kids' towel hooks. The towels in this pictures are all from Kohls.
I added a hand towel loop by the sink (it's also Delta brand). The hand towel and sink accessories are all from IKEA. The tissue box cover was plain white and I added chevron washi tape that I painted orange. I made the soap pump and have a mason jar soap pump tutorial here.
Studio / Office
Few things have made me as humble in my life as getting help organizing my studio. This room has been a hot mess for years. When we got ready to list the house, my realtor very wisely hired a professional organizer to help me get it presentable (Noelle McKee - if anyone in the Portland area needs organizing help: she is amazing!).
I had a few things - like the shelves - in place before Noelle came,,but only about 10% of my stuff was actually organized and put away where it belonged. Mercy! Now that we are moved into the new house, I am hiring Noelle to come back and help me get my new studio space in order and I am so excited! I can't wait to show it to you because I'm sure it will look awesome.
This was my oldest son't room for four years and when baby brother came along, he wanted to share a room with him so both kids slept in this wee little room together. I started heading in a woodland themed direction with the Wallternatives decals over the crib (they are non-toxic [no PVC!] and endlessly re-stickable) to transition away from the previous blue/brown and puppies theme from when K was a baby. Of course, I didn't end up getting very far beyond the decals and adding woodland themed fabric to the raised kura bed from IKEA. But don't worry: we have big plans for their rooms at the new house.
This room is another that only got to be about half done before we left. I used to have a European theme in here with red accents (hence the random red lamp on my husband's side of the bed). When we moved to a King size bed, we started transitioning to the cooler teal, green and grey palette. The bedding is from Kohl's. The headboard and curtains are from IKEA. The dressers and night stands are vintage.
Thanks for walking through my townhouse with me!
It's a little sad to say goodbye (especially to my teal dining room!) but I'm also excited for the new decor, garden and chicken adventures the new house will bring! I can't wait to show you! Be sure to follow me on social media or subscribe to my newsletter so that you don't miss any updates!
Carissa is a green lifestyle expert and freelance DIY and food writer. The owner and lead writer for Creative Green Living, she is also the author of two e-books including the best-selling beverage cookbook, Infused: Recipes for Herb & Fruit Infused Water, Tea and More. She is a mom to two boys and her goal is to empower families to make healthier choices that are easy, taste great and are fun!
Follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or join the Creative Green Living community group on Facebook.
Follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or join the Creative Green Living community group on Facebook.