As we pass a year in our mountain condo we are finally done with most of the major renovations. YAY! Ain't no time like mountain time people. Add construction time on top of that, lets just say our patience is maxed out! Part of our goal when planning this new adventure was to have the flexibility to travel and explore. With that in mind we knew we wanted to be able to rent out our home while we traveled to help subsidies those cost. When we got here in March 2019 we knew immediately we wanted to paint. We desperately needed something neutral and light to help give our place a fresh look and feel bigger. Any downsizer knows maximizing your space is essential. Whether it is an illusion of space (light color paint) or creating multifunctional space it is all vital to making a small space work.
We took our 1,000 square foot condo from a gold and maroon paint theme with dark wood molding to an accessible beige wall with white molding. It made all the difference to lighten up the space, make it feel bigger and modern. The added bonus was this is an easy DIY project that didn't cost a ton of money. We also replaced the dining room table and chandelier. Next was to update our fire place, not exactly a DIY project at our skill level. We found a highly recommended company who did a great job updating the '80's style stone to a fresh updated look. It was a quick two day project and completely changed the look and feel of our living space. We also moved the TV to be mounted above the fireplace. Allowing us to remove the entertainment center, giving us more space for my highly coveted massage chair (the one furniture item I was not willing to sell when we left Florida). Mama needs a massage every now and then. We also replaced the living room furniture. I tried to make the furniture that was already here work (I may be a bit frugal) but the very fake leather was crumbling so I had to give in. We love the new pull out couch and lazy boy we found. Of course nothing is easy so the first couch we custom ordered and waited weeks to get because it was custom had to be returned. It was not what we had asked for and I couldn't live the just ok after paying for custom. At that point our old couch had already been removed so we took a last minute trip to Johnson City, TN and thankfully found a couch we really liked that could be delivered the next day. The new furniture really helped finish that space. I wish I could tell you that is all we needed to do and we have been renting our place out and traveling constantly. However, I am a realist so let's not live in a fairy tale. Those were just a few cosmetic things to make it feel like OUR home.
Now we were on to bigger projects that would make it possible to rent! For us that meant locked storage areas. Being our primary home we have a lot more stuff to hide than a typical vacation rental. One locked "owners closet" was not going to cut it for our needs. With this in mind we decided to turn the original wet bar into a reading nook. I mean really, who needs a wet bar in 1,000 square feet of space. Turning this space into a nook would also allow us to have a drawer to keep toys, helping us stay *organized* in our daily lives but also allow us to add a lock to store items while renting out the unit. This space was heavily debated, we had thought about making it a semi office with desk or even extending our master bathroom. While I would have loved some more space in our quite small master bath, having a cozy reading nook for the girls that included locked storage just made more sense for our needs. We finished off the nook with a custom made cushion and pillows from our own nature photography story to complete the cozy feel. We could not be happier with how it turned out! Next, we added a barn door to our master closet. This gave us more room by eliminating a door that opens into the room. We added a lock to the bottom for more locked storage and a lock that is virtually out of sight. One of my main goals was still making it a home, no need for padlocks on every closet. After that came our master bathroom. We had not planned on updating our master bathroom quite yet but of course because life is, well life, we did a last minute renovation of the mater bathroom due to a water leak in the wall. We still want to update the shower but decided to go ahead with a new vanity, mirror and paint while we were pulling everything out to fix the leak anyways. Eventually we will get to the shower but it is livable for the time being.
Our final and probably most important project was our kitchen. Not only did we want an updated look for our own comfort in our daily life but we absolutely needed more locked storage. We will have many kitchen items out for use by renters, however, there is some things we don't want to risk getting damaged. I will not even go into the details of the absolutely horrible drawn out process of the kitchen but let's just say we did not have kitchen drawers or cabinet doors for 3 months, including during Thanksgiving. Needless to say we ended the relationship with who we had been working with on this project. We found a company online that we could order custom cabinet fronts, Brant painted, hung and added the hardware. By far one of the more complicated DIY projects he has ever taken on but he did such a great job. We could not have been happier with the finished project. Getting stainless steal appliances, adding a pull out track inside one of the cabinets for the trash can and adding a pot lid organizer has made this a great space. It feels like us and we even found magnetized locks we can use for rentals that you will not see on the outside. Another heavily debated portion of the project. If anyone is looking to update their kitchen we highly recommend Barker Cabinets. They were good quality, great pricing and only took a few weeks for delivery.
What are our plans now that we have done so many renovations you ask! Well assuming the COVID-19 is no longer a concern we have a big trip in the beginning stages of planning to take this summer. We are not holding our breathe that we will be out of this uncertain time but we are staying hopeful and continue to plan. We are also prepared to be flexible. Please friends stay home and stay safe! We this is all over we plan on visiting at least 6 states, including visiting friends in Michigan. We also plan on taking the girls on their first international trip into Canada. I am most excited about going to one of my bucket list locations, seeing Niagara falls. We do not have all the details planned out yet but hope to make it 3 weeks so we can take our time and enjoy each location. We do have our condo unit on the rental program managed by our complex and we are excited to test out renting while we travel and explore. I am sure there will be good and bad with renting our primary home. A few that come to mind is getting all of our personal items packed or locked up and traveling for three straight weeks with two little girls. We are excited for the challenges and know that the reward will far out weigh any difficulties. Showing the girls the world and emphasizing experience over material things was one of our main goals when we began this journey. It feels so good to be accomplishing what we set out to do.
If you have any interest in renting our unit please contact us directly for the best rates! Click here to go back to our website, scroll down to the contact section. Stay tuned for more details on our upcoming trip. How traveling internationally with a 2 and 4 year old goes and any other shenanigans that happen along the way. We leave you with a few more after shots of our condo.