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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Making a House a Home

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About a week or so ago I was inspired by Compass, a technologically savvy real estate company based in NYC, from a new project they began entitled Starter Stories. 
The project is about bloggers sharing stories where they are/were starting out in a home, apartment, wherever, and how to make that place your own.
I wanted to participate, but didn't know where I would start or what I would share. I had lots of ideas floating around that were how-to's and DIY's, but one project from our past stuck out in my mind.
Since being married, my husband and I have moved 7 times so far.
Each place we have been in we have tried to make 'our own', but we weren't at most of those places long enough to do too much.
I'm so glad this project got me thinking though, because I started looking through old pictures and it brought back so many wonderful memories of our first home.
Here is a picture of our home on the left during building, and on the right was 5 years later when we put it up for sale.
We accomplished so many things in this home, and really made it our own, but one of our biggest accomplishments was this built-in entertainment center.
My husband and I had been married for about 9 months when we found this new community being developed.
We felt it was right for us and signed the paperwork on a 3 bedroom 2 bath house.
We were so excited!
After months of waiting for the building process to be completed, we were able to move in.
Going through this particular builder we weren't able to make any changes to the layout or anything.
This is a picture of the entrance into the family room area.
We asked them if they could just leave this coat closet out, but they wouldn't do it.
To us it was pointless. It was the best spot for a tv, but we couldn't really put it in front of the door.
I remember telling my husband that we were just going to build an entertainment center there.
When I was younger, my family moved a lot as well, and whenever we made it to a new place my dad would start building shelves to organize and store things. My mom was also very crafty, always sewing or cross-stitching, so it was just inevitable that I needed to build or craft something!
I think we were only in the house a month or two before we got started.
We first removed the door and trim, and then took out the drywall inside the closet to get to everything behind it.
I still remember my husband taking the first swing at the wall. I think he was just nervous to cause so much damage to our new home :)
We had a thermostat, a return air vent, two outlets, and a doorbell that needed to be moved.
I must say, I am so grateful that we were able to use my dad and brothers knowledge, tools, and manpower.
After the drywall was out we cut the vent and took out all of the 2x4 pieces of wood.
We had a copy of the blueprints and had made sure beforehand that none of the 2x4s were crucial to the structure.
We cut new holes on the side of the wall (where the stairs are), and attached new duct work going down and over that direction instead.
One of my brothers also rewired and moved the thermostat and doorbell to the stair side as well.
My brother cut out these pieces of wood and glued them together to make dividers for cabinets.
He also drilled all the holes you see so we could move the shelves up and down.
Here I am staining the wood.
I cut out holes at the back so we had a spot to run cables through.
Sorry about the fuzzy picture, but this is the only one I could find from the process.
So we had three bottom cabinets/shelves, one main area in the middle for the tv, and the top shelf for decor items.
In the middle you can kind of see an outlet my brother added, and the sides kind of slant in.
We did that on purpose because the return air vent went down behind one side, and we wanted it to look even.
This is what our garage looked like for about a month :)
As soon as we were able to we put the tv in it's spot.
I later added trim across the middle, and all around the outside to finish it off.
The middle shelf was wood, and the two side shelves were a plexiglass type material.
The finishing touch was the double door you can see in the picture below.
I simply cut to rectangle shaped pieces of oak, then glued some trim around the outside edge to give it a slight design, and added door handles.
You can also see the return air vent and thermostat by the stairs to get a better idea of where they ended up.
We loved the way it turned out! We like cozy and comfy, and having our family room set up this way was exactly who we were, and to me that's what making a 'home' is all about, making it a comfortable inviting place for loved ones.
Thanks for reading!


  1. It looks great! It a much better use of the space.

    I like how it's a built in and so it doesn't take up any space in your room.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, we were definitely excited there wasn't anything behind the wall that would make it not work!

  2. Oh wow that is the perfect place for an entertainment center and it looks amazing in the space! Glad you took the initiative to make the space your own. Thanks for linking up for this week's let's be friends blog hop!

  3. Congrads on your new home. It's lovely. You did a fantastic job on the build in entertainment center! So happy to find your great blog at the link up today

  4. Built-ins are awesome and allow so much space a typical piece of furniture would take up. I wish I had one!
    Thank you for sharing on the Wake Up Wednesday link party.
    We hope to see you next week!
    Kate |

  5. This is so cool! Hats off to a family of crafters!

  6. That turned out really nice! Thanks for linking up to Idea Box!


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