Our House in Charlottesville // The Finished Product… Or Not!

I showed you the “before” photos of our house here, the “in between” photos during our renovation here, and then… I never came back with the final product! Because, to be honest, there is no “final” version of our house, especially when:

  • You have lived in it for less than a year, so it’s still very much a work in progress.
  • Your beautiful dog has 8 puppies in March (?!) and so the configuration of your home and yard changes for 8 weeks as you raise them.
  • You have a baby on the way (ONE MONTH TO GO), and so you’re going to be doing some necessary room changing and redecorating before he arrives (or at least you hope it will be done before he arrives).

All of this has prevented me from saying, “Yes, here is the perfect chance to take photos of our finished, completed house!” But I know a few of my friends have been waiting eagerly for these photos, and our house as it is right now captures a stage of life that will be here and gone.

So… here goes nothing!


Here is the entrance to our house today:

You can see what it looked like when we moved in right here. We worked hard to make this a useful, brighter space by adding the mirror and all the matching gray furniture. The padded bench includes storage for gloves, hats, mittens, sunscreen, sunhats, the Ergo, our picnic blanket… the list goes on and on!

I’m planning to move that plant (should I?), and I’m also planning to spray paint the white mirror a deep gold. Buuuut that’s a project I’ve been talking about for months. (I don’t really paint furniture. Never have. Maybe one day will. So intimidated by it!)

Shoe cabinet (this thing is amazing) and the entrance to the master bedroom (and Apartment B, as explained in this post). The open front door and the entrance to the living room/Apartment A.


Now let’s walk up the stairs to the attic playroom… Before I finished decorating this corner of the playroom…
… and after! That lamp needed a shade. But, to be honest, I move things around all the time up here. The only thing I can’t move is the bookshelves, which Elliott strapped to the wall. Great peace of mind!

I’ve read a lot of books over the years about Montessori-style learning, and many of those principles are incorporated into the playroom: toys easily accessible at the kids’ height, objects and games made from natural materials and most without batteries, and a place for everything (and everything in its place… most of the time!). This book is a great place to start if you want to learn more about the Montessori method. My all-time favorite book about simple play spaces (and much more) is Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne (<– and that’s a blog post I wrote about it in 2011!).

Looooooots of dress ups in that chest! The kids and their neighbor friends spend hours putting on plays for the parents with those clothes.

Remember when this space was completely unfinished, with no electricity or light fixtures, old broken windows, and the floor was damaged wood? It’s one of the most rewarding transformations of all!

The playroom is so much fun right now, but it’s about to get even better, I think. The big kids will be moving up here in a couple of weeks before the baby arrives. Elliott and I just need to hang blackout curtains first… and get the AC fixed so it’s cool enough to sleep at night! Their little white beds will go under each eave. I am excited to show you photos after the move! I think it’ll be so cute and even more functional than it is right now.


Those first two photos were of our living room at Christmastime. After the holidays, Elliott and I moved some furniture around and finished hanging artwork, and now it looks like this:
And here is a panoramic photo of the whole room:

Our goal in this room was to provide plenty of seating for guests so that we could host friends and family, and we certainly did that at Christmas when Elliott’s entire family (11 adults and 4 kids) spent most of three days in this room! The white couch also folds down to be a single bed, and we’ve used that a lot lately. We also can blow up an air mattress in the attic playroom if we host a couple. Neither option is ideal, but both work for now until we have a designated guest room in the future.

For the curious, almost all the furniture in our living room is from World Market. I did find the rustic industrial coffee table on Amazon, and the bookshelf is an antique find from our newlywed days on Capitol Hill. The blue chair is from IKEA, and it’s so comfortable and has held up very well!


We love this room! We spend a LOT of time in here with meals and snacks and schoolwork and craft projects, and it is a pretty, cheerful space. The dining table expands to fit up to 6 adults comfortably, but we’ve packed a dozen people around it at Christmas and done ok. ;)

For the curious, the light fixture is from Pottery Barn, the dining table and kids table are from IKEA, the midcentury modern dining chairs are from Amazon, the kids’ chairs are from Stokke, and most of the shelf organizational pieces are also from IKEA. The rug is from Rugs USA, and I love it — highly recommend!

The bathroom right off the dining room doesn’t look like much, but I try to keep it neat and tidy all the time. Everything has a very strict place (extra bath mat hung as soon as baths are over, white shower curtain always closed, two towels folded in thirds so they fit on the towel rack, etc.), and these standards keep this heavily-used bathroom pretty tolerable!


Oh, this kitchen! It’s is tiny, and there is no dishwasher, and all the appliances came with the apartment when we bought the whole house, but… I love it despite all its flaws.

I’ve trimmed down every excess kitchen item I can think of so that I keep the essentials at my fingertips, and everything in this kitchen works hard (especially me, haha). I spend a lot of time washing dishes at this sink!

Those photos were all from around Christmas. I recently added a walnut magnetic knife strip to get rid of my knife block and save counterspace. I also bought a white magnetic paper towel holder, and now my paper towels are on the side of my fridge instead of my counter, which really helps, too.

Even though it’s small, we make many wonderful things in this little kitchen! Lena is posing with a chicken pot pie about to go into the oven, and below the kids are helping me make naan to go with our dinner of chicken tikka masala.

If/when we renovate this house, the kitchen will probably be the biggest and most wonderful change. In every single house we’ve lived in since we got married, I have been blessed by getting a brand new or top-of-the-line kitchen (Capitol Hill, Sicily, San Diego), so this little kitchen is a good place for me to get creative and keep things simple.

Elliott has offered multiple times to get me a portable dishwasher or even get one installed, but honestly I just can’t justify it. A portable dishwasher would be huge in this space, and an installation would involve demolition and the purchase of a machine in a kitchen that will probably only be like this for another year or so. I might change my mind when I’m exhausted with a new baby, but for now I don’t mind the calm of washing dishes in a quiet kitchen. Dish washing is “boring” so I generally get left alone while I’m cleaning up! ;)

Whenever I get frustrated (or the egg carton slips off the crowded countertop and I break six eggs again), I remember that this kitchen was intended for ONE person living in a small one-bedroom apartment, and yet we are a family of almost six living in two combined apartments… but still with just one tiny kitchen. I’m looking forward to larger appliances and more counterspace one day, but in the meantime, I’ll keep it simple and make it work!


As a child, I remember thinking that my parents’ bedroom was the one room that always got forgotten. We moved every few years for my dad’s job, and my mom transformed every dusty shell of a house into a gorgeous, comfortable home. My parents’ bedroom, though, had the most basic furniture and the same bedspread throughout my childhood, and there were generally books and papers and odds and ends piled everywhere. I thought, “I’ll try not to do that as an adult…”

… but the truth is, that is often how our bedroom is! Elliott works from home, and our bedroom is right next to the entrance to our house, so a lot of our mail, packages, and “to do” items end up in this room. We also keep our printer, shredder, filing cabinet, and family’s laundry basket in here; there just isn’t a better place for any of these things. If we ever renovate, Elliott will have an office!

My way of keeping the mess under control is to (a) make the bed neatly every single day and (b) keep our clothes out of sight in drawers or the laundry basket. With a baby joining us soon, Elliott and I are going to have to get rid of some of the things that have piled up in there, but in the meantime… you get one picture of the neatest part of this room, and that’s the only photo I have!

As for furniture sources, you’re probably sensing a theme here. ;-) Our bed, bedside tables, and bookshelf are all from IKEA, and you can’t see our Hemnes dresser and Brimnes wardrobe on the other side of the room, too. The jute rug is from Rugs USA.


After months of procrastinating, I finally organized the huge and beautiful bookshelf in the kids’ bedroom. There is still a lot going on in this space, but it feels much better organized now. Here are some photos taken at Christmastime (with glimpses of the bookshelf before I tidied it up):

If you’re curious, the kids’ beds are from IKEA and will expand to full-length twin beds as they grow. Their dresser is also from IKEA, and the glider and ottoman are by Dutailier. The rug is also from Rugs USA.

It’s hard to tell here, but the smaller tiles on the floor are actually a deep Mediterranean blue. I tried to make the bathroom feel clean and crisp with bright blue towels and rugs and a simple white shower curtain. Keeping it clean and clutter-free helps too!


Remember when this room was the kitchen for Apartment B (more photos in this post)? Our contractor ripped out the sink and cabinets, and a plumber installed a washer/dryer hookup and a utility sink to turn this into a laundry room. On the other half of the room, our contractor removed the stove and oven, and we put Forest’s crib and shelf there.

I planned to have artwork hung over his bed before I shared this post, but… clearly didn’t happen! My plan is to get a few prints of baby woodland creatures from Etsy to hang on the bare walls. We’ll see if I actually ever get it done! His crib is the Bloom Alma Max, and his shelf is from IKEA.

I thought we’d be able to do laundry while Forest was sleeping (white noise!), but it’s just too disruptive.  Oh well! I have gotten very good at starting a load of laundry first thing and getting it washed and dried before he goes down for his nap around 12pm. Not so great at folding it before 9pm, though…


Elliott gets all the credit for our garden, both in the front yard and the back. He spent hours and hours in the winter planting hundreds of flower bulbs, but unfortunately they all came up around the time our puppies were playing in the front yard each day, and they totally destroyed each flower just as it was blooming. So sad!

I took these photos earlier today!

Now the puppies have been in their new homes for one week, and Elliott didn’t waste any time. He’s been working so hard this week planting vegetables and sunflowers, repotting rosemary and foxgloves, hanging flowering planters, and even installing new mailboxes for us and our tenants. He also built a structure with trellises and chicken wire in the backyard for passion fruit vines to grow over so that the kids will have a cool green cave to play in later this summer!

Elliott and I also spent a while last night choosing patio furniture now that the weather is nicer (cough… already hot… cough) and the puppies won’t be chewing on our new lounge chair legs. I’m excited to sit on the porch on pretty days with our new baby so soon!

Anyway, as can be seen by the big bags of potting soil and the random pots in the garden, there is still a lot of work to be done. As always! The joys and trials of home ownership — the projects are never finished. The rewards are so great, though.

And there you have it. Our home in Charlottesville, a work in progress, but a very dear place to all of us already in the nine short months we’ve lived here. I hope it looks like a welcoming, loving space with lots of room to learn, grow, and rest, both for our family and for visitors. That is what we aspire to, after all, according to the name of this blog! “Making room for a simple, hospitable life.” May it always be so.

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21 Responses to Our House in Charlottesville // The Finished Product… Or Not!

  1. Clydette Powell May 15, 2018 at 8:31 pm #

    Becca, what a transformation!!! And you have such an artistic eye plus a real caring for the environment for your children. If I could be a kid again and vote for where I would live, it would definitely be in your home. I loved that bookshelf that went from floor to ceiling and around the door. I want one of those too!!

    • Becca May 16, 2018 at 7:07 pm #

      Thank you, Clydette! That bookshelf was one of my favorite features right from the beginning. I’m glad it’s all organized now, though… that hung over me for a long time!

  2. Grammie May 16, 2018 at 5:54 am #

    It’s darlling! Every room is decorated so thoughtfully, and it’s evident that there’s lots of love and care for the family oozing from it. It seems to me it’s a secure home for the children, providing them with that great attic space as well as fun bedrooms and lots of books…so much to enjoy!

    • Becca May 16, 2018 at 7:07 pm #

      Thanks, Mom. :) You have added so much love here with your visits!

  3. Poppy May 16, 2018 at 6:13 am #

    So nice! A place for everything and everything in its place. Funny how we remember the MBR in all those moves! And so heartwarming to see the IKEA tradition continue. Those folks have figured out how to do it at a nice price with beautiful things that are functional. The choices you guys have made look so comfy in the house. Love the yard transformation. So beautiful, all around.

    • Becca May 16, 2018 at 7:08 pm #

      Thanks, Dad. :) I have so many fond memories of you reading aloud at night in your room, especially in India. When there’s love in a home, it’s a palace for sure.

  4. Tina Christensen May 16, 2018 at 6:22 am #

    What a transformation! That must be so satisfying. I love what you’ve done. It looks like such a calm and welcoming home. I’m so happy for you and your sweet family.

    • Becca May 16, 2018 at 7:08 pm #

      You’re so kind, Tina! Thank you.

  5. Abi May 16, 2018 at 7:23 am #

    Yay! I’ve been waiting for this post! As always, you have made such a lovely living space for your family. You’re an inspiration to me! :) But oh my goodness, how do you survive without a dishwasher?? I love your positive attitude about the small kitchen space and “making it work!” Hope to be able to visit this summer and get the new babes together! Lots of love~

    • Becca May 16, 2018 at 7:09 pm #

      “Surviving” is the right word, not always thriving, that’s for sure. :-P I do a lot of dishes in small batches all day long! Can’t wait for you to visit again.

  6. Paty May 16, 2018 at 7:33 am #

    What a beautiful work!

    • Becca May 16, 2018 at 7:09 pm #

      Thank you, sweet Paty.

  7. Ana Marie Lingerfelt May 16, 2018 at 7:52 am #

    Looks like such an inviting and restful home! Your style and heart inspire me to pursue simple hospitality in our little space as well.

    • Becca May 16, 2018 at 7:10 pm #

      Yes! So challenging with 3 little ones, but also so rewarding. We will always be grateful for the generous hospitality you showed us this summer. You are welcome here anytime!

  8. Nicole England May 16, 2018 at 1:47 pm #

    I like the plant in front of the mirror! Also, a deep blue that matches your planter on the shelf would look good, too. Your home is just so pretty. My friend, Noele Lee, just started following your instagram because I shared how dear you are and she also just thinks your home is so beautiful. The best part is it is a reflection of your inner beauty! All right….nap time in this house and tea and a new books is calling. xoxo.

    • Becca May 16, 2018 at 7:11 pm #

      Oooh, I like the idea of a deep blue. Right now I am on the hunt for a deep blue dresser for the new baby’s room/nursery, but so far no luck. There is a lot of blue throughout our home; its definitely my favorite color! Thanks for always being so encouraging, friend. :)

  9. Jeanna May 16, 2018 at 11:46 pm #

    I’m ready for my first trip to Charlottesville. I miss you friend. Your home is gorgeous!!! Xooxox

  10. Joy May 20, 2018 at 5:32 am #

    Looks wonderful, Becca, down to the white picket fence! How fun to have your own space now!

  11. Emily Griesbeck June 20, 2018 at 11:32 am #

    Becca! Love your blog. Question: did you guys paint the interior of your house the same color as the ceilings? Do you have any white colors you recommend?


    • Becca June 20, 2018 at 1:30 pm #

      Hi Emily! Good question. I don’t know much about paint, so I am not sure if I’d do all this again, but this is what we decided. Flat white for the ceilings. Benjamin Moore White Dove for all the walls. Semi-gloss White Dove for the stairs. Semi-gloss flat white for all the trim. I was trying to copy our house in San Diego, but I think those walls were slightly more buttery, which I loved when the evening light came in. I know the trend these days is to do a light gray on walls, but that feels cold to me, and I preferred the soft cream touch with White Dove. If I could do it again, I’d add other colors, but for now that’s what we have!

  12. WeKnowRugs April 29, 2019 at 3:46 am #

    Good Job Mate, I love to bookmark your blog for future, nice writing keep up the good work, Good Day :)
    Area Rugs

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