Home Reno: A Recap and The Reveal

I know it’s been SUCH a long time since I’ve written about our Home Reno project – an undertaking that we went through about a year ago. We actually have been moved back in for about 7 months now, and have been taking our time to settle in and getting to know the place again, and slowing experiencing what else needed to be tweaked, and changed.

In total, the whole renovation took about 9 months from start to finish – a couple of months for planning and design and about 6 months of construction (and us being moved out of the house). After we moved back in, it took us a good 3-4 months of living in it to see if there were any imperfections or alterations we needed to make. While we’ve been back in this home for a while, it’s only been recently where I’ve felt like we’ve really been DONE done with this project once and for all.

We also took a very minimalistic and slow approach to decorating this time around. While I usually dive head first into buying new things to outfit the house, I wanted to live in a space that was decluttered. (Also, lets be honest, after a renovation I also wanted our wallet to take a good fat rest, too.)

While we did a full house rehaul, our main focuses were the kitchen areas and the bathrooms, with those needing the most work. We also added a back studio office off our garage, since Patrick and I both work from home. We removed walls, we rewired, we re-piped – all of these things adding a lot of work and time to our “simple” home renovation. Since our house was originally built in the 1940s, not only were building codes different then, but sometimes you weren’t really sure what was behind the wall until we got back there. It took some guts, and a lot of patience to do this, but I’m sure glad we did.

The Kitchen

The main thing I wanted to change in this kitchen was the layout and the cabinetry. It drove me absolutely nuts that everything was a shade of yellow – the floors, the cupboards….it was just overwhelming. We also removed the L shaped kitchen bar counter to open up the room a little bit more, which we have really enjoyed. We also re-floored the entire house with white oak instead of that yellow wood that was there before, and that really helped to brighten up the space immensely. We also wanted more of a statement island – and since we removed the L shape island, we were able to do so. We doubled the size of the original island and we are loving having the extra space.




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Patrick and I needed more space in the Master Bathroom. The way it was initially laid out had a jacuzzi tub that took up a lot of room –  it was a feature that we never ever used. It meant that the dual sink and vanity space was squashed, and if I have to be honest, I’m kind of a product hoarder so I kind of get on Patricks nerves with my stuff spilling over everywhere. We needed more room, and we also wanted a larger shower. Our original shower felt really, really cave like and was also inadequately ventilated, which lead to mold. Not cool. The one problem we faced here was adding a bathtub into the space (we needed one, just as a re-sale feature in the Master Bath) without it taking too much room. The solution was to have a “wet area” enclosure, with the bath and shower together. Having it enclosed in glass from top to bottom also helped our bathroom feel larger, since it didn’t cut into any lines of sight.

Taking out the jacuzzi also meant having to repipe and open up walls again, so that was also a timely and costly endeavor. But we are pretty happy with the end results.




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We starting renovations with the plans of adding to our family – so we wanted to update the vintage 1940s bathroom into something more modern, but that both kids could use. The one problem with the original layout was that no one ever used the shower stall, so it was taking up valuable real estate in an already small bathroom. Also, it only had one small sink, and we wanted to expand that into two. This meant completely switching the orientation of the fixtures and relocating the toilets, the sinks, the bath/shower….which meant re-piping. Which meant opening walls. Which meant so. much. frustration and additional cost.





We couldn’t fit the two sinks into the whole picture, but there are two sinks where the old bathtub used to be; and instead of having a separate shower and bath area, it has been combined into one.


This is the bathroom that our guests use the most when they come over to our house, but it’s the smallest bathroom ever, and there wasn’t much room to update anything – the space was what it was going to be. We just wanted to give it a little update with better fixtures to better match the new house.






The last piece (but a huge piece) of the reno was the addition of our back office space. Though the years, Patrick and I have both transitioned into working from home, and we needed a separate (quiet) space to work, to take meetings and to hop on conference calls. The solution was to add on a few hundred square feet at the back or our garage for our studio. We turned an empty spot of land and built it from ground up.





I hope you enjoyed our little home tour – ill be sure to post a follow up post about things to consider when undergoing your own renovation. (And maybe some cost cutting measures….that would have been helpful for us, hah!) This has surely been a learning process, and I can’t even begin to tell you what a headache it was; how happy we are that it’s over, but also; how we finally live in a space that truly reflects our own style.

If you’re interested in the posts about our Renovation Progress Reports, you can see them all here.


A few shout outs: Thank you to my friend and our architect Melissa Hon Tsai – without her we’d have no drawings, no layouts, no back office addition, and probably wouldn’t have done the renovation at all. Thank you to my husband, who so patiently went through this process together with me and we’re still together in the end, and STRONGER. (It was STRESSFULL, y’all). Thank you  Dusty Lu Photography for the After Photos of my home. They are perfect.


3 thoughts on “Home Reno: A Recap and The Reveal

  1. canandbry08

    Wow- the remodel looks amazing! Are you planning on putting up your wall chalkboard again? I was thinking about filling up my blank wall with a chalkboard (like yours)- did you use chalkboard paint? Thanks!


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