House Tour: Shanna's Home (part I - downstairs)

We're going to be focusing more on home and style here at Swoon (vs. weddings).  We have so many exciting changes in that regard coming very soon!  Because of this shift, you will get to see and know a lot more of our homes.  So, I thought it was fitting that I'd give you a little tour of my sweet little home.

Back in 2004, we bought our house (a small brick 1942 colonial) from the home's second owner.  I actually bought the house unseen: I was up in Northern New Jersey in the middle of a six-month long trial.  This was just when real estate started to boom and houses were flying off the market in moments.  My husband called me and said, "I found our house.  You have to trust me. You will love it. Can I bid on it?"  I felt much better when he sent me pictures and my mother-in-law sent a very detailed description of the inside (much better than his, "it's brick ... I think it has three bedrooms ... it's really nice ... you'll love it.").  He turned out to be right: I do love it, and it has been a wonderful home.  Now with two kids and one cat, we're feeling a bit pinched for space, but we have plans to move in a year and a half (now that our attempt at buying and selling has fallen though).

We were pretty lucky, as the folks who sold us the house had done a ton of updates to the space (gorgeous landscaping, new kitchen, added on a half bath, finished the basement, built a sweet storage shed out back).  The house had great bones but needed some updating to our taste, and that's what we've done over the past 6 years.  We also added a fence, replaced the furnace and hot water heater, prettied up the laundry room, replaced the windows, rebuilt the front walkway and replaced some major appliances.  I have repainted every room in the house at least once (and have plans to do more painting!).

Without further ado, behold my lovely little home.  This is how it looks now, and in a future post, I'll be sure to do befores and afters.

Living Room:  our living room was pastel green when we moved in.  I hated the color, so I painted it "Parisian Taupe" by Behr.   It took about 5 years of living here before we settled on the current layout, which works so well.  We have a loveseat and sofa (Fresno by Raymour & Flannigan) that repels stains like no one's business; a wall-mounted flat screen tv (to free up much needed floor space);  a functional and stylish secretary desk to hold computers, bills & bank account stuff, and  files; dark storage ottomans that serve as a coffee table and hold lots of blankets and toys; a bench and shelf combo that work as an entryway mudroom, where we hang coats, purses and store jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, etc.; and a few baskets tossed around the room that look pretty but hold toys, our printer and magazines.

Dining Room:  When we moved in, the dining room had taupe and white wallpaper above the chair rail and taupe paint below.  While the wallpaper was tasteful, it wasn't my taste, so down it came (I highly recommend using or renting a steamer to take down wallpaper - easy peasy!).  I painted above the chair rail a deep bold red and lived with that for a few years, but quickly tired of it.  Because the dining room and living room are open to one another, I repainted the dining room the same Parisian Taupe as in the living room.   We have a beautiful bay window, which is showcased in the room.  A few small pieces of furniture to hold china and linens.  The chandelier has undergone many transformations. It was brass when we moved in.  When I painted the room red, I changed the chandelier to an antique copper.  Recently, I repainted it black.

Kitchen:  This room was wallpapered when we moved in.  This wallpaper was not at all my taste either (a medium mustard color with a terracotta fleur-de-lis looking stamp on it).  The cabinets are Kraftmaid and white, which you know I love.  Appliances were all white.  The kitchen floor always garners tons of compliments: it's a terracotta Mexican tile.  Around the same time that I painted the dining room red, I tackled the kitchen.  I steamed off that wallpaper and painted the kitchen a soft yellow.  After living with it for a few years, I decided to go with a cooler tone and repainted the room a cool greyish-blue/green called Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.  We recently replaced the stove with a stainless model. Love it.

Half Bath:  The half bath has a chair rail and when we moved in, it was taupe under the chair rail and that same pastel green in the living room above the rail.  I was not a fan.  A few months after we moved in, I decided to repaint it a "soft" butternut squash color.  This is when I learned the very important lesson to invest in paint samples before you commit to a color.  What looked rich and warm on the paint chip was, in reality, bright! electric! neon! orange! in my powder room.  I lived with the color for a year or so and then repainted it the same colors as the kitchen (first yellow and now Sea Salt).

Basement:  the former owners finished off the basement and used the room as a den.  We've since turned it into a playroom for our kids.  We have a TV armoire and chair down there, too, for the adult who sits and watches them play.

Laundry room:  Oh, the laundry room.  Honestly, it wasn't that bad before.  It's in the unfinished part of the basement and is totally functional: washer, dryer, little wall-mounted cabinet, utility sink.  We had seen some terrifying basements with serious water issues in our house hunt, so this one seemed just fine.  The former owner had hung some large sheets of plastic along the back wall of the room, which is still kind of a mystery to us.  This year, I took on this room as a project and with a little plywood, masonry paint and concrete floor paint and a *lot* of mess, I transformed a once kind of scary room into a sweet little finished nook.

There you have it!  The downstairs rooms of my home.  On Thursday we'll go upstairs and check out the rooms up there.

See you swoon,


  1. Shanna your home is just lovely!! I especially love the bedrooms, they are sooo pretty!! You have a great eye!! I am your newest follower, I love you and Jamie's blog!!! Good Stuff!!

  2. Hi Noelle! Thank you so much! I followed you right back. Can't wait to read more on your lovely blog!