Max+Liz//At Home Engagement Session

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Max+Liz//At Home Engagement Session

I was so excited when Liz suggested we do her engagement photos at their newly renovated home! Of coarse that is right up my alley and I could not wait to see what all they had done! It was beautiful. She took me on a tour and told me everything they did during the renovation which definitely sparked even more excitement for the shoot. We found out we have a very similar style. There were also stockings hung and wreaths on the windows; Christmas decorations always make me smile. And Obi, their beautiful red lab puppy, joined in on the pictures. 

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Our Home Renovation

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Our Home Renovation

Justin and I have spent a little time away this weekend so I finally found some time to write this post! I am so excited to share more about our home reno with you all! First, a little back story.

So back in January, Justin and I decided to list our first home for sale for many different reasons, but we really felt that God lead us to that decision. So the last weekend of May, we sold our first home after only 14 months! We had been looking for a new home to buy while ours was on the market and went through a few heartbreaking outcomes of some offers on a few houses. So when we closed on our house, we moved in with my in-laws for a temporary amount of time while we looked for our next house. I know what some of you are thinking, "What?! How did she do that? I could never live with my in-laws!!" and I got that response a lot! But honestly, I have the best in-laws anyone could ever ask for! They took our family in during a very stressful time in our lives....selling a house, moving our life into storage, preparing to have baby #2 in just a number of weeks, a toddler who was quickly approaching her terrible twos and our 100 lb. chocolate lab came along!! We shared a living area, a kitchen and invaded their home with all of our things including LOTS of baby stuff!! I think they are the ones who sacrificed for sure! 

A few weeks went by and we still hadn't found a house to buy so we decided to put it on hold for a bit and just prepare for Rynlee to join our family. So much of my nesting, pregnant, hormonal self wanted our own home to bring our baby girl home to, but little did I know it would be well worth the wait! God had the perfect house for us just around the corner...and not a minute sooner either haha! The week before Rynlee made her appearance, we went to see a newly listed home one evening when Justin got home from work. We were the first people to see it and there were two cars pulling up when we left that night to take a look! We had our offer in by 9 pm that night and the seller accepted the next afternoon. 6 days later we had our second daughter. While we were in the hospital, we were talking with our realtor and even signing a few documents to make everything official. We got Rynlee home and the next week I was meeting with a contractor to start making our renovation plans! And Rynlee even tagged along :) The dates were set and we closed on our new house July 30th! And then the fun began! Our 7 week reno!

Disclaimer: This is not all the work we have done on the house but I felt like it needed to be broken up into different posts...one because our bathrooms are a construction zone and two because it is really hard to photograph your house with a two year old and a baby! I'll let you in on a little secret, these rooms really were not that clean...I just moved all the junk from one side to the other ;) And I am pretty sure there were dishes in the sink...it is just super deep! Just because you do a home renovation and make it look awesome by design, doesn't mean you automatically have a clean house! It gets dirty just like any other home! Even Joanna Gaines' house gets dirty ;)

Here we go...the before and after!

This is what you saw right when you walked in the house. Blue slate floors, blue walls, chair railing...EVERYWHERE! And outdated light fixtures. Well we changed all of that...

We replaced the flooring through out all of living areas to be the same to create an even flow. New paint (SW Oyster Bay) and an updated light fixture!

The living room and dining room. Blue everywhere. Oh, so much blue! Blue carpet and blue walls! All original flooring in the home. which was built in 1974, and it definitely felt like it!

Progress!! My awesome husband and a few other really generous people, including my father in-law, put in a lot of time and sweat into ripping out all the carpet, nails and tack boards in the whole house!!

The new flooring adds a much needed richness and warmth to the house. We also updated the paint here (SW Silver Strand) and opened up the wall and doorway dividing the living area and dining room by installing an engineered beam to create a more open concept. We also updated all the light fixtures and electrical outlets throughout the house and scraped, mudded and painted all the popcorn ceilings to bring this home up to date!

This was the original view from the dining room into the kitchen. Here we removed the chair railing, moved that dividing wall four feet into the dining room to make it flush with the living room wall (pictured above) and made a much larger kitchen. This dining room could have fit the knights at the round table! It was huge! I like the idea of having a bigger kitchen instead! We also opened this doorway to a 7.5 ft. wide cased opening.(pictured below)

and a little peek at the new kitchen!!! But first, you have to see the original!

Sooooo dated!! The wallpaper, the ceiling fan in the kitchen, the chair rails, the small boxy kitchen area....I said goodbye to all of it!! And hello....

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Completely new, beautiful, clean, white kitchen!!! This was the heart of the renovation and my pride and joy! I had so much fun designing this and making decisions! It was a complete gut job! Everything from new custom cabinetry to the ceiling, a custom vent hood, new appliances, quartz counter tops, new light fixtures, a new breakfast bar, new flooring, and new subway tile. Seriously the only thing we left that was original was the pantry and the location of the sink and appliances(with the exception of the fridge) to keep us from having to move waterlines and pipes! Which definitely saved some money!! Moving the wall 4 ft. into the dining area allowed us to have more cabinetry and our fridge on the far wall and kept the open concept flow we wanted.

I love our new kitchen!! But we also opened up the family room to the kitchen and made it into a playroom so I could see the girls while I was cooking, cleaning ect. And that was a big deal for me! 

This was where the fridge was originally and there were upper cabinets. Once that was removed you saw this...

The lovely wallpapered wall and eat-in kitchen area dividing the kitchen and paneled family room. I wanted the open concept, so this whole wall had to go! But on the other side of this wall there is a beautiful fireplace that we couldn't get rid of, nor did I want to!

And this is what it became! I decided to have the solid wood, tongue and groove paneling from the family room (turned playroom) wrap around the back of the fireplace. I wanted it to seem like it had been that way all along and make these two rooms flow together as if they were meant to be that way. The open concept was important for me as a mom and to have a house suitable for entertaining! We love having people in our home!

Here it is from the playroom side. This beautiful, original solid wood paneling was hard to paint over but I knew it would be the best decision to update the home. Especially since this room and the kitchen needed to flow together. And I am so happy with the outcome! 

We were able to get rid of the bookcase and the doorway on either side of the fireplace so that the ceiling was continuous all the way through to the kitchen as well as the flooring. Having the line of sight between the two rooms really made a huge difference. We also replaced both the french doors in the kitchen as well as the sliding door in the paneled room to match. This really brought the two rooms together as one space. 

And just one plus was that I was able to use the pipe shelving I made in our first house! It fits perfectly in the nook between the kitchen and playroom and makes for great shelving for all the books and toys! Sometimes things just work out :)

And now my beautiful daughters have this great playroom to learn and play. But with all of that aside, I am just so grateful to have had the opportunity to do something like this! It has always been a dream of mine to have our own fixer upper and be able to re-design my own home and make it our own. And that dream came true. I can only say that I know God really knows our hearts, even in the things that seem really far off or unnecessary in this life. I mean I would have made it through life just fine if this opportunity never presented itself, but He loves us and He wants us to enjoy this life and the things He has given us. I am just thankful to know Him and to be able to tell our girls as they grow up in this home and make memories that it all came from Him. I want to be able to open our home to people around us and use it to love people. That is the best part about all of this. All the designing and the before and afters are GREAT but knowing that it all came from Him and using it for His glory is even better. I cannot wait to see what is in store for us in this house over the next years! We love it so far! Our house is now our home with our own personal touch! 

If you guys have any questions about the design process please comment below! Where I got light fixtures, what paint colors I used, design choices etc.! I would love to help you all make your visions a reality!

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Carey+Ben

Carey and Ben recently got married in Athens, Ga at The Hill. This was my first time photographing at this venue, and I loved it! Mr. Epting has some truly amazing old homes on this property. One of which he calls home. The white house where Carey got ready was probably my favorite and Mr. Epting told me it is the oldest, original home in Athens. There was so much charm in the house, like original, natural shiplap walls! (All the heart-eyed emojis!) I could have photographed in that house for days. Which was great considering it was pouring the whole day of the wedding. But Carey and Ben were ready for any change in the schedule in case we had a moment of sunshine! The day actually ended up being really beautiful. It stopped raining just in time to get all the photos done outside before the ceremony and they were able to stick to their original plan of their beautiful outdoor ceremony in the garden on the property. Carey+Ben's wedding turned out to be just as they had hoped! All their friends and family were there to celebrate with them and danced the night away with Ansley Stewart and the Replaceables! (Who are amazing!) Thanks you, Ben and Carey, for allowing me to be a part of your special day!

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