ever since we moved last year {read about it here}, i’ve been looking for a reason to share our first home with you guys. and now that urban compass, a nyc real estate company that specializes in connecting residents with their perfect home and neighborhood, is running a new project called starter stories, it’s the perfect time.


our first house {well, really it was half of a house, being a duplex and all} is still one of the things i’m most proud of. we were young when we bought it {23 and 24 years old} and we worked so hard to get it. when we first saw the house we loved everything about it. except for the floors, the wall colors, the light fixtures, the carpets, and the lack of interesting features. ok, so really we didn’t like anything about it. but, we are good at seeing potential and since the floor plan was unique and nothing we had seen before, we knew we could make it into something great. not to mention the character that an 1885 coach house offers is something really hard to find.

beforewe began by creating a plan and listing everything we wanted to change, and although the entire duplex was only 2100 sq ft by the end of it our list was multiple pages long. we wanted major projects done like new hardwoods, tile, carpet, light fixtures, paint colors, mirrors, furniture, and accent walls, all the way down to the small things like new handles on the kitchen cabinets.

sittingour living room ended up being my favorite room in the whole house and also the one that took the longest to complete. i was lucky enough to have my mother-in-law make all of our pillows from fabric we had found which helped a lot with the cost {who knew how much pillows cost to have made?!}. also, the two chairs in the room were vintage finds that i had reupholstered at a local shop. our ottoman was custom made to fit the space and so were the drapes. luckily one of my favorite things to do is shop so i was able to collect all of the other pieces from various stores and local shops. but the biggest difference in this room came from removing the puke green color on the walls and replacing it with warm gray tones.

afterdining ^^ light fixtures were one of the first things we picked when we began selecting things for the remodel. when we started looking at them adam picked these out and showed me a picture. as soon as i saw them i immediately thought they looked like unicorn horns and refused to put them anywhere in the house. however, adam was certain they would work in the space and so i gave in and let him get the “unicorn horn lights” as we so affectionately called them. now the funny thing is, as soon as they arrived and the electrician hung them, i was in love.  and although it took me a while to admit it {i couldn’t let adam think he was right} they were my favorite fixtures in the whole house. and as it turned out adam kind of has a knack for picking out light fixtures…who knew?!


our kitchen was a lot of fun to redo. we knocked out our pantry to create more counter space, added custom backsplashes on both sides, glass shelves, and my favorite piece – a rustic wall wine rack. the wallpaper accent wall helped add color to the kitchen and the main living space and also payed a little homage to my swedish roots. we chose a crystal light fixture to add some “glam” to the space, but then balanced it out with some rustic, industrial barstools. also, the hardware on the cabinets before were these horribly hard to grab nubs, so we replaced them with longer, sleeker looking handles.

familyroomit’s hard to choose a favorite thing in our family room. the glass accent wall behind our desk, the “golden eggs” behind the couch, or my 1950s vintage chair from sweden that i had reupholstered in a fun polka dotted fabric – i just can’t decide! i was so excited that we finally had a room big enough for a big comfy sectional as well {don’t ask me why, but i kind of have a love affair with sectionals}.


i loved everything about our first home. i love that i will always remember this as the place where our lives really changed. i love that we brought gruber home to this house the first day we got him. i love that we were engaged and married while living in this house. i love that our neighbors became some of our best friends. i love that we were able to survive a complete remodel without murdering each other {just kidding, but there were some seriously stressful times}. and because of all of these things {and so many more} this house will always have a special place in my heart.


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