The Frog House: Before Photos & Progress

I’ve been posting about our latest real estate adventure on Instagram for a couple of months now, but I thought I’d write a bit more about the renovation process here.

A few months ago, Carter and I started to look for our next real estate project. We started our first house a year ago and we were itching to take on something else. We looked at a few but by the time we saw them, there had been multiple offers. Real estate moves so quickly here, especially properties that investors have their eyes on.

We looked at a property that had been on the market for an hour–a hoarder home in nasty shape–and when we called to place an offer, they had already received six! Since we are just doing this ourselves, we can’t be impulsive. It has to be the right fit because if it fails, we are the ones out the money. So we scanned MLS everyday and waited for the right one.

We heard about a house in our neighborhood that was going on the market the next day and we were able to see it before it hit MLS.  We basically begged the owner to sell it to us, and luckily, he did! He wanted to sell it as soon as possible, so he accepted our offer (after some back and forth)! We were stoked. It’s in walking distance from our house (we can even see it from our house), which makes it so much easier with a toddler.

We nicknamed this house The Frog House because the couple who lived here collected frog trinkets. There were thousands of frogs. Frog mugs, frog light switches, stuffed animal frogs hanging from the ceiling…so many frogs.  Oh and a frog the size of my child.

So here is what we are working with: a ranch home built in 1953. The main floor is 2590 square feet with 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms. The basement is 1200ish sq. ft. and has a nonconforming bedroom (in order to be considered a bedroom, it needs to have a closet and a safe exit to outside in case of an emergency) and one full bath.

We will add a bedroom to the basement and a half-bath upstairs, while completely reworking the layout of the entire house.


IMG_2291The exterior is nothing to write home about, unless you like to write home about lame orange houses. It’s an orange house with orange shutters and a brown door. The shrubs are so overgrown that only one garage door is usable and the front door is hidden from plain view. The grass is dead and everything about the house says, “keep driving.”

We’re going to give it a nice paint job and some landscaping, and we are going to frame out the entrance to give it more visual command. All we have done so far is rip the bushes out, but it has made a big difference, both visually and practically.


If you are saying to yourself, “wow that looks like a power strip taped to the exterior wall, not protected from water or snow or other hazards!” then you are right! Danger city. But at least we can see the front door now. Baby steps.

The entryway was SO closed off to the rest of the house. They had this weird four way wall that eliminated view to any room in the house other than the front living space. It was cramped, dark, and very sad.


This is where we are today–much better already. Still have a long way to go, but it’s open and we can see into the kitchen and backyard. The beams you see above (both the vertical and the horizontal beams) will be gone. We’re waiting on a beam expert (no idea those existed till a week ago, but very happy they do) to come and place the beam in the attic. This will make the ceiling line all one height and the entry way completely open to the living space.


kitchenbeforeThe kitchen is a total gut job. We are rebuilding it completely and adding a massive island. We opened up all the walls and will extend the wall above to the right and left. It will serve as the center of the home, both in location and in functionality. The design for the kitchen is the launch pad for the design in the rest of the house. I’m looking forward to seeing this one come together. kitchenprogress




So the previous owners added on a very strange and unusable addition. They basically added ten feet to the entire length of the house, but didn’t integrate it into the layout of the home. So it left a lot of unused space and weird kinks for us to figure out. One part of the addition was this massive utility closet. The couple was older and couldn’t have their laundry in the basement, so they moved it upstairs into this room. You can see in the above photo that there’s a window looking into this space. There are two more you can’t see in these photos but those were the original exterior windows of the home.

When we bought the house, the entrance to this room was right off the dining room, but we are converting it into a massive master bath. Like legit as big as my dorm room in college. The current master bath is tiny and depressing. It will become a walk in closet which will be accessed through the bathroom.masterbedandbathbefore

MASTERBEDWe wanted to leave as much wall space as possible in the master bedroom since it isn’t huge, which is why the entrance to the closet will be in the bathroom. We cut the window that used to look into the addition and made it into a doorway. The master bedroom isn’t massive, but the bathroom and close will be.

That’s all I’ve got for now! I’ll share the hall bath, mudroom, and basement next time. Thanks for reading!


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