Introducing… My Fifties Fixer Upper

After several weeks of edits and rewrites, I FINALLY published a (HUGE) post explaining where my head is with the whole travel-blogger-who-now-has-a-mortgage-and-a-permanent-living-situation thing.

Quick summary: my head is all over the place.

While you should check out that post for more insight into my decision to buy, I didn’t get to talk much about the house itself or the plans I have for it in that post… and let’s be honest, the plans are the fun part!

So I’d like to officially introduce my newest project:

The Fifties Fixer Upper

I’ve been trying to come up with a cute title to use for the house when I talk about it on the blog, but for now all I’ve come up with is “the fifties fixer upper”… which isn’t the most creative, but does summarize the situation pretty well.

My new house is a brick, one-level, ranch-style home built in the mid-1950s, with three little bedrooms and one bathroom. While the house itself is tiny (under 1,000 square feet), the yard is pretty big for its proximity to the city (coming off of 5 years living in apartments with zero grass, I’m very excited about the green space). I’ll have a bit more of a commute into work than I had from my previous apartment, but that isn’t as much due to the house being far away from the city as it is to Nashville traffic being a general nightmare.

As far as my first home’s ‘fifties fixer upper’ status is concerned, I want to be clear that things could be MUCH worse. In general, the house has been well taken care of in its 60+ years on this planet… it just hasn’t been updated much during that time period. Most of the fixes and updates I have in mind for the house are relatively minor, for which I’m extremely grateful… and although many of the fixtures and features are old, most are functional.

Except for the supply plumbing and the bathroom, that is.

Baby’s First Renovation

a serious commitment to pink…

The pink and white ceramic tile. The vanity that is entirely too big for the space (so big, in fact, that the bathroom has a homemade folding door because a regular door can’t clear the vanity). The pink toilet and tub. The 1950s-era galvanized pipes.

Need I say more?

This first renovation will involve replacing the bathroom floor tile, patching an area of tile on the wall that was behind the HUGE vanity so that I can install a pedestal sink instead (resulting in the ultimate installation of a real door on my home’s one bathroom: important), painting the existing ceramic wall tile and refinishing the tub, installing a new toilet, installing new faucets on the sink and tub and a new showerhead, installing a new light fixture, and last but CERTAINLY not least… adding functional supply pipes.

My Renovation Style

Chalk it up to being from the country, or to me working in finance and trying to be smart with my money where possible, or a combination of both… but I tend to be a DIY girl. If I can figure out how to do it myself, I’ll probably try. That being said, even I accept that plumbing is way outside my wheelhouse (and I’m currently trying to secure a plumber to work on my galvanized pipe situation).┬áBut I AM planning to try my hand at some tile work: maybe the fact that my grandfather used to lay tile for a living will help in this case?┬áMaybe tile is in my blood?

Cross your fingers on that…

I don’t really have an explanation for where this tendency comes from, but I LOVE older homes. Always have, always will. Therefore, I’ve always HATED renovations that are not true to the time period of the home, and I see a lot of these in Nashville because investors install the easiest materials to find (which tend to be modern builder-basics) so that they can flip the house quickly. I’ll be the first to admit that it IS easier to find a plain-jane modern sink than a 1950’s-era pedestal (believe me, I’ve been doing the legwork)… but I know myself, and I know that I won’t be able to cut corners on finding the right materials for the time period.

So wherever possible, I’m going to try to renovate things in such a way that they actually make sense in a 1950’s house, while still staying true to my personal style.

My Interior Decorating Style

already in love with this original kitchen feature wall…

While I compromised a bit on the area of town my house is located in, I (thankfully) didn’t have to compromise a lot on the style of the home itself. As mentioned above, I love older homes, and brick 1950s ranches are arguably my favorites. I’m a sucker for original hardwoods and generally any quirky original features… and this house delivers those in abundance.

When it comes to interior decorating, I certainly lean mid-century modern (another reason that the fifties fixer upper is perfect for me!) However, I have a tendency to throw some eclectic/bohemian touches in there as well… and some color. Or lots of color. I’d say that a good 90% of my existing furniture came from the Nashville Flea Market, and it has taken me years to amass quite an interesting collection of flea market finds. While some of those pieces will definitely be making appearances throughout the house, I’ve also abruptly realized that I don’t own enough furniture to fill a house (welcome to one bedroom and studio apartment life)… so my flea market finds will likely be supplemented with west elm clearance furniture, as west elm is THE ultimate mid-century modern heaven and therefore my downfall. It should also be noted that I was born with an unexplainable hatred of any metallic color that is not gold… so expect some gorgeous gold sink and shower hardware, which may bankrupt me, but what can I really do?

Gotta go for the gold.

Future Projects

Like all good older homes, I have one paneled room and one room with carpet (would it even BE an old house without some paneling and some stained carpet? I THINK NOT), so I hope to address those in the not-too-distant future. I also hope to paint my master bedroom, as it is currently the only room in the house that isn’t painted white and instead is painted a curious light turquoise color. Otherwise, my main project currently appears to be online house shopping for everything from wall tile to mid-century modern living room chairs…. (sorry, travel budget.)

THIS IS GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN!

I mean, A LOT OF WORK!

(but a lot of fun too).

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