December 7, 2014  

Home Sweet Home ~ A tour of our first home!

It’s been an insanely busy month here in the Counts household. We’ve been really focusing on our store operations PLUS we bought a house! And I cannot tell you how pumped I am about this little house that’s just waiting for lots of paint and decor. We moved in two weeks ago, and we’ve really only unpacked the essentials. And the Christmas tree (hey, that’s an essential in my book). There is still a bright orange beach towel nailed over our bedroom window. Yeah, the blinds have been purchased but have sat in their box for over a week now. Maybe this week sometime…

It’s been bittersweet to say goodbye to our lovely downtown loft apartment. And we’re definitely sad to give up living on the same block as both of our jobs. But, we’re still on the same street! It’s about 6 blocks away, so still an easy walk or bike ride except on the coldest of Iowa days.

You can count on tons of updates as we transform this little house into our home. I’m really excited to have free reign as a homeowner to paint like crazy and pound nail holes anywhere I want. We have put together a master plan of work to do on the house, and are going to try working one room at a time. So look for mood boards, tips and tutorials, and room reveals to come over the next year.

So, today I thought I’d give you a quick tour of our first home. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s all ours. And what I really love is that it is a blank slate. There is a fresh coat of gross tan paint on all the walls just dying for some color. I am very thankful that we didn’t end up with an old house that had wallpaper plastered everywhere.

Let’s start at the front door. When you walk in, there’s a tiny little entry with a coat closet. Pretty much just room to open the door and get your shoes off. You walk right into the living room. This edge of the living room is going to serve as our “entry way” and landing area. Don’t you just love the sweet arched doorways? That doorway opens into a small hallway with the two bedrooms, bathroom, and dining room.

living room west

If you look to your left, you see the living room and the doorway to the kitchen.

living room east

The living room has big windows that let in a lot of natural sunlight, which I love. A lot of the other houses we toured were really dark inside and I knew that would drive me crazy. In addition to the gross tan paint, the carpet is also a nice shade of tan. It’s new I believe, so I’m not going to rip it up right away. I need to investigate, but have a hunch there are hard wood floors under room north

Here’s the kitchen. That doorway looks out into the living room. Nice white cabinets and white appliances. Like I said, a blank slate. kitchen north

It’s a small kitchen, but I really like that the cabinets go all the way to the ceiling. There is plenty of room to store things and it eliminates the wasted, awkward space that’s usually above kitchen cabinets.

kitchen west

I have big dreams for this awkward corner. I’m thinking either lots of shelving, extending the counter to make bar seating, or creating a built-in breakfast nook. It’s small, but it will be functional someday.

kitchen nook

This is the dining room. Look at that paneling! That doorway over there leads into the kitchen. This is officially the first room that will be seeing paint. I can hardly wait to brighten it up. Oh, they even left some gross floral curtains on this window. I do love the hardwood floor!dining

There is a nice built-in hutch in the corner by the window. And there’s a big cedar closet in the opposite corner. I hear those things are good for storing blankets and clothes, so I piled all of our extra blankets in there for now. Is that what I’m supposed to do?

dining room hutch

This is the second bedroom, which David is going to use as his office until we have some kiddos to put in here one day.


The bathroom is right in between the two bedrooms. They put in a nice new white vanity that I like. And there’s quite a bit of storage in here actually, even though it looks tiny. Behind the door is a small little cabinet to store things, and a laundry chute. To the left is a good-sized closet. There’s also two cupboards above the bathtub.


And here’s our bedroom, back in the front of the house off the living room. Both bedrooms have decent sized closets. They’re not huge by any means, but a bed and a couple dressers fit in there.



The stairway is between the kitchen and dining room, and leads downstairs to this room. We’re calling it the rec room to make our house sound fancy. It’s really just cement walls and some cheapo carpet. It is a walk-out basement, which I’m really excited about. Just to the left off the edge of this picture is a door that leads out to a cement patio area with potential and the stairs are to the left of the door. I’m actually really excited about the future of this room. It has great sunlight in the afternoons.

rec room

Oh, and here are the stairs. Look at that retro metal going on. I actually think that will look really cool with some cleaning and a bit of paint. That door opens to a huge closet under the stairs.

rec room stairs

Here’s the utility/laundry room. It’s pretty sketchy, but it’s a room. We haven’t gotten a washer and dryer yet, but they’ll go back in the corner where the outlet is dangling from the wall. We have our work cut out for us in this room, but I’m thinking I’ll eventually hang some simple curtains to section off areas. Oh, and there’s sort of a bathroom back in the left corner. It’s a dark corner with a toilet 🙂


And the final room is this beauty, our future craft studio.It’s just cement floor and cement walls, but it has a couple windows and, strangely enough, it even came with that pencil sharpener on the wall to your right there. How strange is that?! That door leads outside as well, which will be great for spray paint projects.

craft room

On the opposite wall from the door are some really fancy built-in shelves, haha.

craft shelves

That’s all the rooms! It’s so much space compared to our one-bedroom apartment, that we hardly know what to do with it all! Here’s the only picture I really have of the backyard. Sorry, it’s taken through the screened window in the dining room. That is our little one-car garage. It’s not much, but it sure beats scraping our windshield every morning. Look, we even have a clothesline and an overgrown sandbox! I have grand visions of an awesome patio back here.


Thanks for coming along on the house tour! I am so excited to have a place that’s truly mine, and I’m nervous but excited to begin testing my home improvement skills. Between Google and Pinterest tutorials, I’m feeling pretty good about turning this house into our home. Stay tuned for lots of updates as we go along! I am already really pumped to do a one-year later blog post and see our progress in each room.

If you have any grand ideas for a room or tips for a first time homeowner, I’m all ears. Comment below, I can use any help you’ll give me!

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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a mom juggling two young kids and being a working mom with a corporate job. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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  1. It’s been a little bit since I’ve followed up and commented on some blogs I follow, yours is one! I am so excited for you in your recent house purchase! Doesn’t it just feel amazing to have a blank Canvas to make your own?!? You are right, no wallpaper is a definite plus, our first home was layer, after layer, after layer prior to finding the plaster… not sheet rock below. It would’ve been better to demo all the walls and start from scratch. Thank goodness when we bought our Iowa house it had only one room with a boarder wallpaper. Can’t wait to see some later post after you have settled in! Congrats again!

  2. AHH! This makes me ever so excited for you!! I can only imagine and anticipate the work you are going to do with this blank slate!! I totally agree with the statement of being thankful you didn’t get a house covered in wall paper…! Lucky 😉

    My tip – Before you do any major work in the basement, get past the first big rainfall and see what happens down there, moisture-wise. Our previous homeowners said they’ve never gotten water in the basement (and the painted cement floor is proof of that), and this spring we dealt with 5 inches of water! Thankfully it is mostly unfinished at this point, but some things we had stored down there got rusty or moldy and had to be thrown out. Over the winter, Mitch is going to be installing tiling so that some day we can finish it and maybe add a bedroom.

    I am so jealous of your white kitchen!! I want to come craft with you someday in that craft room! Jealous!!

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