Skip to content
November 16, 2013 / JustinKays Porter

One Year at Burrows (Part I)

I must apologize for my prolonged absence from the blogosphere. It's a funny thing: when the days are long and the sun is warm, I find myself out doing projects, not writing about them! With the onset of shorter days and cooler temperatures (and the fact that I've had multiple people ask me what happened to the blog), I have decided to stage my return!

Instead of starting with the details of the projects we've completed over the last several months (I know, I KNOW, it's been awhile…), I thought it would be more fun to hook you back into the blog with two massive before-and-after, whole-house posts: one for inside, one for outside. In October 2012, we met our future home for the first time. We drove down to Campbell the day after one of my best friends got married in Marin, and only a few weeks after Justin had knee surgery. Needless to say, we were tired, and I think Justin was on pain killers of some sort, but this was our first chance to see the house and we couldn't pass it up. And I will be the first one to admit that I didn't see the potential…

I guess you could say I couldn't see the trees through the forest? When we first came to Burrows, the house (and west wing and garage and shop and backyard and miscellaneous structures) were so full of stuff that I just couldn't get my head around the potential of the house and it's good bones, the size of the lot, the great neighborhood, or the shop (I will say that I was thrilled that we wouldn't have to fight about who could park in the garage and where all the tools would live). You'll see the pictures; every square inch of outdoor space was covered and being used as extensions of the shop, and every wall in the house was covered with shelves.

I must also admit that it didn't take me much convincing that buying the house was a good idea. It's a good thing Justin saw everything the house and the lot could be. I was still apprehensive about the whole thing until we really got in there, refinished the floors, painted EVERYTHING, and moved all of our stuff into the house. Then I had that light-bulb, “aha” moment. I love my husband and his good judgement πŸ™‚

Now, before I show you all the pictures, I just have to take one small paragraph to say thank you. Thank you to everyone (and there are a lot of you!) who have helped us. From navigating the loan and title process, to refinishing floors and painting, to copious amounts of weeding, to all the cleaning and demo, we could not have done this by ourselves and we are so grateful for the love and support from each of you.

Okay, enough rambling for now. There will be plenty of time for rambling in future posts that are dedicated to filling in the blanks from the last few months. Without any further musings, here are the before and after pictures of the inside of Burrows, and a list of the projects we've completed in a year. It's amazing the difference a year (and some blood, a lot of sweat, and a few tears… mostly of joy!) can make!

Watch for the before-and-after outside post, hopefully coming through tomorrow πŸ™‚

Living Room

Hopefully it's obvious, but the before pictures will be on the top (or left side), and the after pictures on the bottom (or right side). Here is a list of whole-house projects we completed:
  • Removed carpet
  • Patched, refinished, and sealed original hardwood floors (special thanks to my dad, Papa, and Lucas for this massive undertaking!)
  • Painted walls, ceiling, and trim
  • Installed baseboard and quarter-round

And a list of living room specific projects:

  • Replaced the grimy curtains with plantation shutters
  • Installed a ceiling fan
  • Moved in our furniture, hung some art, and decorated (and bought and rearranged things as necessary!)

Dining Room

  • Replaced grimy curtains with plantation shutters (even though you can't see it in this photo)
  • Refinished and painted the dresser and dining room chairs
  • Made a mason jar chandelier
  • Hung an oversized print of our favorite photo from our honeymoon in Argentina


  • Cleaned. And cleaned. And cleaned some more!
  • Ditched the fluorescent shop lights for something easier on the eyes (and with dimmers, too!)
  • Hung some art to cover the ugly electrical box
  • Got a “new”, hand-me-down dishwasher that works great
  • Got a “new”, hand-me-down refrigerator that doubled our PG&E bill, and subsequently purchased an actual new refrigerator
  • Demo-ed the “west wing”… More about this tomorrow, but by removing that add-on to the house, we allowed a serious amount of natural light in through the kitchen window


  • Installed picture shelves to display our favorite travel photos (which you can't really see I this photo)
  • Removed the western inspired “coat rack”
  • Added trim and painted all the doors, including the doors into the bathroom, office, bedroom, guest room, and the hall closet cupboard doors (we also did this for the closet doors in the bedrooms)


  • Removed the shelving on every wall and patched all the holes left behind (I wasn't kidding about this before…)
  • Moved in and created a nice space for Justin to work from home and for me to sew πŸ™‚
  • We also did some serious closet management in here to make this tiny closet work for us


  • Installed a ceiling fan, which also replaced the gross light fixture that was in here
  • Moved in
  • Although you can't see it in this photo, we also hung some art, refinished a dresser, and put in a giant mirror to bounce some light off and make the room appear bigger and brighter

Guest Room

  • Removed the shelves and filled in the holes (just like the office)
  • Moved in, and as far as we can tell our guests like this little spot just fine!
  • The second photo is a pretty good shot showing the door detailing we worked on in all the rooms


We haven't done much here, but a little bit went a long way!
  • Installed a curved shower curtain rod and a bright white, cotton shower curtain (that really brightens things up!)
  • Installed a new light fixture over the sink
  • Ditched the gross doily curtain over the window. Yuck!

Well, there you have it folks. Hope you've enjoyed this post, and the outdoor version that will follow soon! Most of the indoor improvements we've already blogged about, and this summer was really about creating a livable outdoor space. But you'll see that tomorrow, and I don't want to give away all of our surprises πŸ™‚


One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. nancywporter / Nov 16 2013 6:26 pm

    It’s great to see a summary of all of your inside work over the last year. You two and your various crews have accomplished so much. As always, love to hear your updates. Nancy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: