Writing Prompt #74: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 36)

Week #36: Your Home.

This is perfect timing. I get to share some of the Before & After photos of our house!

Some background: Al and I purchased our house in June 2016. We live in a quiet neighborhood in Portsmouth, Virginia. After a frustrating search and a failed attempt at home-buying in 2015, which sadly stretched into a massive ordeal through early 2016, we hooked up with an awesome local realtor. Evelyn is amazing!!

Our house was built in 1967. We are the third owners. It’s two stories, with several bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, a utility room, and two garages!

Once we learned that there was hardwood floor underneath the carpets, we ripped up everything, except for the carpet on the stairs. We found a local man, Steve Hales, to refinish our floors. He and his crew worked non-stop for the better part of four days in late June 2016 to get the job done. They turned out absolutely gorgeous!

These four photos show what one of the bedrooms used to look like. This was after the floor was finished, but before we painted. The bubblegum pink wall had decorative paneling on it, and we spent the better part of a Sunday removing ever piece of wood, all the nails, and patching the ridiculous number of holes!

One cool thing – Three of the bedrooms had decorative paneling, and we found writing and signatures from the first owners behind it! It was like a treasure hunt.

This is our living room. I posted the first photo, without furniture, on Facebook the day after our floors were finished. I think it got well over 150 likes/reactions, and at least 15 people reached out to me, asking for information on who did the work. I hope Steve and his guys got some good business!

We originally had our sectional couch one way, but we ended up moving it to the opposite way, and we haven’t really changed anything since. We did upgrade to an actual TV stand, so Al’s nightstand could finally go up to our room! We also added matching blinds to the windows. Next step is finding some nice curtains!

These are two of the bedrooms. One will be the future guest room, and we’ve turned the other one (with the ceiling fan) into Al’s epic man cave!


This is our kitchen. The only thing we did here was paint the walls – Originally, it was a much darker blue. We’ll eventually replace the hardware on the kitchen cabinets, and likely kick out the “peninsula” to make some more room. But other than paint, some Murphy’s Oil Soap, and new shelf paper in the cabinets and drawers, we didn’t change anything else.

I really like our vintage Westinghouse stovetop, and our oven is in the wall! It was a bit of a learning curve at first, but I really like it. I love that I can look out the window while at the sink.


We received this awesome dining room set from church friends, whose son was moving out of an ODU apartment and didn’t need it. Many people have been incredibly generous, trying to find furniture for us. This was the table setting when we hosted Nick, Savy, and Mia last summer!

This photo also shows part of our screened-in porch. We can’t wait to do more with that down the road. For now, we have clothesline out there, and we want to put some patio furniture out there at some point!

We’ve already celebrated one Halloween and one Christmas in our house. I love these painted pumpkins! A local girl paints them. We bought a gorgeous pre-lit Christmas tree and had it in our living room. Excited to celebrate many more holidays!

All in all, I’m extremely grateful that we are in the place that we are. Once our ordeal was over in March 2016, everything started to fall into place. We’ve certainly had our challenges over the last year. Being homeowners, there are always things that happen! We’re gotten better with budgeting, improving with saving, and planning for the future. We know that our HVAC system is next on the list to be replaced, and then we’d like to get the windows replaced. We love our neighborhood, our house, and we can’t wait to make more memories together.

And don’t worry – More Before & After posts are coming soon!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth



5 thoughts on “Writing Prompt #74: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 36)

  1. I’m so glad everything turned out well for your and Al’s home! I’m still apartment living but I know that when I eventually buy a house, it will be small and quaint ha-ha! Hopefully in a forested and quiet neighourhood. It’s always nice to have a place to call home and have it feel like home too 🙂 Your house is super cute BTW 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh your little home is coming along beautifully! I love the color scheme in the kitchen, and I’m with you on looking outside while standing at the sink. Super cute! The floors do look really nice too (:
    Being the sentimental person that I am, I absolutely LOVE that you found the wall with writing on it from the first homeowner. They left their mark and that is so awesome. ❤

  3. Pingback: Getting Personal #87: September Goals Recap – Hot Shot Headlines

Leave a Reply to Laura Beth Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.