I cannot believe it has been one year since we moved into our Utah home (shortly after this photo was taken). We packed everything we owned into a U-haul and made the three day journey from Ohio to Utah with all of our belongings. My sister came along to help, she rode with me in my 4-Runner, while Finn accompanied Emmett in the moving truck. It seems like just yesterday. We left a lot behind, but we also gained so much. A lot has happened in a year and I wanted to reflect on all the moments and share a little recap of how our house has changed! Click through to see how our first year in Salt Lake City looked…
O U R H O U S E
I’ll start with our home since that’s why most of you follow along. I remember house hunting being SO stressful! We only had a few days to find a house before flying back to Ohio. After looking at multiple properties and trying to put offers on three other homes we loved (that sold like hot cakes as soon as they were listed), this house ended up being our “happy accident”. It wasn’t what we expected, had been rented for 20 years, it didn’t have everything on our wishlist, and it certainly looked like a neglected dump… but it felt right. The sellers were pretty jaded because of trying to sell the home previously, so we had to offer above asking price. Long story short, we obviously ended up with the home and haven’t looked back!
In one short year we’ve managed to turn this place around. We still have a lot to do, and are dreaming of an add-on, but things are moving along and it feels more and more like our home every single day. So far, here’s everything we have finished…
F I N I S H E D P R O J E C T S:
- Refinished the hardwood floors
- Updated the doors and windows (and hardware)
- Addressed the front door / exterior (mailbox DIY, updated house numbers, door mat DIY)
- Finished the guest bedroom
- Finished the master bedroom (‘Get the Look‘ here)
- Updated all of the closets: his closet | her closet | office closet | hall closet | guest room closet
- Refinished the bathtub
- Updated the lighting for better efficiency
- Installed a privacy fence
- Installed a paver patio
- Landscaped the backyard
- Built custom outdoor seating
- Ran electrical and installed an outdoor fan
- Finished the backyard
- Built a new fireplace
- Finished the living room (‘Get the Look‘ here)
In real time, these things go slow, but looking back at an entire year- we’ve accomplished a lot… and big projects, at that! Take a look at some of these before and after images to sum up our year renovating:
Believe it or not, our front entryway used to look like that… purple dented door and all. Definitely not the greatest curb appeal, huh? Ha!
Inside, it was a similar story. Lots of dents, busted out trim, and mismatched hardware. Know what’s funny though? I unloaded the sideboard and that vintage hand from the U-haul and it hasn’t moved since. I always knew that was the spot for it!
We tackled the guest room first because it had the least issues, but despite the subtle change… we still did a lot: new windows, new trim, new paint, new electrical, new lighting, new closet, new hardware, new doors, new window treatments, etc.
The living room was finished most recently and it’s probably my favorite transformation thus far. The original, dated limestone fireplace just wasn’t going to cut it.
The master bedroom also got a total overhaul- including both closets! It’s finally a space we enjoy relaxing in.
The backyard was pretty impractical and dirty when we moved in, now it’s a space we fully take advantage of. We love entertaining outside and hosting barbecues.
So… that pretty much sums it up in regards to the house. We’ve been busy and I hope it shows! Next up, you’ll be seeing our bathroom before we dive head first into the kitchen reno.
N E W F R I E N D S
Since moving to Utah, we kept in touch with our friends in the Midwest, but we’ve also gained so many new friendships here in Utah. That was honestly one thing I had worried about prior to moving. I was scared I wouldn’t make a ton of friends. I can happily say, Emmett and I have both made lasting friendships with wonderful people who treat us like family. We feel really lucky to already have an amazing support system here in Salt Lake. I love meeting new people and there are good, genuine people here. From friends of friends, to work pals, and amazing neighbors- I think we really lucked out.
We even had the chance to celebrate our backyard with Utah friends AND friends who were visiting from Indiana. All of our favorite people in one place… it was pretty magical.
O U R R E S C U E P U P
Since moving to Utah, we also gained another family member! Johnny Cash, our wire fox terrier, came into our family unexpectedly. This sweet little pup needed rescued and we just couldn’t say no. He’s been my shadow ever since and Finn loves having a playmate. You can read more about his adoption story here.
He’s about as sweet as they come and not too big for our little house. Someone else’s loss and irresponsibility was totally our gain. We love him to pieces.
A D V E N T U R E
Lastly, I thought I’d touch on our favorite thing about Utah… essentially the reason we moved here one year ago: adventure. This is the most beautiful place to live. Sometimes I walk out of Target or the grocery store and just look at the mountains. The views are breathtaking, there’s so much variety in the landscape throughout the state, and we still have tons to explore.
We spent our first winter here skiing every single week, and it was a winter for the books. Literally- snowfall records were broken and we skied the best powder we’ve ever seen. We hike, we kayak, we camp, and we enjoy this gorgeous place that we now call home… and we do it together.
With each adventure comes new memories, and that’s what it’s all about. Utah is also teaching me to slow down, stop working 24/7 and enjoy life. I’m really working on taking a break to appreciate the moments as they happen… and part of that is making time for things we like doing.
We’ve also had more visitors and house guests while living one year in Utah than the entire time we lived in Ohio. We absolutely love seeing friends and family, and we feel so lucky to show them around- sharing the things we love here. Giant thank you to everyone who came out during our first year… even amongst a messy renovation. You guys are the best of the best. Next time around, I hope our house will be in a more livable condition. Ha!
I could fill this entire section up with lots of our adventure photos, but maybe that’ll be for another post. All in all, moving was the best choice for us. One year flew by, and we’re already looking forward to transforming our home and making even more memories during year two. Before I sign off, I also wanted to thank YOU guys for following our journey. I wasn’t sure how this entire renovation, move, or the blog would go… or if anyone would even care. We feel so lucky to have so many wonderful people cheering us on and offering positivity every single day. I’m certain we couldn’t do this without you, so here’s a big virtual hug for being amazing, listening, watching, and becoming my friend this past year. I truly can’t wait to see what our second year in Utah has in store. Lots of love! xox
Kim @ Yellow Brick HomeSeptember 5, 2017 at 2:58 pm
You have done SO much in a year! Doesn’t it feel so good to take a moment and look back? Your home has come such a long way, and your hard work totally shows.
SarahSeptember 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm
It really does! I’m sure you can definitely relate… but it’s easy to forget where we started / get burnt out on certain projects. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Kim!! xox
DebbieSeptember 5, 2017 at 7:18 pm
I’m super proud of you for packing up and following a dream, before too much of life happens and you can’t. We miss you here though!
SarahSeptember 5, 2017 at 8:33 pm
That means so much!! Thanks, Debbie. I miss you too! Leslie just moved into Front Street… have you ran into her yet?! xox
KateSeptember 6, 2017 at 6:43 pm
Sarah – your blog is the most realistic and fun to read for me these days! Your home is “normal” and the work that you and your husband have put into it is really inspiring. The way you tackle one room at a time with an overall plan for the whole house in mind is refreshing after some of the frenetic decorating changes that some bloggers have taken to showing – usually with sponsor ties that they constantly push. The things that you promote for your sponsors also seem real to me – you use their products and want to pass on your feelings to your readers.
Even the little things like your front porch – I love the mailbox and front door. That is the kind of project that a lot of people can tackle themselves, or with minimal professional help, and it made a big difference!
A question on Salt Lake City – is there a neighborhood that you like that is pretty urban (lofts, restaurants, shops, etc.)?
Thanks again – Kate
SarahSeptember 6, 2017 at 6:58 pm
Wow, Kate! Thank you so much. That was the best compliment. I really try to be 100% transparent and share resources we actually use and love. As much as we’d like to renovate full-time someday, we both have “real” jobs and our house / timeline probably reflects that. Thanks for taking the time to comment and point out the good- I appreciate it so much!
As far as Salt Lake goes, are you living here or moving here? There are SO many great / cute areas. I’m thinking you’d like Sugar House. Hope this helps! xox
Laurie AnneSeptember 8, 2017 at 12:33 am
GAH that backyard make over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! obsessed.
SarahSeptember 8, 2017 at 1:05 am
We’re having a fall party next week!! Wish you could come. Move to Utah!! xox
TraciSeptember 6, 2018 at 3:22 pm
Wonderful job! Thanks for sharing the pics. Utah is truly a beautiful place that I hope to visit soon and you are a true talent! Blessings!
SarahSeptember 6, 2018 at 5:13 pm
Thanks so much Traci! Utah is really amazing, I hope you can visit someday- it’s beyond gorgeous. xo