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our house refresh (new floors + white walls)

    Over the past month and a half, we’ve done a bit of a house remodel. For years we’ve been itching to tear out the carpet downstairs and replace it with hardwoods. We finally took the big step and finished the work right before thanksgiving.

    To start at the beginning, here is the post where I tore out the carpet in my office and painted the subfloor because painted subfloor was better than the worn carpet (I kinda miss the white floors, if I’m telling the truth. But it was not practical, at all).

    Several months later, we decided to just go for it and choose new floors. We tried out lots of samples and finally settled on this one from Build Direct.

    Then came the fun (and really messy) part: demo. We did that part ourselves – had the kids join in and made quick work of destroying our house.

    Once the floors were torn up, we took advantage of the chance to have the walls freshly painted. We’ve lived in the house for 8 years, so it was time to lighten up and give the walls a makeover. We went with white – heron white, to be exact – and couldn’t be happier with how bright and clean it looks.

    After a week of painters came a week of floor install guys, then a day of trim and then a whole lot of cleaning and moving furniture back in and ahhhhh … it’s complete!

    Do you want to see?! I snapped a few photos on thanksgiving day before our family came when everything was mostly put back together. It looks a little different today with Christmas decorations going up, but those photos will come.

    So here it is, our house with white walls and new floors.



    sofa / jute rug / cross rug / coffee table / stag



    stools / striped towel


    THE L WALL  


    (details on the L wall here and here)



    shelf / step stool / hand towel



    wallpaper / chair / sconces



    bed frame / wall color / duvet / coverlet (similar) / sheets

    We are so happy with the results. The consistent floors make the rooms flow together and the dark color grounds the space. Add in the white walls through most of the downstairs and it really gave our whole house a new look.  Of course now we look back and wish we did it much sooner!

    P.S. I’m over at Build Direct this week answering design dilemma questions. If you have any specific questions, hop on over and the team will be happy to answer (plus you’ll be entered to win $1000 to Build Direct).

    67 thoughts on “our house refresh (new floors + white walls)”

    1. Emily. I LOVE the new floors and white paint. who would have thought 10 years ago that we’d all be ravenous to paint our walls white? I just finished painting my master bright white and it feels so clean and so spa like. It took 5 coats but it was well worth it!

      About three years ago I was having a massive rug dilemma. I needed a huge rug and I didn’t want to pay a huge price for it. So I found the tarnby rug at Ikea and well…….

      I realize it’s a little getto but three years later you still would never know it’s glued and I still LOVE it! just sayin!

      PS. a month or so ago I had the most RANDOM dream that i came over to your house to borrow a big pewter bowl for a party and your kids and home were exactly like I imagined. You and Ryan were so gracious and down to earth and I felt like we had been friends for years. ha.

      1. I love your glue-the-rugs-together trick! I originally bought two so that I could copy you, but it was too big for the room. So now one sits in a closet :)

        And if I had a big pewter bowl (sounds lovely!) I would surely let you borrow it! Don’t you just love the fun people that pop up in dreams?!! xoxo.

    2. Okay so this question is kind of random. How is it going with your dog and your new wood floors ? We have new wood floors and want to get a dog soon for our kids, but are concerned about what that will do to the floors. Sounds silly but just wondering if there are any tricks u have to minimize that?

      1. He’s making a mess of them :) Not too bad, but for sure he will scratch the floors with his nails. He slips around when he tries to run so I’ve thought about getting some sort of socks/booties for him. That sounds ridiculous, but it would protect our floors and help him with traction :)

    3. Hi Emily!

      The house looks wonderful! Just wanted to say your blog was the first I started reading!
      I spotted that deer pillow on your couch. Where did you find that??


    4. Hi Emily!
      I’m a relatively new subscriber to your blog and I just wanted to stop and say, I love it! The house makeover looks phenomenal & I’m quite envious if you can actually keep it looking that good with four kids and a husband in the mix :). Thank you for the inspirations, I look forward to a long lasting relationship!

    5. Hi. I love your home. My Husband and I just bought a house. We started to paint our bedroom grey. But, then I saw a picture of a white hallway with darker wood. We then decided to go with that. I’m curious about the other color on your bedroom walls. I saw the link to the darker color. Could you tell me what color the other is? I love the contrast. Thanks for sharing. I get so many ideas from looking at your home. Happy holidays!

    6. I love your house, the floors look amazing, it must such a joy just walking around the house staring at your new floors! Especially after all the mess and chaos you would have gone through to tge here. I especially love your kitchen!

    7. I love your design style! Everything turned out so beautiful. We’re in a rental that is painted beige throughout and you’ve been a great inspiration to decorate with neutral walls. Where did you get the striped lamp shade that’s in your kitchen? I was going to DIY a lamp shade like that. Thanks :)

    8. Hi Emily, I’ve been *patiently* waiting to see the final outcome and I am crazy about it. I too have a color phobia and this re-do soothes my soul, from the dark floors to the white walls and the subtle natural textures elsewhere.

      One thing I’d like to mention is the wavy hardwoods (we have them too) really cut down on noise…the click-clack of shoes/heels. It’s a brilliant mix of body and texture to practical everyday use.

    9. Hi Emily! You are an inspiration…I always enjoy reading your blog. I can tell you put a lot of heart into your work and family. Keep it up! Hope you & yours have a wonderful holiday!!!

    10. A beautiful home, having just stumbled across your website etc I was amazed at the things you do,and how lovely you wrote the story of your home and family.

    11. I love the effect here. Not being a big fan of gray and black, do you think you could achieve the same effect with a deep dark brown and a very, very light tan/brown?

    12. Love the floors, but I still cannot get on the white wall train. I have never liked white walls, nor do I think I will. Not to say that I don’t like what you have done. You have amazing taste, its just not my thing:) But great job!!

    13. Beautiful! We built a new home a year ago and the entire house has white walls (slightly grey) and very similar flooring (ours is Shaw). So happy with it – clean and fresh! I try to add color but it never looks right, love your neutrals!

    14. I would LOVE to know if you learned the proper method for cleaning your wood floors from the people who installed it or the company you bought it from. I’m currently trying to figure out the best way to clean and it seems like lots of the information out there conflicts.

      I’d love to know all your cleaning secrets for that matter!

    15. Gorgeous! The dark floors really pop against the bright walls and your home looks light filled and inviting! We are fixing up our 1893 farmhouse on an extremely tight budget. The hardwoods are in such bad shape from 121 years of wear-n-tear and I would love them to look just like yours. Any suggestions for someone who needs an inexpensive creative solution for sprucing up tired hardwoods?

    16. Everything looks amazing!! Can you tell me about the wall sconce in your office? On the IKEA site it looks like a clamp on light, is it and if it is how did you turn it into a wall lamp? Thanks for any help.

    17. Beautiful re-do! Love the walls too. Re: the Ikea Tarnby rug, I’ve read that it can ruin hardwood floors. Might want to google ikea Tarnby rug reviews just to check into it… Enjoy your “new” space!

      1. The rug is not our favorite for the space and we’re on the lookout for a new rug. I have heard that the fibers can be bad for wood floors … we have a rug pad under, but it does make me worry!

    18. Looks fabulous – and very much like what I fantasize about living with someday. :) The contrast of the dark floors with the crisp white walls is so appealing! I’m happy for you. :)

    19. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the transformation, Emily! It’s so crisp and clean looking. We completely remodeled our home 8 years ago and are now on a mission to make some changes, as our style has completely changed. I would LOVE white walls! Did you stay consistent with the same color “white” on your ceiling and woodwork as well, or are those different hues of white?

      1. Thank you angie!

        We did the walls in heron white satin, ceilings in heron white flat and the trim is a custom match to our existing trim. It is slightly whiter and looks nice as a subtle contrast to the walls.

    20. Everything looks so beautiful and relaxing! Can you tell me about your Jute rug from Ikea? I love the look of jute and other natural fibers, but have read that they are smelly, messy, or rough to the touch. I’d love to know about your experience!

      1. We have been pretty happy with the rug. It is not woven super tightly, so it can come unraveled in high traffic zones (not one I would put in the entry). I have read terrible reviews – bad smell, scratchy texture, ruining floors – we haven’t had any of those experiences, but I can’t promise!

    21. Beautiful! I’ve loved the sconce lights in your office for awhile…but when I saw them at Ikea, I saw they only put off 200 lumens. Do you find them bright enough to work by?

    22. It is beautiful! I love it! It looks great with your granite in the kitchen, too. I recently painted a bunch of white in our house and I love it. We went with moonlight white from ben Moore. It was so hard to choose! Did you guys paint the ceilings the same color? And the trim? What did you go with for sheen on the various surfaces? Also, what color are your kitchen cabinets? Mixing whites just adds one more element! Well done!

      1. Mixing whites (whites in general!) is tricky. Here is a post about our picking process:

        We did white heron in satin sheen for the walls, flat for the ceilings and the trim is a different shade color matched to the existing trim in the house. It is gloss and a bit brighter white than the walls. I love having just a little bit of contrast.

        The kitchen is a little bit of a different story. We originally painted the cabinets and backsplash with oil-based paint (6 years ago). When the walls were painted, the kitchen suddenly looked SO yellow. I guess oil paint does yellow over time, so that was probably part of the problem, but we also used a more creamy white originally in there. To solve the problem, we took down the shelves and I painted the beadboard backsplash with the same trim white. It made a HUGE difference. Much cleaner. The cabinets are still a bit more off-white than I’d like, but we were hoping to avoid repainting them and I think the eye is tricked enough to not notice their color being slightly different.

        Hope this helps!

    23. While vacuuming on Sunday, I thought of you and your wood floors. I’m getting closer and closer to pulling up the carpet. The hall and bedrooms all have wood, the kitchen is tile, but the living room and family room are both carpet and I think I’m done… Love the look of your living room with the layered rugs.

      I believe I have the same chair that is peeking out at the lower left of your living room picture. It is in the room with a sleeping baby right now, but I will check when she wakes. The chair was apparently one of the first things my grandparents purchased when they set up housekeeping in 1930. Mine needs to be recovered (my mother had it recovered in 1976 when we inherited it). Would love to see a full picture of it.

    24. Every room looks so fresh! That’s such a cliche word for the white walls, but it’s so fitting! I love your crisp design concept in every room! Lately I’ve learned that less is more, and those pics are a true representaion of just that! You are inspiring me to do a mini remodel of my own! :) A little pop of Red for the holidays would look so amazing with all your white walls! Contrast is beautiful! Happy holidays and thanks for all your lovely inspiration!

    25. Beautiful!!! Your house has always been lovely, but the white walls and floors are just perfect! After we remodel our house, we are painting all the walls white. You’re right…it just makes it more fresh, clean and calm!

    26. Do you find the dark hardwood hard to keep clean? We had them in a townhouse and they showed everything, but we love the look and are debating putting them in the home we are in now.
      Looks beautiful!!

      1. So far, we really haven’t noticed the floors being anymore difficult to keep clean than the previous blonde floors. Time will tell, I’m sure, but so far, so good!

    27. I love it! Everything looks so clean and beautiful! I think it’s amazing how you stuck to the same color palette and style throughout the whole house- that’s definitely a goal of mine!

    28. Honestly, I have been terribly resistant to white walls… at first I thought it was trendy and too stark and weren’t we all trying to get away from the white walls, a la the renting days??

      But it’s so gorgeous and fresh! (Glad to see you kept your office walls.. for now?!)

      1. I know! Maybe wall colors just go in phases of life. I loved darker colors and non-white when we first moved into our house, but now that we’re getting a little older and have lots of activity in our regular life, it feels great to have calm surroundings. The white just feels fresh and calm. Exactly what this mama of 4 needs :)

        Oh, and those office walls will stay forever!!!

    29. Love the transformation! Just wondering if you plan to re-paint your master bedroom anytime soon, or will the walls stay as they are?

      1. We probably will paint our bedroom. We debated, but decided it wasn’t worth the price to have it done when the painters were here. I’d love to clad the walls in horizontal paneling – all white, of course! Or paint the whole room dark just to make it cozy. Maybe even super dark charcoal. Not sure Ryan would go for that :) For now, it will stay.

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