Ashley Krogman and her husband Eric were utterly charmed by the character of their first-ever home together. The 1928 building had great bones — as realtors are so fond of saying — but it was plenty rough around the edges. They were the first people to purchase the home from the original owners, and Ashley knew it was time for modern updates, plus she was excited to have creative license in a place of their very own for the first time.
“First and foremost, we wanted it to be a livable and comfortable first home for us,” Ashley told TODAY.com. She also couldn’t wait to help realize the house’s former glory and full potential.
“I really wanted to bring all that to the forefront. I knew the home could be beautiful and unique — I could just envision it the first time I walked into the house.”
Here’s how the couple overhauled their entire home into a swoon-worthy show property on a modest budget.
The couple, along with family and friends, used their own elbow grease in the completely DIY remodel — including all interior finishes.
Specifically, the crew’s do-it-yourself projects included gutting the bathrooms, refinishing all wood floors throughout, painting, refinishing the stairs, adding an opening from the kitchen to the dining room and opening up the front porch. They also painted furniture, such as their dining room buffet table and living room hutch.
Ashley explained the pair hung their open kitchen shelving themselves, and it became a favorite touch. They got some pieces of wood from Home Depot, stained them, ordered the black wrought iron brackets from Amazon, and Eric attached it all to the wall.
Another favorite feature of the remodel was one of the most challenging DIY projects in the home. Ashley picked out wallpaper, and described it as a “grueling project for my husband and his brother, due to the wallpaper not being pre-pasted.” But in the end, she said, “It was totally worth it! The wallpaper is one of the items throughout the house that we get the most compliments on.”
Additional elements Ashley loves are the original blue-tiled fireplace in the living room, the new exterior door from the dining room into the backyard, and the original clawfoot bathtub in the upstairs bathroom.
The also family injected a bit of unexpected appeal throughout the house — and it paid off.
“I ending up loving how we decided to take the risk and painted all the interior trim and doors a gloss black for a striking contrast,” Ashley said. “The upstairs hexagon bathroom tile floor that we added was also a favorite of mine.”
Splurges and steals
The family kept the budget to bargain-basement level by scoring thrift store steals and bringing them back to life. And those special scores would become among the favorite pieces in the house.
“We found our dining room chandelier at a church garage sale down the street, and my mom's friend cleaned it up, and rewired it for us,” Ashley said. “That was one of the last items we placed in the dining room and it just pulled everything together!”
In addition to thrift shopping, the family received most of their furniture as gifts, or scored it at a sale price from an affordable retailer.
But there was the (very) occasional (relative) splurge in the project as well.
“My favorite splurge — one of the only items I purchased at full price — that made a dramatic difference in the main entertaining and living areas, were the dark blue velvet drapes from World Market,” Ashley said. “We hung those drapes in our living room and dining room. I am still so in love with those things!”
With an overall budget of $30,000, the family transformed their entire house into a magazine-worthy shelter. They managed the bulk of the remodel in four months — but spent more than two years perfecting the finishes. Just in time too — Ashley is expecting the couple’s first baby in about a month!
“Our first home was definitely a labor of love with ups and downs, but overall a very exciting project,” she said.