Room Makeover / Styling the Home

A Season of Change & Letting Go

Over the last year or so my husband has been trying to engage me in a dialog about downsizing. Each time the subject was brought up I was very dismissive and not open to this discussion at all. I love this house. This was supposed to be our forever home.

If you’ve been around here for at least the last three years then you have witnessed the transformation of #thetrailhousereno. It has been carefully, painstakingly, reimagined and nearly completely renovated. Some of you may even feel as invested in this house as I am. Many of you could probably even make the case for me about this house. Actually, I can, and have already, heard the argument.

“You have nearly finished renovating just about every room! All that work! How can you leave your house?”

We have indeed nearly completed every remodeling project I could dream up for what I thought was my forever home. (I did have one more awesome project that I will have leave on the drawing board.) I have always felt like we redeemed this house. It was dated, appeared to have a number of major exterior issues and then became a neglected foreclosure. For some reason, every time I passed the house I could see what it could become. I eventaully convinced my husband to trust my vision and we set out to transform it into a beautiful home that is practically perfect in every way. At least for our family.

Why I love this house.

I love that this home offers plenty of room for our family to stretch-out and have our own private spaces or congregate together comfortably. As I let myself think about the future here, I also imagined the day (years from now) this house would be filled to the brim with grandchildren and our extended family.

The kitchen was carefully reimagined with a larger island, generous enough for family to gather around while I cook. It has brought me much joy. Cooking and preparing a meal is one of my favorite ways to nurture my family. See more of the original transformation here.

A beverage bar was created on the other side of the fridge out of dead space and the old island was repurposed there, further expanding the kitchen storage and functionality. I must admit I take great pleasure in decorating the open shelving and changing up the decor a couple times a year.

The master bathroom was outfitted with every luxury imaginable. A large, walk-in shower, a generously sized soaking tub, the amazing heated floors provide optimal comfort with the marble tile and the copious amounts of moulding bring unity to the many angles of the room. See more.

Last fall, we continued the panel molding details from the bathroom into the bedroom to create a truly well-appointed master suite. See more.

From a tired, unused formal living room, a brand new space, a library, was built complete with a faux fireplace and library ladder. See more.

The last project, one of the full bathrooms upstairs, was given what I think was one of the best looking facelifts without doing a full renovation. See more.

In the backyard, we created a stone destination patio out of a mud-pit. Surrounded by flowering shaded landscape, under the canopy of mature trees, it is the perfect backyard retreat.

Let’s also not forget the screen porch. A seasonal favorite for all of us!

BUT, this spring I had a change of heart.

In his persistent pursuit of downsizing, the subject was brought up again and I finally gave it over to prayer. I allowed myself to hear what God had to say about this house and my beliefs about it. I began to realize that I was holding on too tightly to an idealized dream I had created for this house. It had become how I identified myself and my work. Essentially, it was an idol. One that was keeping me from listening to what my husband was saying about our future. I began to see his reasons for moving; the continuing care of a big house, bigger than we actually need, and the financial benefits to downsizing.

As much as I would like to deny it, we are getting closer to an age where it is important to be more mindful of our preparations for the future. We are in a season of change. (Just to be clear, my husband is the old one not me. Ha ha!!) Our children are nearly out of the nest. Our son graduated from college and is working in his profession. He lives here currently, giving him the opportunity to pay off his student loans. Our daughter is a sopohmore in college and is generally only home for summers and breaks.

Another the eye-opening factor to consider was the knowledge that the housing market in our area is primed for sellers. Inventory is low and our home could be a highly desirable property. Beyond the renovations, our lot is relatively flat and spacious in comparison to many in the neighborhood.

So, about two weeks ago, we began our search for our next house. We wanted to take our time and not list until we found the right house. Small enough to fit our downsized needs and big enough that we could all be comfortable in the future. After looking for just a short period of time, we found very few suitable options. The lack of inventory that should make our house sell quickly undeniably means there are fewer homes to consider in our desired locations or price range.

Richard was pretty set against tackling a complete overhaul renovation and desired a smaller home and yard. Most of what was on the market needed so much more than we were willing to put into a renovation and with yards much larger than we wanted to keep up. As much I love the process of redeeming an old home, we just don’t want to live through another renovation. (Hopefully, that void will be filled through client work and renovations. ) Once we agreed there were no real in-between houses to renovate that even remotely inspired us, we began to consider new construction in a large, home-builder community nearby. We found a neighborhood and lot that seemed right and are now anticipating it’s completion in about 5 months.

The freedoms I have enjoyed in designing and renovating with unlimited options, but not an unlimited budget, of course, are lost with new construction of this nature. I know I will miss the research that goes into finding the perfect elements for every room. BUT, I also trust that I can make the best, esthetically pleasing and most affordable choices with the options presented to me.

I must keep reminding myself that the goal for this home, and truly all of our homes, is to do the best we can with what we have been blessed with. To create a beautiful sanctuary that nurtures our souls, fills us with peace and is shared with those we love. I need to keep in mind that no earthly house is forever. When my forever home comes along I will be in heaven with my Savior and my God.

For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.

Hebrews 3:4 NLT

I hope you will stick around for the unfolding of our next chapter. My goal is to continue to inspire you as we take this builder home and make it ours.

If you want a recap of the crazy first 12 weeks at #theTrailHouseReno.I have a the whole story linked here.

I thought it would be fun to add the first walk through video of the Trail House Reno here. It is the ultimate before! It has come so very far!!


  • Jet Green
    April 7, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    God is good. Sometimes it’s hard to hear Him though our pride. We just moved from our hometown, kids and grandkids. Not going to say following God’s prompting was easy, but I’m already starting to see His blessings. ❤️

    • Leslie
      April 8, 2019 at 7:50 am

      He is so good. Thank you for reading and commenting. It also makes my soul very happy you were inspired by what I said. I pray you are continually blessed in your new place.

  • Julie
    April 8, 2019 at 9:31 am

    It’s not easy leaving because you’re leaving a part of you……..and yet what you’ve created is truly beautiful and look at all the knowledge you’ve gained in making this house truly a ‘home.’ Yet, there can be times, as we know, the time to leave beckons…….who knows what lies in the next chapter and yet be faithful and know if God leads you to it, He will see you through…….good luck!.

    • Leslie
      April 19, 2019 at 12:37 pm

      Thank you for your sweet words. It does give me a great pleasure that someone else is going to enjoy this amazing house!! Praying to see God lead us through this season.

  • Laura
    April 8, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    How long did you live here Leslie?! We are right behind you! Denver’s market is crazy so we joke that we can’t afford to downsize! Enjoy the next chapter! Laura

    • Leslie
      April 19, 2019 at 12:25 pm

      We just reached 3 years since we purchased the house. It took several months to get to move in though. I think July was when we moved in. Thank you for following along. And yes, downsizing is not cheap!!

  • Vanessa
    April 8, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    I’m excited and sad for you. It’s hard to leave a home behind. We went through that process many times before retiring from the military lifestyle and settling in Tuscaloosa 23 years ago this coming July.
    I’ve so loved seeing the transformations you’ve made to this home, how you’ve given encouragement to us that read your blog and shown us simple but elegant decorating.
    I look forward to following along during this new chapter. I’m sure you will add your own special Leslie touch to your new home.
    I love that you turned to prayer and let God guide you. It’s so hard for me to do that, but I do try.
    Freddie will have new birds and bees to chase, new trails to explore and adventures to take.
    Best wishes on this new adventure.

    • Leslie
      April 19, 2019 at 12:21 pm

      What a beautiful comment you left. It truly touched me. Thank you so much for following along. I hope to continue to inspire you as we make this new house a home. Many thanks, Leslie

  • […] Along with the 9 essentials for creating the perfectly styled and cozy porch, I thought it would be interesting and hopefully inspirational to look back at our screened porch. This will be our last spring and summer here at #theTrailHouseReno. We anticipate making the most of time left here and hope you enjoy this look back. (If you want to hear more about what is next for us visit this post here.) […]

  • […] As you might recall, we made the decision to downsize from our current home this spring. After an unsuccessful search and numerous showings of listings in our area, we landed on new construction. Most of the homes available either needed too much work or had too much yard. I share more about how we came to the decision to downsize in this post. […]

  • Debra Holland
    June 20, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Oh, wow. What a decision. Your beautiful, beautiful home! I can’t believe you’re giving it up.

    I have to admit, I’m resentful at your husband.

    I don’t think loving and enjoying your house as you do makes it an idol, nor interferes with your relationship with God. You can still love and serve the Lord by nurturing your family and home, as well as everything else you do. But that’s my opinion and I’m not in your head and heart. 🙂

    Tearing out those roots is going to hurt! Hugs and love throughout that process.

  • Susan
    July 2, 2019 at 12:18 am

    Wow., Leslie…you’re amazing! So, so so inspiring to read about your faith, and respect for God and your husband. THE POWER OF ONE…thanx for making a difference! I like nice homes too, but feel the same. I’ve got a mansion on the other side…thanx for sharing!!!

    • Leslie
      July 8, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      Truly we do! Not that I won’t have my struggles with the downsize once it becomes a reality. I will need to keep reminding myself this is not forever.


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