An Adventure: Our Fixer Upper Story

willowcrest lane fixer upper

Who doesn’t love a good fixer upper story? 

I’m house proud. There, let’s just get that out of the way. This is probably a little surprising because I usually refer to our house as The Mouse House and laugh that we outgrew its 1000 sq feet many years ago.  But, what can I say? I love our little bitty space.

Tom and I bought this real life fixer upper a month before we got married. It was in terrible shape: every room needed to be scrubbed, walls and all, and then primed and painted.

There was gross wall paper everywhere, the kitchen and bathrooms were unusable, and there was water damage in the ceiling of the dining room. The basement wasn’t finished, no patio in the back, and the roof leaked to boot.

We fell in love with it.


Willowcrest outside garage 2008
Closing day! My mother-in-law and sister-in-law hung the banner and greeted us after we signed the papers.

There must have been some serious vim and vigor of a pre-baby couple involved because instead of seeing the hours and hours of hard labor and dollar signs that this place would take, we saw our first real adventure as a married couple. We rushed headfirst into the possibilities.

Willowcrest inside first meal 2008
First dinner in the new house! Pizza on the floor with our family, who generously pitched in to help us get the house ready to move into. Pizza has never tasted better.
Willowcrest inside dining room 5 2008
Hi, pre-three baby me! If I could go back, I’d tell myself not to obsess over repainting those cabinets. They will be covered in grape jelly finger prints soon and eventually you will replace them anyway.

These “built ins” were one of the first renovations we did. Yikes. They were bad.


Before we could move in, the kitchen needed a serious face lift. Tom and my brother-in-law, Todd, did some demo work and then took out the built in wall oven, the dishwasher, and refrigerator. They replaced the ancient appliances with sleek new stainless steel ones.

Willowcrest inside kitchen Tom 2008
Love this hunka burnin’ love.

The following spring we were expecting Baby P #1, and the first Mother’s Day present I requested was a new paint job. Tom and his family generously pitched in and got the job done in a weekend. I was only too happy to say goodbye to the strange yellow and welcome the crisp and fresh grey and maroon.

willowcrest lane fixer upper

After both boys were born, we decided to focus our renovations on building a play room for them in the basement. Tom, with help from his friends and his dad, worked hard to do a complete renovation.

willowcrest lane shop

I suppose that’s why I feel such pride in this house. We made mistakes here. We learned how to wait and how to pace ourselves here, and we learned what we didn’t like. Of course, all these hard-earned lessons came with much cursing and banging about, but what it left us with is a firm sense of what we do like.


Now for the fun! We have an endless list of updates that we would love to do on this house still, but that’s part of the fun of living in an old home. We have slowly gone from room to room and made it our own.

Having babies and jobs and all of the other things young families have going on has considerably slowed our pace, but any given weekend that we’re free, you can bet we’re drawing up new plans for this little house of ours.

Here’s what we’ve done so far:

Quite a difference, right? Those rickety old book cases needed to go. Our good friend, Hank, from Makeover Dreams, built these custom shelves and cabinets. This is one of my favorite parts of our house now. I love to decorate the shelves and I’m forever gazing at them and moving things around.

Willowcrest Lane Fall Home Tour

This kitchen picture is close to nine years old. Whoa.  Since it was taken, we remodeled again with a face lift to the cupboards, added upper cabinet doors, new paint, sink, and counters. Someday I will remember to take a current picture and update this, but for now this give you an idea of some of the initial changes.

willowcrest lane fixer upper

Our refinished basement, thanks to the hard work of Tom. I only cleaned the left half, so that’s all you’ll see.

willowcrest lane fixer upper

Before and afters:

PicMonkey Collage LR Pin

PicMonkey Collage basement pin



PicMonkey Collage 2

Our pace is slower now with three kids, but we are enjoying the adventure of bringing this house back to life. I can’t wait to share with you the changes we continue to make.

Love Norah Pritchard from Willowcrest Lane


Interested in the latest news from Willowcrest Lane?

Join the Willowcrest Lane mailing list for  news and updates, sneak peeks, and behind the scenes views! 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

4 thoughts on “An Adventure: Our Fixer Upper Story

  1. Missy

    I just adore this one!

    1. Norah Pritchard

      Thank you so much! We are excited to keep adding to the shop!

  2. Judith Long

    You are so talented in every way, Norah, really beautiful job here and on your home. Tom is a lucky man. You two are a wonderful team. Love you guys!

  3. Rustic Wood Frame Upgrades - Willowcrest Lane

    […] An Adventure: Our Fixer Upper Story […]

Comments are closed.