The story of our home starts with the story of a mid-century couple, Anne and Jack Hill. Jack grew up in a little single-story bungalow style house (it means it has your basic dollhouse floor plan—a rectangle cut up into rooms that lead directly into each other without any hallways) near Salt Lake City, Utah.
Continuing the story
The house was built in 1928. It was nothing extravagant, but here and there were some incredible Art Deco details: an ogee arch, a carved stone on the fireplace, a glittering popcorn ceiling, and a bat ear chandelier with a pair of matching sconces. Jack met Anne, courted her, and one day proposed to her on a beautiful pink couch that had been passed around the homes of several family members.
Sometime after Anne and Jack were married, they bought his childhood home. The only problem was, they wanted to live in Pleasant Grove (an adorable city that lives up to its name, to this day it might as well be Mayberry). So what were they to do? Move the house of course!
A new place and more space
They scooped up the house on a double-wide trailer and drove it 30 miles down the highway. And as long as they were digging out a hole for the foundation, they might as well add a basement, right? So that’s just what they did!
Their house was the ultimate DIY. For the first while, they had a ladder up to the front door instead of porch steps and nothing but a big dirt hole as a basement—there was no glass yet where the windows would eventually go, leaving openings where stray dogs would sometimes sneak in and make their way upstairs to steal dinner! But eventually, they got it finished and added a single third-level room to boot.
Passing on the legacy
They lived in the house for five decades and raised six kids. Two of those kids still live on the very same street. As time went on, Jack’s health failed, and it was time for Anne to start thinking about moving to a smaller place.
This is where we come in. We had lived in Pleasant Grove for a little over a year. As soon as we moved here, we knew we wanted to stay forever. One day we came to Anne’s house for a visit. The moment we walked in the door, we exclaimed how beautiful it was, and to our surprise, she asked, “Do you want it?” As fate would have it, she was hoping to sell it right around the time we were hoping to be able to buy. 18 months later we moved in.
Making it ours
An old house that was half built by an amateur has come with quite a few bumps in the road and projects both big and small, but we love this house and we love working on it together. Here are some glimpses of the (for now) final product.
I think the best view of the house is looking into the porch window. Right from the start you can tell we aren’t shy about color!
Welcome to our home! We love stumbling across amazing old-fashioned furniture and decor at great deals. Each piece has its own special story. We got two of these pink chairs at a thrift store for only $7.50 each! The two-tiered side table was a hand-me-down from Brian’s aunt. We got the frame in a going-out-of-business sale at a store Brian worked at, and it has a secret. You won’t see a TV in our house, but when we want to watch a movie we take the canvas down and project into the frame!
We got this sectional for only $40, can you believe it? And it is absolutely perfect! It fits with the rest of our aesthetic, but unlike a lot of mid-century style furniture, it is SO comfy! The ottoman is meant to be a single piece of a modular Lovesac sectional — we fell for a sales pitch when we were first married. It was the closest thing we had to a couch in our tiny first home that was barely more than a studio, because it was all that could fit. The two of us would squeeze close together on it and watch movies on our computer, and we thought we were living the life!
The coffee table belonged to Brian’s grandfather, with the sides and legs painted to match the rest of our decor. And that pink couch is the very same one that Jack proposed to Anne on! We love to play a game of trying to count how many shades of pink there are in this room. Bonus points if you count the light coming in through these stunning windows at sunset.
Can you believe it took nine years of marriage before we put up any family photos? Now we’re addicted and we want to fill up this whole mantle and the tops of the built-in bookshelves.
You just can’t get details like this in a modern house!
This amazing table was another thrifted find. It was missing the glass top, so we got a piece of plywood, cut it to size, and painted it pink like our walls!
Is this archway beautiful or what? The grey couch is one of the few items we bought new. We just couldn’t resist it on last chance clearance at IKEA. Every time I look at it, I can just picture Rob and Laura Petrie sitting there. The built in cabinet holds all three sets of formal chinaware, and the buffet hutch is filled nearly to bursting with one of my weaknesses — white ceramic serving dishes.
This chandelier (and the matching sconces above the mantle) is one of the best Art Deco details in the house.
I have always wanted an orange kitchen, and I was lucky enough to marry someone who also liked the idea.
If the bright sunny cabinets aren’t enough to bring you joy, we also added a pop of blue inside the cupboards and drawers for even more fun.
Probably my favorite place in the entire house is the gas stove surrounded by cookware and spices.
I keep my knives and utensils close at hand but still out of sight on the inside cupboard doors.
I don’t know why home-builders don’t include pretty little things like scalloped edges anymore. So much happiness can be added to a home when it’s about more than just function.
Even the vents are pretty in an old home like this! Another one of my favorite things is the use of every inch of space. There’s no dead space anywhere — have an extra 6 inches? Add a mini cupboard!
This bedroom smack dab in the middle of the house has not one, not two, but three entrances — from our bedroom, the kitchen, and the sitting room — making it perfect for a nursery.
My mom found this bassinet for us when I was pregnant with Walter, and I don’t know how I made it through having a newborn the first time without one!
Isn’t this push-button light switch so neat? It’s the only one left in the house, and we’ll keep it forever.
Our bedroom is nothing like the grand master suites you see on HGTV — in fact, it’s the smallest room in the house — but it is designed with sage green walls and an abstract aspen mural to blend right into the trees outside for ultimate peace and relaxation.
We swapped our queen bed for a full and we are perfectly happy with it. We bought the frame thinking it was a nice simple mid-century style with dark wood and angled legs. A few months later, my grandmother passed away and I was able to inherit her gorgeous bedroom set that she got for her wedding, and you’d never even know that the bed wasn’t part of the same set.
Brian found this hamper for me when I was away visiting my mom. Isn’t he the best?
This dresser is another piece of my grandma’s set. I just love the subtle curve of the drawers.
As part of our abstract forest mural, we of course had to “carve” our initials, and each time we have a baby we add their name to the “family tree”!
This phone chair was another thrift store find that Brian surprised me with. It is such a nice compact work area to read a book or write a blog post.
There is a bathroom attached to our bedroom, but it is the only one on the main floor and a second door connects it to the kitchen as well.
Like everything in our house, the bathroom is tiny and full of quirks. The light switch for it is actually outside in the kitchen. In the double-faucet sink, you can’t have warm water, you have to choose between hot and cold!
Five years later we love it just as much, if not more. Anne moved into her daughter’s house next door and we are still close. We have her over for dinner as often as possible, and she has loved to see the updates we have made. More than anything she is happy to see that the house is cherished as a new generation is being raised in this beautiful home.