Florida Home: Before Pics and Plans


Subscribers and Instagram followers are aware that after a long search, we bought a house in Florida. There are several reasons why we’re making this move which I’ll go into in greater detail at a future date. Mostly it’s just a feeling that we need a change after 40+ years living in California.

We’ve talked of a different lifestyle, one that is relaxed and more affordable than the cost of living in California. After driving around the Gulf Coast of Florida twice in the last year, we narrowed our search to Sarasota as a place to move. We like the community, the downtown, and the proximity to beautiful beaches so we bought a house there as both an investment and a future home. I’ll be living there in the summer renovating the place and we will live permanently starting this fall with my son finishing high school in Florida.

How did we land on this house? We started looking at new construction homes in Sarasota because we thought that would be easiest for making the move, but nothing was available to move into for at least a year, so we turned our attention to fixer uppers in neighborhoods we liked. On the last day we left Florida this one popped up on the market. We had to move fast and offer a non-refundable deposit, but we were in contract within 48 hours and the house was ours three weeks later.

We now own a 3 bedroom 2 bath 1960s single story rancher with a great big yard and room to add a pool! It’s very close to Siesta Key too. Since I’ll be documenting the entire renovation on the blog, the best place to begin this story is with the ‘Before’ images so you can see what we’re starting with.

What is serendipitous is that this house came with brand new furniture. The furniture is not my style at all, but the stroke of luck is that as a result I don’t have to haul a bunch of furniture across the country. It’s crazy expensive to ship furniture in a POD or truck or drive it in a UHaul. The quotes I received ranged from $10k for a POD and $19k for movers and I’d rather invest in the renovation, so we will be bringing just a few personal items and will make furniture swaps over time.

This home will get a full makeover top to bottom, we will be replacing flooring, renovating bathrooms and the kitchen, and also adding a pool and tons of tropical botanicals to the backyard. After the ‘Before’ pictures I share some inspiration photos so you can see the look I’m going for and some of the details I’ll be including.


Here is the kitchen, very dated but very clean! This is the perfect set up for me because I can live with this for a few months, there’s no need to renovate immediately. It buys me time to come up with the perfect kitchen renovation plan and not rush choices. However one thing that will change immediately is the arched florescent light fixture, I’ll replace it with some small and simple recessed or flush mounts instead.

The kitchen gets natural light from the dining nook and breakfast nook on the opposite side and has great flow into the community and dining spaces. This one will be fun to renovate down the road. That breakfast nook beyond will be a small home office instead. The dining room space is below.

The kitchen sink and peninsula look out into this dining room space. Like I mentioned before, the house came with new furniture. I’m grateful for it but it will be replaced with a wood table and woven dining chairs that seat six to eight people and wired for a really cool chandelier to be determined.

Also… you’ll notice… SO.MANY.VERTICAL.BLINDS and CEILING FANS to replace. There will be much discussion on new window treatments and lighting as I slowly replace them around the house.

This is the family room space, it came with these leather loungers which I’m sure my teenagers will love while they last but they won’t for long, I’ll buy a modern sectional for this space. That wall entertainment center will be replaced with a floating media credenza.


I also want to enclose this space and replace the carpet with tile so it’s more of a sunroom and separate from the entry and living room, pictured below. I’ll add double doors to enclose it and separate it for private TV viewing.

This is the entry and living room, it’s spacious and wide and comes with these turquoise overstuffed sofas. I’ve already painted the blue walls white and swapped the coffee table and rug too. Eventually I’ll sell and swap the sofas for more tailored versions.


This is the hall bathroom, very clean but dated so this would be one of the first spaces to renovate. Goodbye florescent light fixture, vanity, & tile, hello modern makeover including new flooring, beautiful wall tile, and a floating vanity.


The guest bedroom comes with a matching furniture set and bed-in-a-bag linens. All this will change over time, but the mattress is super comfortable, I slept here for four nights. I’ll keep the mattress, but sell and replace everything else. This space will be designed for visitors and for when my daughter comes home from college on weekends and holidays.


This is the current “office” which will soon be my teenage son’s room. I have plans to replace these desks and build him a bed with a built in charging station. I’ve already drawn up the plans for that and I’m looking forward to building it for him!


This is the primary bedroom, it’s a larger size which I like and it includes another matching bedroom set and the same bed-in-a-bag linens. I’ll sell this furniture and replace it with new furniture that’s my taste.

The primary bathroom is small, so I’m considering an expansion since it’s located at the back of the house which would make an extension a possibility. The adjacent closets are really small so I like the idea of an addition for a more spacious bathroom off the primary bedroom. For now, I’ll enjoy that pink formica and tile. 🙂

We’re really excited about this backyard, the large tree is beautiful, I’ll light it up with a twinkle lights and create inviting seating underneath. To the right there is plenty of space to add a pool!

What an adventure right? I haven’t been this excited in years! After a long and weary pandemic, this is just the energetic injection we need.

The design style of this renovation will be light and bright, lots of white and natural wood, a contemporary coastal style with a touch of midcentury modern. Here are just a few inspiration photos I’ve collected in my *huge* Pinterest board for this house.

For the interior floors, I’d like to refinish them in a whitewash tone reminiscent of the white sand beaches close by. For the kitchen, I love the idea of pale wood cabinets and white tile.

abby hetherington interiors

Pale green is also something I’m considering for kitchen cabinets.


For the dining space, light and bright is so appealing to me since it looks out to the backyard.

the palm co

For the bedrooms, serenity will be key! I’m loving muted colors and extra comfort.

the palm co

mindy gayer design


For the bathrooms, I want colorful tile in subtle hues. I can’t get this minty green zelige tile out of my mind so I may go with this shade in the hall bathroom.

milton & king


For the backyard, I’m thinking of a glass pool enclosure and as many tropical botanicals as I can fit.


three birds renovations

and I must include an outdoor shower, right?

the palm co

It feels so good to have my hands on this project and to be starting a new chapter in a new home in a different state. I’ve already painted the blue walls in the living room white and made some furniture changes too. More coming soon.

I’m posting a full video tour of the “before” spaces on Instagram stories tomorrow if you want to get a feel for the flow of the house, look for it there. The videos include more of the backyard and the rear patio (not shown). I’ll be starting on this renovation in July, so much more to come!  This new house project needs a name or hashtag, what do you suggest?


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