The Happy Tudor Before

As we already mentioned, a major motivator for starting this site has been to document the process of designing our new home. Running a lifestyle site has been a major goal of ours for several years, but the new home seemed like the perfect catalyst to get the ball rolling.

We began looking for a home in March of 2016, thinking that we would start sooner rather than later. That way (we told ourselves), if a really special house came on the market, we could jump on it. If not, it would give us plenty of time to plan and look at different types of homes on the market. Fast forward one month to April 2016. Amber and I had looked at all of two homes when we got an email from our realtor with another listing. We clicked over to Zillow to find that there were no interior photos of the house provided, which we immediately assumed was a bad sign! We told our realtor we would be willing to take a look and set up a showing for the next day.

Upon arriving at the home, we were immediately greeted by gorgeous gardens overflowing with peonies, irises, and redbuds. Spring is my favorite season, so this certainly wasn’t a bad way to begin the tour. Our realtor, who was amazing and specializes in older neighborhoods, let us know that there was a lot of interest in the home with showings booked every thirty minutes for the next two days. The Knoxville real estate market has been INSANE!


Before we jump into what we saw on the inside, let’s go over our wishlist/ criteria for a home. You know, just like they do on HGTV where they request a swimming pool, 18 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, and valet parking with a budget of $8? Yeah, well let’s go over our list (that is hopefully not quite as ridiculous).

1. The number one quality we wanted in a home, even over space, was an older home with character, charm, and really great bones. We were willing to sacrifice a bit of space and take on a few more projects as long as the charm and bones had great potential.

2. Natural light was a huge factor for us. Perhaps we were spoiled, but we would be moving from a downtown studio apartment with a giant window that essentially took up one of the four walls in our apartment. As a result, we really grew accustomed to great natural light. It just makes homes feel so much happier!

3. As far as space, we were hopeful to find a home we could grow into. I have always dreamed of living in a smaller, cozier home, so it did not have to be enormous. With that said, we preferred to find a home with three bedrooms (one for us and two others for guests/future kids). Many of the old homes in Knoxville (or anywhere) only have one bathroom. This was really a deal-breaker for us, especially for having kids/guests. We knew, realistically, that we could drastically improve our longevity in the home if we had space to grow into and more than one bathroom. Ideally, we were hopeful to find a home with two and a half baths, but we would be willing to settle for two. Again, in the grand scheme of things, we were moving from a 400 sq ft studio apartment, so even having two bathrooms was going to feel like a mansion.

4. We wanted a home in a friendly, walkable neighborhood that we could see our children playing in as they grow up.

Buying Process

Upon entering the home, we were bombarded with bright, overly saturated colors EVERYWHERE! Hot pink, bright yellow, dark purple, magenta, bright blue, you name it. The floors, though scratched and with a few obvious pet stains, were original, beautiful oak. The living room absolutely took our breath away with the loads of natural, even light; gorgeous, vaulted ceilings; and fireplace with original wood trim. There were three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms! The upstairs bedrooms were on the small side but felt cozy and big enough if the space was utilized efficiently. There was a laundry room on the main level, rare for this area as they are usually in the basement. There were three projects we saw that we would really want to tackle in the home (aside from the obvious need to paint). The master bathroom, complete with purple walls and a magenta toilet, would need to be redone, the kitchen was extremely dated, complete with falling apart cabinets, and the room that they were coining the bonus room would need to be completely redone. After our realtor, who we really trusted, told us what a great home this was and that it would go super fast, we left the tour with a lot to think about.

If you know me, patience is not always my strong suit and I tend to be very whimsical (that descriptor feels nicer than impulsive haha). I am not irrational and I heavily weigh most every decision I ever make. Because I typically have weighed everything in my mind and know exactly what I am looking for, making decisions usually does not take me very long. We went back to our studio apartment, and I immediately gave us the task of rating, on a scale from 1-10, how much we wanted to make an offer (it’s the teacher in me). Amber gave it a seven. In typical Adam fashion, I knew exactly what I wanted and what this house offered and gave it a solid 10. We weighed the pros and cons for a few more hours, with me continuing to say “yeah, but we are never going to find another living room in this area with those bones.”

We eventually decided to put in an offer that night. We filled out the paper work and submitted the official offer the next morning. The waiting game began. We were informed that there were multiple offers on Sunday morning and had to submit our best and final offer by Sunday evening. More than anything, I wanted the house because I felt this strong conviction that we were the two who knew best what the house needed to have a fresh life. After about three hours of waiting, we got a call that the house was ours!! Total craziness! Keep in mind, the house was placed on the market on a Thursday, we looked at it after work on Friday, put an offer in on Saturday morning, and it was ours Sunday night (I told you the Knoxville market is crazy right now). We essentially left work on Friday and came back with a home the following Monday.

Before Photos

As true dreamers and creatives, we began scheming and designing right away! As you look through the before photos, we hope you see the same character and potential we saw! If not, hopefully we will convince you of the potential as we reveal what we have done with the space in the next several weeks. As Fat Amy says at the end of Pitch Perfect 2, “BEHOLD,” here are the before photos of our Happy Tudor. If you don’t get that extremely vague reference, just look at the photos and pretend it never happened.

Living Room


Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom

Kitchen/Breakfast Room

Dining Room

Laundry/Half Bath


We are so excited to dive right in and detail our design process for you, showing you each step (the good and the ugly) of creating our home, The Happy Tudor!

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