Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /nfs/c09/h03/mnt/132513/domains/songandstory.com/html/ss/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/common.php on line 1066

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /nfs/c09/h03/mnt/132513/domains/songandstory.com/html/ss/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/common.php on line 1103

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /nfs/c09/h03/mnt/132513/domains/songandstory.com/html/ss/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/common.php on line 1107

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /nfs/c09/h03/mnt/132513/domains/songandstory.com/html/ss/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/common.php on line 1129

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /nfs/c09/h03/mnt/132513/domains/songandstory.com/html/ss/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/common.php on line 2721

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /nfs/c09/h03/mnt/132513/domains/songandstory.com/html/ss/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/common.php on line 2728

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /nfs/c09/h03/mnt/132513/domains/songandstory.com/html/ss/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/common.php on line 2741

Warning: Declaration of My_Walker_Nav_Menu::start_lvl(&$output, $depth) should be compatible with Walker_Nav_Menu::start_lvl(&$output, $depth = 0, $args = Array) in /nfs/c09/h03/mnt/132513/domains/songandstory.com/html/ss/wp-content/themes/good-minimal/functions.php on line 1351
McGowan Renovation – Before & After Part 1 | Song and Story

McGowan Renovation - Before & After Part 1

McGowan Renovation – Before & After Part 1

2015 was a year of adventure for us to say the least!

A little over a year ago we were just beginning a major renovation on our new home in Tennessee. So many of you have followed our journey and encouraged us along the way.

We realize the we posted a lot of “before” and “during” pictures, but once we got in the house we didn’t post many “after” pictures. It was a combination of moving in and getting everything settled and just day-to-day living that got in the way.

So, in the next few posts, we want to share some before and after pics with you to show you how far this place has come!:)

There is still a lot of work to do, but we are pretty proud of how far we came in 2015.



We flipped the kitchen around moving the sink and refrigerator to opposite sides. To begin with, we put up new drywall. Then we installed all new cabinets and appliances, a Kohler cast iron farm sink (Jen’s 2014 Christmas present), poured concrete countertops, put up the subway tile backsplash and created this awesome custom barnwood venthood. The wall color in most of the house is “Mindful Gray” and the cabinets and trim in the kitchen are “Alabaster” from Sherwin-Williams.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.43.24 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.43.54 PM

The dishwasher almost fell through the floor when we removed it.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.44.12 PM

This plywood was covering up a gaping hole in the floor caused by water damage. We did a lot of structural work on the subfloor and installed this Allen+Roth Driftwood Oak Laminate from Lowes throughout the whole downstairs excluding the bedrooms. We debated between hardwood and laminate, but in the end we got the laminate at such a great price we couldn’t pass it up. The place we got it from is a wholesaler called Bravo Carpet in Dalton, GA. Awesome people!

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.44.24 PM

The main areas downstairs were covered in old paneling. When you walked in, it felt like stepping back in time. We ripped it all down, installed new insulation where needed and had a contractor come to hang and finish the new drywall. This was one of the few projects on the house we decided was worthy of paying someone else to do. We painted more Mindful Gray and installed new crown molding. The trim in the rest of the house was standard white Pro Classic from Sherwin. We (mostly Jen and her sister Kim) scraped the popcorn off the ceilings… in almost every room of the house! #dirtyjob

My mom found the chandelier in someone’s trash. It was shiny brass that we refinished flat black and best of all it was FREE. The window is from my grandparent’s house in Shreveport, LA.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.44.39 PM

The A-frame feature of this space was what immediately made us fall in love with the house. Coming up the driveway for the first time we felt like this could be the perfect place for us. This is the only room we did not scrape the popcorn off the ceiling. It was too dangerous and in the end, unnecessary. The peak of the ceiling is about 22′ high. It took quite a bit of debating to finally decide what to do with it. We decided to leave the popcorn and covered it with 1×8 tongue and groove pine boards we got from… shhh… don’t tell anyone… home depot. Yup. This renovation tested and weakened my solid Lowe’s allegiance.

We white washed 147 12′ boards… twice! It was too light the first time. It was a total of just over 1000 square feet. That’s more square footage than the floors! It was a HUGE job to say the least, but probably the one I am most proud of.

We had new energy efficient windows installed in the whole house with the exception of the trapezoid shaped ones. They would have been about $1000 each. We decided to give them a good thorough cleaning and new trim instead. :) All told, we had 20 windows replaced in a house with 1900 square feet. That’s a lot of windows, but makes for some great natural light.

We also took out the old sliding door and replaced it with french doors. We definitely wanted them to be full glass so they wouldn’t obstruct our forest view.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.44.58 PM

We decided to keep the wood burning stove and now we are using it to heat half of the house. We have found more than enough wood just from fallen trees on our property.

The built-in bookshelf was a cool feature so we kept it. But we turned it into a TV cabinet. Call us old fashioned or whatever, but we didn’t want our TV to be the focal point of our home by putting it above the fireplace.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.45.13 PM

Widening this opening made a huge difference in the feel and flow of the house. Looking at this picture, it’s kind of crazy that the kitchen just had this small doorway entrance.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.45.27 PM

We searched high and low for a chandelier and finally found this at a local lighting place called Essence Lighting. It fits the space perfectly and is so bright we had to put it on a dimmer.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.45.43 PM

This is what we saw the first time we walked in the house. This black chair and some plywood were stacked against the door because it was completely rotted through. A giant ash tree right in front of the house had lifted the front porch causing water to seep into the house. We had to replace so much of the flooring and the structure and obviously the front doors. Again, we decided to brighten up the space by adding half-glass doors.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.45.57 PM

This will make more sense in the next post, but we took half of this entry closet and used it to make add a powder bath in the hallway. That left us with a small coat/craft closet with this sweet pocket door.

The art pieces on the wall are the family mission statement that Jen and I made with our friend and brilliant artist, Eilene Carver (left) and foot pedals we framed from a hundred year old piano (right)

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.46.10 PM

Hallway. Nothin’ too special except you can’t see the place where I stepped through the ceiling while working in the attic one day. #funtimes

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.46.27 PM

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. In part 2, we’ll take you on a tour of the bedrooms and bathrooms. Feel free to share this post with your DIY and farmhouse crazy friends. :)

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 3.46.42 PM


  1. Tammy brown
    January 16, 2016

    Absolutely amazing! You did a wonderful job! Congrats!

    • Jen
      January 17, 2016

      Thank you so much!

  2. Vaneese
    January 20, 2016

    You have all done an incredible job with your renovations. You home is absolutely beautiful!! God bless your home and family!

    • Jen
      January 21, 2016

      Thank you so much, Vaneese!


Leave a Reply