A House Update: Decorating Our Old Queen Anne Victorian in a Modern Style

Designing a Victorian Home: Behind the Scenes

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I’m so loving all the comments you guys are leaving me on my 10-year anniversary post and learning more about the kind of content you want to read. And since so many of you have asked for a home update—and because Nordstrom’s annual sale is only going on through midnight tomorrow, and I got so many of my recent purchases there—I decided to shoot a little home tour this morning, so you can see where we are at the moment.

DIY: How to Fix Up a Queen Anne Victorian Home

The Exterior

If you recall last summer we busted our tails trying to get the outside painted. We succeeded about 75 percent of the way before we had to turn in the lift we rented. The weather’s been so wet this year, it’s been tough to tackle the rest but SVV’s been chipping away at parts of it in pieces.

Designing Our Queen Anne Victorian Home

We also pulled up all the old, ugly terra cotta from our back patio, rented a concrete grinder to level it off, and are preparing to lay tile on the patio at some point before the weather gets cold.

The Kitchen

The kitchen needs a full-on gut job in order for it to be a good use of space. It was part of an addition that was tacked onto the house around 1905, and we wish we could just rip off that part and start from scratch. Alas, that would be a costly endeavor, so for now, we dream of when we have $25,000 laying aside to completely tear out the kitchen.

Designing the Kitchen in Our Queen Anne Victorian Home

In the meantime, we had a local husband-wife woodworking team Russell and Renea construct a mobile island for us based on a plan SVV drew up. And they did it perfectly, too. (If you’re local and need a woodworker, let me know and I’ll make an introduction!)

We split a piece of Carrara marble with our friends Lindsay and Taylor—see their dreamy kitchen reno here—and put it on top of the island, then added these yellow castors. We still have to paint it, likely a slate gray, and add the pulls, but that’s low on the priority list right now as it’s functional and has given us a lot more counter space to work with.

The Upstairs Bathroom

I’m wild about patterns, and it was a no-brainer when we first found this Hex Appeal tile at Stone Source in Nashville that we’d be using it in some capacity. And while we finished tiling two years ago, the room sat pretty empty until this spring when SVV went on a huge midcentury modern buying spree. I left him alone for 10 days and came home to six new pieces of Broyhill Brasilia he’d scored off of Craigslist!

Adapting a Piece of Broyhill MCM Furniture to a Vanity

I’m not complaining. (Pro tip: Don’t pay more than $1,000 for a piece of Broyhill as you can find them on Craigslist if you look hard enough!) The ultimate goal was turning this credenza into a vanity as nothing else on the market fit beneath that slanted wall. How perfect is it?

Adapting a Piece of Broyhill MCM Furniture to a Vanity

We’d been grappling with how to best use this tiny, weird space with its low ceilings and odd angles, and the low-slung nature of mid-century modern furniture was a perfect fit. In a future post, I’ll write about how SVV adapted it to work as our vanity. We’ll also rehang this mirror he made at a better angle now that the vanity sits lower and add more lights at some point in the future.

Designing a Bathroom for a Queen Anne Victorian

The tub is original and came with the house, and we painted it yellow a couple years ago to match the guest bedroom, as well as painted the feet silver. But next, the tough task at hand was finding a shower curtain that worked in this space. I wanted white to make it appear roomier than it was, but I also wanted something with texture or a simple pattern. Then, I happened to be browsing Nordstrom during the annual anniversary sale when I found the perfect piece: this DKNY shower curtain that also has a geometric pattern.

Designing a Bathroom for a Queen Anne Victorian

I’m in love! I also bought the towels, washcloths and bath mat to match. We still need some sort of hamper situation for towel storage as well as a rack for the shower to hold all our toiletries and a piece of art to hang to the left of the vanity, but I’m happy with the way this room is shaping up—finally!

Designing a Bathroom for a Queen Anne Victorian

Shop My Bathroom

The Master Bedroom

I’ve had the hardest time finding a duvet cover I love for our room, and I’ve been perusing West Elm for the past year in search of the perfect piece. Wellll, it finally popped up last month!

Designing Our Master Bedroom

Don’t mind the pillows; we’re changing those as soon as I can find some fun fuchsia and purple decorative pillows that pop and pull together the rest of the room.

Designing Our Master Bedroom

I knew I wanted something with texture and that looked sophisticated, and this West Elm duvet cover was perfect. My mom gets so mad that I use so many whites, creams and neutrals throughout the house, but it’s tough with as dark as the trim is all around. Any color on the wall immediately makes the room look dark. Plus, I plan to (one day) add a lot of pops of color once I’m to the final stage of decorating these rooms.

Designing Our Master Bedroom

SVV’s dresser was another of the Craigslist Broyhill purchases, and I love how Star Trek-like it looks. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect pair of MCM bedside tables—we ordered a set of nightstands from West Elm, but they were too low for the bed frame—so if anyone has seen any good ones, hook a girl up with a link, won’t you?

Shop My Master Bedroom

The Downstairs Guest Bedroom

Our downstairs guest bedroom was designed to house all the nieces and nephews and small cousins, which is why we opted for twin beds (purchased off of Craigslist). It also probably gets the most use of them all, mainly because we have a lot of visitors but also because it doubles as SVV’s room (not gonna lie, his obnoxious snoring quickly got him demoted from the master to a downstairs room!). And after five years, our West Elm duvet covers had seen better days, so I used the Nordstrom sale as an excuse to upgrade to this DKNY beauty, which comes in twin, queen and king.

Designing Your Guest Bedroom

I also bought these Rizzy Home pillows from Nordstrom, too, plus these adorable llama sheets, with which I am obsessed. They come in flamingos and other patterns, too!

Shop My Guest Bedroom

The Dining and Living Room

We had the same couple who made our island also make us an eight-foot table with two benches, and it looks killer! We’ll be painting it a matte black when we find the right shade and also adding a pair of hostess chairs, but it’s so nice having a dining table to fit all our friends—plus, it doubles as our work station.

Designing the Dining Room of Our Old Victorian Home

And yes, SVV really does read the paper daily. He’s old school like that.

Eventually, later this year, we’ll be knocking out the wall between the dining and living room and installing a gorgeous furniture plan that Nashville interior designer Kendall Simmons put together for us. We have most of the pieces now, just have to carve out the time to be home for three weeks’ worth of demo! Someday … hopefully soon.

DIY: How to Fix Up a Queen Anne Victorian Home


If you’re newer to these parts, you can read more about our five-year journey of renovating an 1899 Queen Anne Victorian here:

Note: While this post contains affiliate links, for which I will receive a small commission, we purchased all items ourselves.



DIY: How to Fix Up a Queen Anne Victorian Home
DIY: How to Fix Up a Queen Anne Victorian Home
DIY: How to Fix Up a Queen Anne Victorian Home
  • August 5, 2017

    Such a beautiful home – I love how Victorian houses have so much character.
    Have you ever found anything from previous owners in the home? I’ve heard that sometimes when people demo/upgrade in older homes, they find old trinkets in the walls!

    • August 6, 2017

      Thank you, Noelle! We haven’t found anything…yet. Then again, we’ve never knocked out a wall (again…yet), so maybe we’ll find something when we start that process this fall 😉

  • August 5, 2017

    The yellow clawfoot tub in your upstairs bathroom is like my dream tub. The whole bathroom is a dream, actually. Well done, you guys!

    Before we traded farm life for expat life, we had bought an old house out in the country and were in the process of renovating it. I do NOT miss the actual work or hiring contractors, but I really miss the design process and seeing everything come together in the end. It’s so satisfying!

    • August 14, 2017

      Thank you, Sarah! The clawfoot tub was original to the home, and we just painted it yellow and the feet chrome. I wasn’t sure if all the patterns would tie together, and it was a bit of a gamble, but I am thrilled with how it turned out =)

      We tried to hire contractors but no one in this area wants to work, so we pretty much just tinker away on the house when we’re not traveling! I do know what you mean, though—some weekends, I just want a lazy Saturday and Sunday on the couch!

  • August 6, 2017

    Question: when Scott is sent to the doghouse downstairs, where does Ella go?

    • August 14, 2017

      Oh, you KNOW she sleeps with me (even if she is a daddy’s girl) 😉 Ella needs her beauty rest, too!

  • August 6, 2017

    I absolutely love what you have done with this house. It is gorgeous. I had a Victorian villa like this (it had 5 different gables and a tower) in New Zealand many moons ago. But, the problem was that there was so much to do on the basics – painting the outside, wiring, roofing etc that there was never enough money left to do the nice things. Wish we had kept it 🙁

    • August 14, 2017

      Thank you so much, Avril! SO much to do. Luckily, we keep costs low(er) by doing almost all of it ourselves, but material costs do mount up. That’s why when people ask if we’re done, I roll my eyes and say, “maybe when we win the lottery!”

  • August 6, 2017

    Wonderful post,I read your post that is very interesting for me. I enjoy your writing.And some tips is very useful for everyone. Thanks your for your great article.

  • August 7, 2017

    I totally TOTALLY dig your style. LOVE all these updates and can’t wait for the rest!


    • August 14, 2017

      There’s a bedroom with your name on it! It actually reads: Harriet’s Lair 😉

  • August 12, 2017

    I adore your house and being a history freak, I love all things from the Victorian & Edwardian era!

    Our family home was a three-floor Victorian house that used to belong to a Doctor. We know this as we found all his books in the attic! And with four children, (3 of whom were boys), my parents needed a huge house in the suburbs of Manchester (UK)! Oh, we also had 3 gardens, 7 dogs over the years, a cat, loads of fish, and a tortoise!

    I’ve always dreamed of living in similar as an adult. ‘Shame that I now live in Berlin instead!

    • August 14, 2017

      Victoria in a Victorian! Now that’s a children’s book I’d love to read 😉 Plus, with all those animals—you’re the perfect heroine!

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