Why I Chose My Home: Location, Location, Location

Do you love a good before and after as much as I do?! Then I think you’ll love reading the story of why I chose my home (you might just think I was crazy!)

We’ve all heard the saying, I know, so you may think my answer doesn’t seem terribly original. But I am really not kidding when I say we chose our house for the location, because, it’s almost the only reason to have chosen it!

Today I’m sharing the back story of our house and why we chose it, and I’m joining 13 other bloggers who are also sharing their “Why I Chose My Home” stories! 

If you’re a regular reader, then you know I’ve done a ton of seasonal blog tours – the kind where everyone decorates their homes for the season. But this tour is so different! I think it’s such a clever idea (I love reading about real houses owned by real people) so when Jennifer asked me to participate, I knew I couldn’t say no.

Why I Chose My Home

So let me start with the title of this post. We chose our house for the location, and pretty much only for that reason. You see, we live in a suburban area of Southern California. The school district is one of the best, the area is safe and has a very low crime rate, and it’s not terribly far from the city. So, it’s highly desirable to a lot of families. But the architecture? Not so much. 

So the story of our home really is a story of change. A story of seeing possibility. And looking beyond dated or ugly. What we saw was a home that needed work, but one that was in an area that was highly desirable. As they say, you can always fix the house – but you can’t change it’s location.

 I jokingly describe our home’s architecture as “Ugly 1970’s!” 😉 However, technically it’s Contemporary. Which really means, it’s asymmetrical, with not a lot of ornamentation, detail or character.

If you know me even a little, then you know that is not my style at all! I love character! I love moldings, details, paned windows, and the like. Anything that adds character to a home. And I love symmetry!

Since our home lacked any of that when we bought it, we decided to completely gut it and make it the home we knew it could be. So today, I’ll walk you through the ugly before, and show you the reasons we did end up saying yes!



Why I chose my Home black front doors white roses gorgeous curb appeal


Ironically, our front doors have ended up being one of my favorite things! Though I will admit, they were not at the time. They are super drafty (read: not installed correctly) and warped. So much so that leaves actually blow in under the doors in the fall and winter! It was one of the things we were going to replace when we moved in, but because we were basically gutting the whole house, we had to cut some corners, and replacing these doors never happened. We painted them black and never looked back.

And the truth is, they are beautiful doors. We get a lot of compliments on them, and I love the French-influenced style of them. So they’ve stayed. But they are still just as drafty, lol! 😉


But I think the main thing that made us purchase the house, besides school district and location, was the floor plan. It’s a fairly open plan (though we made it more so) and very livable. That was something that appealed to us, even in it’s oh-so-1980’s state that we bought it in!


Entry Way

gorgeous entry way french country charm european farmhouse style
This is the view you see when you walk in, with our dining room directly behind the living room. It’s a nice, bright room with lots of light, and big front windows – another plus. 

But it wasn’t always like this!


Living Room Before


living room before

Forgive the bad photo quality (it’s a scan of an old one), but this is what it looked like when we bought it! The windows were large, but they were aluminum and poor quality. We replaced them with paned wood windows to add some charm and character that I thought were sadly lacking. And we also widened the window, almost doubling the size. It’s one of the best things we did!


Living Room After


living room after gorgeous french farmhouse space blue and white decor

why i chose my home large windows bright living space french country

Find more living room decor and accessories here.


The dining room is right behind the living room. Believe it or not, it’s the only area where we actually made it less open.


Dining Room Before

dining room before

There was no distinction between the living and dining rooms, so I designed the arched opening. We just closed it in a few feet, but it made a huge difference in the space!


Dining Room After

why i chose my home gorgeous french country living room mora clock

dining room after gorgeous french country farmhouse style room

Find more dining room decor and accessories here.


Another element that we loved was the huge family room area. We had one child when we moved here and were planning on more, so we knew a big family room would be a huge plus. When we first saw it, the kitchen and family room were divided spaces.


Family Room Before


kitchen before


Family Room After

family room after gorgeous built ins french country farmhouse style space

gorgeous french country farmhouse style table chandelier breakfast areaIt’s truly hard to believe it’s the same room! There was a corner wall and a half wall dividing the two rooms, both of which we were lucky enough to be able to remove. What a difference!

Find more family room decor and accessories here.


before family room 2

why i chose my home open floor plan kitchen and family room gorgeous french country living space

Now this room is truly an open floor plan, with the kitchen, breakfast nook and family room all one space. We truly live in these spaces more than any other.


Kitchen Before

kitchen before photo 2


Kitchen After

stunning french country white kitchen after photo farmhouse table chandelier flowers

Find more kitchen decor and accessories here.


Another thing that made us choose this home were the amount of light and large windows, the semi-open floor plan that we knew we could open even more, and the view.


backyard view trees lounge chairs pool

gorgeous backyard with view chaise lounges pool white roses

We are set above the streets below so it affords us a view out over the hills. The sun sets in this direction so in the evenings as we are cooking or eating dinner, we get to enjoy the sunset. 


I’m so glad that we had the vision to see the beauty behind the ugly in this home. I know many people would have passed it up. And admittedly, it’s been a ton of work! But the natural light, the view, and of course, the location all added up to a ‘yes’ for us. And I’m so glad it did!


why i chose my home gorgeous after photo of french country open floor plan kitchen and family room


I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out more about why I chose my home, and touring our scary “befores” with me! I’ve been wanting to share them for awhile now, and I was kind of excited to break them out and see them myself again, too. Sometimes even I’m shocked by how it used to look and how far we’ve come!

Hopefully this has inspired you to think about things you can fix when you look at prospective homes. There are so many things that are cosmetic and if you’re able to see past them, you can often get more house for your money.


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Monday’s Homes

Why I Chose My Home Tour - Monday

Town and Country Living / Designthusiasm / StoneGable


Tuesday’s Homes

Why I Chose My Home Tour - Tuesday

The Happy Housie  /  The Wicker House  /  Sincerely Marie Designs

Why I Chose My Home Tour - Tuesday

It All Started with Paint  /  Maison de Cinq  /  Jennifer Rizzo


Wednesday’s Homes

Why I Chose My Home Tour - Wednesday

Worthing Court/ The Happy Housie CabinDuke Manor Farm


Why I Chose My Home Tour - Wednesday

Robb RestyleShabbyfufu


If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more decorating ideas and inspiration below:

My Favorite Neutral Paint Colors: what I have in my home

French Farmhouse Master Bedroom Makeover Reveal

French-Inspired Home Office Makeover Reveal


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  1. Nita Hiltner says:

    I especially love your backyard and view, it looks so French.

  2. Love the transformation. I, too, am changing some of the modern and brass elements of my home to reflect my French Country style. Seeing your home now gives me more encouragement that it can be done. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Oh I love hearing that Michele!! Good luck with your home and thanks so much for your kind words and for stopping by!


  3. Sarah Dunigan says:

    Where did you purchase the light above the dining room table?
    I love it!

  4. You are so talented. I love everything you do! The roses lining the pathway to the front door are gorgeous. I would be grateful if you would share the kind of rose it you used.

    Kind regards,

    1. That’s so kind – thank you Lina! The roses in our front are Iceberg roses. They’re also one of the easiest to grow!

  5. Hi Sheila, I too, live in southern California. Your home and mine have almost the same floor plan. Interesting that you enclosed the dining area and changed your front window. I have wanted to do almost the exact same things! I especially HATE the weird triangular upper window with windows jammed into the corner. Obviously the window placement was determined by a man who had no concept of proper furniture placement.

    If you are interested, please check out my posts @frenchflowerfarm.


    1. Oh gosh I feel your pain Carol! That non-symmetrical window drove me crazy. I’ve just decided that the 70s-80s decades were not great in terms of architecture so we are fighting an uphill battle here!

  6. We have recently bought a house that I don’t love and it is FULL of projects. But I definitely see all the potential . Thank you so much for posting your Before pictures. It is so nice to see other people’s vision in updating a home. I also like how you put links to your furnishings. I have already looked at several sites for my own house. Thanks again for a look inside your home.

    1. Aww I’m so glad you found it helpful! I feel the same way, which is why I wanted to share those scary “befores”!

      Congratulations on the house and good luck with all those projects!


  7. I love a good transformation. It looks beautiful!

  8. Stephanie says:

    Wow, Wow, Wow! Shiela your house transformation is stunning. I learn so much from your posts. Your decorating choices are exquisite. We are in the process of choosing new flooring. (from carpet to wood/vinyl planking) I would love to know what you used for your flooring. I really like your color and style choice.

    1. Thank you so much Stephanie! It means so much to hear that as it was quite a mess and a definite labor of love!! As for the floors, mine are not pre-finished. In other words, they were installed raw, and then stained on-site. Sorry, but I don’t know the colors as it was custom blended and done on-site.

  9. Cindy Coghill says:

    Huge and beautiful transformation. You have turned your home into a dream house! Love it!

    1. That is so kind of you! Thanks so much Cindy (it was a labor of love for sure!)


  10. Michele M. says:

    AH-mazing!!!!! Oh my word, the work and vision you had for that home! It’s really awesome, Sheila!

    1. That is the nicest comment! You seriously made my day – thank you so much!



    1. Thank you so very much – it was truly a labor of love!


  12. What a terrific job you’ve done! A true and beautiful transformation. We are almost “finished” renovating our 2nd and hopefully last home. Not sure what these builders were thinking….It’s not for the faint of heart but so worth it afterwards. Thank you for sharing your home. It’s so nice to see others’ visions, tricks and talent. I love your blog!

    1. What a kind comment – thank you so much Susan! And yes, I agree! Renovating is NOT for the faint of heart!! It has been very rewarding but also a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money, haha! Happy for you that you’re almost done – good luck!!

      And thank you so much for following along!


  13. I just love what you’ve done and the neutral colors. What color do you have on your living room walls? I’ve looked on the blog a little and while I’m sure its there, I haven’t found it. Seems just the touch of color.
    My den is dark and I need to lighten it without going white and I’m not a grey kinda gal. I like natural linen and burlap so I need something that compliments them.
    I’m needing to re-do a lot in a 20 yr old home with honey oak cabinets in the kitchen and blue walls in the den.
    The entry into the dining room as lovely. I like that it’s not an arch or slant. It really has a design! I know those curves are a bit to accomplish.
    I’ll spend a while perusing your blog and enjoying everything. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Good morning Zanetta, and thank you so much for your kind words! The paint in my living room is Muslin from Benjamin Moore. You should check out my post on my paint colors- just put paint colors in the search bar and it should come up. I have a lot of neutrals in my home, some I like (and some I don’t!) and I think it might help you! I also give some tips on picking colors so it might help you!

      Thanks again for your lovely comment. I hope you’ll think of subscribing so you can continue to be inspired! Good luck with your projects!


  14. I love seeing the before and after – you have such a vision! And, I’m so glad you didn’t replace those front doors… They are so beautiful!!

    1. Thank you so much Kristy! So appreciate your kind words and support!


  15. Debbie West says:

    I love what you’ve done with your house – it’s so inspiring! and it’s been really fun going around and reading everyone’s stories – just loved this whole post!!

    thank you!

    1. Aww I love hearing that Debbie- thank you so much! I so appreciate the support (especially since my before pics were so scary!!)


  16. Wow, Sheila!! Seriously incredible transformation!! So fun to see your before and afters and I love your story. Location is for sure KEY, and you certainly have turned your home into something incredible!

    1. You are so kind Krista – thank you!! And I agree, so loving to see all the before and afters:)

      So happy to be joining all of you!


  17. sheila- wowza……those are some amazing before and afters! love what you have done with your home. I had to laugh at your door humor. too funny. thanks for sharing your beautiful home and the history behind it.

    1. Thanks so much Laura, I so appreciate that!


  18. Wow Sheila – that’s amazing! It’s totally gorgeous now! I really love Before & Afters, and yours is fabulous! You must be so proud and happy every time you come home, just knowing you did it all! 🙂 So glad you get sunsets too!

    1. Aww thank you Barbara – what a thoughtful comment! It is definitely a nice feeling to elicit so much change and bring some pretty to such an ugly duckling!

      Thanks for coming over!


  19. Unbelievable!! All your hard work and all the headaches have truly paid off. Your home is picture perfect and something to be very proud off. ❤️

    1. Aww thank you Darlene – you truly made me day!!

      And thank you so much for taking the time to comment. As a blogger it’s so rewarding to connect with readers:)


  20. Gordon Montgomery says:

    You found an ugly duckling and turned it into a swan! Beautiful transformation.

    1. That is such an apt description, thank you!!


  21. You have done a great job in making this house your home. It is beautifully decorated and looks so comfortable. I have a question. You kitchen, dining area chairs are some that I have considered buying. But we have a couple of large people in the family and I am not sure they would be able to sit comfortably on these chairs. They look smallish. What can you tell me about them? Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much Lynne, I so appreciate it! It was certainly a labor of love.

      As to the kitchen chairs, we LOVE them! I wouldn’t call them small – I think they are very average. Similar to a restaurant chair (many restaurants use them actually, as they were originally French cafe chairs). So if someone is very large, they may not work. But if someone is not so large that they can’t sit comfortably in most restaurants, then I imagine they would be fine. Also, if you have a World Market near you they usually have their version on the floor where you could try sitting in them first. Hope that helps!


  22. So interesting seeing your home and you guys have done such a great job with the remodel Sheila! Our home was built in the 60’s, so definitely we faced the “ugly challenge” as well. What were they thinking then??

    1. Thanks so much Janet! It was definitely an “ugly challenge” as you put it, haha!! I also have so many features that aren’t symmetrical that I can’t fix so I’m constantly thinking the same thing. It was truly a decade of ugly architecture!!

      Heading over to see yours today!


  23. Wow! I am so impressed with my blogging friends today! Your vision for your home is incredible! You definitely worked your magic throughout – love that archway between the living and dining rooms! I’ve never seen your front doors before. I’m glad you didn’t replace them – they’re perfect!! And your view is amazing. What a great home.

    1. Aww thank you so much Jennifer! I’m SO glad you created this tour! What a wonderful idea. Truly original, and I am so thrilled to be a part!

      I was on vacation yesterday but am back now and I can’t wait to go read all the other posts!!


  24. Amazing job, just wow, wow wow worthy! This is the kind of project I find so inspiring.

    I just wasn’t prepared for that first before shot, and almost dropped my I pad;)

    This is real is a fun blog hop tour, I’m glad your home is one of the stops!

    1. What a lovely comment Rachelle – thank you SO much!! I’m laughing when you say you weren’t prepared because when I took out the photos to scan them, I was also a little shocked, haha! It’s truly hard to believe it looked like this.

      I loved this tour, and I’m so glad you did too! Thanks so much for stopping by!


  25. I would have passed on this ugly, outdated, dark home but you saw the potential. Amazing difference! I love the brightness of your home. The neutral colours are serene and the decor is uncluttered but still warm & welcoming.

    1. I know that’s true Joanna- so many would have passed! And admittedly, there have been moments that we’ve said “why did we buy this?” but the location and the school district won out and it’s been a lovely place to live. I think it shows that so many homes can be cosmetically changed for the better, and potential is just under the surface if you look close enough!

      Thanks so much for your compliments, and for taking the time to comment!


  26. Beautiful! And such a dramatic change!

  27. So much fun to see the before and after of your now beautiful home. Very inspiring!!
    Dear Gussie, what a gorgeous backyard view!! Talk about location!!!
    I did notice a contrail in your picture. Silly question but are you seeing as many now as in the past? We live in North Central Florida and I am seeing hardly any! It’s really cool to see beautiful blue skies without all the crazy cloudy streaks and contrail patterns. Just curious about your part of the country. Anyway, thanks for sharing your hopeful vision and the inspiring fulfillment of it.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Deb! And no, we actually see very few so I think ours are less than the past as well.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment – I truly appreciate it!


  28. You have done wonders in your home Sheila! It doesn’t even look like the original photos. Every detail is gorgeous. Location was a huge part of our home choice too. As they say, you can change the house but you can’t change the location. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home friend!

    1. Aww thanks so much Amanda! To be honest, sometimes when I look at the photos even I can’t believe it’s the same house, haha!

      Can’t wait to stop by and see yours sweet friend!


  29. Omg – this is the best post ever! I have always been obsessed with before and afters and yours is amazing! You really worked your magic on your home and you should be so proud! What a gorgeous transformation!

    1. Aww Shelley!! Thank you SO very much!! That is such a nice thing to say, and it truly means so much! It was such a labor of love, and one that, as I’m sure you can understand, we sometimes second guessed, so it does feel good to know that it was worth it!


  30. I’m pretty sure I would have been running for those hills if I saw your house as the before! Ha! You had such amazing vision and created a spectacular home from the “ugly 70’s” house you first purchased! 🙂

    1. I know!! I’m pretty sure any sane person would have so I cannot blame you for feeling that way, haha!!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for taking the time to comment!


  31. Omg, Sheila, so much in this post resonated with me! First of all, the before and afters are astonishing and you did an amazing job! Your home is absolutely gorgeous and your style and taste exquisite.

    But also this story is almost exact to why we bought our previous home. Same thoughts, and almost the same exact layout with many of the same changes (including adding the bit of wall between living room and dining room).

    I so enjoyed reading this. And btw, I love your front doors, too!!

    1. Wow, really?! Now I have to go look at your previous home!! I do love our layout, but obviously, the “before” was so scary!! Thanks for your sweet compliments my friend – you know we always think alike;)


  32. Wow Sheila!!!! You have truly transformed your home! I loved seeing your before and afters, what a fun post. One of my favorite details you added is the entry into your dining room, that is such a beautiful design element! It’s crazy how much you have changed the style into this beauty!

    1. Aww thanks so much Lisa! It was truly a labor of love! I so appreciate you stopping by!!