Living With Kids: Victoria Hudgens
You guys!! This house is such a show stopper. Nothing gets my interior design heart going pitter-patter more than people who aren’t afraid to make bold choices and really make their home personal and show off their style. If you feel the same way you’ll be swooning over Victoria’s house in Reno, Nevada. I mean, there is a pink fireplace (which I have already copied in my own home!). Not only that, Victoria and her husband did this whole renovation with kids underfoot. They even let them help!
Come say hello to Victoria.
Hello! My name is Victoria and I blog at A Subtle Revelry. Our house holds my husband Matt, myself and our 8 year old twins. Plus a hamster, a lizard, a soon coming puppy and baby goats that are on the way!
A funny story, Matt and I actually met for the first time in the hospital nursery when we were born. 🙂 We were born in the same hospital, on the same day— he is 1/2 an hour older than me. Our moms actually remember hearing each other since their rooms were close by during their labor. HA! We lived in a big city, so after we went home from that hospital trip we never met again until college. I think it’s sweet to think about us finding each other after coming into the world at the nearly the same time and then with so much time apart.
We met in college and it was one of those things were you just know… you know? We went on one date and I remember coming home to my roommates and saying, I’m going to marry that guy. We got married one week after college graduation (in the pre-pinterest wedding days). My favorite thing about our wedding was that we rented out a Starbucks and did an afternoon “coffee hour” instead of a cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception.
We had our babies after a number of years trying and praying to grow our family and finally after one round of IVF we were pregnant with twins. We like to joke that no one in our family gets their own birthday, since Matt and I have the same birthday and the twins do too — we celebrate just 2 times a year.
After moving 8 times in our 8 year marriage we ended up here in this house in Reno, Nevada, and plan to stay as long as we possibly can!
Growing up in Las Vegas, Reno always had a horrible reputation for me. When Matt suggested we make a move here for a job and a church that he was excited about, I agreed thinking it would be a quick 12 month stopover to a much better city. Little did I know that during those 12 months, I would fall in love with this place. We always joke that we can’t let the secret out or it will get flooded with all the people, but Reno really is one of the best places I could imagine raising our family.
From my front door we can be on the beach at Lake Tahoe in 42 minutes, we can be skiing at some of the best ski areas in the world in about 37 minutes, and we can be in the heart of San Francisco in about 3 hours. We have NO traffic, lots of really great restaurants (my favorites are the Brassiere and The Depot), and a thriving art scene. Plus we have a view of the Sierra Nevada mountains from our backyard. Reno gets all four seasons, which being a desert girl my whole life, I just adore!
The one thing that is both a blessing and a problem about where we live is that Reno isn’t yet a “large city”. I love the small town community feel especially in our area of town, but we don’t have some of my favorite stores. So I always have to stock up when in San Francisco for the weekend.
The benefit to this though is that the houses, and life in general, is still really affordable here. Nevada has no state tax and you can buy a good sized family home for around $300,000 — which just a couple hours into California you can’t even get a shoebox condo for. Plus because of the non-existent traffic, I can get almost anywhere I need to be in under 8 minutes from my house. Since both Matt and I can work from anywhere it seems like a great place to be!
In the coming years we have plans to get our business more involved in the local community here. We are already really involved in our church and the entire mid-town area, and hope to create a brick & mortar business here someday.
Finding and getting this house has been such a crazy experience. We first put on offer on the house in August of 2015. It was the first house we toured when we started looking and much like the guy I married, I just knew that it was the one. Our initial offer was turned down so off we went to find a replacement for my dream house.
We must have looked at about 1,675 other houses throughout the fall (even some much nicer homes), and every time it just didn’t add up to that first one I knew was right. I can’t exactly explain why, I just knew it was supposed to be our home. The land and views and location were exactly what I wanted for our family, even though we knew the actual home (you know, inside the walls) was going to need an enormous amount of work.
So we kept trying. And we had offers for this house turned down 3 more times! Gah.
It was such a heartbreak. You’d think I would have moved on, but I just couldn’t. And I am happy to say that eventually we wore them down. 😉 Persistence and patience can be helpful virtues. They finally accepted our offer and we closed in late March 2016. We demo’d the entire house and are slowly rebuilding it room by room.
The kids have been a part of most of the projects we’ve done. They get really excited about it and want to jump right in and help, which is fun. We tried to ask them, especially for their own rooms, what they envisioned and what would make it a special space for them. My daughter wanted to paint a mural on her wall so we let her go for it. It’s been a fun process, allowing them to help and teaching them about how much work and time renovations and projects can take.
For example, our kitchen cabinets are from Ikea and my son helped put them together with Matt. Obviously, he was working on tasks like screwing in screws and not using the chainsaw, but I am always surprised just how much they can do when you give them space to show you. It’s so sweet for me, knowing the kids were a part of the process, and I think it’s really empowering for an 8 year old to say, “I helped build that kitchen!”
We have dreams of maybe one day, when they get a little older, letting them redo an entire room, or maybe even a small house, on their own. I mean what a great way to start off adult life, already having one renovation under your belt!?!
I think the biggest thing we had to learn and relearn during the renovation was patience and flexibility. Everything will eventually get done— just not always on my timeline. And it will look great in the end, even if we have to adjust as we go. In every room so far we’ve hit bumps that make us reroute some of our plans. But being willing to adjust our design ideals versus being married to a specific concept, really helps.
Also, taking time away has been HUGE for us. It is easy to quickly pour every last dollar and every last moment of free time into a project like this. But taking trips away and time to just be together as a family, even if that means things get done a little slower, has really helped.
We’ve had to be super intentional about that in this last year. Between work and the house projects, we don’t want our kids to ever feel like they are second place to a job or a physical thing. So we focus on stepping away with them and in including them in the process with us. It’s not MY house, it’s OUR house.
I will say that most of the bold color choices we made are things we could pretty easily change back. The fireplace was already painted, so we didn’t cover up any gorgeous brick. We figure when we sell, or maybe next year if I get sick of the pink, we can always just paint it again. 🙂 Paint is easy. And the bold prints we’ve used on the wallpaper and art are also pretty simple to change if needed.
I think when it comes down to it though, we didn’t design this house with resale value as our first priority. We designed it to be a place where our family and friends would be able to be happy together. We may sell the house one day down the road, but in the meantime I will enjoy hundreds of nights with my kids by the fireplace, and having breakfast in the kitchen I designed. Having a space that brings us joy is so much more important to us right now.
It was so fun designing the kitchen of my dreams! I just get giddy even talking about it. We really wanted a large open space for entertaining and I loved the idea of having a more open concept with a thick and substantial area to serve from. The countertops were a DIY project of my husbands, you can find the post about the right here. I will say it was a messy process. but completely worth it. We got a custom, very high end look for under $1000, which you can’t beat!
When we moved in, the kitchen was filled with upper cabinets (see before photos right here) — dark and not very inviting. I love the fact that we were able to transform the space so dramatically by taking them all down. Also, I will say that I am fairly short gal (I’m 5’1 in heels) so upper cabinets have always been a hassle for me. Instead, we did a ton of lower cabinets with large roll out drawers. Everything has a perfect spot, and I don’t have to stand on my tiptoes to reach anything. It is bliss! We installed open shelving, which we use for everyday bowls and glasses, but honestly I’ve not missed the upper cabinets a bit.
Despite all the wonderful help the kids gave, I hope they forget the first couple months in the house! HA! It was pretty scary. Because our closing date was pushed back for over 6 weeks, and we had a hard line date we had to be out of our last house, we ended up moving in when the construction process was still very rough! We had no kitchen, we were missing part of the wood flooring still, the windows had blankets hung up instead of window coverings. It wasn’t pretty.
It was an adventure, but I think we were all somewhat nervous about how we were going to survive it.
I’ll never forget my daughter wanting to bring a friend home from school and me rushing in the house before them to make sure the nail gun was unplugged and the saws were put away. It was one of those experiences (like childbirth), that you just hope everyone looks at the beautiful result and just totally forgets about the messy process involved in creating it.
I love that I get to live and work alongside them in our home. Part of the reason we chose this specific house was because there was a HUGE walkout studio space downstairs. We house the blogging business there, which means I get to work at something I love — and also be here when they get home from school. They are often running around during photo shoots and seeing how we work and live.
I love that this house gives us the space to bring them into so many different areas of life and allows us to read, feast, work and do all the things we love.
I wish someone had told me that Pinterest is a liar. Seriously. Don’t trust Pinterest to design your house because all those pristine Scandinavian-style homes without children or people or pets living in them will not serve you well!
We’ve made a couple mistakes in the house, I’m not going to lie. The biggest mistake we made was the flooring choice in the kitchen and dining room. When we moved into the house we gutted the entire space and laid my favorite wide pine plank flooring throughout the house. These were the floors of my dreams and I had all kinds of inspiration pinned here and shared here. I saw the floors all over Pinterest and when we figured out a way to get the look for our small budget(under $2 a sq foot!), it was a really great moment.
Now, a year later I will say that I adore the floors in 80% of the house. They are really amazing in the bedrooms, and the living room. But they were the WORST CHOICE EVER for the kitchen and dining area.
The thing about floors is that they have to work for your lifestyle, and unfortunately for the pretty pine – my lifestyle is a rowdy family who eats and spills and entertains often. Which means those pretty pretty farmhouse gaps in the floor quickly became layered in food, and hard to clean, and EEEWWWWWW it was so gross.
So we pulled them out by hand 9 months after laying them in by hand to get a better option for the space. We ended up with big grey tile which you can see here and now all the floor crevices are sealed, the floor looks so much better, and this busy momma says, AMEN!
I hope my kids remember the love we put into the house, and the community that happens here because of it. To know the house is not just a house for us, but to share. We’ve really tried to be thoughtful in a lot of the design regarding how it will serve our family and how it will allow us to be hospitable — for dinners, for late night backyard talks around the fire pit, and for guests who plan to stay for a night or a week. Opening up our home and having the kids be a part of that is something I hope will shape who they become.
What an amazing renovation!! I love when people make bold choices and really let the design shine through, from the wallpaper to the paint colors to the concrete counter tops. I’m also really into the idea of having my kids do some renovation of their own before they leave the house. What a confidence builder and a genuinely useful skill!
When you make design decisions in your home, do you go with what you love and take chances? Or do you like to play it safer so your home has broad appeal or resell value? Are you a trend setter or trend follower? Have you ever had a Pinterest fail like those pine floors?
Living Room Palms Wallpaper
Mod Planter in Office/Studio
Master Bedroom Mural
Kitchen Shelf Brackets
Credits: You can visit Victoria’s blog, A Subtle Revelry, or follow her on Instagram. Living With Kids is edited by Josh Bingham — you can follow him on Instagram. Would you like to share your home in our Living With Kids series? It’s lots of fun, I promise! Reach out at email@example.com.