Michigan House – The Beginning

This post has been a long time coming! As many of you know, my husband is in the Marine corps. He joined when he was 18 & moved from Michigan,to Florida, To North Carolina where we are now.So after we were married 5 years ago, I moved from Michigan to North Carolina where he was stationed.

Our first home here in North Carolina was a brand new town home when we were 19. We loved that little home, it was perfect for us, but we were tired of renting so we decided to buy a house here in North Carolina. Before he left on his second deployment we decided that I would go house hunting and buy a house while he was gone over seas. Well, a week after he was was gone, I didn’t find the perfect house, but I found the perfect neighborhood & the perfect model home that I wanted to build & I knew he would love it too! After talking with Mr. LMB about all the details we immediately started building. A long story short, 5 months later I was moving all of our stuff into our brand new home {I had 2 months to get the house together before he came home from deployment!} We have now lived in this house for going on 3 years. After one re-enlistment, the time has come to decide whether or not we are going to get out of the military life, and move back home or stay in the military.


Our house here in NC {via Instagram @lizmariegalvan}

This past summer my husbands dad died from cancer. Our world stopped. Losing a parent is hard. Losing a parent when you are only 25 is rough. Losing my husbands dad to cancer made our decision for us. We want to be by our families. We want to soak up all the time we have with them on this earth. We decided that in 2 years {That’s only 24 months from now, that’s not that much longer!} We are going to leave the military life behind & move back to Michigan. Out of the kindness of his heart, my father in law left us his home. We couldn’t be more thankful to have a home in Michigan to move home to. His dad had cancer for a very long time and was unable to work on the home or update it. So after he passed away we basically gutted the entire house & now we are re-doing the entire home inside and outside to make it our own.

 We are starting with a brand new kitchen, all new flooring, new windows, new ceilings, & finishing the basement, just to name a few. I wanted to include all of you in the entire process of re-doing our “new” home in Michigan. It’s going to be a long process, & it’s different for us because we will be “re-doing” our home from here in North Carolina with only occasional visits of going to Michigan to work on it while we have contractors and family working on it while we are out of state. Once we move back home to Michigan all of our DIY projects on the home & decorating can begin, until then we need to decide if we are going to rent or sell our home here in North Carolina. Are you ready to see the “before” of our Michigan home??

Some facts about the house:
{All of this including the finished basement}

4 bedrooms
3 living rooms
2 Full bathrooms
1 1/2 bath with laundry
It’s a tri-level home with a basement
2 car garage

These photos were taken after we started gutting the home, we had removed all
the flooring, and started ripping everything out of the house…


This picture was take before the guys took the kitchen out. You can see them scheming
on how they are going to go about doing it.. o, and look! a kitchen sink in the living room!
Don’t mind our mess. When I say we are under construction I mean everything & the kitchen sink ;)


Bye Bye cabinets! Here is the kitchen with everything ripped out. I love how everything is
going to be a blank slate so we can start over. We already got the 3D drawings for our
new kitchen which I will be sharing soon!



 Here is the view when you walk into the front door. You see living room #1, part of the kitchen,
part of the dining room, & the stairs upstairs.


This is a tri-level home so these are the stairs up to two bedrooms, a
bathroom and a linen closet. The stairs going down lead to the second
living room, another bedroom, and a bathroom. There are also stairs
below that lead to the basement which will be another bedroom, a
laundry/ bathroom,  and a 3rd living room.


Here is the full bathroom upstairs. This was before we ripped the cabinet
out, but after we ripped the toilet and the flooring out.


This is one of the bedrooms upstairs. I wish I would have taken pictures
after we had thrown everything in the dumpster, but you get the idea.
This room is very long and has two large windows. I love all the light!


Here is bedroom number 2 upstairs. Don’t mind the curtains hanging over a large
entertainment center in the room. We seriously were construction mode and moved
everything where the was room in the house until we could either throw it away or
sell the items.


This is going to be the second living room. That hallway to the right leads to
the 3rd bedroom, the second full bathroom, & the stairs to the basement.


This is the 3rd bedroom in the basement, this is the only room we have
not ripped up the carpet in yet.


Here is the second full bathroom in the house. & to the right of the bathroom
is the stairs to the basement…


Obviously the basement needs the most work, but it’s going to be so nice to have
4 levels of our house where people can spread out. It’s going to be weird going from a house
with only one level, to four!

So, there you have it! The “before” I wish I would have taken pictures before we started
the destruction of the home, but actually this will just make the after photos that much better.
As you can see we have a long ways to go on the home & I wanted to take you on every step of the process
with us. We are excited for this journey ahead of us, and scared to leave our home in NC at the
same time. I’m anxious to see where the Lord takes us! Have you guys ever renovated a home?
What was your experience like? Do you have any advice for us? I would love to hear from you!


  1. Alexis Peck says:

    Omg how exciting is that! I can’t wait to see everything you do with the new place.

  2. Oh, so exciting! It will be great to have another blogger in Michigan!!!

  3. Wow! How exciting! Where in MI is it? I live in Grosse Pointe which is near Detroit.

  4. Loved reading this post! So exciting to have such a meaningful new home. My husband and I are also deciding whether we want to continue our life In the Navy or move back to Tennessee. So excited for you both!!!

    • Thank You MJ! It was a very hard post to write, I have so much going on in my head that I didn’t know what to say about it all. Good luck to you and your husband as you make your decision! I know it’s hard, we still talk about everything. I know how it is. I hope you guys reach a decision soon so you can start planning :) xx

  5. How awesome!
    I kind of grew up in Michigan too- in Port Huron. I went to middle school and high school there, and then moved to Camp Pendleton because my ex-husband was in the Marine Corps. :)
    My family still lives in the mitten state though!

  6. How exciting! I love that it’s not a new build but it’s basically starting from scratch. What a phenomenal gift that your father in law left your family! I can’t wait to see pictures of the progress :)

  7. That was so kind of your father-in-law to leave his home to you both….so sorry for your loss. It will be nice for you both to go home. We live in similar layout. Looks like it is going to be fantastic!

    • Thank you so much Nicole! & yes, we are both looking forward to calling Michigan Home again.. it’s going to be a long but fun journey… can’t wait to share it with you! I never thought I would be a fan of this layout.. but as we work on it, I am loving it!

  8. So sorry to hear about your father in law’s passing. My husband lost his brother suddenly at a young age and it is not easy.
    On a happier note-your home is going to be fabulous!!! 3 living rooms will be fabulous. We only have one living area and it can be quite crowded when we have company. Looking forward to all of your projects.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss! It’s so hard & sometimes hard to understand why we lose the ones we love so early. Thank you for your kind words!!! xx

  9. WOW! I’m am so excited to read about this journey with you and Jose. This is AMAZING! This house has sooo much potential and I KNOW you guys will make it absolutely beautiful. This gives me hope if John and I ever get a house that needs ‘re-doing’. LOVE LOVE LOVE this Liz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    • haha I’m so glad to finally show you Melissa!!!! We have been talking about this for months.. well, here it is!! I’m so glad I can show you our journey through the blog to you… it’s going to be crazy, but I can’t wait to call this place home :) & I know you and John could take on any project and make it amazing!!!

  10. Congrats! Sounds similar to our Michigan home – 1970′s total remodel. Definitely a project, but it’s so great to make the house your home! Enjoy the journey!

    • Yes! Ours was built in the 80′s! Thank you so much for your kind words and the reminder. So far the process has been find, hard at times because we were getting rid of memories for a while, but it was closure for both of us. Can’t wait to show you our journey!

  11. This is SUPER exciting! It’s going to be a fun adventure for you guys. As a word of advice, remember that you and your husband are not enemies. LOL! Serriously. These types of projects tend to be one of the bigger stressors on marriage…so many decisions and different opinions. Michael and I have designed and built our current house together along with two renovations. It’s *mostly* fun. Ironically as a painter, I highly recommend hiring a painter!!! :-)

    • haha Anneke.. that is AMAZING advice.. so far every decision has been clear, but I know there are probably some down the road that will take a discussion {or two} to solve… you are so experienced!!! I will be chatting with you through out this whole thing I’m sure, you can hold my hand ;) & I agree!!!!!! We actually do have a painter already because I do not paint walls, only furniture. Well, that’s a lie, but I’m not painting an entire house haha

  12. Liz! We redid our whole house here in Tampa. It was built in 1966 and hadn’t been updated at all! Josh worked miracles. Seriously, you guys need to come visit! I’m jealous your moving home. :)

    • ummmm do you have pictures Josie??? I want to see!!! You need to give me some home ;) haha and every time you come to visit, you better make some coffee date time!

  13. So excited for you, we have moved 7 times in 9 years of marriage. We gutted 2 of those houses, but finally made it back home to Michigan :) Can’t wait to see what you do! PS Welcome back to MI too :)

    • O my Kelly! I had no idea that you were from Michigan!!! Let me just tell you, I am quite a fan of yours ;) Thank you so much .. we will be back there within the next two years! What part of Michigan are you from??? I can’t believe you have moved 7 times!!!! so crazy!!! This will be our 3rd and that’s crazy to me! haha

  14. I noticed you pinning all sorts of gorgeous white kitchens lately, and I just assumed you’d be painting yours. How fun to start from a completely blank slate and REALLY get to use inspiration photos. Although you got it under such sad circumstances, congrats on your new home and I am excited to follow along! :)

    • Thank you so much Stephanie!!! yes, pinning away on some lovely kitchens lately… That’s the biggest decision we are making right now, and I can’t decide on what to do!! So many great options. I can’t wait to share with you!! Thanks for your sweet comment! xx

  15. What an exciting time for you guys! My husband and I renovated our home drastically when we purchased it as a foreclosure! Its stressful, but was very gratifying in the end when it was finished and we had done so much work to it ourselves. One tip: try to keep one space in the house a semi-non construction zone so you have an escape. If we wouldn’t have done this, we might have ended up in the asylum!! I just know that with your amazingly awesome style the house will be fabulous in the end! Can’t wait to see it!

    Jenna @ rainonatinroof.com

  16. I’m sorry your father in law passed away. How exciting though to be able to basically get a new house (after remodeling) where you want to be. Can’t wait to see how you decorate!

    Best of wishes to you and your hubby!


  17. We can’t wait to have you back in the “nest”!!! Love you and we all know the house re-do will be fabulous!! xxxooo

  18. NC will miss you. I understand about returning home to Michigan. You’ll love redoing the house.

  19. Sorry for the loss of your father-in-law and what a wonderful gift he left to you and your husband. Not only the house but a chance to return to Michigan to be close to your family! The best of luck with the renovations and it will be fun to follow on your blog !!

  20. Michele M says:

    So sorry for your loss but what a special place that you and your husband will make many more special family memories. I am sure the new house will look fantastic. Can’t wait to see the progress!
    Michele M

  21. Oh my gosh, what exciting news! & I have to tell you, I almost started crying when you said your father in law left ya’ll his house. That was such a sweet thing to do! I am also glad you are moving back near your families.

  22. Congratulations, LIZ MARIE! .. How ecstatic are you ?! I’m really excited for you guys.. I’ve read over and over about how much you love Michigan.. Now you’ll get to be close with all your loved ones! :) Have fun!

  23. this means we can hangout! you me and katie! I can not wait. will this house be near us?

  24. Losing a parent, especially so young, is so hard (I lost my mom when I was 22). What an awesome gift to be able to have his home and keep the memories but make it your own and have a part of him there forever! So excited for you and can’t wait to see what you do with it!

    • I am so sorry Jenn for your loss. My heart hurts for you.. losing a parent is so unnatural at such a young age. and watching my husband go through this has been so eye opening. Thank you so much for your sweet comment.. The house already feels like “home” and I was so worried that it wouldn’t.. it’s so crazy how that happens. I can’t wait to show you the after! I hope you have a great weekend.. xx Liz

  25. I too am sorry to hear of your father-in-laws passing. It’s never easy to lose a parent especially when your so young. Both my parents passed by the time I was 19. I’m sure he’s smiling from heaven knowing that you are going to build your family in his home.
    I have followed your blog for sometime and all I can say is I’m excited for your new adventure! Can’t wait to read it all!

    • You are so strong Casie! I’m literally sitting here amazed at your kind and wise words to comfort us. I’m so sorry for your great loss and I appreciate your sweet comment and for you following along with me.. I can’t wait to show you the after!

  26. First, I am SO sorry for your loss. I’m sure that was hard on you both, especilly being so far away. Secondly, that was so beautiful for your father in law to leave the house to you two! And third, I love the layout of the MI house! I can’t wait to see what you guys do with it! It’s going to be a long 2 years of waiting for te reveal! :)

  27. So weirdly enough I stumbled onto your blog three minutes ago. and read this post and my heart skipped a beat.

    My dream is to move to NC. I have no idea why… something tells me my heart will sing there. (my husband is yet to be convinced and has to stay around here longer for his job) but if I can ask… where do you live in north carolina? (maybe renting in two years would be something I need, you never know right? fate has crazy ways of working out??) Any advice to me on NC… ? I live in pa currently.

    and I am not a weirdo promise.. lol

    • That is so crazy! We live in NewBern.. it’s near cherry point base :) That is awesome that your dream is to move here! I have never dreamed of living anywhere.. I think that’s how I know I want to move back home to Michigan. We may be renting our home here in NC come September… not sure yet, I will keep the blog updated with all of the details :)

  28. Hi Liz,

    I’m so very sorry to hear about your husbands father. That is a very tough loss and I can’t imagine the pain he is going through.

    Welcome back to Michigan! I don’t know how far you are from Grand Rapids but we should have a blogger coffee get together when you are settled in!

    Happy moving! Can’t wait to see what you do with the place!

  29. LOVE the new design!!!
    Can’t wait to watch all the fun DIY!

  30. Thank you Liz for sharing your life with us. My condolences for your loss. Im looking forward to reading your journey. Its a new year with new beginnings, best wishes to you, your husband and the babies “doggies”. :)

  31. How exciting Liz!!!! Now you will be so close to your niece/nephew : ) Yay for me that I won’t just have to covet the furniture you put up for sale, I can actually drive right over and buy it!!!

  32. Stephanie says:

    Welcome (back) Home! The house looks like it has super cool bones and I’m sure you’ll find fantastic things to dress it up with. However…the snow might not be as pleasant as the North Carolina sunshine! Good thing you grew up here! :)

    • hahahah you are so right stephanie.. I’m going to have to get used to driving in snow again… eeeek! I don’t want to! I’ve turned into a chicken! Thank you for your sweet comment.. I’m hoping the house turns into our dream home :)

  33. I’m very sorry about your husbands father. I can’t imagine the loss of a parent. BUt what an amazing man to leave you this home and be able to be back near family! I cannot wait to see what you do with it! I’m sure it’s going to be just fabulous!!!!! Your NC house is amazing, and I imagine this one will be even better!

    • Thank you Annie!! I have this vision in my head for the home.. I hope it turns out just like that vision.. I’m so excited to call that house home!!! It’s going to be so nice to be near family and our friends!!! Can’t wait to show you everything!!

  34. Liz Marie, U R SO BLESSED!!! – to have family you actually want to soak up AND to have a husband who is on the same page as you with that AND to actually have a HOUSE to go into AND to have people help you renovate it while u r long-distance!!!! Such an amazing, amazing journey u r on … and ty for taking us along ! I can’t wait to see, as my late beloved Dad used to say, “doubles-up” (develops ;) )

    • Thank you so much Jeanne for your encouraging words!!!!!!!!! You just made my whole night. I need to be reminded sometimes how blessed we are and not think about all the work we need to do and sit back and look at everything we have.. Thank you so so so much for your kind words!! It means a lot :) Can’t wait to take you on our journey! xx

  35. my dtr goes to gsu so she will not be far from u

  36. Oh how exciting! We are just now starting our second round of renovations on our house and the only thing I can say is you are SO lucky NOT to be living in the house while it is being worked on! That is the worst part about how we are doing things! You have to see the mess and see the slow progress at times and see the problems happening right in front of you. I think you are doing things perfectly! I am excited to hear that you are moving back to the midwest! Of course I am completely partial to Michigan too! Are you close to AA??? :) Anyways, so happy for you guys and happy to hear that you are going to be closer to family, that is a hard decision, my husband would have liked to stay in the military but chose family as well. Anyways, can’t wait to see the progress!

    • We are a lot alike lady!!! We are in Grand Rapids.. so about 2 1/2 hours away? & you are so so so right! we are lucky that we are not there during the crazy parts!! Thank you so much for the encouraging words.. you are making me feel so much better about everything! It really is a hard decision.. but as you guys know being away from family makes you appreciate them even more…& GO MICHIGAN!!!! ;) we need to meet at a game sometime.. we are die hard michigan fans! That would be so fun!

  37. Wow, what an adventure! I think the transformation will be amazing and looking forward to reading all about it. :)

  38. This is exciting and awesome. I would love ti move there. And also I did not know you were so young I’m 21 and my husband is 22 and we got married a yr and half ago and its also so cool to find couples that married young too.

    • Yes! I know, many people don’t know my age.. maybe I should put that on here somewhere ;) Yes, were were married very young and now going on 6 years.. it has been really amazing! I wish you guys the best.. it’s fun to be married young.. you get a lot more time together :) xx

  39. mary linteau says:

    I just stumbled on your blog. I live in Michigan and my Dad lived in N.C…… In New Bern no less. We lost dad 2 yrs ago. My stepmother still lives there I guess. Right on Scott Town rd. What a small world! We had been down there several times over the years. For a while my Dad taught some workworking classes at the local college. My daughter and son in law live in S.C. which I love. they are a Military Family for a little while longer. (End of Feb, not by choice. my son in law has a brain tumor and the Military frowns upon that sort of thing). They love S.C. and won’t move back to Mich. Anyway, best of luck to you and congrats on the house!!!!!

  40. I heard the news that you were moving back and WAS SOOOO EXCITED! Finally taking the time to head over here and leave a comment! WEEEEEE! I’m so excited! I’m sure time will fly and can I just say HOW THE HECK ARE YOU DOING THIS without living in the same state. You are amazing and so inspiring! And I love how you’re gutting it! Can’t wait to see the final product! We also remodeled our entire house (built in the 40′s) and to be honest, I love it. I love redoing older homes and that is what I want to do in our next house verses building new. Also, thank you so much for your sweet sweet comment on my blog the other day! I am honored to KNOW YOU! And so happy one talented CHICA is going to live in Michigan again! REGULAR coffee dates is a must! Oh and photoshoots! ;)

  41. I had no idea you were from Grand Rapids until I saw that “antiques” sign in the kitchen! And Moving back to Jenison, nonetheless?! I’m in Hudsonville! My husband and I moved back to the GR area after being in Pittsburgh for 3.5 years and are soooo happy to be back in the mitt :) I bet you can’t wait!

  42. You know what strikes me most about this….you are in your twenties!!! Right? I can’t believe your drive and focus. You’re NC house is gorgeous and now this massive project. WOW. Kudos

  43. It sounds like we have similar situations! I was drawn to your blog after seeing your adorable “home” mitten couch pillow. I’m also a native Michigander! My husband is USAF and we’re stationed in Montana. We just recently purchased our first home here and are eventually going to have to make the same hard decision — to stay in the Air Force or head back home to the mitten to be with family. Best of luck to you!


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