For the last two years, I’ve been lucky enough to call a 90-year old bungalow in South Minneapolis my home. It was love at first sight despite the marbled red dining room walls, maroon painted fireplace, sponge-painted master bedroom and large tree mural adorning the guest room. “Nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a little lipstick and rouge,” our realtor told us, but we didn’t need any extra convincing. The house was ours two days later and move in day could not come soon enough. Since that warm June morning when we unloaded our one very small trailer of possessions, my husband and I have worked tirelessly to turn our house into a home while managing a budget and the unexpected joys that came with a home that’s been standing for nine decades. Trust me, it’s been quite the ride.

Like any overly ambitious pair, we had to make things exceptionally difficult for ourselves and opted to have engagement photos taken in our new house less than four months after we settled in. With two full-time jobs, travel and a wedding to plan, that timeline was daunting. We spent late nights painting, early mornings at the flea market, scoured thrift stores and somehow it all started to come together. Of course, we cut it close. The morning of the shoot we were grouting the fireplace and enlisting in-laws to help us mop! The photos shown below are from that shoot and are images I’ll treasure forever. Some things haven’t changed since they were taken and other scenes seem like a lifetime ago.

It is such an exciting time to be decorating a home and I am acutely aware of that. We live in a world of Pinterest where millions of design ideas are waiting at our fingertips. We live in a world where entire blogs are dedicated to chronicling individuals and families re-modeling their homes. We live in a world where there are endless television programs and YouTube tutorials that teach us how to do it ourselves. My husband and I have utilized every last one of these resources and have come out on the other side with a invaluable set of skills and a understanding of what makes our house home. Give us a dash of personality like this print in our office, cozy and livable textiles like this throw in our living room, furniture with clean lines like our IKEA table that we get way too many compliments on, plus a glass of wine in our favorite glasses and we are set.

As with any big project, the to-do list seems to grow at an unfathomable rate. Such is life and such is home ownership. While I’d love to spend all the hours of my days perusing home stores, re-finishing furniture and wallpapering every surface that’s put in from of me, I’m realistic that our home will always be in a work in progress. Need proof? Take a look at the master bedroom… the sponge paint is still there. But, don’t worry, it’s on the list!

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Article by Elissa Erickson of Ebb + Flow
Photos by Brandon Werth

Thank you to Elissa for sharing her adorable home with us! Elissa is a graphic designer for Mall of America and a freelance designer in the evenings. She shares her life stories on the blog Ebb + Flow which launched in 2010 as an outlet for writing, curating, and creating.