chalkboard wall art

Happy Friday, friends!  We over here at Casa del Ochoa are rapidly approaching the year anniversary of purchasing our first home – this time last year, we were searching for our first house together, and in about a month, it will be a year since we closed! It was a whirlwind process, that involved us falling in love with a home and then not getting it, it coming back on the market, and me having a weird “this just isn’t right feeling.”  My husband was stoked on that first house, so it was a bummer, but we trusted my instinct (my Real Estate Finance Law professor would be thrilled to know I took his one piece of “real world” advise to heart: Do not EVER, under ANY circumstances, buy the nicest house on the block)!  And that first house was just that – a flip – fully renovated and GORGEOUS on the inside, but overpriced and sitting next door to a house that looked like it might fall, or burn, down at any moment!

A couple of days later, the house we now call our home came on the market, and we just knew it was the one.  Our TOP priority for our home was a backyard that Napa could run and play in (she had always been an apartment dog and I had promised her a yard!), and this backyard was more than we ever could have asked for!  Big is an understatement, especially if you know California real estate.  We are on a pie shaped lot and the back yard is GINORMOUS (yes, ginormous) for California.  All of the natural light, my must have fireplace (no matter how ugly) and 4 bedrooms (albeit small) later, we knew we had to put in an offer.  We even printed photos of the house and put them up on our bathroom mirror in our apartment to manifest the house into our lives – no joke!

Our real estate agent is AMAZING, first of all – if you live in the San Diego area, Pam Ratcliffe is your gal – seriously incredible and someone we now call a true friend.  Plus, given that there were THIRTEEN other offers on this home, and that we got it, well, I think that speaks volumes!  Honestly I cannot describe the feeling that overcame us when she called and told us we got the house – we had no expectations of getting it and when we did, it was wonderful!  (Moral of the story – if you don’t get the first, or second or third, house you love, I promise it is for a reason)!  We closed April 5, 2017, and moved in shortly after that!

Our amazing realtor Pam! She is an angel, y’all!

And now, I cannot believe it has been almost a year since then!  I was talking to my mom and she suggested I make a list of all of the things we have accomplished here in the first year – which is a LOT!  But I thought, how much more fun would it be to make that “list” a blog, and show y’all a few before and afters, and some projects I just love, that we have tackled this past year!  There’s nothing quite like those staged real estate photos compared to photos of an actual lived in, loved in, home – am I right?!

So here we go!**

**(Disclaimer: My husband has warned me this is a dangerous post because against ACTUAL PROFESSIONALLY TAKEN photos when our house was on the market, my photos may not “measure up” per se – but quite honestly, I think that’s the point, right? My photos represent a HOME, not a staged, sterile house, with no memories or love or life in it!  Besides, I think the drastic changes in decor are just astounding, so I hope you enjoy!

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[All before photos were not taken by me and are owned by the original content owners.  No copyright infringement intended.]



BEFORE – so typically staged right?


rustic living room

AFTER – I’ve since changed out those green wreaths, but overall it is very similar today! I just love our rustic reclaimed wood wall in the entryway!

And here are a few more shots of the after:

That rustic wood wall was one of our VERY first DIYs in this home, and boy were we newbies!  But, it turned out better than I hoped! One day I dream of switching out that mirror for a chunky chippy white one, but that one was free from my parents sooooo, couldn’t say no!  I also love our vintage looking post box (similar here); it was the perfect addition to the entryway!

Another one of my favorite pieces in our living room are those vintage shutters.  My mom found them in an antique store years ago and put them in a closet for lack of a place to hang them.  Well you bet I scooped those up the second I could once we bought our home!  They are such an amazing focal piece, and I love the new cotton wreath I have hanging on them!


BEFORE – does this rug size/placement bother anyone else? Yuck!


cozy family room

AFTER – close up! And Napa of course!

And a couple more:

This rug is one of my favorite buys (months after I purchased it, it was used on Property Brothers – go me!), though admittedly I wish I had purchased an 8′ x 10,’ but hindsight is always 20-20!  Those amazing signs are from Emily over at QB Home – she is the SWEETEST and her work is top notch! She is also a dog mom like me, so I think that makes me love her even more!  Seriously, go check her out!


So y’all know this has been one of the biggest transformations in our home – you can check out the full post on that HERE!  We actually hired a contractor to come in and blow out that old school TV “box” made of drywall and build our hearth (we couldn’t find the original floor tile so this was my solution and we actually LOVE it!), and then I faux bricked the rest!  One waxed reclaimed wood mantel later, and voila!

I can’t wait to finish the faux brick all the way up the chimney – you’ll be able to see that as soon as you walk in our home and I think it will be just stunning!

BEFORE – horrible TV box and brown granite surround to match our ugly brown kitchen. Everything was brown, brown, and more BROWN.


faux brick fireplace

reclaimed wood mantel

A little pre-wax and post-wax action for ya here as well!  But most importantly, sans TV box! Yipee!




farmhouse dining room

AFTER! With a few V-day decorations!

I think the biggest transformation in this space was the addition of window treatments (from Smith & Noble) and my little wine bar area! Hubby says it’s his least favorite spot in the house because it’s too “cluttered.” But really, what does he know? haha!

Also – this table – SWOON. No joke, when I was only 12 or so I told my parents they were NOT allowed to get rid of this table because I wanted it (it is actually an old Spanish door, so cool)!  So it sat in my grandparents garage for YEARS until I was able to put it in my house in college, and then back it went to the garage for 3 years while I was in law school, and now finally it is HOME!  I honestly don’t care WHERE I move, I will NEVER get rid of this table.  However, I could stand to get rid of, or replace, the cushions that go on the chairs!

And here is a close up of our little bar cart just because I love it!

rae dunn bar cart

My favorite part is that vintage scale!


Our house is SUPER open concept, but I knew I wanted at least a semi-formal dining space.  When we found an amazing farmhouse style table, complete with a backed bench at Living Spaces, I knew it was the perfect set for our space!



world market chandelier


We found our light fixture at World Market, and not only was it affordable, but it was just gorgeous!  We had to pay an extra $100 to get it completely re-wired for our 18+ foot high ceilings, but it was well worth it! We actually rented scaffolding from Home Depot and hung it ourselves too! MUCH cheaper than hiring an electrician to do it! (If you are not familiar with wiring light fixtures, etc., please do NOT attempt this at home – hire a licensed professional as electricity is extremely dangerous!)


BEFORE – these photos made the room look bigger than it is, but also just so sparse!

farmhouse master bedroom

AFTER – such a HUGE transformation!

Honestly, I ADORE our bedroom.  It is airy, bright, and serene.  I think Napa loves it too!  This DIY faux shiplap wall was another one of our first DIY projects and was a challenge with a window and two outlets to deal with, but now I feel like I am a shiplap pro!  I’ve done two more shiplap walls in our home (granted, they are much smaller) in just one day each!

And a few more shots:

monogram wall

sunny bedroom

We got this monogram as a gift for our wedding – it was a red wine color initially but I spray painted it grey once we moved into this home and I knew I wanted a more neutral and serene bedroom.  Blue is my go to color of choice when I decide I do want a bit of color in a room, though I do often find myself swapping out the pillows!  The rug however, is the perfect touch of blue to anchor the room.  Plus it is super soft and I’m so happy to step out onto a warm carpet in the morning instead of cold laminate floors!

shiplap headboard wall

And a few more touches of blue!  But if I ever get tired of them, it’s so easy to change it up!  I always suggest starting from a neutral base (i.e. keep all your main pieces neutral – bedding, bed, floors, etc) and then adding in touches of color.  This makes it easier to change things up down the road.


There really aren’t any before photos of these spaces because they were just empty/un-staged rooms, but I wanted to show you a few shots of what some of the rest of the upstairs looks likes now!

chalkboard wall art

The view walking into our home and up the stairs – I love that it welcomes guests immediately – PLUS, this chalkboard was used in our wedding (though in slightly different form)!


decor steals planter boxes

I love our sunny hallway, and these Decor Steals planter boxes are my fave! Plus, here’s a peak at one of those other shiplap projects I got my hands into!


And here is our guest room!  My dad and I made this pallet headboard when I first moved to San Diego – I WISH I would have documented the process, but I will try to put together a mini tutorial with tips and tricks because so many people have asked me about it.


I don’t share this space often, but as I said earlier, our backyard is the main reason we bought and fell in love with this home.  I suppose its true that you put your children before yourself in big life decisions like these – yes, I consider Napa my child. #noshame #dogmom.

BEFORE – honestly, even before it was still a DREAM backyard – mature palm trees, Italian cypress, fruit trees, and a TON of space for Miss Napa to run and play!  But, we put a LOT of work into this backyard (We planted 50+ plants in the first 3 months!) as well as into making our patio our oasis!

patio makeover

AFTER – the perfect place to chill on a warm summer day/night!

You can see the blue again out here – I swear I just gravitate towards it! They say blue is a calming color, so perhaps that’s why?

I also knew I wanted market lights – it was a non-negotiable! But, I didn’t know how I was going to go about hanging them.  I somehow dreamt up this planted whiskey barrel/PVC pipe with hook idea, and honestly, I’m pretty proud of myself for these!  Again, I didn’t keep track of the DIY process, but I can definitely put together a tutorial for y’all if you’re interested! [We have these market lights – they are amazing! We hung them in May 2017, and as of February 2018, not a SINGLE bulb has burnt out, and they have gone through rain, 30mpg winds, and extreme heat.  I would highly recommend! Just be careful while hanging, they are fragile, especially on concrete!]

And a few more after shots, because who doesn’t love a California patio?!:


It is the BEST place to hang out and entertain guests, and to just relax on the weekends.  Sometimes, we honestly still cannot believe we even live here! It is such an amazing feeling to be building a life together as a little family of 3, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds (like a kitchen renovation in the coming weeks, because if you noticed, that room has been conveniently left out of this post)!

Anywho, I hope y’all enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!  Drop me a line below and let me know what DIY tutorials you want to see next (and a little spoiler, our powder room refresh post will be coming up soon, including a tutorial on our painted bathroom floors)!