Whole Room Before and Afters
The day has come, my friends, to show you our final home tour on our little cottage in the city. It is definitely bittersweet to share this post and video with you, since so much love and hard work has been poured into this home. We were definitely never intending to sell it only a year and a half after we purchased it (if we had known, we never would have bought it in the first place), but opportunities much too grand to let pass by came up that we just had to jump on for the future of our growing family.
I explain in the video a lot of what we did as well as why we finished the basement right before selling, so watch that if you would like more detail.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the video with before photos, an emotional update, and a full home tour of the house at the time of selling.
Upstairs Floor Plan Before and After
Back Bedroom Upstairs
Front “Master” Bedroom Upstairs
Stairway Down to Basement Family Room
Basement Floor Plan Before and After
Basement Family Room
Basement Full Bathroom
Back Basement Bedroom
Front Basement Bedroom
I hope you enjoyed the final home tour! We are very sad to leave this home, especially now that it is almost exactly how I envisioned it would be for us over time as our family grew, but it is just a house and now someone else can enjoy it. We would greatly appreciate prayers for a quick sale close to asking price so we can move on to a new home hopefully before little Celia arrives.
Something about spending most of a year renovating your house makes one a little hesitant to take on more house projects. Even easy ones! Although we have added board and batten to our dining room, added a gallery wall, and other small updates to our home’s decorating, we still had yet to paint the bathroom, master bedroom, and second bedroom. They had swatches all over the walls for well over a year, but now, I’m happy to report that two out of the three rooms are swatch-free!
It only took bribing one of my best friends and her fiance, who has painted for a living before, to help us paint the bathroom and master bedroom in exchange for pizza and beer for us to finally get this project done. Thank you so much, Megan and David!
We went with a pale blue-green in the bathroom. It’s so vintage and crisp in person. We love it! It’s Valspar Belle Grove Sorbet. We exchanged our yellow shower curtain for a white one with some stitched detail, and it is just so light, bright, and happy like the rest of our house.
The master bedroom was a bit of a conundrum when it came to picking a paint color. We had various shades of blues, teals, and grays before realizing that none of those were our choice. The rug in our master bedroom looks gray, but it is actually more of a taupe. We had it in the living room originally and it looked horrible in there because the brown tones came out when it was against the light gray walls. So, we decided to go with a very pale taupe color. It has some gray in it, but it looks like a very pale tan. It’s Olympic Canyon Trail. I’m not in love, although I don’t hate it either, but we don’t spend our waking hours in there anyway, so it’s not a big deal to me. It’s neutral so now we can add some color. I’m thinking of changing out the comforter with something colorful and recovering the headboard.
I’m so happy to not have any swatches on the walls in these rooms anymore! It’s funny how we can grow used to things if they stay the same for long enough. We didn’t paint the nursery yet, because although I’m pretty set on a color whether the baby is a girl or a boy (we are thinking neutral walls with pops of color – big surprise, right?), we don’t want to make a final decision until we learn the baby’s gender at 20 weeks.
What’s something small you’ve done to your house recently that gave you a sigh of relief when it was done?
Remember my big plan for our dining room after the board and batten was installed? I planned on adding a gallery wall above the board and batten as well as finally adding some curtains and changing out the chandelier. Before we did the board and batten, I made a Photoshop rendering of what it would all look like:
Last time you saw the dining room, it looked like this:
Of the three things left to do, we can check two of them off the list: adding a gallery wall and curtains!
It now looks like this:
We ended up going with simple navy curtains after trying out quite a few in this space. I found some that I loved (finally), but realized that the standard 84″ panels were just too short. The curtain rod would have sat right across the trim at the top of the window, which just looked horrible. I have learned years ago about hanging curtains high and wide to make a window seem bigger (and to let in more light), so I definitely wanted to go that route. It’s funny that we don’t have tall ceiling but somehow standard curtains do not work for us. Maybe our windows are higher than normal? I’m not sure. We ended up going with my favorite and most affordable option – Merete curtains from Ikea. They don’t seem to have the navy panels online, but they were in the store. They are actually the same curtains we used (only in white instead of navy) in our living room that I painted stripes on. I like the style and the way they lay. They were about $30 for two panels, which as a huge deal compared to the other ones we were looking at!
The reasoning behind the gallery wall is simple. I loved our gallery wall we had in our hallway right when you entered our last apartment. I would stare at it often. It was such a beautiful reflection of our marriage and life together. So, I really wanted to add one to our home. Why the dining room? Well, first of all, the wall opposite the buffet has two eyesores on it: a vent and a smoke detector. Not exactly beautiful, and definitely not easy to work around. Sure, we could have painted the vent, but it is not recommended to paint smoke detectors, and the positioning of them made it nearly impossible to spread any other kind of art out in a way that would look nice on the wall. So, instead of working against the eyesores, we worked with them! By filling the wall up with frames, the vent and smoke detector go unnoticed by most who enter our house. We plan on changing the smoke detector out for a white one (it is currently cream) so it blends in even more, but it works for now. We also decided to do this in our dining room because it is the center of our home. It connects the living areas (kitchen and living room), it is where we spend a ton of time, and it is visible from most places in our living area. We love that where we come together to spend time together houses a beautiful collection of photos, art, and special keepsakes that we adore.
Now for more photos!
I’m not going to go through every piece of art, because most are photos from our past, our wedding, or photos I have taken. Some were cut out from magazines. Some were created by me in Photoshop. Some are paper goods from our wedding. Some are stock photos I found online for free and printed. Some are special pieces I bought for San. Some are pieces of art or greeting cards we have accumulated over the years. There really is no way for me to source everything, but if you have a question about something you see, ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction!
At the center, I placed a wide, thick frame I believe we picked up at a garage sale years ago. I thought it would be the perfect frame to have in the center and to build all the other frames off from (if it looks uncentered in other photos, it is simply because I used a wide-angle lens and am shooting at an angle – the frame is centered on the wall). I thought it would be fitting to create an “established” sign with our last name and the year we got married since that is what this wall is a reflection of – our marriage. I simply measured the frame, found some nice fonts and created a document in Photoshop. I then sent it to Staples to be printed for $7. It’s perfect and we love it!
As for the frames, they are mainly Ikea, but many are from dollar stores and garage sales. I simply bought some Krylon white spray paint that can be painted on any surface and gave them all a couple coats so they wold match. I love the diversity of size, shape, matting, and design.
In our last apartment where most of these hung previously, I used the method of measuring the space I was using, laying all the frames out on the ground to see what they would look like, and then hanging newspaper cutout replicas of the frame on the wall to make sure the sizes would work on the wall. This time around, I didn’t bother laying them out on the ground first. Instead, I traced them all with newspaper again and assigned them all a number. Then, I hung all the cutouts on the wall, shifting, adjusting, and rearranging as I went. Then, starting in the middle, I started hanging them. I started in the middle because I knew for sure I wanted that long frame there, so if frames didn’t end up looking good next to it, I could change them before getting half way through with the whole project and having to start over. I changed a lot as I went, so I’m happy I did it this way so I didn’t have to feel locked in to a certain configuration. At the end, I looked for gaps and then measured those areas and searched for cheap frames to fit. The dollar stores and stores like Menards and Home Depot were great at helping me gather the last frames (some of them very small) without spending a ton.
We just love how it turned out! We have plaster walls, so I have been intimidated ever since our renovation about hanging anything on them for fear that they will just crumble to pieces. An employee at Menards tried to convince me that I would need to anchor every little frame, even the tiny, light ones since I was working with plaster. I’m so glad I didn’t listen! I simply used a picture nail for most of the small frames and anchored only the larger, heavy ones. For the small ones that were likely to shift, I cut the Command picture hanging velcro in half (so each strip could be used twice instead of using two strips on one frame) and stuck it to the bottom center of those frames and the wall to keep them from shifting. I haven’t had to adjust any of the frames even once in the two months since I tackled this project!
Since photos are great, but a video is much better for showing what a room actually looks like, I’ve included a video!
Where do you keep your sentimental photos/keepsakes? Do you display them or keep them hidden away for safe-keeping?
I don’t know how most decorators or just decorating-lovers plan their projects, but I have learned over the years that I am a very visual person when it comes to designing a room. I usually have an idea of what I want, but it really helps me if I draw out what I want, make a mood board, use tape to “sketch” my idea on the wall or floors, or look at photos online of something similar. I’ve been lucky enough to have used Photoshop for many, many years, starting in high school when I just had a hobby of making fangirl art of almost-celebrities like Jesse McCartney (facepalm). Yeah . . . lame, I know. However, this dorky teenage phase turned into something useful when I started my photography business because I already knew my way around Photoshop pretty well. Now, when I really want help figuring out what I want to do with a room or a certain nook of our home, I turn to Photoshop and play around!
For example, I really wanted yellow-striped curtains for our living room, but I was really worried about how they would look with everything, so I Photoshopped them into a photo I had of our living room!
Pretty cool, right? It was the encouragement I needed to go ahead with painting them. here is the after with the real curtains:
Obviously, they aren’t exactly the same, but that would have been nearly impossible. For fun, I also changed out the ottoman with a gorgeous wooden coffee table and added a navy lamp to the console behind the sofa (with the fake rendered curtains):
Here’s a little before and after gif so it’s easier to see the difference:
I’m so excited to add some wood into this room because I just feel it makes it feel more cottage-like, adds warmth, and is just so beautiful!
Before we added the board and batten in the dining room, I played around with it in Photoshop as well to figure out the spacing of the battens. Here’s the Photoshop version:
And here’s the real deal:
Pretty crazy, right?
Originally, we had meant to paint the dining room a darker gray than what was in the living room because we thought it would balance out all the white, but through color matching certain colors, the color ended up being almost exactly the same as the living room color (it is virtually impossible to tell the difference without knowing they are really two paints from two different cans). Before we added the board and batten, I also tried out adding a darker gray paint color to see what it would look like along with the gallery wall I want to add, some curtains and a different light fixture (just for fun – we still aren’t sold on any curtains or chandeliers yet). White curtains:
And gray curtains:
We decided against the darker gray after seeing these renderings and after installing the board and batten. We really like the lighter gray with the white (since the white pops so much more with the walls than it seems to in these renderings).
So, for fun again, here is the room with the lighter walls, the gallery wall, a fun chandelier, and different colored curtains. Blue curtains:
We also plan on switching out the black chairs for white x-back chairs and possibly upholstered chairs on the ends of the table, but for now it is just so fun to play around with all the possibilities!
I’m seriously slightly addicted to this! I’m working on one right now for the exterior of our house to plan out some of the landscaping, but that’s not a project we plan on tackling any time this year, so I’ll probably share it later after stewing over it for a while.
So, what do you think? Are you a visual decorator? What direction would you go in the dining room?
It has been just about a week past the one year mark of moving into our house. What a year it has been! It has been about six months since we finished renovating with the amazing help of my parents over weekends and holidays. We posted a tour back around Christmas when it was all decorated for the holidays, but now that we have tackled a few more projects and it is FINALLY not winter here in Minnesota anymore, we thought it was time for an update home tour!
And, here are the updated photos!
Here is the “entry way.” We don’t have a formal entry way that is a separate room, but we do have a little landing just upon opening the front door with a closet, stairs to the basement, and then it steps out into a little walkway with a storage unit before opening up into the living room. We haven’t really done anything new to this part of the house since we last showed it except add a rug to the landing. We plan on painting the light fixtures so that they are no longer brass but instead, oil rubbed bronze. We also would like to take the shade off the window over the stairs and frost the glass for privacy while still letting light in (because it is too high for us to reach the shade to open it). We also still have to paint the trim and doors. Some trim is primed white already because we had to add new trim or replace it when doing the renovation, but all of it still needs to be painted Cloud Cover by Benjamin Moore to match the rest of the white paint in the house. The walls in the entry, living room, dining room, and bedroom hallway are all Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore.
Here is a view of the wall opposite the front door. We still need to do something on the space to the left of the half wall (we are thinking a giant, retro, coastal, wooden clock or something with a lot of impact. On the space to the right of the half wall, we used to have a bookcase (that is now in the second bedroom), but I want to add a couple shelves to decorate for the seasons/holidays as well as a little piece of furniture painted a cool color (maybe coral?).
Here is the view from the front door. You can see how the entry way is part of the living room and it all flows into the dining room. We have an Ikea Expedit 2×4 storage unit/console table behind the couch to drop our keys. We plan on adding an accent chair to the right of the table for sitting to put shoes on and to make it more welcoming.
The living room is one of our favorite rooms in the whole house! It has a ten-foot-wide picture window that overlooks a lake (no neighbors across the street), so you can find the dogs or us just laying around looking out the window more often than not. We have an Ikea Hemnes entertainment center that we LOVE! It just brightens up the room and is so cute. The shelves are not decorated or styled the way I want them to be, but they are fine for now. We recently added the yellow striped curtains and the gray curtains. They are both from Ikea, but the striped ones were just plain white. I painted the yellow stripes on them. The couch is an Ikea Ektorp couch that has a white slip cover. I plan on doing a review of that couch soon, seeing as we have two dogs, are messy people ourselves, and many look at us like we are crazy when they find out we have a white couch. The gray side table is from World Market (LOVE LOVE LOVE it!). The ottoman is not staying. It will be replaced eventually by a nice rustic, wooden coffee table. I made the lamp shade a few years ago by gluing some fabric to an existing shade.
We love this little side table from World Market so much! I found the vintage fruit crate a few years back and use it to hold our blankets.
Here is a great view of how everything is open to each other.
- White Merete Curtains
- Gray Vivan Curtains
- Ikea Kallax (formerly Expedit)
- Ikea Hemnes Entertainment Center (Bottom, Sides, Top)
- Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore paint color
- Cloud Cover by Benjamin Moore (white) paint color
- Ikea Ektorp Couch
- Ikea Ektorp White Slipcover
- Navy Trellis Rug
- Linen Storage Ottoman
Ahhh…the dining room! Our newest big project! We absolutely love the coastal cottage decorating style, and when I think of that style, I think of board and batten. I knew this room needed something big and kind of flashy because it can be seen from the front door and the living room, and it just felt so bare without room for more furniture on the right side of the table. I envisioned board and batten in here the second we opened up the wall between the living room and dining room. After one weekend, some hard work by my parents and me and San, we had this beauty! The chandelier now looks even more outdated. It will go one day. It makes me a little sad to get rid of it because it is one of the few remnants of the old house and its history, but it just doesn’t go with our decor (it is brown and orange and very autumn looking). The table is from JcPenney originally, but we scored it on Craigslist for $80! The chairs are Ikea, but they are far from permanent. We would like to add some white x-back chairs to the sides of the tables and maybe some upholstered chairs on the ends.
I scored that mirror above the buffet from a thrift shop for something like $5. The mirror itself is warped, so I will eventually be replacing the glass, and I plan on painting the frame a different color.
The floors make it very obvious right now that the stairs to the basement used to be where the buffet is. When we hire someone to refinish them, it will be much less obvious!
I’m in love with the way the board and batten curves around the corner here. So pretty! So classic!
Here’s a view of the dining room from the kitchen. You can see the back door and the little “cleaning” closet where we keep a lot of our cleaning products. Like I said, all trim and doors will be painted, and all the old handles will be updated.
The kitchen has had an incredible overhaul since we bought the house, but we haven’t changed much since the last home tour. We did add this little coffee station between the window and the back door. There is a large walkway here, so we figured we could get away with adding a piece of furniture. The shelving unit and bins are from Target. We will be adding art and probably a shelf with a place to set or hang mugs above the coffee pot. The garbage and recycling will eventually be going in the cabinet next to the dishwasher, but for now they are still hanging out by the coffee station.
We still need to replace the lights in here.
And, we will be adding a built-in microwave most likely above the stove one day, as well as replacing the white appliances with stainless steel to match the dishwasher.
I’m rethinking the chalkboard here. I’m just no good at decorating chalkboards. I thought about hiring a professional to decorate it permanently, but that is very expensive. Instead, I’m thinking of hanging a little shelf with hooks for some vintage aprons and decorating the shelf. Thoughts?
We did add this coral rug from Target. I love it! This room was made for the color coral!
The only thing we have done to the bedroom hallway (that is accessed from the living room) is rip out the carpet (as well as in the bedrooms, too).
We plan on adding a full-length mirror to this wall to make it brighter and to allow guests (and us) to see how we look after leaving the bathroom.
Nothing has changed at all in the bathroom since the last home tour. We still need to paint the walls a pale aqua blue.
Ahhhhh….a room! In the past, I haven’t shown this room because it was basically just a futon with a bunch of random stuff that didn’t go anywhere else. I couldn’t take it anymore, so last week, I cleared everything out and brought up any office stuff we had in the basement or other parts of the house. We don’t plan on decking this room out anytime soon because we are holding on to hope that we will need to convert it into a nursery soon, but for now, we like that it has a purpose, even if it isn’t the office of our dreams.
I am in love with this navy lateral file cabinet! I bought it in its once dingier form as a laminated Goodwill find for $10. Some primer, paint, brass corners from the hardware store, and some Rub-N-Buff on the handles and it looks like a campaign chest. I will probably do a more in-depth look at this file cabinet because the inside has been organized beautifully as well.
From this view, it is hard to see the major change that has rocked our world: a new closet system! The rug is from Rugs USA
Here she is! We bought two Pax closet systems from Ikea in chunks when things were on sale or in the “as is” section and save probably about $200! This opens up both the bedroom closets that were being used by us for our clothes, so now we can use them for other things becasuse 95% of our clothes fits in these closet systems. My dad added the crown molding and helped us add filler strips to the wall and between the closets so that the doors could open fully.
And, here is the swatch graveyard we have stared at for close to a year. We have the paint already for all the unpainted rooms, but we just haven’t found the time to dedicate to painting them. This room will be a gray-beige (greige?) because the rug in here is taupe and doesn’t look good with a true gray wall (we tried it in the living room) but we want something nice, calm, and neutral so we can add more color throughout the room.
We hope you enjoyed the home tour! Let me know if I missed any important information! Also, I’d love to know what your favorite part is or what you might have done differently (or would still do with the unfinished parts)!
It’s definitely been far too long since we have posted, but this has been a very crazy year! We wanted to update with posts for every step along the way during our renovation, but since that took up our weekends and many of our nights, there was really no time to update. Instead of going step-by-step through the renovation (which we might break down a little more in the future if anyone is interested), we are instead showing you the “final” (right, it’s never finished) tour now that the renovation is done and we have it decorated for the holidays.
In this video, I explain what we did as well as what we are planning on doing, because there are still tons of things on our to do list. Coming up soon, we will be posting a rundown list of all the projects dealing with our house, both finished and left to do. Trust me, there are a lot more “to dos” then there are “finished” at this point, but most of the major stuff is out of the way!
Before you view the video, let’s recap what the floor plan looked like when we bought the house:
And this is the house after the renovation:
What we did:
- Removed the stairs between the kitchen and dining room and added new stairs in a “u” shape in the entryway
- Closed in the doorway to the kitchen from the entryway
- Removed part of the wall between the living room and dining room
- Closed in the bathroom-wall closet in the dining room (which will get added to the bathroom later), closed in the dining room doorway to the bedroom hall, and opened up the entire wall between the old stairs and the dining room to make it more open to the kitchen
- Added a buffet where the old stairs used to be
- Added two new cabinets to the kitchen as well as a dishwasher. Painted the cabinets. Replaced the sink, faucet, and countertop.
- Painted all the walls in the living area
- Removed the carpet in the living area
Please don’t mind the random music in the middle of the video. I’m not sure how that happened and didn’t realize it until it was already uploaded.
We are so excited to finally share the results! We have tons of projects planned for this year, but will be tackling them at a slower pace so we hope to update as we go this year!
We would love to know your thoughts on what we have done and what we plan to do. I love being inspired by other people’s ideas and love getting input from others!
I hope you all had a merry Christmas and have an amazing new year!