Family Room Transformation

There was one room in my house that I dreaded painting, because it was just so much surface area.  That would be my family room, it was humongous.  It was the size of the three bedrooms plus the hall combine, also with built-ins, deep windows, and lots and lots of trim.  I started this project shortly after finding out that I was pregnant (getting no VOC paint, paint from Lowes) and did not finish until almost a year and a half later.  In the end the process was significantly accelerated due to the the home sale.   I really did have a lot more intricate plan for this room, but since I had to finish and in a staging way, it got done really fast!  Even with all that, after everything I really did like the result.

Here is a before picture (again sorry for the poor quality before pictures, note to self in new house take good before pictures):

and here is the two year later after:

I painted the built-ins, and Hubs installed a TV above the fireplace.  (Don’t worry about the heat, we have never used the fireplace)  Also we had gotten new carpets, almost right after we moved in.  I think the previous owner had a couple of dogs and it had a yucky doggie smell.  I really had wanted to put some dark bamboo blinds in the room, but in the time, money crunch we had to just go with standard aluminum white blinds.  I painted this focal wall with a chocolate brown and the rest of the walls I used the same neutral color that I had used in the kitchen, since one of the walls is continuous.

here is another before from the other direction:

And the after:

I really like the look of the bookshelves and it wasn’t even my idea.  Hubs thought of it as a way to use the awkward space behind the sectional.  The bookshelves are from target and we paid $87 a piece for them, actually a Christmas present from my parents.  (I have good ideas for these in our new house.)  I am not really a fan of the matchy, matchy pillows on the couch matching my ‘fun chair’ but hubs was in a decorating mood and ordered them on the internet.

Here is a picture of the bar area.  You can see where my 9 squares project went.  Sorry about the dog crate in the background, I’m so used to seeing it I forgot to take it out. My original plane was to paint the bar and update the countertop, but there was no time, and the good thing is that you cannot see the bar when you walk down the stairs.

Overall I am soo happy that I finally finished, but a little sad that I did not do it sooner, we only enjoyed the finished project for about a week.  Although thanks to all my blog reading I have finally perfected the painted transition between two colors. Yahhhh!

Has anyone else been forced to finish projects faster due to selling a house?

TDC Before and After

Bathroom Update

I know I have been gone for awhile, but everything got really crazy all at once!  For a couple of weeks in the beginning of March we went to visit Hub’s family and introduce Gabs in Colombia.  It was so wonderful and oh so warm!

There is my sleeping beauty taking a name on Hubs at the resort.

Then when hubs checked his messages back in the states, he had one from a company in the Detroit metro offering him a position at their company.  Long story short (and lots of craziness in between) in 4 weeks we put the house on the market, moved into corporate housing, found a new house, and have a closing date in two weeks.  That would be the reason there are no posts for such a long time.  We had mixed feelings about our departure, it was sad to leave our house, our jobs, our friends and family, but also nice to have fresh start and lots of new oppurtunities.  We left the house that we have put soooo much work into, but on the upside we are buying a much nicer, newer and way larger house.

One thing the move did was force me to finish all my house projects.  I found that it was much easier to make house decisions thinking about it as staging instead our home decor.  One of the rooms that went from just some ideas to finished in less than a week was our upstairs bathroom.  Do you remember what it looked like before?

It is a very long, thin room, and very difficult to photograph.  This is from the entrance and here is a picture of the vanity:

I tore the border down, which was really not difficult at all.  I think that all the moisture from steam in the bathroom had really helped loosen it up, because by far it was the easiest border to remove in the whole house. Then I removed all the cabinet doors and drawers, painted them and the cabinet backs, plus the trim.  I ended up painting the vanity a dark brown instead of my usual white because I did not want to change the white counter-top.  Then I painted the room a very neutral color and here is the final result:

I covered the eighties style shower doors with a blue shower curtain from Kohl’s and finally installed the bamboo shade.

You can see the painted vanity a little bit in this picture.  I didn’t change the light or the mirror, but I did install a new towel rack.  Actually I got a really good deal on that one, $10 at TJ Maxx. If I was going to stay in this house I would have put a picture above the towel rack, but since it was just for staging purposes, I left it free.  A buyer can imagine their own picture there.

This is a little better picture of the Brown painted vanity.  I used the same hardware that I had used around the house except in brushed nickel.  I was so pleased with this look, I am thinking about doing this to a few of the builder grade vanities in our new house.

Have any of you tried to paint a vanity a different color?  Did you like the result?

Home Stories A2Z

Upstairs Bathroom

Warning! Currently this is the ugliest room in the house, but I feel I need to document it in its present state. (It makes for better before and after pictures, right?)

Here is a picture from house hunting:

Our only update was removing this horrendous 80’s trend:

I really don’t understand the double hanging chain lights. The amazing part is that this light was still present in the house in 2009.

So this is our bathroom in its current state. Notice the peeling border, the 80’s shower doors, the golden oak cabinetry, and white walls. Since this is one of the most used rooms in the house, I’m not sure why I saved it for last to redo.

It looks almost the same, just minus some decorating touches from the previous owner.

My dad helped us switch the light fixture in here to something more modern and we switched out the mirror for one we bought at Gordman’s. I do love my new, tear-drop, white soap dispenser from target for $5.

We have really strange vanities in our house. Under all the sinks the cabinets are sort of concave (I don’t know maybe it’s room for your feet?) Also in this bathroom the sink is not centered, which is a little strange looking but it is nice how much counter space that we gain. We were looking at putting one of those pre-sized solid surface counter tops in here, but none have the sink positioned where ours is so we would either need a custom counter or a new vanity, neither is cheap. So we are kind of just procrastinating on making a decision. I do want to paint my vanity for sure. I was thinking about white like the bathroom downstairs, but I was inspired by Just a girl’s post on her Coastal Bathroom and I was really thinking about painting the vanity dark brown and the rest of the cabinets white.

I love this bathroom. It is so cute and totally my style. We will see if my bathroom comes out anything like this.

Well off to bed, I hope to have a craft post tomorrow.





This is where the house tour starts to go down hill.  Kitchens are more difficult to fix than other rooms because they tend to require more time and money than other rooms. Our kitchen has definitely improved since we moved in, but it is still a ways from where I would like it to be.

Here is what it looked like when we moved in:

More house hunting photos.  Look at my lovely 80’s style kitchen.  You can’t see too well in this picture the plate rail on top of the cabinets that give it that great country feel or the ‘rustic’ eighties hardware.  I especially loved the scalloped floral border, that as I peeled off I discovered another equally impressive floral border below.  This room was also painted in the glowing, shiny yellow color that was in the dinning room (think high gloss.)

Here is my favorite part of the kitchen:

Actually it is kind of impressive.  This is the original dishwasher from when the house was built in 1985 and it lasted until October 2011.  A 26 year life span is pretty good as dishwashers go.  It was a ‘quite scrubber’ Kitchen aid.  Although if that was quite I want to know what the loud ones were, you could not even hold a conversation in the same room when it was running.

Overall we did not do a lot to this room yet.  I painted it with the colors from the dinning room and changed all the hardware to something a little more modern.  The trim was painted white and the pantry door was switched up the same as the foyer door.  Lastly when the disher washer finally died we replaced it.  Oh, almost forgot we had my dad put up a new hood, nothing fancy just a white one that actually ran compared to the grease stained off-white one that came with the house.

Here is what it looks like now:

I know not a whole lot different, but its progress.  I would love to paint the cabinets white or dark brown and change up the counter top(although the countertops ate totally awesome I can cut right on the counter or put a hot pot directly on the counter and nothing happens), but it isn’t in the budget right now.  I was totally going to replace all the appliances with stainless-steal but actually Hubs and I are talking about moving as soon as our three years are up so we don’t have to pay the first time home buyers credit back, so we thought better to spend the money on high end finishes in our dream house.

This is my lovely fridgerator, which is also pretty darn old.  The icemaker broke so hubs looked up the serial number to get a new part and we found out it was from 1992.  That makes it still running fine after 20 years. It is also kitchen aid and actually it really doesn’t look all that bad for being 20 years old just really basic and the compartments and shelves inside are kind of nice. 

Can you see my super cool 80’s desk thingy?  Who would fit into the little desk area, you would need the tiniest chair and really thin thighs.  I guess it isn’t too bad we use the desk top as a place for our ipod boom box (when we aren’t using it for white noise for Gabs) and it makes a good charging station. Although I really don’t understand the countertop selection, very fake, laminate, wood, well someone must have liked it because they used the same exact countertop in our family room bar.

There is my new dishwasher! It is nothing too fancy since we didn’t want to over spend if we are moving (I wanted this amazing LG one, but it was $400 more.) You can really see how small my dinning room is in this picture, it works but with every wall with either a door or some sort of walk way, the space is quite limited.

This is the view from the foyer, not the best view when you walk in the house, but you can see my new hood.  I know it doesn’t look all that interesting but you should have seen the old one.  I just noticed I usually have some decorative towels on the oven door, they must be in the wash.

So not a whole lot done here, but when I do something amazing you will know where I started from. Ok, so only two rooms left on the home tour (upstairs bathroom and familyroom.)  I’m currently working on the family room so I might wait on that one, but I’ll show you the bathroom next.  Let’s just say that it needs a lot of help!


Living Room

Ok, back to the house tour. Next up the living room. Actually this room sat empty for 3 months since we did not have a lot of furniture when we moved in and preferred to use our family room more. It still is not done, but at least its presentable until I decide to work on it again.

Here is what the room looked liked during our house tour:

We really didn’t have many good before pictures, so there are my blurry mother and Aunt. Judging from the red walls, picture, and curtains I think the lady who lived here before liked a victorian style. The carpet doesn’t look too bad here but it was gross, actually Hubs and I were really grateful for this because we got Noulli right after we moved in and it was perfect for potty training. Anyway we ripped out the carpet and installed the bamboo in here that runs into the dinning room. Another thing that we ripped out was these 80’s bars:

Apparently these were all the rage in the 80’s, my aunt informed me. We also painted the trim white and primed and then painted the walls grey blue. That made the room seem huge compared to the red.

Here is a picture of the room now:

We bought the furniture from American with our first time home buyer’s credit. I still really love the couch, even though white and texture is probably not the smartest choice. Surprisingly we have the most problem with the texture because the dog and the cat keep running and jumping on the couches (even though neither is allowed on the furniture) and ripping them with their claws. I really need to cover the pillows, I love how big they are but I am really not much of a fan of the fabrics that came with the couch.  I have a picture for above the loveseat but I haven’t gotten it framed yet. (Not sure if I really like it still, so I am procrastinating.)  I would love to buy new lamps and a rug, but I haven’t found the right ones yet. Oh, well I really haven’t been looking that hard either (I don’t want to spend the money for the ones I really want I keep thinking I can DIY something cheaper.)

This is an old bookcase from target that I bought about five years ago and I was happily surprised that it matched my end tables and coffee table so well. The white tray is a perfect example of a Thrift store find that needs a filler. For Christmas I had sparkly Christmas balls in there but now I have nothing. I am working on that.

This is a slightly different angle than the previous picture. I love my chair and a half it is the perfect place to read. The pillow I found at St. Vinnies for $2. I think it was from Target and I love how big it is because I knew I needed a very large pillow for the chair since it was so large but I didn’t know what U would be able to find. Also in this picture you can see the half wall minus the bars. It looks so much better! We replaced the closet door in the foyer when we replaced all the doors. It was really cheap and extremely easy. I think we paid around $30 for the door and since the hardware was the same as the old door we just painted it and popped it in.

I still love my Hurricane vases that I bought at Homegoods. They were surprisingly cheap, but I don’t remember how much I paid. I had to make a table runner underneath the vases for my table, since a few weeks after we bought the table a naughty little boy pushed a board with a nail sticking out all over the top and scratched it up badly. (In the end I probably would have made the table runner anyway and this just gave me a reason to make one faster.)

Stay tuned for the kitchen next time!


Dinning Room

The next stop on my house tour is my dining room.  Our house is very compact in this area and we have more of an eat-in kitchen than an actual dinning room, but it works and the food doesn’t have to go far to get to the table.

This room had some very interesting aspects when we first moved in.  There was a very large cabinet on the wall that stuck out at least a foot and had a light in it that had this cord hanging down that you had to plug in in order to turn it on.  I love extra storage, but since the room was soooo small already it was not helping.  Also there was a ceiling fan that matched the cabinet and a border that completed the general theme.  Take a look at the picture:

I don’t think you can see the border or get a good impression of the paint color which was yellow and very shinny.  Also when I saw the floor was so excited for the hardwood.  It was in poor condition and it was just a veneer.  So we ended up tearing it up and putting down hardwood that went into the living room.  I also am not a fan of white plastic vertical blinds probably as a result of all my apartment living, so we just took them down and did not find anything to replace them with. (All my neighbors get a good view of us making and eating dinner every night. Oh well, I’m glad we can entertain.)  I took down the border and painted the room a very neutral beige.  Here is what it looks like now:

Can you believe we bought that whole table set for $700.  We found when we were house hunting and could not believe the deal so we bought it and had it delivered after we moved in two months later.  Two years later I still love it, the only thing I want to change are the seat covers.  I never liked the pattern and planned on changing it but I never found the time.  I went with a ‘pear’ theme.  I found the canvases on the wall at Bed Bath and Beyond for $13 for a set of 3.  Hubs was leery of buying two of the same set and putting them together, but it worked out really well and most people at first can’t tell there are doubles of all the pictures.  I really liked the color that canvas brought into the room.

This is from another angle to show my metal pear artwork I bought at Kirland for $4.  You can also spot Noulli hiding under our kitchen desk thingy.  He hates the camera and always hides like a baby when it comes out.  I really wanted a long table runner that went off the side of the table, but was having trouble finding a simple one for a decent price, so I took a sheet that I never used that came with a bed set and made my own and used some ribbon to add a little detail.

You can see the table runner a little better in this picture and also see our bamboo floor that Hubs and I put in.  Oh and I almost forgot we had my dad change the ceiling fan out for the light.  It made a huge difference, although Hubs was really sad because he thought that the ceiling fan was very practical for cooling the house.  (I think it is just his heat transfer engineering brain working)

Family Room Bathroom

Our house has two full bathrooms which is really nice when we have company. We have one bathroom by the bedrooms, but the other one is connected to the family room which is a little weird, a long way to go to the bedrooms in a towel. In my dream house I want a master bath. Anyway this bathroom was the furthest from my decorating taste when we moved in:

Just look at my face, I am not liking the decor. I especially loved all the shells in the room. Do you see the shell hanging on the left and there was something similar on window as well. Also the border and the wall paper were shellish too. I ripped the wall paper down only to find more wallpaper below it (a plaidish design) and painted all the woodwork white. I had my dad change the light and the mirror and this is what we have now:

The sink is still a little weirdly shaped. I think it was trendy in the 80’s along with all the light grey bathroom fixtures. The color is really not that bad, but we are running into problems because of it. The previous owner replaced the toilet seat and was not able to get one of the same color, so they bought cream. (It is not even close), anyway we looked for a seat in a similar color with the same shape and we can’t find one either so I think that we might need to just buy a whole new toilet. I would love to change the countertop to a solid surface one, but it is not in the budget right now. I love my dark espresso bamboo blinds, I think it gives a really great texture. Notice from the last post that this bathroom is the same color as my master bedroom. I originally tried to paint it light blue, but since it is a small space with a lot of walls it was almost glowing blue, then I had the paint people tint the paint darker and that did not work either, so in frustration I tried some extra paint from the bedroom and it was perfect.

This is the shower curtain that I bought from Bed Bath and Beyond for $14.99 plus $5 off with a coupon. It actually helps tie in the grey of the fixtures and best of all hides the 80’s shower doors behind it. The other thing I need besides a new toilet is more things on the walls.

This picture highlights my bare walls. I’m thinking fabric or scrapbook paper covering canvases. Oh well on my to-do list, at least I documented a starting point.