Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Adding Character Where There Was None

Hey all! I've been busy working on painting the kitchen cabinets and so far it's going really well. Knock on all the wood. I probably shouldn't have written those words. I got a new sprayer that I LOVE and I'll be sure to go through details on that and the whole process with you soon -- probably early next week. It does take some patience, which is not my strong suit. Especially this late in the reno, I'm just so ready to have it done. But I'm forcing myself to relax and do it right. Can't wait to show you!!

I love the changes I've made to the kitchen and was talking to a friend the other day about how I've enjoyed changing up our house up and making it feel older…not old fashioned but classic. We live in the middle of a basic (but very pretty) neighborhood and our home was what I would consider a step above "builder grade" -- we picked out some nice finishes and we were super pleased with our builder overall (Beazer Homes). But since the day we moved in, I've been on a mission to give every room more character. Some projects are easy, some took me almost a year (hello dining room built ins) but all were DIY and all were done for way less than I could have paid someone to do. 

This is just a few of the projects I've tackled, but these are all ones I'm super proud of. I'm throwing it back REAL old school in some of the before pics because that makes this way more fun. ;) One of the easiest and cheapest projects that has made a huge difference is the planked wall on our basement stair landing. Before we finished the basement we did the bare minimum -- treads on the stairs and I painted the walls: 
The $50 of wood made a big difference (OK, carpet and paint helped too) and this is one of the projects people comment on most when they walk in our house: 
I think it's unexpected and warm and makes a big impact for so little money!

I continued the warm wood into the kitchenette area in our basement. We had big plans for it, but for awhile it was just cabinets and lights:
The wood wall I did recently adds so much to the whole basement family room -- we love it!:
One of my all time favorite transformations that makes our house feel 100 years old (in a good way) is the change we made to the kitchen. We used to have our kitchen table in this space and it was always so tight if the chairs were pulled out: 
Told you I was going way back! Ha! Wonder where the fourth chair was? I think it broke. Anyway, we moved the door to between the family room and kitchen so I could do my dream project, a window seat:
Ahhh. I love it so much!! It is the prettiest spot in our house! Sorry for the Fourth of July pic but this seat is currently covered in stuff from the counters and cabinets.

I can't talk about adding character without mentioning the dining room, duh. This was one of the biggest projects I've ever tackled and it took me forever. Here's the room before, when I was obsessed with gold and red:
 And here's the space after about nine months of work:
Totally worth it considering I would have paid five times what I did to have it done (at least). We love the bookcases but my favorite part is all the additional storage at the bottom: 
Those cabinets are a big reason why I was able to take down some wall cabinets in our kitchen. They hold tons of serving and seasonal dishes. 

Our family room underwent a huge reno last year when we took down a wall. I continued the board and batten throughout this space and it brightened up the room so much! Here's a way back photo of part of the room: 
And now, with the trim -- what a difference right?: 
We've come a long way baby. :) If I was going to pick one thing to do to your home to add character and interest, it would be wall treatments like planked walls, board and batten and wainscoting. I have each of those all over the house -- it never feels like too much, in fact it makes the whole house feel more cohesive.

Finally, another one that I LOVE that I finished up over the summer. We had this half wall in our foyer/living room that I knew could be even cooler:
Enter some wood, trim and paint and you have some major interest where there was none: 
Wow, I still love that so much! HUGE difference in that space. And the bigger ledge is great for holding the pizza when the delivery man comes, just saying. 

These are just a few of my favorite projects and all have made a big difference in our home. Keep in mind this has been over years and years though -- it doesn't happen quick, unless you pay someone. And sometimes that is very, very nice. ;) 

Have you done any projects that give your home more character? The wall trim is huge for me but also window and door trim too -- those are inexpensive and easier projects that will make a big difference. Also, painting our doors black has completely changed the feel of our home too -- there's something about that contrast that gives it a classic feel. 

25 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I am doing a little updating to my house and wonder what you do with your old furniture when you replace. Like the old kitchen table and chairs, and other items you've replaced.

    I love your blog and can't wait for each post. So excited to see the finished kitchen!

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  2. Thank you! Over the years we either pass them on to family (I have a bunch of younger siblings) or we donate.

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  3. You have been on such an amazing journey with your home, and truly transformed it, and given it so much character. I love the choices you have made and also the inspiration you have given me. I can't wait to see the finished kitchen :)
    Rachel

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  4. I LOVE every single thing you've done and boy, what wonderful changes!!! I'm so inspired to do some things in my home!! I'm pinning away!!

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  5. You're home is amazing, I love all the things you've done to give it such character! No mention of the fireplace wall?

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    1. That one I had a lot of help with and I was trying to stick to DIYs, but I love it! :) Thank you!

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  6. We haven't done a lot to the interior of our home other than paint walls, put in granite countertops, change kitchen cabinet hardware. Our biggest changes have been outdoors. I would love to put bead board on a couple of walls in the laundry room though and give it some personality. Love your projects!

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  7. What a great post to keep us occupied while we wait patiently to see your kitchen! Where I'll I find the posts about your dining room built-ins please, I've had a quick look and can't find a link for them. Thank you. X

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    1. Thanks Mandy! There's a link above the first built in photo above. :)

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  8. Can you tell me what paint you used in the picture that shows the front door?

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    1. I just used basic black paint. Here's a tutorial! http://www.thriftydecorchick.com/2011/10/how-to-paint-door.html

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  9. Hmmm..... So many thing to like. Which one should I comment on?
    How about the lights mounted to the front of the book shelves. I LOVE that! But seriously, you have done a fabulous job!

    Rachel Lynn @queenbeeofhoneydos

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  10. Wow - the changes you have made are so impressive. Even more so because you did them yourself! Loved seeing the before and afters. Your home has truly come a long way, and it looks gorgeous!

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  11. Absolutely love what you've done with your home!!! My one question is I have recently started to add board n batten to our incredibly open home.... Do you always stick to the same height on yours? It looks like you have different heights in your front room so I was wondering how you bring the different heights together?

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    1. Thank you Rikki! I usually go higher for board and batten and planked walls. For wainscoting (the squares) I go lower. In each room it's always the same throughout. Hope you love it!

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  12. Your blog was the first blog I ever read ... I didn't even know what a blog was! I've been amazed at each project you've completed and you inspired me to learn new skills and stretch my confidence level (no power tools to addicted lol). Hence I have board and batten in my back hall and the huge untrimed space between LR and DR is sporting trim that I designed. Now to do above the doors and windows!

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    1. Thank you so much Guerrina! I love seeing your name pop up in comments! :)

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  13. You've done an amazing job of giving your home a truly traditional feel. I'm remember watching the progress in the dining room and the fantastic results.

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  14. You have a beautiful home!! You did an amazing job adding character to it! I especially love the window seat!!

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  15. Love all your changes. One question though, why didn't you add trim to the half wall bookshelf at your front door? On the flat white end of it? Your walls all have the extra detail. I think it would make it look even more polished/coordinated with the room.

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  17. Such a beautiful addition. It's a dream of mine to do a wall like this in my home someday.

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  18. Sarah, I so love your home and find your DIYs not only gorgeous, but inspirational. I could move in and feel totally, totally at home. My husband and I want to remodel our kitchen, but it will have to be done piecemeal. Where to begin? It seems to me, the first project in your kitchen was replacing laminate with wood? Any tips on the best projects progression?

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I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!