Before and After, Twelve Years Later!

April 27, 2016

Alright my friends -- this is my favorite post of the year so be warned…there are a ton of photos. Twelve years ago tomorrow we closed on our home and I know I say it every year, but I cannot believe I've had the privilege of living in a home I love this much for so long. We moved a lot when I was young and times got pretty rough. It is truly a dream come true to have this house and to be settled for so long. 

Before and after photos are my favorite ever so I just love this kind of post. It makes me giddy. I did the same thing last year (check that post out for different views and to see how these spaces have changed since!) -- I love to see how our house changes over the years. Every year I "finish" a room and slow but sure our house has become exactly what we want and love. 

Let's start the tour, shall we? Our living room has always stumped me because of super high ceilings. I used to decorate up and quickly decided it didn't work: 

Don't you love the pink walls? Yeah I picked that out myself. It was a taupe color but honest to goodness PINK when I look back at it. I always went with brown and red to work with it because nothing else would: 

Obviously my photography skills have improved over the years but so has the room: 
Slipcovered sofa neutral

Funny how placing that sofa there and pulling it away from the wall makes the space feel bigger, right?  

Here's another view of this space: 
Spool chair

This view was from later but really shows off those pink walls! Oh yeah!: 

If you look to the right where the chair is, that's the area where I built a bookcase on that half wall: 
DIY half wall bookcase

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not one to knock my old style. (OK, I'm totally knocking the pink walls.) Our home has always been warm and comfy to us. Even though my style has changed over the years I'm no less proud of what I did along the way. :)

A few years after we moved in we had laminate floors put down and it made a huge difference in our family room and kitchen. But it made it much darker then before: 

Here's that same view now:  
Extending kitchen island DIY

I'm SO glad we paid extra to bump out that little bay window area. We barely had enough room around the table even with that there. As you can see most of our furniture was hand-me-downs for quite some time: 

Here's the same window area now: 
Window seat in kitchen

Black interior doors

I finished up the kitchen last year and it is truly a dream space for me. I absolutely love it. 

Here's a view through the family room and kitchen: 

Here's that same part of the kitchen now:
Two toned kitchen gray and white

That dishwasher is still kickin'! It hardly washes the dishes and we've repaired it a good seven times, but it's working. :) 

Building cabinets to ceiling

One day I thought it would be a great idea to paint my office/playroom an orange color -- and not just the walls but the ceiling too. I am throwing some shade at myself of that decision. Ha! I was going for a brick red and it went wrong: 

That corner is now one of my favorite spots in the house and is where I sit and write to you all: 
Corner with windows

As you can see, I am a little obsessed with trim on the walls: 
Board and batten wall treatment

It certainly has brightened up our house! I don't think I could ever go all white -- I love having the contrast of some color with the white trim.

That orange office is now gone because that area is open to our family room. Years ago we took down this wall:

And now the family room is almost double the size: 
Dark gray fireplace with built ins

One of my all time favorite transformations was our dining room: 

Pink! :) 

Whats' better than pink? Dark chocolate brown...everywhere!: 
chocolate brown dining room
Gosh I LOVED this room all dramatic like this. It made a statement for sure. I think dining rooms can handle some drama.

But we never used that room…ever. I got a crazy idea one day and decided to change it into a library/lounging space I knew we'd actually use. The bookcases were my first project:
DIY wall of bookcases
It only took me about five years to finish it but it's done and I am so happy we don't have a dining room anymore.  :) (Although it could easily turn into one again!)

Our basement was unfinished up till a few years ago. We still used it though: 

That same area looks like this now: 
Toy storage built in cubbies

Check below for a link to the rest of this space. We love it!

My stepdaughter picked out all of the colors for her tween/early teen room all those years ago and she and her friends helped me paint it. That evening was a great memory: 

I'm almost finished with this redo and couldn't' be happier with this fresh, bright room now: 
Farmhouse look for bedroom
Our master bedroom has had a few looks over the years. I started the painting forever ago with just the fireplace wall: 

Here's that same area now (I eventually finished up that dark green and it stayed for more than ten years):
Fireplace in bedroom

Light gray walls bedroom

 Another big wall on that room always stumped me:

And I recently finished up that mammoth wall and added some art: 
Whitestone Benjamin Moore

Our master bath hasn't seen any updates at all over the years but I just finished up a quick redo in my son's bathroom. I painted it before he was born and it stayed "baby" till he turned nine: 

I was a little busy with other projects. ;) 

All I did was paint the walls and change out some accessories. It's one of my favorite projects ever because those simple changes made such a big difference: 
Simple bathroom updates

Another one of my favorite projects is our powder room. This little space saw a lot of changes over the years too. The first look was a two toned one: 

Now it's white and bright with fun pops of color that I love: 
Planked walls bathroom

The planked walls are so fresh and pretty! I love this room.

Whew! There you go -- a mini tour of the house and I didn't even have to clean! ;) 

I share these because I'm proud of them, but even more so because I think it's important to remind you that it has taken me a loooong time to figure out exactly what I want our home to look like. I've had some hiccups along the way for sure. Over the past few years I feel like I finally feel like I've identified what I love and want for our spaces. 

There's still so much I want to do to this house! It still excites me to dream up ideas and plan them out. Someday I'll be close to done…but that day won't be for a few more years. I'll always tweak and find ways to make our spaces work best for us. It is my passion and I'm so thankful I can share that with you! :) 

Here's links to posts on all the rooms I included here! 

You can find all of our paint colors here. If you have questions about anything in these photos, let me know! 

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  1. Funny coincidence...we signed the papers for our house on 4/28/2005. It is our fourth house, first one we actually built.

  2. Loved this! Yes, I had a few missteps to our finally finished room (cream colored carpet next to the door to the back yard?). I'd love to pin some of your rooms but can only pin the whole post. Is there some secret I need to know?

  3. I'm in my house just a year now and I look back at what I've done in a year....what a difference! Looking back at yours over 12 years is amazing - you've gone through many, many transformations!! I adore your house, it's so cozy and welcoming - you've done a great job, congrats to you!! ps you have inspired me to learn woodworking....I just ordered my first saw. Wish me luck!

  4. What a fun post! Just like many of us, I LOVE before and after posts and this one was awesome! So great to see all the updates. Your home is beautiful!

  5. My husband and I are getting ready to become homeowners (May 10!) for the first time, and we BOTH come to your blog frequently for inspiration. He appreciates the trim tutorials, and I love it all. I can't wait to see our spaces evolve as yours have!

  6. Wishing you another 12 years of happiness in your gorgeous home!

  7. Love seeing how far its come. The dining room transformation is one of my all time favorites.

  8. You have worked so hard and you deserve the beautiful space you have. Well done and congratulations!

  9. Fun going back and seeing the before pictures! Missed seeing your staircase, laundry room, mud room, are really talented and creative! Somehow I feel we are never done with our homes. Finish the last project and time to start over!

  10. What a coinkydink?!?! (Word for coincidence if not family.) I had my house re-appraised today after owning it for a decade. This past weekend I was going through photos of before & afters. The bloggers I follow + my construction background gave me the confidence to DIY most of it ... concrete & drywall finishing were contracted out.

  11. Hey Sarah, we have all made paint color mistakes!! I love the colors in your house now. You and Rhoda were the ones who convinced me to pain the inside of my front and back doors, black. It looks great and I get comments on it all the time!! I always enjoy seeing what you are up to at your house...I hope you never run out of projects.:)

  12. I just love every bit of your home! I don't know if it's just the styles that have changed, or your taste, but I want my house to look exactly like it.

  13. Such a fun post! I love those old pics SO much. It reminds me of when I painted our hallway mustard yellow. Jeremy thought I was channeling a Ronald McDonald vibe :)
    xo - kb

  14. so many changes! But everything looks amazing :) great job!

    The Midwest Darling

  15. Love how you have all of your changes throughout the years. Amazing transformations! I see a lot of similarities between your house and mine with the tall angular ceilings. Seeing your decor has inspired me to look at my house a little differently :)

  16. Hi Sarah! I love posts like this!
    Just wondering - where did you get the big area rug in your library room? Is it greige with pops of blue? I'm looking for a similar rug for my living room. Thanks!!

  17. Sooooooooooo pretty. In love with your house id.

  18. The transformations are lovely. I love how you own your missteps as just part of the process.

  19. Just wonderful! Particularly love the living room transformation. You are so talented. Wish I had just a pinch of your abilities!

  20. Your house is beautiful! I love seeing how it changed, but I love the light and airy look it has now. You are amazing. Hugs,

  21. You've done a great job updating and lightening your house. I shudder at some of the design choices I've made over the years looking back but at the time I was so happy and confident about them. Also, loved that you snapped a pic at the exact same time as Rick Springfield was on the tube. :-)

  22. Wonderful evolution of your home. You have done an amazing job. I have been following you for years. You are so creative.

  23. Love this post, your house looks fresh and updated throughout. Can you tell me where your got the living room pouf in white, blue and tan?

  24. You should be very proud of yourself. Your house is beautifully decorated and you did all the work yourself. Now that is a big accomplishment. I loved looking back and seeing all the changes.

  25. AMAZING!!! You are so stinkin' talented!

  26. I have been following you for years and it's so fun to see the changes you have made. Very lovely! Your home looks so peaceful and serene. And you are one of the luckiest persons I've known(?) to have scored all those great dressers. I have yet to find even one. I did find a beauty, serpentine and just the right size, on CL and someone beat me by minutes! Thanks for the tour.

    1. Yes, I should have said so stinkin' lucky : )

  27. I am completely enamored with this! I love the changes and I strive to basically do as you have done here. What a transformation!

  28. What a difference! Great taste you have (nowadays, haha)I just love your kitchen!

  29. Amazing transformations! Your home is beautifully decorated and I have really enjoyed the journey. A lot of hard work went into those changes, but so worth it! Wonderful job!

  30. I LOVE your beautiful home, and how you own past choices too! It is really stunning. What I'm super curious about it the incredible photography. How do you get those photos with bright light coming in from the window? If you have posted a how-to, I must find that. If not, I'm sure we all appreciate your tips! About ready to sell our home and great pics will help! Thanks.

  31. Oh my goodness- your house looks amazing!! I loved seeing all of the before and after. We have all certainly made choices that we wouldn't make again. :) I think everything looks wonderful; thank you for sharing.

  32. Sarah, though I rarely comment, I've been following your blog almost from the beginning and it is my favorite as yours is a "really, truly DIY blog. I've saved most of your posts to my "favorites," and now, especially with this recap, I will ask my husband to sit down with me to actually "see" what I've been talking about these many years..the total beautifully designed and executed transformation you've been able to accomplish pretty much single-handedly in your home. Over the years, my husband has installed floors and we've painted walls and ceilings, but we've never attempted the kinds of real transformations you've accomplished.

    Sarah, you are truly an inspiration and model for what is possible if we just follow your example for your home. Just about everything you've done in your home is what I'd love to see in ours.

    We do, indeed, still use our dining room when we entertain, so I must say that I still love your dramatic dark brown dining room. Having said that, we have a library of sorts, so I love your dining room transformation into a library which works better for your family.

    Sarah, you are an inspiration, truly...and I love, love, love your innate taste in interior home design. I've also enjoyed your posts featuring your out-of-doors redesigns...just so you know.

    Patricia Wilson
    Columbia, CT

  33. That was such a fun post! It is wonderful to see the transformations - and to see what we used to LOVE!

    My daughter is a 10th grader and filmed the Senior Prom for her school's TV channel. I was going through some of the video she had and was chuckling to myself about what those kids will look back on someday and think "I loved the short, tight tuxedo pants with slide-on shoes and no socks - what was I thinking?!?" I do that with my big poufy hair from the 90's. It is amazing at how our style and taste change over the years. I need to remember to take more pictures of my house! I had the same plum paint color in a bathroom and would have been so envious of that dark brown dining room.

    Thanks for sharing. Your home has always been beautiful!


  34. Thanks for the update. I should probably do an update on my blog too.


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You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!