The Evolution of Our House

Are you ready? Are you ready for the best before and afters ever? I wish the before pictures were of a higher quality but they were printed off from an email onto regular paper with a crappy cheap printer and then scanned. But you can get the general idea.

First stop, the living room. It is the first room you enter through the front door. It had forest green carpet and floral curtains. If you watched our 80s and 90s edition of He Said She Said then you know why these were the first things to go.

All the cable wires were entering the house through a hole drilled in the window frame. We fixed that when we updated the electrical in the house. But other than painting and refinishing the wood floors that were under the carpet, I didn’t do a ton in here.

living room before and after

Ahhhh, the bathroom. It is the bane of my existence right now since it is partially torn apart due to a leak. Yes, I know. You are thinking “Hasn’t it been torn apart since last March?” Yes, yes it has. I am waiting to win the lottery or get a huge inheritance from a mysterious relative.

The huge space ship light came down and was replaced. We added a light above the mirror as well. I ripped down the wall paper and painted. The counter top got replaced and I stained the bead board.The mirror got a makeover too.

I have always hated the pink/peach and blue-sih marble tile on the floor. And since we have to replace the original 75+ year old bath tub (that is NOT AT ALL close to the standard size of tubs today) we have to replace the tile. It had a good run. But it needs to go away. I am hoping for a claw foot tub. I think it would look so charming in the rounded nook.

bathroom before and after

The kitchen…. my teeny tiny kitchen. It is 9 foot by 9 foot and then you add in cabinets and appliances and you barely have room for a couple of people. The before picture here didn’t have a fridge so it looks a little bigger.

We have probably done the most in our kitchen. The flooring was replaced, the cabinets painted, new appliances, we added a dishwasher under the sink, added new cabinets next to the fridge, got new counter tops, and painted a checker board pattern on the ceiling.

kitchen before and after

The two bedrooms that are in the basement were very reminiscent of days gone by. One was peach with lots of cupids and plastic flowers and the other was an alarmingly bright mint green. We replaced the windows (actually the whole house got new double pane windows about 4 years ago) and painted. The kids’ room got a new closet. I tore down the 3 foot x 3 foot closet they had (that was randomly sticking out into the unfinished part of the basement) and built one on the end of their 21 foot long room. I added a spot at the other end of the room for my oldest so he felt like he had his own space. And our master bedroom got a tranquil makeover complete with stenciled ceiling.

bedrooms before and after

I can’t decide if we have done more work inside our home or on the outside. The yard! Oh the yard. It was horrible. No fence, gravel everywhere, no grass, lots and lots of rocks, and the ground was HARD AS A ROCK. We broke a wheel barrel and a wagon because of hauling rocks for months and months. We had a neighbor with a tractor come and plow up the hard dirt. We installed a sprinkler system. We seeded new grass and added a huge garden. And behind the garage (where the red arrow is pointing) we added a chicken pen with coop.

We still have one side that needs a fence. And there are other “fun” things we would like to add. But after living here for almost 4 years without grass, we are just happy to have grass :)

backyard before and after

My hallway is so small and cute. I really do love it. We took down the door and added a baby gate (I can’t believe my baby is 4!!!) so it didn’t feel so closed off. I painted some polka dots and added some plants for decor.

hallway before and after

Oh. My. Word. I have three words for you. FORREST GREEN TRIM. Not only was it forest green, but it was just a thick and sloppy paint job.  And the walls…..

I think they were going for a camouflage look but missed the mark. And they added sand to the paint so we had to use a sander to get it smooth again before we could even prime over it.

This was the master bedroom since it is next to the upstairs bathroom, but we use it as the office.

office before and after

The outside of our house was lacking in curb appeal. Luckily I have vision. It probably scared away quite a few people. The garage door was pink. The trim was also pink. The door was peach and the concrete at the base was painted a rust color. The triangle up top was also rust. I made repairs where needed and painted.I also planted a vine next to the arbor that goes into the backyard.

The house had pink and grey-ish blue trim while the base was painted baby blue. The triangles at the top were a pinkish rust. It was almost like they didn’t have enough of the pink or the rust so they mixed them together. But it was nothing a little elbow grease and paint couldn’t fix. The front door was in sad shape. It had faded and had large cracks in the wood where it had dried out. I sanded it down, filled the cracks, and stained it.

The walkway was bright pepto bismol PINK concrete. As in the concrete itself was dyed pink. So that sucker got painted. It has held up quite well but I would like to have it re-poured one day as well as the steps due to the fact that the concrete is crumbly.

Oh and one last thing…. The previous owner had found a dead tree and cemented it into the front yard. I kid you not. Cemented. In the ground. I still can’t wrap my head around that one. It looked like a creepy Halloween tree and you better believe that digging that sucker up was one of the first things I did.

home exterior before and after

So there you have it! I didn’t include the unfinished part of the basement because it still basically looks the same and I didn’t have good shots from the realtor. But you got to see how this place looked when the keys were handed over to us. Some days I wish we could have had the money to just do everything all at once in stead of painfully slow over the course of 7 years. But MOST of the time I am glad I had time to really plan out what I wanted and that I could do it myself.

We have done everything as we can afford it. Four layoffs really slowed us down. Having little kids also made things go a little longer. And if I am being honest, I think it will take at least 5 additional years to get my “original” list done. And then I will have to start on the “newer” list. But I love every second of it :)

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  1. Marci says

    I love EVERYTHING you’ve done to it! It is amazing to me what some fresh paint can do for a room! You have a wonderful gift, Stacy!

  2. cindy says

    Beautiful job in every room. I can empathize with you as our house was about the same 15 years ago when we bought it.
    I have admired old door knobs as towel hangers; how did you support your door knobs? They look to be closer than 16″ apart, so not all of them would line up with a stud.?


    • Stacy says

      We have lath and plaster walls so I was able to put them closer together. But in out basement bathroom they are farther apart since it is sheet rock down there. You could also attach the knobs to a board that would span the distance from stud to stud.

    • Stacy says

      It would be much better suited in a larger space for sure! Our bathroom is so tiny it overwhelmed the space. Plus it was too modern for how I wanted it decorated. :)

  3. Cat says

    Phenomenal job! You certainly bought that house on faith and not on looks. It’s utterly charming now. And the outside is just as impressive as the inside. You definitely have an eye for interior design. The flowers really enhance the front the yard, and that vegetable garden–wow. When do you have time for all of this? I admire your Can Do attitude.

  4. Malisa says

    I love it when it takes people a long time to work on their home. It usually means that they are largely doing the work themselves and might not have the money to do it any faster, but also they that are patient and don’t have to have everything right now. My last house, which wasn’t bad to begin with, still took me 10 years. My current house will take me about the same or more to get through my original list. Many people around me pay for everything to be done in their homes – including having it cleaned. I could probably use our money that way, but I like doing it myself. It’s cheaper and I get just what I want. :)

  5. Janet says

    You’ve done a huge amount in 7 years! Our house was a fixer-upper for sure. Sadly, after 37 yrs. it still is because nothing is finished. 2 disabled homeowners without budget to hire work out….. When we moved it, LR was painted bright turquoise semiglass. Wall to wall shag carpet we thought was gold, after cleaning we found to be light green and yellow mix. Everything was dirty. Carrying 2 mortgages, moved around the corner and couldn’t clean spaghetti sauce (not stain–sauce) off the floor?!?!?! I admire your talent and ability.

  6. says

    It looks wonderful! You have really inspired me to get back to working on redoing our house. I think we will bring out the paint this weekend. We are in the same position where we are having to work on it a little at a time and I think having to work on it so slowly bogs us down at times.

  7. says

    I love the changes, so impressive. Sometimes I think it can be overwhelming like the last comment says, but doing it yourself is cheaper but you also really get a sense of how you want it, which also changes somewhat over time.
    Couple of questions that I’m curious about – how much did you do for the renters before they moved in? Seeing as you were in a different state, did they live in it “as is”? And how long did you rent it for in the end? Seeing as you already told us so much, figured you wouldn’t mind a few questions :)

    • Stacy says

      We cleaned it really well and did some painting. Replaced window coverings and little things like that. But it was very livable as is. Everything that needed to be done was cosmetic.
      They needed a place to live for two years and we needed renters for two years so it worked out perfectly :)

  8. colleen says

    I have taken a long time to decorate and have learned to live with what we have for a while. 1st off I need to get the feel of a hous e and sometimes that may take a yr. I love every thing you have done very classy and cosy ;). The exterior is wonderful but it does seem to want shutters on those front windows. just me ,but cute house it amazes me that people follow trends and they really outdate a home sooooo fast classic never outdates.

    • Stacy says

      Haha! I agree about the shutters. It has been on my list forever. I was going to do the front of the house last summer when I built shutters for the side of the garage but it just didn’t happen. I am still debating about window boxes though. Thanks for your comment.

  9. Renae says

    This is amazing!! I’m so happy for you and taking the time to do it yourself and be proud of your accomplishments! The front door is incredible and the living room is absolutely my favorite. Love it all!!

  10. Liz says

    I just found your blog and I’m loving looking through all your posts. I also live in a tiny cottage-ish house (mine is 1600 sq ft), and am so excited to have found a DIYer to follow that has ideas for a similar sized house. I love decor blogs, but realistically, I can’t do half the fun stuff other bloggers do because their homes are so much bigger. I love my small house and finding ways to update and make it a fun space for my family.

    • Stacy says

      Our house is 1580 square feet :) So yes, I hear you on being somewhat limited. But it is cozy and I love it. Thanks for visiting! I am glad you found my blog.

  11. says

    I absolutely LOVE it! You are so talented and it all looks so good. I think I am going to steal your mirror idea from the dining room. The old wood boards behind it make it more rustic! Thanks for sharing, I am totally pinning this!

  12. says

    WOW! The changes look fabulous!!! So beautiful!!!

    I can totally appreciate this now that we’ve moved from new construction to an older home…except instead of green trim, ours was a lovely cornflower blue, ha! (I think the green was worse, though- yikes!) =)

  13. Jeanine says

    I think shutters and window boxes would look so great on the front of your house, though it already looks wonderful. I love your blog and all the great ideas you have!

  14. Lily says

    So I am in love with old bungalows like yours. I’m afraid to buy one as our first home because of all the work they generally require but this post of yours is inspiring!! Do you mind sharing how much you spent total? I know that your individual posts usually say but… I figured it may be easier to ask.

    Your house is honesty so adorable, I am in love with it :)

    • Stacy says

      Thank you :) As far as how much we have spent over the last 7 years, I am not sure. We have not kept track. I wish we would have. It would be fun to see how much we have saved!