Tag Archives: Our house

Our DIY Family Room Before and After (Now that it actually looks like we live here)


Almost a year ago we finished renovating our 70s-wood-paneled-sunroom-turned-family-room and I shared a before and after here on the blog. Well, more like a before and empty-room-after, which, let’s be honest, is boring!

The thing is that filling out a room takes time and effort! The family room has turned into one of my favorite places to spend time in our house (thanks to the bath of sunshine we get from 9 windows, and a constantly growing Netflix queue). While we’ve still got a bit to work on in this room, I’m happy with the cozy cocoon we’ve created. (Wood paneling be gone!)

The cracking linoleum floors, wood paneling, snake skeletons and rodent-poop-insulation feel (and are) a million miles away. (Thanks goodness!)

Just a reminder of where we started:

Lo and behold – it looks like we live here (finally!)


We get TONS of sun in our house – and with nine windows, this room is constantly full of light. And no window treatments. Because that’s how we roll. Hopefully for not much longer.

sunroom4We bought the hooked pillows this summer when we were in Portsmouth for the weekend. They are my favorite part! We finally kicked all our old college stuff to the curb (except for the IKEA Poang chair – that will never die!). We’ve bought all of our upholstered furniture from Boston Interiors – and I couldn’t recommend them enough!sunroom5

I’ve been pondering artwork for this room. It’s a tough place to hang anything because – oh yeah – we have nine windows and two french doors. In an act of impulsiveness I hung those woven starfish and they’ve been there ever since.sunroom6We originally bought these colorful monkey’s fists to hang off the wall… but I’m not sure if I like that idea anymore. So they are just monnkeyin’ hanging around waiting to find a home.

sunroom7I found this lovely red metal waypoint at one of those local discount curtain and bath outlets. Then this month I saw it in the L.L. Bean home magazine! It’s more expensive at L.L. Bean, but if you want one for yourself I thought I’d share the knowledge.

“They” (who are “they” anyways?) say that every room needs a splash of red – now that we have one, I have to agree.

This brings us to the empty side of the room:sunroom8Our current TV stand is obviously way too small for the space. We are (fingers crossed) really hoping to make our first attempt at furniture building with a new entertainment center – so until that happens this one will stay. I’m hoping this spring we can finally get to it! Ultimately we’d love a long, low storage unit that will span the whole width of the room.

And YES, we still have our TV in front of a window – what a strange problem to have – not enough wall space! I’m just glad it’s out of the main living room now.

A tough part in the winter as a blogger is when to take photos. It’s dark when I get home from work and the last thing I’m thinking of on a Saturday morning is to run around and take photos of all the things I want to post about. Lucky for you, I happened to snap a few on my phone – because after I (finally got my act together and) took pictures of the family room, we got a new rug. The tan one now lives in our bedroom, and all my braided rug dreams have come true.

sunroom9 sunroom10This was a HomeGoods find.

Truly, I feel pretty self-conscious about posting a room just full of stuff. There’s NO PROJECT to explain, but my BFF convinced me that everyone loves a good before and after. I hope that’s the case! I must say, I don’t miss the old room one bit.

So, now that I’ve shared our TV watching room of the house… any Netflix recommendations? :p

Read all about how we DIYed our Family Room:

Updates on the Bathroom (Before it’s Gone for Good!)

I hear something ticking. And it’s the life of our upstairs bathroom.

Farewell old bathroom, won’t miss ya one bit.

Over the last almost-three years we’ve slowly made small and inexpensive modifications here and there, all the while not putting in too much effort, or cash-ola, because we knew this bathroom wouldn’t survive for long. You can see how we removed the glass shower doors and installed a vent system here (the venting will stay).

This is our only upstairs bathroom, and while we have grand plans harbored away in our brains for adding a second one, that could be a fleeting daydream so this one has to be done right!

We are currently shopping for and preparing to totally gut this room in the next week or two (and totally knock down a wall in our guestroom to change some things up – yikes!!), but before we get there, here’s where we’ve taken the space so far. (Spoiler: It’s’ not that exciting.)


We removed the original medicine cabinet because the mirror was literally peeling off. (Perhaps because there was ZERO VENTILATION in this bathroom for the past 70 years?) We replaced it with a small cabinet we found in the clearance section of Lowe’s for $30 and it’s served us well these past two years.

Surprisingly, a small mirror actually makes the room feel larger. Who knew?

shower3 shower2

We patched up the drywall from the mirror, but are having some cracking issues. The walls in our house are not a standard depth of drywall, so patching holes in the wall is always a complicated adventure- you can see where the wall has started to sink in to the left of the mirror.

We had planned to install floating wall shelves above the toilet for storage, and even bought some at IKEA about a year ago, but we just haven’t gotten around to it. Guess I will get to find a new use for those shelves!

The entire side panel of the original vanity was broken, so when we found a cheap vanity on sales at Lowe’s for $40 we knew it would be worth the money to use it for the next year. We will have to see if we can re-purpose the faucet somewhere else.

Window in the Shower? Not anymore!


When we were re-siding the house over the summer, we decided to knock out the window and side right over the hole. With good reason – the wood was rotted out around the window.

Who ever thought a window in a shower was a good idea?

Unfortunately this means our shower is looking even grimmer than usual. We bought a sheet of shower wall covering and glued/screwed it into the tile. This is obviously just a band-aid until it all goes buh-bye!shower1

The thing I am THE MOST EXCITED ABOUT is getting rid of is that bathtub – ack!!

It’s one of those old, honking jacuzzi tubs and the jets take up so much space in the tub. I’ve never turned them on (the idea gives me the creeps). I’m also not going to be sorry to see that tile go. No amount of bleach / Comet / Magic Eraser / elbow grease has helped us there.

I can’t wait to rip up this bathroom! What would you like to shop for the most – tile, light fixtures, or shower curtains?

Beadboard Wallpaper on the Kitchen Backsplash


I have a love-hate relationship with wallpaper.

I hate removing it – like from my bedroom and my kitchen(PS – if you haven’t seen the insanity of the kitchen wallpaper I inherited with this house, check it out here!) Then I discovered beadboard wallpaper… which I loooooove. (Extra “o” letters necessary.)


I love the look of beadboard and We have it in several places in our house. Then, I discovered beadboard wallpaper and I was hooked. I started by trying it in my dining room and then I added a wall of it in my kitchen. And now I’m back because I added it as a backsplash in my kitchen!

To see a full tutorial on how to install beadboard wallpaper, click here.

We’ve been talking about adding a tile backsplash in our kitchen for ages, but it just hasn’t been a priority. Then I started toying with the idea of a beadboard backsplash. Since I still had part of an older roll in the basement, I started measuring and I had just barely enough (only three inches to spare!).


I know what you are thinking – why did you put wallpaper on something called a backSPLASH!? Don’t you think that’s a stupid idea?

Well, our kitchen sink, the source of 95% of our splashing, is right in front of a wide window. And in the last two years cooking in the kitchen, I’ve just found that I don’t splatter on the backsplash very often. Plus, since the beadboard wallpaper is painted with two coats of paint, I can just as easily wash something off as I did on the wall.

Plus, it is easy to reverse if we decide to tile someday. We could have installed real wooden backsplash as well, but that would have required a lot more work, and we would have needed to redo more of the trim.


The best part is – the upgrade was at no cost! I have purchased my Graham and Brown beadboard wallpaper rolls from Rhoda at Southern Hospitality’s shop where it runs $25 a roll.

Originally I purchased two rolls, so for $50 I was able to add beadboard in my dining room:

IMG_9923and my kitchen:



and now my backsplash as well!

I think that’s $50 well-spent!

To see a full tutorial on how to install beadboard wallpaper, click here.

Before and After: The Family Room (Buh-bye Wood Paneling!)

Silly me. I forgot to share a before and after of the Sunroom-turned-Family-Room.

Once upon a time, people loved knotty wood wall paneling, drop ceilings and linoleum floors. And strange uncomfortable built-in benches.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

I must say, this wood paneling was in GREAT shape and really quality stuff. Part of me hated taking it down, but Moose convinced me *and he was right, per usual* that we needed to re-insulate this room.

This paneling had a happy ending though! Our neighbor ended up taking it all to do something in his basement!

But now when I sit in the middle of our (empty) new room… every painful moment of removing mouse-poop infested insulation was worth it.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

It’s hard to believe this is the same room! The room was completely gutted, STARTING with the built-in bench you saw above.

Since the room is built on a concrete slab there was no heat in the room. We added two baseboard heating units (one of which you see above) and can now control the temperature in that room separately from the rest of the house.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

We replaced all of the windows, and installed new window trim to match the rest of the trim in the house.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

When we gutted the room, we exposed the back of the fireplace – thus my many DIY distressed brick posts!

Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick WallBrick Wall Tutorial: Tinting a Brick Wall

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

Here you can see the original door from the living room. Also notice that the original room was a step down. When we redid the floor we built a new sub-floor to rise the height of the floor, so now the flooring is now the same level.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

And looking back at this one door…

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

…it looks so skinny compared to the new french doors!

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

Since we have an older home, we don’t have a naturally open floor plan. Adding in these french doors definitely makes the spaces feel more unified.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

I still have nightmares about removing these ceiling tiles.

If walls could talk they might say, “Ick-Ew-Gross”.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled SunroomOur new smooth walls and ceiling are plaster. And the ceiling fan was replaced with recessed lighting.

(And we installed about 10 extra electrical outlets along the way! That’s the royal “we” by the way.)

And here you can see the beautiful new crown molding installed by Moose! Painted by me – I have to get some credit somewhere, right?

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

This was the first room we’ve starting doing molding in and he did an AWESOME job! Now for the rest of the house! ; )

Not only was the original floor a step down, but it was a disaster! The old linoleum was cracking and breaking off of the concrete slab. Not much to miss here!

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

To finish off the room, we continued on with our honey-colored hardwood floors that are in the rest of the house.

Before and After: Renovating a Wood Paneled Sunroom

This room has by far been the biggest “change” – I guess that’s what happens when you gut a room!

I remember walking into this room on the first day we looked at the house – we had so many visions for it then. It’s hard to believe nearly two years have passed and the vision is finally coming to life!

We’ve ordered a couch for the room, and when that comes our television will be moving over there! We’ve talked about some DIY attempts at furniture making for this room… so I will have to keep you posted on that!

Read all about how we DIYed Family Room:

Who doesn’t love a good before and after!

By the way – it’s National Library Week! Get on over to your local library and check-out a book, pay your late fees or listen to the Story Lady read a book! Celebrate and read!