2017 has been a productive year for both of us, one in which Naomi made serious progress in her terrifying basement and finished her dining room makeover, and Sage finally finished her kitchen renovation and made her yard significantly less ugly. Still, as we transition between projects it can be easy to focus on how much more is still ahead of us. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and reflect on how far we’ve come, so today we thought we’d share a few of our favorite room makeovers.
We had relatives over about a month ago from out of town who were seeing our place for the first time, and I kind of blew my mind talking about what this place used to look like. Spaces that I now take for granted or even want to make changes in used to be total disaster zones.
Take my bedroom, for example, which I was so proud to finish earlier this year but am now totally accustomed to. It used to be a dark, sad hole, and then even our initial updates left it mismatched and a little odd.
This room took a lot of work, from DIYing custom bedside tables, building a storage chest for a non-standard sized space, to finally getting around to painting the window sashes throughout my house. But it was worth it, and I remembered how worth it it was by how proud I was to show them this space.
See the full set of projects here.
But the best example of how I need to do a better job appreciating how far I’ve come is my kitchen. Now that my dining room is done I am giving this room significant dirty looks, and it’s the next major space up for a makeover. It’s hard to remember that it once looked like this:
Oh, the yellow! Put in that context, the kitchen is looking pretty good.
We opened up the wall to the dining room, put in new bamboo floors (since we were already putting them almost everywhere else in the house), and replaced the counter. Then, one of my first DIY projects was installing renters wallpaper as a temporary backsplash. That brilliant project is still standing strong to this day, and has some sentimental value since I wrote it up as a guest post for the blog Sage had before we started this one together.
One of my favorite space makeovers that I haven’t thought much about in awhile is our front hallway and stairs. We don’t spend a ton of time there, but the dark and drab space definitely bummed us out whenever we walked through it.
We put in some pretty serious time painting, transforming the closet into open shelving, installing new light fixtures, and adding color and interest on the stair risers and through artwork (recap of all those projects here). It’s never going to the the star of the show in our house because it’s still a pretty dark space, but it’s still a pretty big improvement!
On the other end of the spectrum in terms of effort, one room that often gets overlooked but is definitely the winner of “quick and cheap room makeovers that changed everything” is our bathroom. When we bought the house, it was lime green and looked like this:
I hated everything about it — the green walls, the brown tile, the tiny footprint, I could go on…. I turns out, though, that all the room needed was a new coat of paint some colorful artwork and accessories.
Somehow those small changes totally changed the space, making the brown tile no longer look so brown and the space no longer feel so choppy (thanks in part to painting the walls and ceiling the same color). Okay yes it’s not actually a bigger, better space and it wasn’t truly terrible to begin with (I know that some tile just cannot be salvaged), but I’m glad I put in a few hours of work to discover that this room was pretty easily transformed!
It’s so nice to take a pause every now and then to recognize what you’ve accomplished, rather than always focusing on what you don’t like or what you need to do next. There may still be major disaster zones in our homes (looking at you, Sage’s basement and Naomi’s closet) but at least we’re making progress! We’ll try not to take it for granted.