Our DIY Home Before & Afters
We’ve officially been in our home for over two years! Walking through our home now and looking at all the projects we’ve completed, big and small, feels pretty surreal. Sometimes I like to tour my house and pretend I’m on an HGTV show, breaking down every single thing that we changed to my imaginary audience. I mean, we all did this while putting on our makeup at age 16, right? Or while we’re singing a sad song driving in the rain? Please tell me I’m not alone.
Anyways, I wanted to get this all documented in a more official format outside of my own four walls, so I thought I’d create a blog post giving you the run-down of every space and what we’ve done. In some spaces, it’s a LOT, and in others, it’s as simple as a fun feature wall - but there really isn’t a space we haven’t touched. I may even give you a preview into what I’m still thinking of doing in a space so you can understand that I’ll probably never be done doing projects in this house.
My plan is to create more detailed blog posts on each of the rooms and the projects that were completed in them, but you can let me know in the comments if there’s a certain space you want to see more detail on as soon as possible, cause I’m here to give the people what they want!
DISCLAIMER: All of the before photos in these posts are the listing photos from when we purchased our home. We did not get all new furniture and belongings; I wish our budget was that big. The house was literally a blank canvas - the previous owners hadn’t painted a single wall or installed anything permanent - which was pretty much the dream for me in terms of being able to make this house into a home in my own style.
The Front Entry
The main entry of our home seems like a logical place to start this little home tour. This is also one of the very first spaces that we tackled when we moved in.
In this photo you’re seeing the opposite side of our entry so that I can show you the closet doors! When we first moved into our home, we installed the faux shiplap you see in the photo. It’s actually just plywood cut down into 8-inch strips, and we used a nickel to create the gaps in between. We changed out the light fixture, which you can’t see here, but I promise it’s a major upgrade from the boob light.
I also styled the entryway with a shelf ledge from IKEA and some simple hooks from Amazon. I had the bench custom-made locally (though I’m confident that I could make it myself now). More recently, I transformed the closet doors by creating a custom design that we nailed overtop the original plain closet doors.
I’ve recently restyled the shelf ledge in here, but beyond that, I’m pretty happy with this space and don’t foresee any changes in the near future. Though I still need to install the handles on those closet doors - haha.
The Dining Room
Full disclosure - this is a space that I have plans to pretty drastically change in the near future. But I’ll share with you what it’s looking like now and give you an idea of what I’m going to be doing!
Alright. So in this space, we actually kept the light fixture (the only one in the entire house that we didn’t change). I painted the back wall with a chevron stencil and utilized the bright sunny-ness of this space as a home for many of my houseplants, and they’ve been very happy here. I also worked together with my mom to repaint her oak dining set to fit in this space - we painted the base & the chairs white and stained the top of the table in a dark espresso colour.
What I’m thinking of changing: A lot. I’m feeling a bit more of a moody vibe in this space and am planning to paint the two walls in a greenish-grey colour and also install a floor to ceiling skinny slat wall along the walls. The slats will be painted as well. The way I think of it is this: the way this room is right now is the teenager version of the space, and I’m going to make it a more grown-up space and a better reflection of what I see my style being today.
I’m also downsizing my plant collection a little bit - I still LOVE my houseplants but I think I overcommitted a little bit (I have around 80 plants in my house right now) and I’m finding it hard to keep up with caring for them. So I’ll be keeping lots, but there will be fewer in this space - allowing my husband’s bar room to breathe and be a bar.
Not a space where we had to change a whole lot, honestly, because this kitchen was pretty awesome as-is. A few small changes we’ve done already and a few more I have in mind below!
The big change here was the light fixtures. We changed out the simple builder-grade fixtures for these super cool bell-shaped gold pendants and the unique fixture over the sink. We also changed out the faucet, and of course I styled it up a bit differently and added some plants.
Still to come: I want to add some simple moulding around and above the window, just painted the same colour as the wall currently to add a little dimension and interest. I’d love to get a new set of blinds in the space and create a wooden window ledge. You can’t see it in this photo, but our small pantry has a door with a glass inset, and I want to replace that with pole wrap and paint the door black. It’s also a long-term dream of mine to build a custom vent-hood cover - probably a roman clay finish in a darker grey to mimic a concrete hood!
The Living Room
This is another space that is still morphing for me, as we’ve lived in it for a few years now and I’ve come to realize a few functional changes that will help the space be more useful for us.
So the obvious change in here is the board & batten feature wall that we installed. The colour is a frequently asked question, and it’s Homestead by Benjamin Moore! This wall was an absolute game-changer in this space - it actually made the ceiling seem about five feet taller instantly. I love the dose of colour. We also put in the shelf along the right wall and I of course styled up the space.
I don’t have a great photo of the other side of the room because honestly, it’s not my favourite. The couch we bought for the space has ended up not being great quality, so it looks really lumpy and ugly now - which is why you never see if on my feed. My long term wish for this space is to replace that couch with a nice leather sectional, get an area rug that fills the ENTIRE space, and actually take away that shelf to allow for some additional seating - I’m thinking matching armchairs on either side of the fireplace.
I also will be moving up the curtain rod (which I shamefully haven’t done yet) and installing new draperies very soon, and I think that will make a big difference in this space too! This is all to say that, this space is still a work in progress. But hey the wall is pretty great!
The Back Entry
This is actually one of my favourite spaces in our entire home. I just love the way it came together and I think the vibe really captures what I’m going for throughout the entire house - relaxed and cozy, but also functional, and styled in a classic way with some unique touches.
In this space, we installed the same shiplap as at the front door, as well as the same hooks to allow for functional hanging of jackets when we come home. We got this amazing bench from Structube and it’s absolutely perfect in the space. We also installed the large floating shelf which houses some decor and plants, but also some bins that store things like toques and mittens.
On the other side of the room we have an IKEA shoe cabinet, and a mirror. I also have a Ruggable in this space which I think is a must. I painted the door the same colour that I used in the living room! We also changed the light fixture (of course). You can’t see the closet doors in this pic, but I made over the ones by this door too! These ones are a classic black with gold handles.
No changes incoming here, I love this space just the way it is.
The Powder Room
This little space was a more recent project and I really truly love it. There’s still a few finishing touches for me to consider it truly done, but it’s a favourite fun space for sure.
Lots of little details got changed out in this space - a new light fixture, new mirror, new shelving, even a new toilet paper holder. On the other side of the room, we installed a board & batten half wall which is painted black with a little shelf ledge on top - I’ll make sure I include this when I break down this room in more detail because it’s such a cute & easy DIY.
The BIG change in here is obviously the wall decals. I got these beautiful big floral decals from Urban Walls. This provides a HUGE visual impact, but I think they are bold without being gawdy or over the top. They’re tasteful and classy and I really love the vibe they create in this bathroom.
Still to come: A new vanity. I have one on my wish list already and it would include a gold fixture. I also want boujee details like gold light switch plates in this space - and I can feel my husband rolling his eyes at that. I also want to paint the door black and change the handle to a gold one!
The Library Nook
This little awkward space has been through a few life stages now, and will probably change a little bit more in the future, but I’m really glad I made the decision to turn it into a library! It sits right at the bottom of our stairs and is the first thing you see when you walk in the house. It’s a bit weird - like if you closed it in it would make a great bedroom for your least favourite child.
A huge change, right?! This is a space I’m really proud of, and the amount of change per square foot probably makes it one of our most involved projects. I’ll be sure to write a more detailed post on how we took my free-standing IKEA bookcases and built them in. They now appear to be custom-made for our space and their design also carries onto the ceiling which we clad with black shiplap. I also created the design around the window which is really unique! A new light fixture in case you doubted it, and we also recently put up this hanging chair that I won in a giveaway!
What might change: I might move the hanging chair elsewhere, because I find that it blocks the view of the window feature. But it’s been fun to have in here for a while. I’d like to get a nice low lounge chair back in here, and maybe a rug and some other cozy elements. I’m not worried about it now, but it might evolve eventually!
The Guest Bedroom
Moving upstairs! This room is a bit of a wild child that we transformed in one day on a whim. It’s got a lot of personality for sure! It might change but it’s fun for now.
This room was a boring white box that bothered me for quite a while. One day I grabbed a deeply discounted quart of “oops” paint in this cool terra cotta colour and decided to do something fun in this space. I bought a big sponge and used the side of it to create this unique wall design. It looks like an interesting wallpaper but it cost me about $8. I got some throw pillows to compliment the design, we changed out the light fixture, and finished the room with some local art pieces.
This room is also a plant haven because it’s likely the sunniest spot in the entire house. I’d love to set up a propagation wall in here in the future. I don’t know if the feature wall will last forever, because I may eventually turn this space into an office once we develop our basement!
**We have another bedroom upstairs that right now is just serving as a storage room. We didn’t bother doing anything with it because the plan is to (hopefully) eventually use it as a nursery.
The Guest Bathroom
This room was (mostly) all me and was a long-term project. It took me a long time to get the gallery wall just right and I wasn’t in a rush to find all the perfect pieces. It’s such a cute little eclectic bathroom that is really interesting for guests (if we ever have any).
I painted the bottom half of the bathroom in a nice deep grey colour. I then worked to find unique pieces to create a wrap-around gallery wall - it includes art prints, travel photographs, metal work, fibre art, dead butterflies (yep - they died of natural causes apparently), and an original piece by me! This gallery was a labour of love and I still love it dearly.
Other things we did in here - changed the light fixture (say what?) and created a custom frame for the mirror. More to come on that because again, it’s a super easy & cheap DIY that anyone can do! No changes to come other than maybe spray painting the sink fixture a matte black.
The Laundry Room
There’s been lots of changes in here and there’s more I plan to attack soon! One of our biggest splurges was in this space - read on to find out what it was!
Alright. The big splurge in here? Those custom cabinets. Could we have done it ourselves with some IKEA or other pre-fab cabinets? Yes, but we wanted the cabinets to match the others in our home and we wanted them right away. So we splurged. We also got a custom closet installed in our master bedroom but I don’t have great pics of that. To me these custom, professionally installed details were 1000% worth it and I’d do it again.
Other things we did DIY in here - that custom waterfall wood countertop. I wanted it to be butcher block, but instead we made do with plywood - but I recently had an epiphany when I saw butcher block contact paper being sold on Amazon - so I do plan to install that soon. I created the backsplash by painting the wall and drawing on the “tiles” with a sharpie pen. Blog post to come on this (cheap & easy DIY, of course!)
Oh, and in case you doubted it, we changed the light fixture.
Still to come? You won’t see it in this photo, but on the other side of the laundry room, I want to install a double peg rail with bead board. This will be another space to hang things to dry, and will also just be really cute - haha.
The Master Bedroom
Ahhh, our sanctuary. I love this room. I have some subtle changes in mind to lighten things up a bit, but as a whole this bedroom is staying put. It’s completely unique and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it.
We kicked things off in this room by installing the wall mural literally the night we moved in. I had ordered the wall mural to go in our old place, but luckily didn’t install it before we got a sudden offer to sell and we moved into this house 3 weeks later. We had to install it before attaching the headboard to the wall, so we put it up immediately. Exactly what you want to do after a long moving day - install wallpaper for the first time. I swear my husband still loves me.
The wall mural really sets the tone for this relaxing bedroom. We replaced the light with a ceiling fan at my husband’s request. We had a barn door custom-made by an amazing local company, Fifteen Twelve Home. Cozy bedding and a textured rug make this space just perfect. On the other side of the room we have some IKEA cabinets for extra clothing storage and yes, a TV. We’re TV-in-the-bedroom people.
The only little change I am considering right now is some lighter bedding and curtains (they’re currently dark green velvet curtains) just because this space can feel a bit dark sometimes. Also our blinds are busted and won’t go up so that doesn’t help with the darkness. I’d love to get some simple blackout roller shades in here that I can easily throw open every day to let the light in.
The Master Bathroom
Last but certainly not least! This space deserves two sets of before & after photos because we did so much in here. Definitely our biggest overall project and doing this project really changed my perspective on some of the other spaces in our home, because I wanted them all to feel like THIS.
Here’s the story of how this project escalated. All I wanted at first was new mirrors and the shelves in between. We removed the big builder grade mirror but it left the wall pretty damaged. I was having a really hard time repairing the wall, so then I came up with the genius idea to cover up the texture by doing a DIY roman clay wall!
But then I found that the wood wall - which we had previously installed and left natural - didn’t really go well with the dark concrete-looking wall, so I stained it. I realized the open shelving had to have pretty things only, so didn’t actually give me extra storage, so we bought a cabinet from IKEA... but it was only available in white which didn’t fit the vibe, so we created a custom cabinet door for it and stained it to match the wood wall & shelves. I also thought that the light beachy art I had in here before didn’t work anymore, so I collaborated with Opposite Wall to get the moodier prints for the wood wall.
But wait - the moody prints had black frames and I LOVED the look. So now I wanted black fixtures everywhere in the bathroom. So we had to spray paint all of the bathroom fixtures black. Which led to needing new light fixtures to match. Also, if we spray painted the fixtures, we’d have to spray paint the shower surround. And if we were moving to a black shower, why not completely change the look?
The shower isn’t included in the photos above, so I’ll stick a picture here. I don’t have a great before shot, but I’m sure you can imagine the basic chrome builder-grade shower stall that we’ve all had.
This all goes to show that sometimes a project just kind of… happens. And falls into place. It doesn’t need to be all perfectly planned out before you start. You’ll find it along the way. And adjust as needed. It’s actually been my favourite project cause of this - constantly changing, shifting, and adapting. Strokes of genius and mistakes that needed to be fixed; it was all part of the process.
Changes in here? Heeeelllllll no.To me, it is perfect. Love Actually style.
Wow. If you made it this far, kudos to you. And THANK YOU for somehow caring this much about our house and the projects we’ve done to make it into a home. This ended up being much longer than I intended, but I promise not all my blogs will be so long! Phew.
With that, I will leave you. Please let me know in the comments if there’s a particular room or particular project you’d like to see more in detail, and I will aim to curate my upcoming posts based on those requests!
Love ya, mean it.