*Sniff* I’m getting emotional just thinking about this post. Five years ago this week, we were unpacking boxes, figuring out this thing called ‘yard work’ and basking in the notion that we had SO MANY ROOMS to fill and things to FIX. Wow. We did that thing where we bought the worst house on the best street… and decided to dig in and get dirty and fix it and fix it and enjoy the journey. Five years ago, we had new keys cut, left our life in the city behind, and bought this house.
I have a lot of appreciation for this house… It is instrumental in me being who I am today – a blogger, a mother, a wife, a dog owner (!), a neighbour, a passionate community member and a lover of the sea. I remember first seeing the view of the Atlantic from the upper level of the house when we did our walk through and thinking ‘oh how lovely!’… Now, I crave the sound of the sea, I listen for how it ebbs and flows with the tides and the moon, I gaze at it to ground myself and to act as a reminder that everything – everything – is constantly evolving.
We’ve gone through a lot in this townhouse…notwithstanding some serious before and after makeovers! And that is what I’m running through today. I still feel like there’s SO much we want and could do with this house and those projects will all manifest in due time and with due energy. I’m going through room by room and listing sources where I have them!
But without further ado – five years of before and afters.
The Foyer – BEFORE
YES. Look at that for a hot minute. The mural, the faux concrete brick below, the faux brick to the side… the hole ‘nook’ in the wall to the right (where we’d propped the globe on moving day LOL) … Yes… We bought all of it 🙂
I needed to get rid of the mural ASAP, so for a brief year, we had wallpaper on that wall. And a heat pump… that within another 12 months totally failed and needed to be replaced. So we took that opportunity to brighten the space, take down the pump and the paper and start fresh.
This is what the foyer looks like now… It’s still a bit of a problem area in our house, but I find as long as I keep it sort of clear, it works.
The bottom of the stairs was made happier by painting the black door a pop of blue. I’d love to totally replace that door though! And we removed the old bi folds and brightened the closet nook with black and white graphic wall paper, a shoe cabinet, coat hooks and art.
I’m not in love with the floor tiles down there – but they really haven’t been a priority. They hide dirt at the moment – so that’s a blessing 🙂
- Paint colours – Navy State of Mind by SICO, Igloo White by SICO
- Love Sign (Affiliate)
- Hemnes Shoe Cabinet
- Botanical Wallpaper (similar)
The KITCHEN – BEFORE
The kitchen is still the original 30-year old kitchen. When we moved in, it had the original oak cabinets, no dishwasher, and the previous owners had changed the countertops. In essence, it was super dark. I knew we didn’t want to do a full scale renovation on the kitchen in the first five years, so instead, we did some cost-effective, short term updates to brighten the space. (Also note; clouds on ceiling).
We painted the cabinets and hardware and immediately swapped the countertops with ‘bartender’ style laminate counters. That just means the manufacturer cuts that lip off the back. It makes laminate look higher end and it costs very little for the upgrade. We also moved the fridge to the opposite wall – which was previously dead space and added a dishwasher. It’s not the best layout (obviously), but it’s working and certainly functions better than it did before. The additional counter space is amazing.
To increase the light, we took down the two cabinets that flanked the window and added open shelving. It works perfectly for us because we keep every day items on there like juice glasses and small bowls, plates. I know there’s a big debate about open shelving and dust – but ours definitely do not get dusty.
- Ekby Shelf Bracket
- Glass Pendant Light (above sink; similar; affiliate link)
- Counters – Kent Building Supplies
- Cabinet Paint Colour – Igloo White SICO (Cabinet Paint)
The Living Room Before
The living room was just an empty box. I think it was beige?? I know I painted it grey and hated it and within a month, repainted it white… and then since then last fall, I repainted it blue LOL … This room is a challenge because it doesn’t really have walls. Nevertheless, this is what it was like the month we moved in. Sorta a hodge podge of stuff. OH! And that was when I thought I could keep a plant alive. That Monstera went to my Mother-in-Law because I had pity on it. Guys – I’m SO on team FAUX PLANT, I can’t even bear to imagine how many plant lives I’ve saved by just not bringing them home with me LOL
You can also see in this photo that we dealt with that weird hole in the wall by just covering it up! We did this project WAAAAAAY before Joanna Gaines made shiplap a cool thing. Like, it was so early on in my house journey – I didn’t even document the process!!! But we shiplapped the crap outta that nook and it was a great decision.
One of the best decisions we made was building our ‘fauxdenza’ which is an 8-foot long, free hanging set of stock cabinets, topped with a custom piece of wood. It serves as storage for seasonal items, bar cart stuff and odds and ends and it really gives the room a bit of structure.
This living room is now a bit more colourful with my new blue wall and I’m hoping to add more colour in soon with a new rug and accent chair and we are committed to finally getting rid of the grungy love seat – I just have to figure out what I want to replace it with! I’ve already started adding in colour with art… man, I love some brightly coloured art!
Living Room Sources
- Paint Colours – Igloo White, Pale Sea Foam by SICO Paint
- Ektorp Couch in White
- Floral Art (similar – Unfortunately the one I have is no longer available!!)
Hallway and Stairs – BEFORE
This is one of those spaces where a small change makes a big impact. For 4.5 years, we had no railings on our main stairs. Not only was it a TOTAL safety hazard, but to me at least, the stairs never really looked ‘finished’.
The photo above was from about three years ago. For two adults living in the space, this worked fine, but I knew as soon as we added a small human into the mix, it wouldn’t be safe. I mean, the CAT was able to hop from the stair to the top of the china cabinet… soooooo. Enter Duart Hardwood Stairs who, in one day, upleveled our stairs like MEGA.
I ADORE the railing and the custom balusters and I just seriously can’t believe we waited so long to do it. On the wall, I got around to adding family photos and our two ‘boot putting on’ chairs and this space works SO well for foyer overflow and for… well, putting on our boots!
The Dining Room BEFORE
This room is such a sweet and bright and happy space. It didn’t take much to turn it into one of my favorite rooms in the WHOLE HOUSE. We moved in and for some reason, I painted the walls in the dining room the literal colour of mud. I hated it… lol. I think I recognized that it called for drama, and using dark paint (at the time) was the only way I could think to do that. It lasted about a year, before I painted it all white and tried to start fresh.
Then it sat for THREE years while I hummed and hawed over how to bring back the drama. The room is so small and traffic flow is key. I knew I like the light fixture and the table – but everything else could go. We settled on a barn board wall treatment (which I still LOVE) and updating the chairs with cheap and cheerful MCM knock-offs that can stand up to dogs, kids and cats and that I won’t cry about if they get ruined LOL
Phew! This is is a LOOOOOOOOONG post. I think I should break this house-iversary up into a few parts, eh? I still have to talk about the powder room and the office and the playroom and the BEDROOMS and the studio and the laundry room and the back deck…and oh my word! 🙂
Stay tuned… Part two is coming your way… 🙂
Here are other posts you’ll love