Welcome to our much anticipated Cottage8 reveal party, I’m so glad you’re here. This is a before & after photographic compilation of our journey over the past 12 months. Nearly all before photos were taken just after we closed escrow and the keys were placed in our hot little hands.
This was the exterior of our house, below, in all of it’s bright blue glory shortly after we moved in.
Here’s the exterior of our house now, below. New landscaping with a pair of birch trees in front, new brick walkway, and new exterior paint: Behr’s Pale Daffodil, with Behr’s Hampton Green on the door and shutters. I built the shutters myself, and will post that project in a future post.
This is what the living room looked like, below. Can you say SpongeBob Square Pants? I sure did the first time I laid eyes on this room. I think it’s safe to say the prior owners clearly had an obsession with the art of sponge paint.
Note: The carpet was the thin industrial kind, and the ends were fused with shipping tape in the center of the living room. It was sticky, dirty, and smelled of cat pee. During one of our visits with our realtor, the house smelled so bad we had to stand out on the front porch to conduct business.
This is where we are currently at with the living room, below. All brand new floors which Adam laid down for two days while I closely observed. New paint on the walls and ceiling. The walls in the living room were done in Ralph Lauren’s Canvas Natural, and the ceiling was done in Behr’s Seaside Sand. As a side note, the front door is Behr’s Hampton Green.
This was our hallway before I got my hands on it, below. Besides, I just knew you’d want a close up of our lovely pet ameba on the left.
This is how our hallway looks now, below. We changed out the light fixture, and the four long narrow cupboard doors at the very end of the hallway, our linen closet, is still a work in progress. So far, they’ve been accented with wood trim around the edges, and next I’m thinking about covering them in natural grass cloth wallpaper.
The sponging technique continues in this before photo below of the small dividing wall between the living room and kitchen/dining area.
Note: Look towards the bottom right of the photo below – see the shipping tape I told you about? Who knew you could fuse the edges of your carpet with that stuff.
And here’s that same small dividing wall, below, in its current state. We added the french door and used industrial strength brass hinges so that the door can swing freely into both rooms. In fact, I’ve always dreamt of a swinging kitchen door. Maybe it’s because of all those I Love Lucy episodes I watched as a kid – I always admired their swinging kitchen door, and how it was often used as a prop for their hysterical antics.
Before when you walked into our home, this was the first thing you would see, and oh what a site it was to behold! As you can see below, sponging wasn’t the only design trick up their sleeves – they also had a love for dry brushing their cabinetry and wave painting on walls. Surf’s up?
Seen below, I’m contemplating going with different lights on either side of that mirror on the right. Something a little more urban, either in brushed silver or rustic brown. I’ll keep you posted.
This was the other side of the living room, below.
Here is our living room currently, below. We painted the fireplace the same color as our ceilings, Behr’s Seaside Sand. It’s quite a magical color really. It takes on various tones depending on the texture it’s being applied to. I also painted the inside of the fireplace a smokey grey.
Note: See that walnut mirror against the wall below? No. 1, the frame is plastic. No. 2, it was white. No. 3, I used a walnut stain to simulate the look of wood, and will give you all the details of that project in a future post. No. 4, this mirror was so big, we not only had to borrow my bro-in-laws cargo van to transport it home, but I had to lay on the floor of the van, on my back, with the mirror on top of me to ensure it didn’t break.
Below is a view of the living room, before, facing the window. Painting this living room seemed to take weeks. On a warm August afternoon last year, my mom brought over a folding card table, two chairs and a cooler full of food and drinks. While we sat and talked and I replenished my energy, my mom said with all the confidence in the world “I know you can do it, Jennifer”. She had a vision of how this room was going to look, and it all came together for her in her head. I looked at the same room, and all I saw was shipping tape fused carpet.
Ah, what a breath of fresh air, below. We replaced all the old metal framed windows throughout the entire house, with french pained new glass windows, which we could have never achieved if it wasn’t for the help of my mom and dad. Beautiful windows are costly! Besides, my parents have been my rock of encouragement along this journey, cheering me on from the sidelines the entire way.
Note: While the vintage tan tufted loveseat is newly acquired piece, the tall white armoire came from our previous house (you may remember it from our bedroom) and the white sofa is also from the living room of our other house, as well as the coffee table, lamp and seashell mirror.
This was how the view looked into our dining room, below.
And now the new floor continues into the dining room, below. We enjoy morning sunshine that comes through the four pained french glass slider door.
Where do I begin with this one, below. The cabinets were dry brushed, the insides appeared to be rotting with rodent feces, the tile counters were so sticky that our realtors right arm nearly became a permanent attachment, the front of the oven door was missing, and the dishwasher received the same dry brush treatment.
Seen below is our kitchen now. Almost I can’t even believe this is the same kitchen, and I live here. New floors, all new cabinetry, interior cabinet lighting, new oven & dishwasher, new lighting, butcher block wooden counter tops, tile backsplash which I installed myself, and a new kitchen island accompanied with wooden barstools. The cabinetry, cabinet lighting, butcher block counter tops and white farmhouse sink all came from IKEA.
When the idea of purchasing our entire kitchen from IKEA was initially presented to me, I just wasn’t having it. The IKEA I knew was from a visit to their Burbank location over 15 years ago, and it looked cheap and lacked any sort of style. That was until I got my hands on their 2008 catalog last year. I immediately noticed they were now carrying bead board fronted cabinetry and french glass cabinet doors. I couldn’t get down there fast enough. Here’s another before kitchen photo, below.
So we measured our kitchen and drove our 2-door Ford Explorer Sport down to the IKEA in Burbank. During our drive down, I insisted that we fit the entire kitchen into our small 2-door Explorer, kitchen sink and all, as I hate making two trips for anything. Let’s just say that it took two hours to load it all in the car, including the kitchen sink, and I ended up sitting in the passenger seat curled up on my back, with my head against the bottom seat, my feet against the interior roof of the car, and three boxes of cabinetry sitting directly on top of me. This is inevitably what happens when you tell me it can’t be done.
Yes, that’s my refrigerator below. It was one of the first projects I did over 12 years ago. Beneath the beadboard, white trim and farm door hinges lies an old avocado green fridge, circa 1970 something, and she still runs well after all these years.
It’s back to the blue waves in this before photo, below. One of the first things I couldn’t wait to do was replace this out dated window box immediately. It projected outward nearly 2 feet.
Here in this current photo, below, you can see what a difference a new window can make. For the window sash, I simply hung an extra piece of burlap and gathered it up in three places with chocolate brown ribbon. A quick easy fix until I can find a better curtain replacement.
When is dry brushing your dishwasher in blue paint a good thing? Seems that question never entered the previous owners thoughts, below.
I think I kissed this farmhouse sink when I pulled it out of the cardboard box. This thing is so big, Adam could probably take a bath in it. I heart this sink and all of its bigness.
The bad, the ugly, and the moldy, below. This is how our kitchen looked after we sledge hammered and hauled away the old cabinets and existing tile counter tops. We had some plumbing issues, which thankfully our bro-in-law came to the rescue and taught Adam a thing or two about pipe building.
So here’s the thing with IKEA – there are NO written instructions. WHATSOEVER. Because they are an internationally based company, they decided “the heck with writing manuals in various languages. Instead, we’ll just provide our customers with animated drawings and see if they can build all this complex crap. And if that’s not enough, lets throw in a drawing of a little animated man, with a question mark above his head who appears totally miserable. Okay, IKEA customers, build that kitchen”! And with a little hair pulling, I did in fact put together every single one, twelve kitchen cabinets in all. Take that, IKEA.
I couldn’t wait to take down the tacky lighting, and replace with vintage style light fixtures that were better suited to my style, below.
Looking at the kitchen from this angle, seen below, makes my heart swoon.
You haven’t met my dining room yet, have you? Let me introduce you to my tile floor, below, which was my biggest headache. In order for us to lay the new floors, we were told that because of the deep beveled grooves in between the tiles, that void of space had to be hand filled with a product called Floor Patch. Three buckets worth in fact. I think my knees are still feeling this one.
From this view, below, it’s a little difficult to see the back wall of our dining room. It was an amazing project, which I will be sharing with you at a later date.
Oh, I think I get it now – they wanted the blue waves to match the blue tiled floors, below. Okay, I still don’t get it.
See those vintage style schoolhouse lights below? They were a highly debated and extremely controversial subject in this house for three weeks. Guess who won? Sorry babe.
I mean, if you’re going to paint your cinderblock fireplace, why not go for the blue/gold contrast, below.
We covered the back wall of the fireplace in beadboard, below. Again, the beadboard and ceiling are both awaiting the molding treatment. And the huge chalkboard I made will be the subject of a future post.
If you were wondering, those are shutters and cabinet doors to the left, below.
I realize this after picture isn’t giving you the full effect of the back wall of the dining room, below. I promise I’ll share the whole project with you in a future post.
I have tons of vignette photos which I will be sharing in a later post. But in the meantime, here’s a small sampling of some of the vignettes in my home…
The covered book project below was inspired by the one and only Fifi.
As to date, we are still completing the 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. There’s not much of a finished product to show you just yet, but for fun I thought I’d show you a few of the before pictures, just so you can see the degree of challenges we’ve been faced with, as shown below. While we’ve painted, carpeted and furnished the rooms since these photos were taken, there are still many projects to undergo, and I’ll certainly keep you posted on their progress.
Here’s the master bedroom, before, continuing in the sponge application tradition.
This is a before photo of the second bedroom, seen below, which doubles as my office. Rest assured, I no longer have to look at the Kermit Green walls while I answer my emails.
Here’s the third bedroom which we use as our media room, aka The Man Cave. While I can’t remember now what the original color was, I was simultaneously priming the walls while testing out some blue paint when this photo was taken, seen below.
I wish to thank the following bloggers for helping me spread the word: Design*Sponge, My Petite Maison, Garden Antq’s, Rose Vine Cottage, Gypsy Flea Market, One Shabby Old House, Sweet Cottage Dreams, Mockingbird Hill Cottage, Rue’s Peanut Butter & Jelly Life, Garden Adornments, My Sweet Savannah, Sherry’s Rose Cottage, Twice Remembered, “Make Your Monday” event, Saturday Finds, Cottage Bliss, Shabby Villa, Shab-n-Chic, Campagne Maison, Simply Stacey, Restyled Home, Graceful Moments, The Shabby Cottage, The Rose Room, Sheri Howard Designs, 3 Bundles For Me, Gracious Southern Living, Cottage Chick, Nutbrown Cottage, Tidy Mom, Simply Dandy, Vintage Lizzie, Time Out For Me, This Is Not A Rough Draft, The O’Quinn Family, Southern Lady’s Vintage, All Bliss Be Thine, Just A Little Southern Hospitality, Right At Home, The DIY Show Off, Metamorphosis Monday, So Happy Together, Ellis Events, Bingham Cottage, Room To Inspire, Cottage Lifestyle and Bricka Brack. If your name should be on here, please let me know and I’ll add you to the list. I don’t want to leave anyone out. I also want to thank all of those who stopped by to visit with me today, helping me celebrate 12 months of hard work and dedication. This has been so much fun sharing with you all, I’ve had a blast. And I’ve saved the best for last – I want to thank my extremely talented web designer, Cathy at Avalon Rose Collection. She just remade my blog for me, specially for this big event. What a rock star designer she is!
Update – Tuesday, 8-25-09:
Thank you to all of you who have left comments and emailed me! My husband and I sit together in front of the computer, and on the phone while he’s at work, and we read each comment together. Then I call my folks and we share the comments with each other too. You guys are amazing! I also welcome you to share this post on your blogs, and I am truly honored by how many of you have already done so.