Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From before to after: It takes time

First of all, the winner of the Saffron Marigold giveaway is Betsy from Not Your Ordinary Betsy…congrats!! Betsy, email archana (at) saffronmarigold (dot) com to get your free item!

You all know how much I LOVE before and after pictures. Hence the idea for the Before and After Party I have monthly. I could look at before and after pics of a space all. day. long. I love trying to find all of the changes, updates -- all that good stuff.

I even like to look at my own before and afters. ;) I love, love, love looking back at old pictures and seeing how our spaces and my decorating taste has changed.

Looking back at photos is also a great reminder that a space you love rarely happens overnight. I’d venture to say – NEVER happens overnight. I think the design shows so many of us love fool us into thinking our rooms should be perfect rightthisverysecond. It seems to only take them a few days, right?

Well, you know how at the beginning of Divine Design, Candice Olson sits there at her desk, and throws hardwood, carpet and tile samples on the desk and just goes….”Ummm…that one!”

I’m here to remind you it does not happen like that.  :)

And when she flips through a catalog and just points to the perfect, gorgeous lighting fixture, sofa, TV cabinet or wallpaper and just knows that’s the one?

Well, first of all, those catalogs are all from her personal lines, so I’m guessing she knows them like the back of her hand. But I’m also guessing she has a team work on each room with her for at least a week, if not longer (way longer).

And you know the full color sketch of the room that she shows us before and after the space is done?:

CO sketchThat’s drawn AFTER the room is complete:candice olson

I know this because while at the Chicago Mart a couple years ago, we ran into her former sewing specialist, Edmund Joseph. He gave us the low down. Well, he gave it to my friend Andrea. The rest of us were too chicken to talk to him and kept peeking from around the corner. ;) (But she said he was so lovely to talk to!)

Anyway, the point is…even the experts don’t make it happen overnight. It takes a team – and time. And in the instance of Candice Olson…buko bucks baby!  :)

(I LOVE Candice, let that be clear. Double pound to the chest atcha C.O.!)

I was going through some pictures today and found some photos from the year or so after we moved into our brand new house. I thought it would be fun to show you the then and now and how they got to now. And then I’ll show you the then again. Huh? Ummkay…

Our family room is actually a ginormous room, but because of the poor design changes I made, it is really hard to work with.



I don’t have a clue why I thought that would be a good idea. :) The original plan for the room had the fireplace on the long wall, between the two windows. That left plenty of space for an entertainment unit on that shorter wall on the left.

But no…I had to be all changey changey and mess it all up. Gah.

I made some changes to the room last year that helped, and it looks like this now:


One thing I have learned in the past six years – how to take a better picture. ;)

There are two things that completely transformed this space, in my opinion. One, the molding above the fireplace. It makes a HUGE difference! And it cost all of $50 I believe? SO worth it.

The next was the flooring – we had Pergo floors installed throughout the kitchen and family room and we could not believe the difference! It just makes everything flow. Lurve.

The flooring is another one of those B.D.R. projects -- “Before Dave Ramsey.” We are STILL paying for them, three years later.

Good thing we like them! Grumble.

We also got new furniture, although it’s hard to tell the difference from this angle. This and the flooring were necessities because we adopted an abused cat with a tendency to not find the litter box. Let’s just say she’s now called “Pee Cat.” She takes meds now to help with this problem, but she will forever lovingly be known as the Pee Cat. ;)

Anyway, there’s obviously a whole host of things that were done in addition to those:

family change

And keep in mind this has all been over the past five and a half years – it’s a never ending process, and I love it!

One thing that’s ALWAYS changing in the family room – the accessories. I cannot get them all to my liking. It’s a constant thang with me. :)

One of my favorite changes to the room was FREE and involved our TV cabinet:

Well, I shouldn’t say completely free, because the TV wall mount was $50. But other than that…fareeee!

I hung the TV, took off the doors to the cabinet, painted the back, moved things around, and there. you. go.:


The living and dining rooms look SO different now, they’re a couple of my favorites to look back on:


That was our hand me down furniture, a few college tables, and a family antique. :)

Let’s just say…a certain someone named, I dunno…PEE CAT, struck again. (Yes, I am a saint. YES, the cat owes us a bajillion dollars in furniture replacement.)

So years ago we went out and got furniture we could actually pay for, (whoohoo!):


This pic is from last fall, and most of the accessories are already changed. :) My name is Sarah, and I’m a compulsive mover-arounder. I have a whole new look in mind for the sofa table, so be on the look out for that.

Oh, looky there…molding strikes again! So do you believe me yet? It’s cheap, it’s not that hard to install (seriously), and it’s truly the biggest bang for your buck! (Other than paint!)

Here’s a down low on this space:


I love how the DIY sofa table gives me the ability to accessorize and add some height, texture and light to the space. Fabric on the windows (I made the drapes with hemming tape baby!) went a long, long way in this space too.

We lived with many empty rooms for a very long time -- it’s been a gradual process. And other than the upholstered furniture in our house, the majority of our pieces were discount, handed down, or are Goodwill transformations. We’ve bought very few brand new pieces beyond sofas and our dining furniture.

This is one of my favorite before pics  – the view into our dining area and staircase:


I told you our dining room sat empty foreva! I put my great-grandmother’s sewing table in there, hung some shelves, put some shades on the light fixture and called it done.

Till the hives started a couple years later. ;) I showed you this week the changes that spot went through and how it looks now:

buffet without hutch

And the staircase? Well, it’s by far my most favorite transformation in our house! It was true sweat equity – the total cost for this project was around $30 for stain and the flooring for the landing (I had white paint):


I still sing as I walk up them every day. Well, maybe hum. To myself. ;) I love them. I still want to add molding to the staircase wall, and hope to get that done in the next few weeks.

So there you have it! Isn’t that fun? Nothing like some juicy before and afters! They make me all giddy and loopy and dreamy.

Like I’ve said a million times before, my investment is in my sweat and time – molding, painting, making drapes – it’s all relatively inexpensive when done over the years and when I do it all by my big girl self. ;)

Who knows what these spaces will look like a year from now? Is there a space in your house you think back on and can’t believe the transformation? What was the biggest bang for your buck? Is there a room still sitting empty? Do you see what you want it to look like in your head, like me? ;)


P.S. Spell check is not my friend…bajillion, mover-arounder, changey changey…why are these not in the dictionary??


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