Archives For before and after

Living It Up

Jennifer —  May 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

Five Years Ago we loved into our house and this is what the living room looked like:

I loved the large bay windows and how the room was open to the kitchen. Last Wednesday I shared you the Google Image of our house before we bought it.  It had a massive tree in front.  You can see a winterized version of the tree here.

Living Room

This was how the room looked for a little while.

Living Room

Our living room was the last on the lis to rehab.  Mostly because I just couldn’t decide how I wanted it to look.  Here is the transitional stage.  (Sorry for the bad picture)

Living Room transition

The fireplace was what was throwing me off.  It was very red and I don’t love the color red as the main focal point in the room.  I do love read accents but this red was defining this room. It took a little patience to get Lee on board with painting the fireplace but when I finally did, the room just came together naturally.

Living Room Final

We built the bookcases to flank each side of the fireplace and I covered the Ikea Lack floating shelves with fabric. I was nervous to do it, but I am so thankful I painted the fireplace, and Lee is too.  We use it every winter so painting it did hinder its purpose.  I never could decide what to put on the mantle.  I tried different things but everything I could find was too big or too small.  To be honest, I kind of liked the minimal look.

Living Room Final 2

This is my favorite little nook with my rock star chair that I found on Craigslist for $50.    I read my bible here every morning.  I blog here.  Its my favorite spot.

Living Room Final 3

Here is an up close shot. I made the bible poster and the book cover art here.  I also have a stack of all my favorite design books.

Living Room Final4

The other side has our television and all of our electronics.  We don’t have cable but we do have an antenna.  See how we installed that here.  Read here and here on how we watch television without cable.  I also found this chair on the side of the road and recovered it.  This chair is my husband’s favorite chair.  He usually pulls this back to the couch and watches t.v. in this chair.

Living Room Final 5

Here is the view of the living room from the kitchen.  I bought a carpet remnant and cut it to fit the room perfectly.

Living Room Final 6

I built this ottoman/coffee table from an Ikea Lack Coffee table.

Living Room Final 7

I made a tray from an old cabinet door and it is the perfect place for coffee and drinks.  That is Lee’s car that he made to race when he was little.  Are you impressed?  I am.

Living Room Final 8

I needed extra seating but I did not want to block the window.  We bought a love seat originally but I returned it.  The hubs built me a bench and I made a cushion.  Its extra cushy and I love laying on this bench and taking a nap.  The bench is as big and as deep as a love seat.

Living Room Final 9

I also made these curtains out of fabric scraps I had on hand.  They are all different weights of fabric.  The trick was to make sure the heaviest weighted fabric was at the top and bottom.  I had to calculate my stripes based on how much I had while still making the two panels identical.  I didn’t have enough blue and white for the curtains to be long enough…so I added black.  Random, but I love them.

Living Room Final 10

Here is the view of the room from the fireplace.  You can see how our hallway goes back to our bedrooms.  I found my couch at a local store called Brashears.  Around here, leather and tan couches are king so I was thankful to find a grey couch with modern lines.  The pillows are from target and Ikea.

Living Room 11

In this picture you can see how the living room flows into the kitchen.  I love how open and cozy it all is.

Living Room Final 12

If you have followed this blog long you know I have a love for all things Danish Modern.  I had no intention of getting a new entry way dresser until I found this dresser for $50.  I made the chalk board quote wall out of framed drywall.

Living Room Final 13

I style this area often, but this is how it has been for a while.  I found the F sign for $1 at a flea market, I love vintage books and the jar is full of the Christmas cards we received this year.  I like to pull one out every once in a while and pray for that family.

Living Room Final 14

Speaking of drywall, I used fabric covered pieces of clearance drywall and ikea frames to create this gallery wall.  You can see here what all the art is on the wall.

Living Room 15

The frames go all the way into the hallway.  I love how it turned out and I ofter catch my self looking at them all and smiling.

Living Room 16

Its been a progress and I have loved this room, especially on a cold winter night with a fire.  It looks much different today because we have started packing it all up.  I wish I could put it all back.

Have a Great Weekend,


Hillbilly Kitchen

Jennifer —  March 29, 2013 — Leave a comment

On Wednesday I explained what was coming up for the house that we are renovating.  I also explained that the not so fun stuff was happening such as electricity and drywall.  The great thing about electricity in a complete renovation you get to make the home more lighting friendly.  You also get to remove weirdly place lights and put them in a place where they make more sense.  Yesterday we had to tell the electrician where to place the electricity.  Just for fun, here is the kitchen before we started renovating:

Caudill House,

We are keeping the existing cabinets, adding more, and replacing the doors

Caudill House,


Of course you know that we had to gut the entire living room and take down the huge wall separating the kitchen from the living room.

Here is the lighting I know that I wanted:

  • Pendant over the sink

  • Two pendants over the island

  • Pendent over the table

  • Can lights along the “L” of the kitchen.  (Between the island and cabinets)

Yesterday we had to decide, with confidence, where the light boxes for the pendants.  I had to move the cabinets back into the kitchen to be sure.  This is the floor we had to carefully walk them over to get them into the kitchen.  #Treacherous!  We are leveling out the joists in the laundry room. level subfloor

After we moved and nudged and inched and pretended we were cooking, opening drawers and doors to see if we had room…we came up with this plan. I laughed because it looked like a hillbilly kitchen.  We have electricity, we have storage, and I found a countertop in the garage.  Whats even funnier is that we don’t have water but we bought gallons of water to put in the sprayer to remove the popcorn ceiling.  So, our Hillbilly kitchen is complete.  Its been cold out at night so we could just put the food on the back deck.  Ha!  I don’t think the house will sell this way.  Note:  That end cabinet on the island is not a part of the plan.  I think that will be a shelf, but I just had to spatially place something there so I could see the end product.  The fact that there are 2 X 4s holding it up adds to the hillbilly effect., kitchen renovation

aaa, kitchen renovation

aaa, kitchen renovation

aaa, kitchen renovation

Here is a better understanding via floorplanner., kitchen floor plan


aaa, kitchen floor plan


We marked the pendants on the ceiling and called it a day.  Well, kind of.  I did my least favorite thing yesterday and will continue to do it this weekend….stay tuned.

Happy Easter!


Our New Desk

Jennifer —  September 14, 2012 — Leave a comment

I posted on Wednesday that we decided to change our desk arangement from two desks to one long desk.  The goal was to be modern, white and not bulky.  We wanted two work stations with storage in between.  Here is what it looked like before.  I explained here why this wasn’t working.  In short, it was cute but not a workable system.

Here is the space cleared out.  We wanted the desk to go on the left-hand wall. (Please excuse the mess.  Scary things come out when you move furniture)

We were willing to spend enough for it to be done right, but we also didn’t want to spend a ton, so we of course I headed to Mountian Country Homes of Hope and got this sliding closet door for $5.

I chose an old sliding closet door for two reasons.

Continue Reading…

Past to Present

Jennifer —  July 9, 2012 — 2 Comments

In Jane and Tanya”s house their bathroom was a blast from the past:


aaaa Continue Reading…

East Nashville Update

Jennifer —  February 17, 2012 — 1 Comment

My first blog post ever was after the Hubs and my trip to see family in East Nashville.  The goal was to see the Hubs sister and bro-in-law who live there.  The second reason why we arrived was to help them renovate their kitchen.  Here is what it looked like when we got there:




Here is what it looked like when we left:




After we left they started saving their pennies for new appliances (except for the fridge) and new Countertops.  They finally got those later on that summer.  Then, my mother-in-law came to Nashville and she helped them install a ceiling tile backsplash.  I just wanted to show you the final product:


I love seeing the step stool in the picture.  That is reality for the Hub’s sis.  She is small but mighty, but she can only reach the first shelf on each cabinet.  I am sure that step stool is one of the most used things in that kitchen.

I love their new countertops they picked.  They are laminate but they don’t look it because they opted to go without the 2 inch countertop backsplash.  She showed me what she picked when we were there so that is why I suggested doing this chalkboard wall.  It kind of mimicked the countertop colors a little.  Look how big their puppy is…yes, Harry is a puppy Great Dane.

I love the ceiling tile backsplash.  It brings so shine and some pop to the kitchen while still fitting into the retro/industrial style.  The best thing about this is it doesn’t require a tile cutter or grout, tile or mortar.  You just adhere it to the wall!  Anyone can do this!

Here is their industrial potrack and shelf we installed:

Their kitchen had a fridge that just stood alone.  It just seemed like a waste of space.  The budget didn’t allow for cabinets (which would then require more countertops) so we went to Target and bought this set of industrial shelves (in the silver version they used to have).  We stocked it with bins and her dishes and not often used kitchen appliances:


Our budget was small.  When the hubs and I were there our part of the project was only $350.  We did paint, supplies, primer, roman shades, lighting, industrial shelving unit, pot rack, and wall shelves for over the stove and for the microwave.  The sis and bro-in-law saved up for the countertops, range, backsplash, and dishwasher (they had the fridge and microwave)  I am not sure of the final total for what was done after we left but I am guessing about $1600 dollars.  It could be less because I know they were searching for appliances on death row.  I think its safe to say that they did this transformation in under $2000.  You don’t have to have a lot to get a big transformation.  Just for is the “under $2000 kitchen rehab” one last time:



Have a great weekend!

Thanks for reading,


If you liked this post you might like these:

Bookcase Pantry

Painted Countertops

Refinish a Bathtub

All of you readers know that I love me some Ikea bookcases.  To be honest with you I think that its one of the best things that they have out there.  You can’t find a place that has more options for a cheaper price.  I have an expedit book case in my living room.  (Sorry, my house was mid project before christmas)

I have two Billy bookcases in my bedroom serving as folded storage.  I had to buy the extension piece to make it tall enough.


I have one Billy Bookcase with doors in my kitchen that serves as my pantry.



My Guest bedroom has Wal-Mart Mainstay bookcases.  Ideally, I would have chosen to buy four billy bookcases that would have stretched to the ceiling with the extension piece, but I already had two black bookcases when we moved into the house so I bought two more at Wal-mart.  I must say that the Wal-Mart Mainstays $25 price is pretty appealing.


My favorite design of Ikea Lack bookcase is my favorite.  I like its clean modern lines.  I have big plans of somehow incorporating it into a kitchen as open shelving.  I love this kitchen, for example, found on an Apartment Therapy House tour:

via apartment Therapy


Much to my dismay Ikea discontinued the Lack bookshelf.  Darn you Ikea.  Didn’t you know that was your best bookcase?  Maybe your sales told you differently but my heart misses it.  Then I found this post on Ana-White’s website that opened the idea that I could maybe build this thing.  My only problem with these plans is that 2X12 wood is really not 2 inches wide.  You can always shave about 1/4 inch off of any width of wood advertised.  The Lack bookcase shelves are 2 inches thick.  I think I have a way in my head to recreate it but it would take a lot of time and patience.  Sadly its not a project for this house.  Although, a modified version of what the Ana White plans was in fact in the works for my living room.

Here is my living room in transition. (Please forgive this photo, it was pre-new camera)  I used my phone here.

The fireplace is not painted and I bought some lack shelves a few years ago to fill the space. We bought a tv stand from Lowes which worked for us for four years.  I also painted the mantle black with some leftover paint I had in from the kitchen cabinets.  It was much better than the  original, but it didn’t satisfy.  As I have explained before it worked and it wasn’t priority.  To be honest, I was just happy to have a “sane” place in the house.  Not a aesthetically nice place but not screaming loudly for a rehab like the kitchen, master bathroom,  and laundry room.

Now that all the other projects were the done the living room started screaming lounder.  So I painted the fireplace and started my plan of completion for the living room.  I needed something symetrical to flank the fireplace.  I thought about building full lack bookcases, but it seemed silly when I knew that I could use the shelves that I already had.  So….I used the Ana white post as a guide, changed it up to fit my needs and built (with the help of the hubs) two lack inspired bookcases.  (The half version).  I will post soon how the Hubs and I made these bad boys.  He helped me because they had to be sturdy to hold our t.v.  Here is a picture of them after we primed them


Here is the picture in their new home: (taken with my new camera!)




Stay tuned and I will show you how they were built and painted for a little over $30.00.  That beats Wal-Mart!


Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!



If you like this post you might like these:

Worth the Wait

Take a Seat, Take a Seat, Take a Load Off Your Feet

Hollister Rehab:  My Guest Bedroom

Worth the Wait

Jennifer —  December 28, 2011 — 2 Comments

We moved into the house and I immediately wanted to paint the fireplace white.  I may have even mentioned it in the walk through of the house when we first looked at it.  It immediately got the “kibish” from the hubs.  When we bought our house we had not dabbled into home renovating yet.  My only design experience was watching HGTV.  I really don’t have much more than that now but at least I have a few rooms/houses under my belt now of making design decisions.  Anyway, the hubs had seen it but didn’t know if it was needed.  He was right.  We had bigger fish to fry like the kitchen and the laundry room.

We bought our first couch and I still hated the brick fireplace.  Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with an exposed brick wall.  I think it can be the perfect quirk in a room but I quickly decided that it only works in  large spaces or a spaces with tall ceilings.  We have a small living room and no matter what you put in the room your eye always caught the redbrick fireplace.  It broke up the room in a bad way.

It took me almost four years to convince the hubs of paining it white.  He wasn’t stubborn.  His response was “Not now”.  He was making me wait to make sure I really wanted to go through with it. He wanted me to finish the house bit by bit and see if I still wanted to do it.  He was waiting to see if I would grow into it.  The more I finished the house the more I wanted to paint that sucker.

I finally sat down after three and a half years and gave him three good reasons to paint it white.

  •  It would make the room more cohesive….thus making it bigger
  • It would soften the room and make it cozier.
  •  I pulled out Pinterest.  He just had to see that it was a desirable thing for others and not just for us.

He agreed to let me do it.  I was ecstatic but yet still nervous.  I was nervous down to the moment t I made the first brush stroke.  You can’t change this one.  The black kitchen cabinets…a bold choice but yet, it still could be changed.  The white fireplace…not so easy of a change.  I read about if for a week, sought out advice of a neighbor, and then proceeded to begin.  Here is what I needed.

  • One Can of Kilz Oil Based Primer
  • One very nice brush
  • Painters tape
  • One can of decorators white (Valspar) semi-gloss paint.
  • Metal spray paint primer for the vents
  • Metal spray paint for the vents

This post is not a how to post.  These posts are a dime a dozen on blogs.  There are a 1000 ways to paint a fireplace and I don’t want to write like I am the only one to ever do it.  I did not use a roller, I used a paint brush the entire time.  The High Nap roller was not that great.  My brick was really pourous and the joints (mortar lines) really deep.  This made the roller harder to use.  I painted the joints and then painted the brick each coat.  If I would have done this when I moved into the house…with no furniture….I would have used a paint sprayer.  I did three coats of oil based primer and two coats of paint.  It was worth the work to even out the red color. (It took three coats of primer to do that).  I also cleaned and spray painted the vents.  Here is how it turned out. (This is before the vents are inserted)

Frequently asked questions by my friends:

Was it hard? – No, it’s like painting a wall but more time consuming

Can you use your fireplace? – Yes, we have a wood burning fireplace and we have used it multiple times.

Do you have to use high heat paint? – Not on the brick.  If I were to repaint the doors (the black surround) then yes I would have used high heat spray paint.  I used that on the fireplace in the flip house.  If you are wanting to repaint the inside of the fireplace then you have to use high heat paint.  I did not do that.  Since we were only painting the brick, which does not get hot, we did not use high heat paint.

Why Oil Based?  Can you use latex primer?  I am sure you can but oil based primer covers fire smoke stains and the deep red brick better.  IF you don’t use your fireplace you can use whatever you want.  Always remember that the next homeowner might want to use it if it’s possible.  Don’t be selfish on big decisions like that J

Why didn’t you paint the doors white? – I do things one step at a time.  I am not sure it is necessary.  I kind of like the contrast because I have black furniture pieces in my living room, but I haven’t ruled it out.  I have learned to be patient with these decisions.  I can thank the Hubs for that one.


The goal of this post is to inspire you to be patient if you must, be confident if you must, or wait for your husband’s approval if you must.  I have read many comments on other blogs of people who want to do something but their husband does not.  My advice?  Be patient.  Don’t die on that hill, work on another part of the house and work towards it.  You might change your mind anyway.  If you don’t, you have more of an opportunity for your husband to see your vision as you guide the direction of design in your house.  The Hubs was able to see it more as more of my plan was put into place.  Our marriage is better for it and his input is valued. He has a design eye, but I know that your husband might not.  Your last resort would be consulting a professional with him (like an interior designer or realtor) to see if your idea is a good one.  In the end you have to remember that your husband lives there too.  My husband respect and looks to my opinions but I trust his advice and leadership.  I would have been bummed if he really didn’t want to but it’s not my dream home and I could live with anything.

I have also read posts of people who are just not confident to do something.  If you are not confident call in an expert to see if it’s worth it or the right decision.  Google the mess out of “how to” and get after it if you really want to do it.  It never hurts to wait.  I am sure you have enough projects to do in the mean time!

All that being said, I love my white fireplace.  It makes the room look bigger and it fits.  The hubs loves it too.  Thanks for letting me try my ideas babe!

Thanks for reading!




I am in the middle of reorganizing the laundry room right now and I have lots to show you in that room, but I am not quite ready yet. Today, I wanted to share with you an EASY rehab I did in the house the hubs and I flipped.  I have told you before that we literally gutted this house…new windows, floors, bathrooms, roof, heater, central air, gutters, updated exterior…you name it…we did it.  I would have love to do something fun to the fireplace but the moolah was just not in the budget to do so.  We had to have the fireplace checked during the inspection and it was functionally working well but it was soooo ugly to look at that I could not stand NOT doing something to it.  Here it is in all its glory.


Get excited there’s more…

If you walk into my house you will see a theme….stripes.  In some rooms there are small doses like in my guest bedroom pillow and sheets.  You will find some in my kitchen, my hallway and finally….my master bedroom.

Just for old times sake, here is a picture before:

Here is a picture in transition:

Here is the almost final stage of my master bedroom.

Continue Reading…

My Master Bedroom has been a work in progress the past three years.  It started out like this:

The only structural thing we have done is we replaced the matted, old carpet.  Here is the floor plan of our house so that you can see where the master bedroom fits:

Continue Reading…

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