Welcome to our home! We are excited to share a recap of the progress we’ve made in the interior design world since starting our Youtube channel about a year and a half ago. This post will be full of cottage style before and after photos. If you love the dramatic transformations and before and after pictures then let’s get started!
I hope you enjoy the before and after DIY photos and pick up some useful inspiration! Watch the video, then take a look at more details below. Each area is an overview of the space, videos of each project are on our YouTube channel.
Cottage Style Guest Bedroom Remodel
After we bought our first house in 2018 our first project was to tackle was creating a cottage style guest bedroom. We were on a tight budget and were thrilled to find both the bookcase and the headboard on the side of the road!
Both pieces were painted a creamy white to fit in with the cottage style I was going for. The headboard had a dark brown stain that we decided to lighten, then I added decoupage for a personal touch. This was an easy (inexpensive) DIY that gave great results!
Next we freshened the room with paint. The creamy white color is called “Lit Candles” by Magnolia. Once the room was painted I gathered the art I had on hand with some I’d thrifted and created my first gallery wall. And I was hooked! Ever since this project I’ve hung art anywhere and everywhere in our home.
Takeaways: From this makeover experience I learned that I love (really love) decorating a home. This project allowed me to “practice decorating” in the cottage style. It is fun to look back and compare how my style has developed over the years – just note the difference in this bedroom makeover compared to the next one further on in this post! Seeing this first space come together on such a tight budget was rewarding and gave me confidence to step into the next makeover.
Cottage Style Bathroom Update
Next up, we remodeled our master bathroom. The walls originally had a very dated wallpaper that we removed and painted blue. We were still on a tighter budget for this renovation, but we figured since the space was smaller it would even out. We were wrong on this! Yes, the space was smaller, but the materials (tile, glass shower doors) themselves were more expensive. There were also unexpected expenses since we had to removing the flooring and even bust up concrete to fix plumbing issues!
We removed the wooden wainscoting and installed tile halfway up the wall. Thankfully we were able to source the pedestal sink secondhand for $40. At the time we were doing this project these sinks were running $300 – $350 online. With these savings we were able to spend more on the faucet.
Since our bathroom is small, we wanted to make the best use of our space. The pedestal sink takes up much less space than the original vanity, and makes our tiny bathroom feel more spacious.
Takeaways: Allow money in the budget for the unexpected! This makeover was more involved with the plumbing issues and moving a wall to make the shower bigger. In all, we learned a lot, love how everything turned out, and have really enjoyed this little space!
Guest Bedroom #2
Our second guest bedroom makeover was a truly dramatic transformation. I really felt like I started to hone in on my style with this room. It was exciting to get to try so many things I had seen in books and on Pinterest over the years.
We decided to leave the original dated paneling in the room and paint it. It was amazing how a little paint changed it from looking like cheap paneling to high-end looking “tongue and groove” paneling. Once painted this wall was a prime spot for a full on English salon style gallery wall filling the available space. I have come to love antique and vintage artwork and am constantly sourcing it. If artwork is your “thing” then great news! I plan to share more posts on art this year.
Always start with paint! It has been said many times, but bears repeating. Paint is the biggest bang for your buck in the decorating world. The ugly cheap dated paneling became a “tongue-and-groove” accent wall in the English country house style with a simple coat of paint!
Take risks! Using wallpaper, the ceiling rose and chandelier, and creating an English salon style gallery wall were all new moves for me. And I love them.
English Country Pantry Transformation
This past fall we tackled remodeling our pantry. This was more of a cosmetic update since we are not quite ready to do the full remodel in this space. At some point we may be moving walls in here so we didn’t want to invest a whole lot. In the mean time we did want the pantry/utility area to feel more like home and a space you’d want to be in.
Once again we started with paint. The tall canned goods cabinet became a lovely shade of my favorite green “Pesto Paste” by Sherwin Williams. To expand our storage we found an antique oak cabinet on Market place for $50. The cabinet displays our dry goods in mason jars, plus the wavy amber glass is beautiful.
A vintage textile adds a soft touch to all the hard metal appliances and a thrifted lamp gives the space a warm glow.
Takeaways: Sometimes it is worth perking up a space even if it may be for a time. Your home is worth being functional and pleasant.
By far the biggest project we’ve taken on was the back porch makeover this past summer. Until this point we’d not touched this space and it certainly reflected that! The house needed painting before we bought it so that’s where we started. For this project we had a somewhat bigger budget to work with, but we were still determined to stretch those dollars and do all the work ourselves. Fortunately we own a painting company so we could do this part ourselves.
One of the next biggest elements (besides paint) to give us the biggest bang for our buck was upgrading the architectural features like replacing our screen doors and building/adding custom shutters. We had so much fun transforming our patio into a usable space, and have enjoyed many evenings grilling, sitting on our bench and enjoying the outdoors.
Takeaways: Even though this was a bigger space to tackle the same principles applied as the other spaces we’d done. Begin with paint, apply elbow grease (de-clutter, clean, organize, and mend), then address the cosmetic upgrades with second-hand pieces if possible.
What We’ve Learned
- Takeaways: Creating a home through DIY projects, elbow grease, and second-hand purchases is not only is rewarding, but it yields a fabulous personalized design element.
- The Design Process: Through these last few years of remodels and makeovers I’ve learned a few things for approaching a room. Here’s a quick list: consider the structural features in the room and be sure to work with those. List what you’d like to remove, what you’d like to add, and what you can DIY or purchase second-hand. Then finally consider where you like to land style wise and align the DIY projects and second-hand purchases to fit this aesthetic. This is a learned skill and you can do it!
- Developing Your Design Style: Just as other things in life such as learning to walk, to read, or to ride a bike developing you design style is a process. The beginning will be messy and you will make mistakes. This is great because it shows you are learning! As you complete more projects your style will surface. Press on and take note of how far you’ve come! You will learn what colors you always like, the furniture that works for your lifestyle, and the art, textiles, and decor that you love.
- Your Contribution: Believe it or not, your support of our YouTube channel has contributed more and more into our ability to provide you great interior design content. We have recently reached 15,000 subscribers! This is hard to believe and we are very grateful for each of you. I value your feedback, opinions, and ideas. Many of you are much farther along in the hone design journey and DIY expertise and hoe generously and graciously you’ve shared!
- Looking Ahead: Now for the next few chapters in our home! On the plans is to remodel/makeover three rooms this year. Generally we would focus on one room at a time, but as these three rooms are connected the flow between them is critical. These rooms are the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen.
Our Living Room:
We love this cozy space and spend most evenings here reading, enjoying the fireplace (in cold weather), hosting friends, and playing games. We want to retain the coziness while brightening the space and infusing it with English country style. The blue wave wallpaper and mauve rose border will go along with the glittery popcorn ceiling texture. In case you hadn’t noticed the mantel is ridiculously small and off center. We’d like to add to the architectural elements in this space with a “new” antique mantel and possibly replace the stair step bookcases with built-in bookcases. This will set the stage for any changes in furniture or decor.
Our Dining Room:
This small dining room sees a lot of action as we eat most of our meals here, share fellowship with friends, and work on projects. We love the double windows and the chandelier and the relation of this room to the kitchen. There is a dark, heavy feeling that we’d like to address for every day life as well as for filming and photography. I’m imagining a bright, fresh English garden feeling in here with more space. We will either relocate or replace the hutch, as well as the table and chairs. There aren’t that many players in this space so they all need to pull their weight! Beyond the furniture I’d like to paint the paneling and consider wallpaper!
And finally this cozy kitchen. I adore this kitchen already. It’s the perfect size, has a great layout, quality cabinetry, and charming cottage-y details in the mill work.
I’m fully convinced there is a lighter, bright English country house style kitchen hidden inside this 1960’s kitchen! Paint, new hardware & countertops, and a new faucet and back splash will go a long way in introducing the old world English country style I’m going for. I’m tremendously excited to see these rooms transform and to have you come along!