Updated House Tour with Before and After Photos!

I’ve been wanting to put an updated house tour together for awhile, but kept thinking “I’ll wait until this room/entire house is completely done”…let’s be real, waiting until every single room is “done” is probably never going to happen. As you’ll see in the photos I’m a fan of moving things around and changing things up quite a bit…it keeps it interesting. :)


Let’s start out with the dining room! This is actually the only “cheat” photos in this post…the after photo is NOT how you would see it if you came over today BUT there’s a super-secret cool project in there that I can’t share just yet. But it’s still a fun room to look at!!

As you can see, our dining room actually used to be a formal living room, but since we are the kind of couple that likes to entertain and share meals around the table with our friends way more than sit on a sofa, we decided to switch the floor plan up a bit. We removed the heavy curtains and old carpet. We also added a wall which you can see in the after photo—more on that later.

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In this room you’ll find the only two things we’ve kept from the original house so far—the chandelier and the large gold mirror. Those are two of my favorite pieces!

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Here is how our living room looked when we moved in. Yikes. I’m not sure what I hated more—the dark wood paneling, the carpet or all the random, off-centered light fixtures. They all had to go!

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The fireplace was one of my favorite projects to date. We ripped off the brass and the mantle, and white-washed the fireplace. After removing the doors from the top half of the bookcases, reinforcing the shelves and painting them a bright white, we were able to find the perfect fireplace mantle to add back on.

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I also created a gallery wall around the television since it was one of the few blank walls we had space for art. I often say if I went back to college for another degree it would be for art appreciation, so I use art liberally throughout our home.

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Ya’ll. Come on into the kitchen. Bless our hearts, right? It was really, really, green when we moved in, and long and narrow. But we took care of that by completely removing the wall separating the kitchen from the living room to create an open floor plan, adding new lighting and using white cabinets. Isn’t the hardware gorgeous? We found all the cabinet pulls at a salvage store in Dallas—I like to imagine they have a glamorous history at one of Dallas’ many lovely hotels.

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Let me tell you about another favorite project. See our countertops? They are made of solid concrete. I am so proud of all the work we put into creating them! It was a long process, but worth every minute. I absolutely love them.

And now for the wall I mentioned earlier from the dining room. We added this wall because while we both love to cook, we both like having a clean kitchen—especially with such an open floor plan. When we were planning our house, I wanted an extra large pantry with countertops so we could leave all our appliances in there along with extra storage. At the time I didn’t know what it was called, but it’s a butler’s pantry and apparently they are becoming popular yet again. This is still a room in progress, but here’s a peek!


Now let’s move into our room. This room was filled with dusty rose literally from ceiling to floor as you can see. Look how much difference a nice coat (or four) of white paint will do. Ahhh.


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Here’s my favorite room in the house. Ready? This used to be a sad looking spare bedroom, but is now a place filled with my favorite things—books and craft supplies! I spend so much time in this room browsing my books, practicing calligraphy, watercolor painting and getting crafty. It’s a popular hangout space for my friends as well, and we’ve had some great times in this room together!

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My husband built that wall of bookshelves for me using Ikea bookcases, believe it or not. Don’t they look awesome? And aren’t books just lovely?

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Now I want to show you all my second favorite room in the house—our sunroom. We whitewashed the bricks and hung a fun vintage swinging chair. We have big plans in store for this sunroom—coming soon! :)

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What makes the sunroom so great is the view. In fact, this backyard is what sold us on this house! Our goal was to simply maintain the beauty of the backyard and not kill anything (so far we are doing okay!). We did add this amazing swinging outdoor bed—it’s a bit too hot to enjoy during the day in the summer, but I am looking forward to the cooler temperatures of fall so I can head back outside with a stack of books to enjoy. For now though, I settle for laying outside in the warm Texas nights.

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Our house is still a work in progress, but we have come a long way and only have a few more rooms to go! It’s always fun to look back at old photos and remember all the fun memories we’ve made. We’re excited to make even more soon! :)

Build Your Own Shutters with Thompson’s WaterSeal + a Giveaway

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With all of the renovations we’ve done in the interior of our home to update it, we have had to put improvements to the front of our house on hold for a bit. While our main living areas have the look we love, our curb appeal has been lacking and lately we’ve been on a mission to improve it. Ever since we bought our house, I have hated the iron shutters we have on the exterior of our home with a passion. It was finally time to take them down and do some DIY shutters of my own! Here’s a before shot:

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Back in June I had the opportunity to meet with some wonderful people over at Thompson’s WaterSeal. You guys! They have some AMAZING products.  I always connected Thompson’s with staining fences and outdoor decks, but they offer way more than that.  When I told them I was thinking about building my own shutters, they were kind enough to send me a box of their stain to try.

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This isn’t just any stain though. This one is kind of a game changer. It is a spray-on stain. I hadn’t seen anything like that before, and I have to admit, I had some doubts. I knew Thompson’s had a great reputation and decided to give it a try. It couldn’t get much worse then these iron eyesores, right? (Spoiler alert—loved the stain!)

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When it came to the actual shutters themselves, I knew I wanted a classic wooden shutter with three vertical boards connected by two cross beams, so after measuring our windows we picked up 1 x 4 wood and had Home Depot cut them down to size for us.

The process of actually building the shutters was pretty simple—we started out by creating a countersink in each crossbeam for the screw to go into the wood. Since we were building six shutters, we made 12 crossbeams in all.

Then we laid out three pre-cut boards evenly spaced with a 1/2″ gap in between each one, and put the crossbeam 8 3/4″ from the top and bottom. By the 4th one I was getting really good at guessing where 8 3/4″ was—I almost got it perfect by the end! :)

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Then we drilled the screw into the grove we had created in the crossbeam, making sure to put plenty of pressure on it. If you don’t, they’ll start spinning around and could give you a crazy thorn or something (I speak from experience!). Once all six screws are secured, double check that the edges of the boards are all flat. If you need to, you can use a skill saw to trim the ends until they are even.

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And that’s it! You’ve got a shutter. See? Easy! :)

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Next up: staining. Like I said, this was my first time using an aerosol stain so I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not. You guys. SO COOL. There are so many things I loved about this stain! I used the Thomposon’s WaterSeal Wood Stain in Traditional Brown. I love that I could spray at any angle—perfect to get in all the nooks and crannies of the shutters. I also appreciate the fact that it’s waterproofed and resistant to fading…because as much fun as making these shutters are, I want them to last for awhile! Plus…the color is just gorgeous.

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I did two coats of spraying, and wiped down with a cloth in between each time. Here’s how the shutter looked after the first coat:

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and the second:

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We were able to build and stain the shutters all within an afternoon. It really was much easier than I expected thankfully. Once they dried, it was time to hang them. Since we have brick we used a mortar drill bit and concrete anchors to install our shutters. But first..we had to remove the old iron shutters…finally!!

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Such an improvement! I love them so much! I love the natural wood grain that you can see through the warm brown color—so glad I we finally got around to this project!

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Just to refresh your memory, here’s a couple of before and after shots.

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We have plans to remove that iron beam on the left side of the house soon too..stay tuned for that one! But enough about me, let’s talk about YOU. Are you itching to build shutters of your own now, or do you have a wood project you want to try staining? My friends at Thompson’s were kind enough to offer to send one lucky reader a case of aerosol stain to try for yourself! Yay!!!! Entering is easy—just leave me a comment and let me know what you would use it for, and you’ll be entered into the drawing.

Note: giveaway is open to the Continental US. You must be 18+ to enter. Winner will be chosen at random and notified on or around September 16th. Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is selected.

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This project was completed in partnership with Thompson’s WaterSeal, but all opinions are my own. I only partner with companies that I trust and admire and feel fully confident recommending them to you. Thank you for supporting the companies like Thompson’s that help fund my diy-drive! :)