Category Archives: Before + After

Upstairs Progress With A Little Art History

G.O. has been a busy guy upstairs,

painting the walls white + the woodwork a neutral gray/beige (a.k.a. “greige”).

So far, the hallway has been transformed from drab . . . .



. . . to FAB!

woodwork of gray

We chose Pittsburgh Paint’s Delicate White for the walls

Ghost Writer for the woodwork + wainscoting.

pittsburgh paint ghost writer

Yes, all this talk of gray + white

means it’s time for us to go down memory lane again,

with me, with my perm, + my gray kitchen cabs, circa 1985!

kay with gray kitchen cabs

I loved it then, I love it now!


Please.  How stunning is our beautiful, original door hardware with the greige?



Very stunning, especially so, considering its amazing before + after!

The beautiful pattern of that hardware is called Art Nouveau,

which was an art + architectural style in fashion between 1890 + 1910.

That makes sense because we think our house was built in that era!

Look closely!  There are ferns!



New England Today

Art Nouveau was inspired by natural forms,

particularly the curves lines of plants + flowers.

Well-known examples of Art Nouveau include the Metro Stations in Paris:

art nouveau paris metro stop

Yet more Art Nouveau awesomeness, closer to home,

is the former Carson Pirie Scott store in Chicago,

designed by architect Louis Sullivan,

who was Frank Lloyd Wright’s mentor:

carson pirie scott store

Sullivan also designed my personal favorite,

The fabulous Wainwright Building in downtown St. Louis:

wainwright building

This concludes today’s Art history lecture.

Did you know that I used to be an Art teacher, in grades 7 – 12?

Meanwhile, back at the Dutch colonial,

G.O. continues to restore the beautiful original woodwork,

literally one piece at a time!


I’ll share more photos, soon — so stay tuned!


I Still Love Moody Gray

 Let’s take a break from gushing about touring 4 barn homes

in Country Living Magazine’s October issue.

Here are 2 of them, about which I recently blogged:

Kit Barn (read my post)


Modern Barn (read my post about it)


Instead, let’s discuss something about which I am obsessing lately.


My current design crush, Emily Henderson (that’s her), loves white walls.

emily henderson in bed

Remember?  She won HGTV’s Design Star when that was still on

emily henderson winning design star

I’ve been following her online for years.

To see why I’m such a fan,

look at this genius before + after in her own kitchen.


emily henderson kitchen before


emily henderson kitchen after


Here’s yet more white awesomeness from Emily:

white room emily henderson 2

I could go on posting yummy white rooms for days,

but you get my point.

It’s cool . . .

. . . + of course, now I’m yearning to repaint all our walls WHITE!

IN-cluding our beloved power room (??)

(which is now Flagstone by Pittsburgh Paints.)

I’ve been wanting white walls all summer,

+ then I spy this, in one of my favorite blogs, just the other day:

gray house staircase

O  M  i  G  o  s  h  !

There’s gray everything, even the ceiling!

And look how great all their design choices look with all that gray!

That lantern:

gray house staircase

The sisal carpeted staircase:


Here’s some more gray fabulousness from the same house:

gray house 2 rooms

Yet more:

gray house table with books

Hold on now.  Let’s study the genius styling in this little area,

because I have been studying it + now wish to copy it.**

**More on that soon.

Let’s break it down.

Natural wood tone table pops nicely against the dark wall

Antique mirror does the same thing:


Stack of books on the floor (note to self: one is askew!):

gray house table with books

Wire basket with mags on the floor


I have enough magazines to have about 80 baskets full of them,

scattered all over the house.

gray house table with books

Back to the vignette!

Art piece on the floor:


Bucket o’ logs on the floor (more wood popping with dark):


Wood item  (what is that?) leaning against the corner

Leaning stuff = love

gray house table with books

Including multiples of natural wood is a great example

of the repeat an element (at least) 3 times rule,

which of course, we all do.  Right?

Anyway, in conclusion, I’m asking:

Is one beautifully moody gray house enough

to distract me from Emily Henderson’s white awesomeness?

What do you think?



Plain Jane House Gets Its Makeover

We spent the weekend in my hometown in southern Illinois,

+ while there — as is my way — I perused the listings on

Do you do that, too?

Anyway, I was surprised that there were so many houses under $100 grand!

For example, this plain Jane (with lots of potential!) is only $49,900!

You can see more in the listing, here.

cape cod of greenville front exterior

Just yesterday on Facebook,

my cousin from my hometown posted the photo of a house

she was interested in buying, + guess which one it was!

Hard to believe, but yes — the plain Jane house!

cape cod of greenville front exterior

Say no more!

I was soon dashing over to Pinterest for some design inspiration to share,

+ here’s what I found, from the blog, Nesting With Grace.

It’s another plain Jane house, this one with a small porch.

(Some of my cousin’s Facebook friends suggested that ‘her house’ needed one!)

But something’s not quite right.

The wrought iron porch column + the stair railings

were all the rage, back in the 50’s + 60’s — but today, it looks dated + too thin.

It needs to be replaced with something more substantial,

  + on that note, here’s the stunning AFTER:

I know!  It’s like night + day, isn’t it?

It looks like they’ve replaced the wrought iron with white vinyl,

which is probably in stock at your local build-o-rama.

The light fixture’s been updated to something larger,

+ there’s a new mailbox + new house numbers.

Even though the porch is quite small,

there’s room for a sweet + welcoming French cafe chair.

The new front door has been painted a pretty shade of blue:

Now, pay close attention to this:

all the accessories — the chair + the flower pots —

echo the blue of the door + the white of the posts + railings.

For yet more color coordination, the shutters are painted the door blue,

+ the pair of white Adirondack chairs even have blue pillows.

There’s a lot going on,

but keeping everything in just one color family

makes the design cohesive + not too crazy or too busy.


The landscaping’s been updated with some classic boxwood shrubs

+ some pretty pink + red Knock-Out Roses, which bloom all season.

(Notice how the red is repeated in the red stripes of the U.S. flag.)

The new white window boxes add architectural detail,

+ their small evergreens (dwarf Alberta spruces?)

will provide winter interest when the roses go dormant.

Let’s have one more look at the $49 grand house in my home town:

cape cod of greenville front exterior

It’s easy to envision some of the blog house’s AFTER features here, isn’t it?

Remember — it, too, was once a plain Jane!

Now it’s time to share on Facebook!

Stay tuned for my cousin’s + friends’ reactions!





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