Office befores and afters, plus a video tour

I’m loving my newly decorated office so much. There has been sewing, crafting and working–it’s such a fun inspiring space. Even better, everything is still tidy and organized. I’ve been wanting to do a video tour for a little while, so I thought the office would be a good place to start.

Usually in my room makeovers I post a before and after. However, the office was such a blank slate that the before is pretty basic and blah. As well, I didn’t make any major changes so the layout–the window, the doors, the closet–are all the same. Comparing a before and after doesn’t seem very dramatic in my opinion.

Office before

Office after

However, there were befores and afters for some of the elements in the room, so I thought today I’d share some of those as well as the video.

The nook

The video tour gives you a good look at the weird little nook just inside the office doorway. This spot’s makeover started a few years ago when I removed the weirdly high shelving, built a little dresser and hung a bulletin board. What could have been a really awkward part of the office has become a really functional command centre.

Nook before

Office command centre

Little dresser

The search for furniture that fit the little nook was long and challenging. I wanted something tall, but it had to be narrow and not too deep. Plus, as usual, it had to be cheap. I ended up finding a pair of nightstands that fit the space perfectly. And when stacked on top of each other, they made a tall narrow dresser that holds everything from tools to notepads.

Two vintage night stands

Tall narrow dresser

Desk

I’m going waaaaay back in the archives for this before picture. This was what the office looked like when we first bought the farm. The green desk (along with a lot of trash) was left by the previous owners, and I drafted it into serving as my sewing desk. When it came time to makeover the office, it was more than time to makeover the desk too. With fresh white paint, rich dark stain on the top and sparkly hardware on the drawers, it’s become a bright, feminine piece of furniture.

Messy office with green desk

Sewing desk

China cabinet

The hardest working piece of furniture in the office is the china cabinet. It holds so much stuff while keeping it all nicely organized and allowing space for display.

Vintage china cabinet

China cabinet makeover

Slipper chair

The slipper chair was the most complex reupholstery project I’ve tackled. I love that I’ve been able to give this family heirloom a new life in our home.

Reupholstering a slipper chair

Slipper chair upholstered in Brissac Jewel by P Kaufmann Fabric

The office ended up taking awhile–five years since we moved to the farm. I tackled little projects here and there before finally diving into the big makeover at the start of this year. I’m so happy that everything has finally come together in one finished, functional and pretty space.

Basement TV area before and after

This reveal has been a loooooong time coming. The seventh post I ever wrote for this blog was “Basement reno begins” –that was more than five years ago. A few weeks after writing that post I shared a to-do list, the plans and then celebrated when we finished demo. Five years ago this week, we had fixed the wiring, reframed the exterior walls and received new spray foam insulation.

Now, I’m finally ready to share with you the TV area. You’ve seen snippets of this along the way, and we’ve been using this room for the past four and a half years. But there were a few missing elements that have finally come together, so I’m ready to show it off.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane first, shall we?

This is what we saw the first time we visited the house. A gross cluttered basement with a random dude sitting in a chair (just kidding, that’s our real estate agent taking a break with one of the books that was left behind). Please note the ceiling fixture that was installed as a wall sconce (there’s a matching one just out of the picture on the right) and the giant woodstove.

TV area before

Somehow, we saw past all of this and bought the place. After several trips to the dump, we ended up with a cleared, if not clean slate. This angle shows you the half wall leading into the laundry room (which we removed) and the doorway to Matt’s office (which we moved).

Basement before

On the other side of the room, we have the woodstove, the matching pair to the ceiling sconce and you can get a glimpse of the ceiling fan, which was recessed into the ceiling so that it didn’t decapitate anyone. In my caption on this photo originally, I wrote “Picture a large, comfy sectional couch where the woodstove is and a big TV on the wall opposite the staircase.”

The main room before

Uh-huh. It’s a good thing I had a clear vision. We needed something to get us through the next six plus months of work.

We started demo. Byebye half wall. Hello new doorway. Byebye exterior drywall. Why are you still there ceiling sconces?

Basement demo in progress

Then we reframed the walls so that they were deep enough for more insulation, removed the ceiling drywall so that we could fix bad wiring and finally got rid of those ceiling sconces. I’m still proud that I was able to replace the ceiling fan with a fifth potlight and put them all on the same switch. Me! I did that.

The partially gutted basement

We hauled the woodstove up the stairs with a rope tied to the back of my Dad’s truck, our mason patched the hole from the chimney, and we left a little message on the concrete.

Matt + Julia 2012

With spray foam insulation complete, we started to approach the putting it back together stage. What followed were six months of drywall. So much drywall.

Installing drywall in the basement

Then finally paint.

Trim and carpet. (The crush to get the trim installed before the carpet arrived was tight).

Painting trim

Our new couch arrived just before Christmas 2012, and the basement was habitable.

Decor-Rest sectional couch with chaise

We’ve made tweaks (obviously) since then. Want to see what it looks like now?

Basement TV area

I have another post coming up that goes into all of the details on the finished space. But until then, here are a couple more before and afters for you.

Basement before

Basement TV area after

The main room before

Basement TV area after

This is by far our most significant renovation. I love that we saw the potential of the space, stuck with it through all of the hard work and created a hangout area that works perfectly for us. The fact that we did almost all of it by ourselves makes me very proud.

Basement bathroom before & after

This post has been a long time coming. Loooooooong.

I first posted befores of the basement bathroom on April 12, 2012. We had owned the farm for a month.

We have now owned the farm for 56 months. That’s four years and eight months.

And we’ve finally finished the bathroom.

It’s been pretty much done for most of those 56 months. Matt’s been using it quite happily.

However, I had three pieces of trim to install, one cabinet door to rehang and I still hadn’t found the perfect shower curtain. Those niggly finishing details that dog you for four years. Ugh.

The perfect shower curtain was found this summer when Jen at Rambling Renovators posted her mood board for a modern farmhouse bathroom. That was the impetus to finally finish the rest of the bathroom.

Are you ready for our most dramatic before and after yet?

Who am I kidding? This isn’t the most dramatic before and after yet. This is the most dramatic before and after we’re going to have at the farm.

Before:

Basement bathroom before

After:

Black and white bathroom

We called this the psycho shower.

Shower in our basement bathroom

It was tiny, orange, and for some reason built up on a platform. Everything was just all around gross.

Psycho shower on a platform

But no more. This is definitely not a psycho shower.

White subway tile shower with a marble seat

 

Gross was also the theme for the sink and vanity.

Decent sink, but ugly faucets and some spray issues

But with a good cleaning and a new faucet, they were redeemed.

Small bathroom sink and vanity

Above the sink we started with a small mirror, an off centre light and a random vent. If I’m recalling correctly, I think the vent was an access panel for either plumbing or electrical. It was not actually acting as a vent.

Off-centre light

After reframing and reinsulating the whole exterior wall, we held our breath and hung a huge mirror. The light fixture, which is centred over the vanity, sits on top of the mirror.

Small black and white bathroom

 

Along the way we fixed our exhaust fan issues, including evicting the snake my Dad discovered in the vent.

Broken exhaust fan

Disposed of the old toilet including its cushy illustrated toilet seat.

Cushy toilet seat

And added all kinds of storage by bumping out a small shelving area.

Built in shelving in a small bathroom
Aside from the bumpout, we kept the layout the same. But what a change.

Looking back at those before pictures I can’t believe we bought this house.

I’m so proud of what we were able to do with this bathroom, though. This was a huge DIY for us, and really pushed us–tiling that shower was a daunting task that still has me questioning whether I ever will tile again.

The design was a stretch for me too. Four years ago, dark colours weren’t as popular as they are now. Taking the plunge to paint a small windowless room black was a bit daunting. I love the black and white design so much and how it and all of the other little touches came together.

I’ll be back soon to share all of the details on this little bathroom.

Is there anything you’d like to know more about? Feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to answer it in the next post.

Country style guest room before and after

The day is finally here. You’ve seen sneak peaks already, but today you see the whole thing–the brand new guest room.

Let’s start with the before. Going way back into the archives, here’s what the room looked like on day 1 when the farm became ours. A herd of dust bunnies all over the floor and dirty valances on the windows.

Guest room before

Look closer at the windows and you’ll see the extent of the decorating in this space–sparkly butterfly stickers. Unfortunately, no more my style than the curtains.

Stickers on the window in the guest room

We cleaned up the dust bunnies, removed the valances, kept the stickers and called this our master bedroom for our first three years. When we moved our master bedroom across the hall, this became a guest bedroom. But it wasn’t the most welcoming space.

Guestroom before

I found this photo for my inspiration.

And I came up with a pretty simple to-do list:

  • Scrape the stippled ceiling
  • Paint the ceiling, walls and trim
  • Replace the light fixture
  • Make window treatments
  • Refinish the desk chair
  • Strip the paint off the metal bedframe (and maybe repaint)
  • Decorate and personalize

Ready to see where we ended up?

Robin's egg blue country guest room

Robin's egg blue country guest room

Robin's egg blue country guest room

Robin's egg blue country guest room

Robin's egg blue country guest room

What do you think? Want to come for a visit? I confess, I’m in love with the way this turned out.

Next week I’ll share the details of what’s in the room. Hint, the sparkly stickers didn’t make it.

One Room Challenge Week 6 – Master bedroom reveal

Cross the master bedroom makeover off my Home Goals 2015 list. Thanks to the One Room Challenge, this room is D-O-N-E.

Want to catch up on how we got here? Here are all of the previous posts:

It was hard for me to stay motivated in this makeover. The ORC was the push I needed to finally finish it off. I have to admit that I’m glad the room is done. Even better, I’m glad that it’s pretty… if I do say so myself.

Navy blue and white master bedroom

I think you’ll agree it’s definitely more stylish than where we started.

Master bedroom before and after

The best descriptors for this makeover are three words: simple, DIY and personal.

Simple

We kept things simple by working with what we already had.

First up was fresh paint for everything: ceiling, walls, trim, the door and even the old garage sale dresser we bought when we moved into our first house. After going round and round on paint colour, I love the deep navy blue I chose for the walls (Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore).

White dresser with aged brass hardware

Paint took care of most of the transformation, but it only went so far.

For those that have been following along, you know the finish on the sliding closet doors was in pretty rough shape. I didn’t want to replace the doors though (remember, we were working with what we had), so I tried wallpaper for the first time. With a bit of help from my parents and two rolls of beadboard wallpaper, we added a nice country touch to the bedroom.

Navy and white master bedroom

Where we didn’t go country was the lighting. Matt’s reaction when he first saw the chandelier was one word: “Liberace.”

Hello, sparkles.

Brass and crystal chandelier

Even with this light, we were still able to work with what we had (although not that awful ceiling fan, thank goodness) thanks to one of my co-workers. She invited me over to see her new (to her) house, and as we were eating dinner in the dining room she mentioned that they were going to replace the lighting. I said, “I’ll take it!” (Yes, I’m that dinner guest).

I wasn’t sure where I was going to use such a sparkly, brassy, glassy, shiny chandelier–we do live on a farm, after all–but it’s a perfect fit for this bedroom. Navy, brass, sparkle, white, wood… yes, please.

I love this view when I’m lying in bed. Also lovely is the smooth unstippled ceiling above it.

Brass and crystal chandelier

Which brings us to the DIY stage of this makeover (not that painting and lighting aren’t DIY).

DIY

Scraping the stipple ceiling was definitely the most involved DIY in this room. The other DIYs were much easier, but, given my lack of motivation throughout this makeover, tedious.

Well, not completely tedious. I knocked out a couple of hookboards really quickly. Having lots of hooks behind the door helps to corral the piles of clothes that appear so regularly in our bedroom. And if I’m being honest, these hooks are usually smothered in pyjamas and dog-walking clothes, not a pretty scarf and handbag–although Matt’s baseball cap is genuine.

Brass and white hookboards

The headboard was a difficult DIY just because I couldn’t decide what to do. Should it be upholstered? Painted? Curved? Square? It couldn’t stick up too high because it was going in front of the window. I didn’t want to spend too much money because some day post-whole house reno I hope to have a new master bedroom where I can build the wing chair style headboard of my dreams.

I finally decided on a simple wood headboard in an interesting shape. A leftover sheet of plywood and some careful cutting with my jigsaw fulfilled my vision.

After mixing a few cans of stain together, I was able to get a finish that’s a pretty close match to the nightstands from Matt’s childhood bedroom–although I had a really hard time photographing the headboard in front of the window, so I realize it’s kind of hard to tell.

I love the accents of the warm wood against the deep blue and bright white.

Navy, wood and white master bedroom

The other DIYs in this room involved a less typical power tool–my sewing machine. Although the fabric I sewed is a DIY staple–canvas drop cloths. I love the weight and the colour of these drop cloths. I used them for both the curtains and the bedskirt, and I will definitely be using them in future projects.

The window treatments will get their own post soon. They’re super simple, yet we have everything we could ever want: blackout blinds, bamboo blinds for style and full length pinch-pleated curtains–style and function

Navy and white master bedroom

Personal

The final guiding principle of this makeover–of my overall decorating philosophy–is to make it personal.

First up is the quilt on the bed. The quilt is from Walmart, but its patchwork pattern is special to me.

My grandmother was a quilter, so I’ve been exposed to this intricate handcraft my whole life. The double wedding ring pattern has been my favourite for years. I love the symbolism of having this pattern on Matt’s and my bed.

I admit, I wasn’t sure about the patterned quilt as this makeover progressed. So many rooms I see online are all about white or neutral bedding. I think that the quilt works in the room though, and it’s a lesson for me to use what I love, not what’s trendy or stylish.

Blue and white master bedroom

The other really personal element is the art that I chose.

The two pictures on either side of the bed are beautiful Audubon posters. On my side is a Great Blue Heron, an elusive bird that visits the pond occasionally. It’s always really special when I catch a glimpse of one. On Matt’s side is his favourite bird to see at the farm, the wild turkey.

Audubon prints

The final art can’t get much more personal, a family tree. I made each of my sisters a family tree like this when they got married with their wedding date in the middle circle. Now Matt and I have one of our own. (If you want one of your own, Martha–who else?–has a free template).

Fan family tree

So simple + DIY + personal. Plus six weeks (okay, a little bit more). Plus a whole lot of motivation from all of you reading along and all of the other participants in the One Room Challenge. Equals one beautiful master bedroom. Thanks so much for following along.

Visit Calling it Home to check out all of the other amazing reveals.

Laundry room before and after

It’s time for the reveal in the One Room Challenge. Back in September, I was really excited to start making over the laundry room. At the beginning of October, I was really excited when I joined the One Room Challenge to help keep me on track. Today, you’re going to see how far the laundry room has come. (And, yes, I’m still really excited).

Laundry room before and after

Laundry room before and after

This makeover was all about simple upgrades.

I converted the cabinets to a shaker style by adding strips around the border. A black and white paint scheme freshened them the rest of the way. We’re still missing the hardware on our cabinets. They’re special orders and are taking their time coming in. So just imagine sparkly chrome knobs and cup pulls, would you? (I’ll post an update when the hardware finally arrives).

Black and white shaker cabinets in the laundry room

Fresh paint on the walls, ceiling and trim–and fresh baseboard all the way around–brought the laundry room up to the same standard as the rest of the basement.

Then it was on to a few fun projects.

A light fixture made out of clothespins.

Clothespins light fixture

Look at the great pattern it makes on the ceiling when it’s all lit up.

Clothespin light fixture

To keep the wood tone accents going, I added a few baskets to the top of the free-standing cabinet Matt and I found a few months ago. I also made a simple hook board to hang the ironing board on the side.

Ironing board hanger

To save electricity, we hang dry most of our laundry. (Yes, we’re just that green… and cheap). Only sheets, towels and dog beds get the privilege of the dryer. The white metal drying rack is a key feature of the laundry room. I made an additional hanging rack out of pipe fittings to help with the drying.

Hanging rack made out of pipe fittings

I also made a small towel bar out of some more pipe fittings.

towelbar1

The picture above also gives you a glimpse of one of the main decorations in the laundry room. When it came to art, it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to put on the walls. Then I found this little enamel pot at Value Village.

Laundry room decorations

It holds packets of washing machine cleaner, and it also reminded me that I had a small collection of enamel basins. My sisters, brother and I played with these dishes all the time at my grandparents’ cottage. When my grandmother sold the cottage, the basins were going to be thrown out. I was feeling sentimental, so I took them, although I wasn’t sure when I’d ever use them. Well, it turns out they work perfectly as decorations in the laundry room. They may have crossed over from rustic to rusty, but I still think they add a nice touch.

Enamelware basins

Hanging the basins facing out took a couple of tricks. First I needed a really long nail. I found some 5-inch spikes. The nails were too big to drive with just a hammer, so I drilled a pilot hole into the studs before I hammered in my nails. Once I hooked the basins on the nails, it turned out that their centres of gravity were a bit crooked. Some adhesive strips on the back stuck them to the wall and straightened them right up. For the rectangle basin, a couple of L brackets made a discreet and secure shelf.

Tricks to hang basins on a wall

The other item decorating the wall is also both sentimental and non-traditional art. These are the sleepers that newborn Matt wore when he came home from the hospital the first time. (I know, awwwwwwww). His Mom gave them to us years ago. Again, I had no idea what I was going to do with them. Then I realized that the red and navy stripes picked up some of the colours I was using elsewhere in the laundry room. I’ll likely end up building a proper shadow box for them, but the mini hanger works for now.

Matt's baby sleepers

On the counter under the window, I have a few appropriately laundry decorations: an old washboard from my parents and a small red toy iron that my Mom had when she was a little girl.

Laundry room accessories

It may have been a simple makeover, but the results feel dramatic to me. It’s a pretty, personal, fun and functional space.

Laundry room after

Thanks to Linda at Calling it Home for organizing the One Room Challenge. I’ve now crossed another room off my Home Goals 2014 list. Thanks to all of you reading along for all of your support and encouragement throughout. Be sure to pop by Calling it Home to see all the other rooms.

How many people dream of a pretty laundry room? Does anyone else collect enamel ware? Have you ever made anything out of clothespins or pipe fittings? Who else air dries their clothes? What’s the most unusual thing you’ve hung on a wall?

Linking to: Happy Housie Get Your DIY On: Wall Decor

Office nook before and after

My office is a room of many issues, but there’s one corner that gets the award for most-improved.

Office nook

It’s a wee tiny alcove just inside the door. The space measures 16 inches deep by 24 inches wide. When we moved in, and for the first year and a half of living here, this space was fitted with some ridiculous built in shelving. The fact that it started at about five feet in the air and went up to the ceiling made it basically unusable.

Nook before

Not that you’d want to use it anyway. It was filthy.

Can I just ask why things in this house have to be both weird and gross? I mean, shelving that’s over your head out of reach isn’t enough? It also has to be disgusting?

Dirty white melamine shelving

One night, I snapped and decided that the shelving had to come down. Of course, it turned out it wasn’t that simple. The shelving had been installed all in one piece before the door casing was put on, and even once I unscrewed it from the wall, it wasn’t going anywhere. Smushing the shelving into a parallelogram allowed me to slide it past the casing and get it out of the nook. Then a set of Allen keys allowed me to take it apart into its composite melamine pieces. There were a few dings in the wall, but otherwise it was a victory. The nook was empty.

Painting the office will happen all at once sometime in the future. So for now I wasn’t worried about patching the drywall or dealing with the two tone paint that removing the shelf had uncovered. I did want to make the space more functional, though, and I didn’t want to wait.

The office is right off the kitchen, so I decided that this was a perfect spot to build a bit of a command centre. A place for the grocery list, a calendar, important numbers, even a spot to put my purse and keys when I come home at the end of the day.

I needed some storage, some display and lots of organization. Here’s what I came up with.

Pretty home command centre

It may be a weird tiny space, but I’ve packed a lot of function into this little corner. In the next post, I’ll share the details of exactly what went into my organized nook.

Has anyone else transformed a very small area? Do you have a command centre at your house? What are your tips for dealing with a small space?

February goals wrap up report (and a reveal)

It’s the last day of February and time for the final report on how we did on our goal for the month of painting the main floor hallway, foyer and kitchen.

Want a sneak peak?

Hallway painted Benjamin Moore Abalone

Yup. We have light fixtures, art and fresh paint. Hallelujah.

Just for a reminder, here’s a look back at how this project unfolded over the month:

Progression of painting our hallway

Heading into last weekend, the final task on our list was installing light fixtures. I chose school-house type fixtures from Home Depot (a complete source list is below). There were lots of options through their web site, and these were about the cheapest. I love how the dark oil-rubbed bronze contrasts with the light coloured walls, our pristine white ceilings and echoes the dark tones of our picture frames.

 World Imports Luray Collection Oil Rubbed Bronze 1-Light Semi Flush mount

The light fixtures came in both a semi-flush mount, which I used in the hall, and in a pendant, which I used over the island. I love these lights and have wanted to use them for awhile. They have so much more personality than the boob lights that were there before, and I think they work very well with our casual country setting.

 World Imports Luray Collection Oil Rubbed Bronze 1-Light Pendant World Imports Luray Collection Oil Rubbed Bronze 1-Light Pendant

The final task on our to-do list was also where we fell off schedule a little bit. If I zoom out a little bit you’ll see that we’re still missing one light fixture in the foyer. I’m DIYing this one and need just a bit more time to pull it together. This angle also gives you a glimpse of the kitchen, hallway and foyer all together.

Hallway painted Benjamin Moore Abalone

This one miss aside, I’m declaring February’s project a success.

For us, a month was a realistic timeline to completely transform these spaces. My schedule worked really well to keep us on track. I kept a rough tally and for just the painting, we spent about 25 hours. We worked steadily but didn’t stress ourselves out trying to get it all done too quickly. I’ll definitely be mapping out monthly goals again.

The main floor feels fresh and new. Having Matt’s grandpa’s paintings on the walls really makes the space feel like ours. I’ve fallen even more in love with my house.

Anyone else go through a transformation this month? What did you accomplish in February?

Source list:
Wall paint: Abalone from Benjamin Moore (75% intensity)
Trim paint: Cloud White from Benjamin Moore
Light fixtures: Luray Collection Oil Rubbed Bronze 1-Light Semi Flush mount (this one doesn’t seem to be available online anymore) and Luray Collection 1-Light 34-5/8 in. Hanging Oil-Rubbed Bronze Pendant both by World Imports through the Home Depot
Paintings: Family heirlooms painted by Matt’s grandfather

Reading nook before and after

While our basement is mainly about the TV and bringing together groups of people, there is a cozy little corner that I’ve set aside for more quiet, solitary pursuits.

Colourful reading nook featuring Ikea Strandmon wing chair

This little nook is perfect for reading or knitting or sewing… or blogging. It’s bright and colourful and fun and comfortable. But it wasn’t always this way.

Here’s a photo of where we started when we first took possession of the house.

Reading nook before

Ah, the memories. Ah, the mess.

Most of what was here went to the dump in our day one clean out. Then the window wall was opened and reinsulated with spray foam. The adjacent wall, which backs onto the bathroom, was also opened and moldy drywall was removed. The ceiling was opened so that we could deal with electrical issues, which made it easy to install an outlet, switch, overhead light and patch the hole from an old plumbing leak (did you notice the lovely hole in the ceiling?) Everything was redrywalled, patched and painted. The old stained carpet was pulled up, the floor was leveled and plush new carpet went down.

Cutting in for the first coat of paint

My initial plan was to put the games table in this corner, but as we moved along in the renovation, the space seemed a little tight for the table. Plus, I decided that having a secondary seating area slightly removed from the main TV area appealed to me. Now that it’s done, I could not be more pleased with how everything turned out.

The details of how I finished the space–all of the comfortable furnishings and the fun decorating–are coming up next. But first, one more after picture.

Colourful reading nook with a stump table and Ikea Strandmon

Ahhhhh. So much better.

Do you have a favourite nook at your house?

Mudroom reveal

This post has been a long time coming, and I’m not meaning just this week. Fixing up the mudroom was on the fall to do list last year. I started the project but never quite finished it. However, I am now declaring the mudroom done, and today is the day for the reveal–the first room reveal on the blog.

Aren’t you just so excited?

I know I am!

Just a reminder, here’s where we started.

Mudroom before

And here’s where we are today.

Simple bright country mudroom

Better?

As I said at the beginning of the week, this was a cheap and cheerful update, so paint was the most important weapon in my arsenal. I took down the hooks on the walls and the old shelving in the closet, stripped the pinwheel wallpaper, patched the drywall and spread nice fresh paint over all of the walls–simple white primer in the closet, Wythe Blue on the walls and Cloud White on the trim.

Painting the trim was the biggest delay on this project. I just could not motivate myself to do it, so the mudroom sat with blue walls and flesh trim all through the winter and spring. However, when we were trying to convince Baxter to spend time in the outdoor dog run, the mudroom proved to be a good place to hang out. I could listen for barking or whining to assess how he was doing, and I could see when he escaped… all while painting trim.

Along with addressing form, I also had to address function, which mostly meant the closet. I decided to split the closet in half, allocating one part for hanging some of our outdoor gear and storing taller items and at the other end adding floor to ceiling shelves for everything from shoes to cat treats to dog toys to work gloves to sport equipment.

Closet storage

I reused the two sets of hooks from the old mudroom, installing the wire one in the cupboard and removing the three wrought iron hooks from their backing board and hanging them vertically to handle leashes, the towel we use to wipe Baxter’s feet before he comes in the house and our ever-so-handy shoe horn.

This ridiculous woman made me climb up on this bench when everyone knows dogs are not allowed on the furniture. I'll just stare at my leash and think happy thoughts until she's finished with that clicky thing. #pleasesendhelp

This ridiculous woman made me climb up on this bench when everyone knows dogs are not allowed on the furniture. I’ll just stare at my leash and think happy thoughts until she’s finished with that clicky thing. #pleasesendhelp

The bench that Baxter’s not so fond of is just about my favourite part of the makeover. It’s just a simple rustic bench, but it gives us a place to sit down and put on or our take off our shoes. Plus our most frequently worn shoes and boots tuck conveniently onto trays underneath. My Pinterest challenge umbrella stand hangs out in one corner and in the opposite a galvanized metal pail (Knodd from Ikea) holds bird seed. A large cocoa fibre mat covers the floor to trap dirt, leaves and puddles.

Mudroom

This is about the limit of the accessorizing I’ve done in the mudroom, unless you count rotating display of feathers, pebbles, egg shells and nests that I bring home and arrange on the window sill.

Birds nest made of grass

The mudroom is not heated, so we’re strategic about what we store out here. For example, on a freezing winter morning I can handle putting on chilly boots, but I absolutely need a warm coat. So coats live in the closet inside the house, and boots live on the tray under the bench.

The best thing about this makeover is that everything now has a place. Need a pair of safety glasses? I know exactly where they are. Hungry cats at the door? Oh look, here are some treats for them. Found a golf ball? Add it to Matt’s stash.

The second best thing about the makeover is that the first impression of our house is no longer cloaked in the smell of manure. For some reason, that’s what the mudroom smelled like when we first took possession. Yuck.

And yes, I do consider being organized more important than being not smelly.

In the category of “even better if,” I didn’t do anything to the popcorn ceiling, the boob light, or the unpainted front doors, so there could still be some work if I feel like it. For now, I don’t, and I’m not really too concerned with these leftovers.

The one thing that I really should fix is the doorbell. I managed to kill it during the makeover when I was trimming a section of drywall to prepare it for patching. (Don’t tell Matt. All he knows is the bell stopped working. He doesn’t know it’s because I accidentally cut through the wires). A wireless version would be a good fix… and prevent any future mishaps.

Overall, I’m thrilled with the mudroom, even though it doesn’t yet match my ultimate vision. This is a good interim solution. It looks nice. It works well. It was a simple update, and we didn’t have to spend a lot of money. Let’s look at it one more time, shall we?

Simple bright country mudroom

I may be a year later than planned in finishing this project, but we are finally all set for whatever mud or snow Mother Nature throws at us this winter. And I’m even more thrilled to cross one room off my to-do list.

So, what do you think of the makeover? I know a lot of people were voting for opening up the closet and putting in some built-ins. Are you on board with my interim solution? How are you getting ready for winter at your house? Who hates painting trim? Has anyone else spent a full year making over one room?