Kitchen Before & Afters

I haven’t yet shared the stories of my house. The story of how we got our house will definitely require its own post. Suffice it to say, it was a house that needed some major TLC. Neglected for many many years, and remodeled with some bad contractors and 1970s style, this 1935 house was in desperate need of help. Four years later, we are still working away at it. At over 4300 square feet, it has a lot of nooks and crannies to work on, both inside and out. I will show more before pictures of other rooms another time so you will understand how bad it really was.

I haven’t spent many dollars or hours on furnishing or decorating like many of you have, but I have spent COUNTLESS hours designing a kitchen remodel (trying to make the best of what we had without gutting the whole thing), ripping out dirty dusty smoky wallpaper in many rooms, painting, patching, sanding, disguising problems, refinishing floors, and replacing things like windows and faucets and that sort of thing. When you buy a true fixer upper, things like getting the rat droppings out of your kitchen and having working appliances installed are really big deals. You look forward to “someday” when you have time to think about decorating and furnishing!

Today, I will show the before & afters of the kitchen. I’ve shown a few of these afters before. I apologize for the horrible before pictures. Not only the hideous state of the kitchen, but the bad photos! My computer crashed a couple of years back and I lost the original photos. All I have is this! But, you can get the general idea. It was BAD all the way around!

Here is a sheet of before pictures. Not every angle but enough to show you!

The after pictures are in the same order as the before so you can kind of follow along:

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Here are a few more shots of the kitchen, for those of you who enjoy more details and so you can see some things the above pictures miss:

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Well, there you have it, my kitchen before and afters! I’d say it took a good two years to do. Between the design which I did myself and having the work done (and in some parts, doing the work ourselves), it was a major project. Doing a new kitchen would’ve been a snap by comparison, working around existing features requires careful thought and planning in order to save money! We had one ugly kitchen and now the room actually feels like it belongs in my house and not in the 1970s.

Visual Serenity Now!

Do you find yourself chanting this mantra several times a day: “serenity now, serenity now”! Then you need to think about this next statement. As important as it is to make visual statements in your home, the ta da! moments we all seem to strive for, it is also very important to create places of calm to counteract the chaos of life. The more you have going on in your life, the more this will resonate with you. Having a home that reflects serenity can truly give you a sense of peace.

The best way to create serenity for your eyes is to clear the clutter and visual chaos. When your home is filled with stuff, be it clutter, piles of papers, dirty dishes, projects, or even too many accessories or an abundance of furnishings, your eye has no where to rest. You want to allow breathing room for your own sanity! Most of us could do with about half as much stuff in our house and things would feel a lot calmer.

If you struggle with a lack of routine, disorder, or just general chaos in your life, I highly recommend the as a great online resource. I first stumbled upon her site about 6 or 7 years ago and she was a lifesaver for me! I was not good at routines and easily felt overwhelmed with a new baby and two other children to care for while working from my teeny tiny home. I could not figure out how to do it all, but Fly Lady came to the rescue. Her methods will really help you to focus each day on your routines to combat chaos.

In your decor, you can do a number of things to create a more visually serene environment. Including getting rid of excess stuff, some people just feel better in their home with more soft and soothing color palettes. It is amazing what a difference a color scheme can make in how a room feels, so be sure to consider this if you are a highly stressed person. If you just want to feel at peace, with nothing jarring your eyes, soft colors and faded or muted fabrics will make your home the oasis you are looking for.

Even if you like a more lively happy color scheme, you can still find a sense of calm in your home. Give yourself permission to enjoy peace & quiet every day! If you take care of yourself you will be better equipped to face the day’s challenges. Create a small corner where you can think (preferably in a locked room if you have children!). See my post from last week on my Sweet Escape. Put in a comfy chair, soft lighting, a candle, and have your favorite books or magazines at the ready for some quiet time.

Buy a special pillow that you just adore and set it on the chair. Just seeing your Sweet Escape waiting there for you will lower your heart rate, I promise.

Some people find their bathrooms are their calm destination during the storms of life. Creating a spa-like environment to shower, bathe, or pamper yourself as you get ready each day or evening can make a real difference in your attitude! I love having a luxurious faucet, a big bowl of yummy soaps, and fluffy towels.

Just a side note on using your bathroom as an oasis: if you are a mom, make sure you have a way to play music in the bathroom. I am telling you, kids will find you even if you are locked away in the bathroom. Turn your soothing music up a bit and blast it away from you and out the door so it drowns out the sounds of the family. Either than or put your earphones in! Let children and husbands know you will not be able to hear them, so unless it is a life-threatening emergency (i.e. someone is unconscious) you will talk to them later! More on using music in your home when we get to the “sound” part of our series…

You deserve to see things in your home that just really say to you “Life is OK, I love my life, I can handle it” or whatever you need to have peace. If your house is in a jumble or things are just not visually working for you, you are going to feel stressed. And who needs added stress? Do yourself a favor and clear out your visual clutter and replace it with visual serenity.

Now I can let you in on a little secret. Well, on second thought, I will save it for another post. I am SO EXCITED about it I can hardly wait to talk about it! But, it is so fun and so exciting it deserves its very own post. Just you wait, it is a very exciting thought, you’ll see! And no, I am not going to Hawaii. Darn! I wish! It has to do with serenity in our homes, so I think it will blend in quite well to our discussions on the senses. So, sorry to keep you in suspense, but stick around and you’ll be the first to find out!

all photos and products from a most lovely online shop: