A work in progress:  We purchased our home in 2007, an old farmhouse built in 1927. We have DIY projects to last us a life time. We're enjoying making this old house our dream home. This is our journey. I edit this post as we complete projects.

We're working on the kitchen!
Cabinets are painted, (Painting Kitchen Cabinets Tutorial) countertops are in but I'm so eager to see more progress!  
When we moved in...

In progress... (is it me or does the kitchen look bigger with more cabinets now?)

Now (still working on stove backsplash and DIY kitchen island)...

Countertops are Virginia Jet Mist granite. Dark charcoal grey with random white veining. The closest we could find to soapstone but with less maintenance. 

Marble subway tiles...so pretty!

Walls are painted and now deciding color scheme and decorative accents!

Isn't it pretty?  It's perfect for showing off some reclaimed barnwood going in the room and our new distressed medium-tone bamboo floors. 


AFTER (Yes...small pantry closet is gone! So is the vinyl flooring!)

Deciding on color scheme...
A few more updates, a little closer to the final reveal!

Waterstone Towson Faucets and zero radius sink

Spice loft, sliding ladder and antique chicken feeder turned cook book library.

New Antiqued Fossilized Java (distressed/wide plank) bamboo flooring!

 Built in shelving to go here (cart/etc. is temporary):

We found this beautiful huge piece at a junk/antique store. Perfect fit!


Before - when we bought the house:
New Wide Door Trim and French Doors

Clock Door, Spice Loft, Cook Book Library 

Once we have enough saved, there will be a stand alone refrigerator and freezer here:

My Mudroom/Back Entry Way:
Niski welcomes you to our home. 
Mudroom & entryway to the back yard before we bought the house with single door and blue carpeting.

Installation of French doors:

New slate tile floor:
Alphabet Chair accent (click HERE for DIY instructions):
*My chair was featured in Better Homes & Gardens 100 Decorating Ideas Under $100*

Key keeper for those who LOSE everything!. (click HERE for DIY instructions):
We decided to repurpose this mirror that was hanging over the fireplace when we purchased our home (picture of living room before we bought the house). Remove very carefully. Luckily ours was only held in place by brackets. No glue.
We glued the mirror to a piece of plywood that was cut bigger than the mirror (to create a border). We used Gorilla Glue and Locktite. The Gorilla Glue did dissolve some of the paint/finish on the back of the mirror - we don't mind. It add a little character and is barely noticeable. We then applied weights (after laying towels on the mirror) and let it dry for a week. Once we knew it was dry, we screwed the mirror (the plywood border) into the studs in the wall (this sucker is heavy).
Mr. DIY did a great job framing the mirror (trim from Lowe's) and I stained the wood (Polyshades by Minwax) to match the cherry console and apothecary chest (JCP). He used finishing nails to attach the frame after the mirror was hung. I love how it turned out!

I purchased a vinyl monogram from etsy seller singlestonestudios and applied it directly to the mirror after marking the center of the mirror with an eyeliner pencil and determining the center of the monogram. There are a few bubbles to work out. It's a little tedious but, use a razor blade to get the stubborn bubbles by scoring a tiny invisible line and smoothing.

Ta-da, here are photos of the completed area. I love the atmosphere for arriving guests. This room always changes. Have I mentioned my decorating ADD?

Ready for summer:

Then it looked like this for a while:

Then this until guest room was ready for wingbacks...

Now (with more plans for another change)...

Back of the House Gets a Transformation:
Finally! I can share the transformation of the back of our home! Here is our progress in pictures...  Our home when we bought it.
Hard to see from the distance, there were two single doors with awnings. Ugly. But I could see potential which is a good thing most of the time, except that "potential" doesn't happen over night! Right away, we installed two sets of French doors. I love them! It changes the entire look of the back of our house. However, the old sidewalks didn't line up and we lived with it for 2 years.
And take a look at the old light fixtures. Yuck!
So...this spring, we decided to put in a concrete patio. However - the concrete part wasn't DIY. It was way too big of an area and required professionals.
See that progress here. We got some new furniture (the table/chairs go under the grape arbor when it's completed). Mr. DIY changed out the lights for me to give it an updated fresh look.

Edited to add: Here's the link to my DIY candle jars! :)

We also hung window boxes to help disguise the upstairs windows to help pull the main level and upper level together.

Again - before:


2011 updates:

You can't see the window boxes well in the pictures...but here is what they looked like before they were hung:
Okay - I'm getting a little camera-happy...but I just can't believe the change in the back of our home. This is where everyone enters our house, so no more being embarrassed or giving "please watch your step" reminders!

All that's left to do is fix the siding below were the old concrete ramp/sidewalk met the old single doors and plant grass!

What do you think? We are SO happy it's just about done. It's going to be a great area for entertaining! Being The DIY Show Off Feature is so much fun - it feels so good to show the world our hard work, doesn't it?

My House Number Flower Pots were featured in Better Homes & Gardens 100 Decorating Ideas for Under $100!

Barn Patio Before & After
I'm so excited to share my barn before/after pictures. This space was completely un-usable, except to store/throw junk. Now it's a functional clean party space hidden from the rest of the house and road. I'm still working on some additional DIY touches, but in the meantime, I think you'll agree that the transformation is a HUGE improvement.
To keep costs low since this area is only used for occasional entertaining, we re-used a lot of the things we discovered in the barn already (and more DIY coming). We also obtained a few things from estate sales.

Before (left side):
The "barn red" paint was faded to a really ugly pink. The 'floor' was dirt with broken bricks/pavers. There were LOTS of spiders.
We took out the crumbling brick and concrete pavers that formed a broken floor on top of dirt, some broken glass and weeds. We added paneled siding to the back wall and painted (thanks to Butch for his help!). We poured a concrete patio (professionals did that part since it was a large area).

My husband framed the door and the wreath was on clearance at Joann Fabrics for $8.

I've had these old looking milk bottles for years ... in the basement/storage.
I also have special plans for the short table (hope to finish it this week).

I love it. I changed my mind - it's not all about entertaining. This is a great spot to relax! The wicker furniture was picked up at an estate sale. Isn't the footstool the cutest? I didn't even bother with repainting it. I loved it the light faded blue that it is. I did give the wicker chairs a coat of white spray paint to freshen them up.

I sewed cushion covers with fabric I bought at Goodwill. (I'll spare you the nasty before picture.)

We found the old Coca Cola sign in the barn.

I made a table from a crate and old window we also found in the barn.

The other accents we got at estate sales (the book and gauge). The blue canning jar I confiscated from my brother. The bird house was hanging on the old grape arbor.

The only thing new is the birdie cloche I got at TJ Maxx a few months ago (how perfect for a barn!) and the white lantern (above).

I also ran out of time for replacing the hanging light bulb fixtures since I'm so indecisive. Since we have a BBQ coming up, my quick temporary solution was the paper lanterns (less than $2 on sale at Michaels). I already had the area rug too.

I did make a chalkboard from one of the old windows. It's not hung up yet, but here it is:

The tables looked liked this before. The first one was actually nailed to the back wall.

Tables/etc. now:

Now, with new legs and paint and a "found" bench...they're perfect for picnics, cookouts and to use as a buffet table.
Here is the transformation one more time:

New Back Wall

New Concrete Patio

Russ tries out the paint sprayer

And now....

I do have a huge wall to decorate yet too and I'll share details as they happen.
Edited to add:
Remember this?
It's the mantel I found in the loft of the barn. I'm pretty sure it's original to the house. (Since moved to the dining room.)
It was filthy-dusty. The paint job also looks like it's 80-years-old. For now it just got a major scrubbing and I think I like the finish. Very rough old paint. I think it'll go here. What do you think?

Main Bathroom Transformation:
Featured in THIS OLD HOUSE MARCH 2011

There's even a photo of our precious little Niski and it fills our hearts with joy even more.  
(click photos to enlarge)

Here is the estimated cost breakdown for my bathroom makeover:

Ceiling paint, primer and trim & door paint - free (we already had this from previous projects)
Lighting (Washington Collection) from Lighting Direct $220.80
Paint supplies and tape approximately $20 (I used some supplies that we already had.)
Wall paint (BM light pewter and nimbus color matched in Valspar's Signature paint) $62 total
Valspar Porch and Floor paint (color = Journey) $25
Floor paint for design on painted rug (already had BM Smoke Embers) $0
Elegant Bracket Stencils (2 of the same one) $15
Minwax water based polyurethane $16 (this WILL yellow light colored paint)
Oval Vanity Mirror (Lowe's) $75
Rustoleum spray primer, oil rubbed bronze spray paint and spray lacquer (for faucets) $25
Oil rubbed bronze shower curtain hooks ($9) and rod $29

Total $512.88


Our Main Floor Bathroom




Ceiling light before:
Ceiling light now:
(schoolhouse ceiling mount)

New vanity light (the biggest splurge in the room)
Floor before:

Floor now:

A little more accessorizing (neutral and DIY) coming after the holidays.
Click the here for my tutorials on painting stripes, painting faucets and painting the floor.
This coat rack:

Became this towel rack. I did a little dry brush technique with left over paint and some sanding:

And now I have this:

Updated pictures:

painted floor after 2 years is still holding up...

Our Dining Room Makeover:

Our dining room (before) when we bought the house:
And here it is now: but it's under going another change!
See that nasty carpet?

These ugly tiles were on the ceiling. 
Then...Russ & stepdad, Butch put up smooth/pretty drywall ceiling! Love it!
Hardwood floors refinished. Here's a peek of floor:

What we did:
  • Took down old ceiling tiles
  • Installed smooth drywall ceiling
  • Ripped out old filthy carpet
  • Sanded and poly'd hardwood floor
  • New light fixture
  • Painted

Spring 2011...new floor:

Decorated for fall...

Door before...

Door now...

When we bought the house...


    Powder Room #1 Transformation:
    First, let's take a look at the before picture. Keep in mind that previous owners foreclosed on this old farmhouse and that we lived with this room stripped completely for over a year (that nasty carpet and fixtures were gone)! Thank goodness for my ability to see potential, otherwise this alone would have had us running the other direction!

    And it had brass accents. Here is the door/hook before:
    Here is my design board:

    And "TA-DA". Here are the shots of the fresh, new and CLEAN powder room:
    Still to do: Install built-in shelves for wash basin/pitcher and accessories above the toilet.
    I cut off the bottom of the curtain to hem it to correct length and had a little leftover to dress up the towel. And I liked the idea of the hook on the door for hanging the towel (using a curtain clip for easy removal/washing) since the space is too small for a towel bar! One Tough Chick hook is from one of my favorite stores - Mod Cloth.
    And look at the door knob! So much better than gold brassy!
    Tile floor:


    So, what do you think? I'm just so happy that I don't have to be embarrassed when guest ask to use the bathroom!

    Wall Color: Benjamin Moore Smoke
    Trim Color: BM Designer White
    Pedestal Sink: Glacier Bay (Home Depot)
    Faucet: Pegasus 9000 (Home Depot)
    Light Fixture: Tear Drop Chandelier (Urban Outfitters)
    Curtain: Abstract Floral/mist (Brocade Home)
    Vanity Mirror: Kingston Wall Mirror Shelf (Overstock.com)
    One Tough Chick Wall Hook: (One of my favorite shopping sites) Modcloth.com
    Pitcher/Basin: Homegoods/TJ Maxx
    Caldrea Liquid Hand Soap: Organize.com
    Bud Vases: Organize.com (no longer available)
    Glass Door Knob: Home Depot

    Craft Room Makeover:
    Here is the before picture. Scary! 
    Now (with more pictures coming soon, more details here.)

    My daughter's room (now a guest room/my dressing room - pics coming soon) gets a makeover.  Here are the before and after pictures:
    Before (previous owner's artwork)


    This chandelier (free):
    got a makeover:
    In the guest room, we have this Pinecone Hill Genevieve bedding (celery):

    I used the same 'Sweet Silence' colored Mythic paint that I used on the trim.The damask stencil is almost identical to the damask pattern in the bedding and curtains. Here is a close up of the bedding:

    If you're looking for a stencil - I highly recommend Cutting Edge Stencils.  It's a really nice size and so easy to use (learn from my mistake!).  I will be using it again. I love it and it made the entire project less overwhelming. 

    Love the free chandelier in here...
    Pillow on clearance at TJMaxx..

    2nd Guest Bedroom: (THIS IS THE BEFORE.)

    My desk is a farmhouse style table and I sewed a table skirt to hide the wires and computer hardware:

    Here's my chandelier too:
    NOW (after) it's a guest room: See the full reveal HERE.
    Stripped of everything shown above:

    Now after painting the floor, installing new baseboard trim, painting and mostly all thrift store, flea market and junk store finds:

    painted guest bedroom floor meets painted guest bathroom floor

    stenciled/painted floor:

    still need curtains!

    view from the dining room:

    (thanks to Butch for installing the light fixture for me!)

    Few updates:

    ladder turned magazine/throw holder

    Stairs and Upstairs Hallway
    Let's take a walk up my stairs beforehand. When we bought the house, it was covered in nasty dirty carpet. Mr. Handy ripped it all out.
    Here is the picture of the stairs when we bought the house:
    After the carpet was torn out, here we go up the gouged staircase...
    And after turning the corner and a few more stairs. Here is what it looked like before. Not so lovely, huh?
    Also in this project is this little storage cube (before):
    Not very appealing, is it?
    Now, let's take that same path after stairs were redone (see below - red walls no longer there!):
    And this is the new landing. A little paint (Ralph Lauren mahogany) and new knobs give the dresser a cleaner and more modern look. I think it's over 40 years old and needed a face lift.
    Notice the storage cube - I sewed a cover and cushion. All covered and pretty.
    I also sewed a table runner to help protect the top (Mr. Handy likes to toss a drill or other tools here.)
    All of the doors here have glass knobs. I love them. I wish we had the old skeleton keys. The dresser also has locks on each drawer, but...again, no keys.


    LivingRoom Transformation:  Here it is when we bought our home. Before, at time of closing:
    Lots of strange angled corners to work with.
    We repurposed this mirror by taking it down and framing it (more details here). It hangs in our back entry way.
    The white walls were painted wallpaper. Fun!
    We also tore out the nasty carpet and refinished the wood floors.
    Then, I always wanted a red room. So - I painted the room red. It wasn't quite what I pictured but I really loved it for a little bit. Excuse the mess. Some of these I snapped right before I began painting.

    We installed French doors between the living room and family room.
    We mounted the tv above the fireplace...I'm not sure if you can tell, but there aren't a lot of options (wall 1=staircase, wall 2 = entry to hall and built-in shelving, wall 3 = French doors, wall 4 window/fireplace/window). It's really not too high for viewing. We've adjusted to it being there. Our wood burning fireplace isn't used at this time (another future project). Since behind the fireplace is a brick chimney and the walls are plaster, I currently hide the wires with garland (upcoming project to build up the fireplace surround will take care of that problem). Brick? Someday we'll replace it with marble and I got a dirty look when I suggested we paint it. Mr. DIY does not like painted brick.
    It didn't take long before I didn't grew tired of dark red. The room wasn't getting any light. It just didn't "feel" like the right color. 

    Here it is today:
    Color is Benjamin Moore Smoky Taupe. It changes color in different lighting.

    My thrift store find - wine corks.

    Vintage French linen pillows - Restoration Hardware

    French pediment - Ballard (I plan on adding more trim to the French door to fill in the gap)
    It's weathered and says "Flanders Sweet Shop"
    Drapery is from Target and Ebay. I ordered an extra panel to lengthen them. I love them framing the French doors.
    I scored a bunch of vintage boxes and crates at an estate sale (3 are the same found at Pottery Barn for $24. I paid $8 ea!). This little box holds the remote controls.

    Wall art from vintageprintables.com (Here is the post if you'd like more information).

    My style? You'll see that I have a bit of interior design ADD. French, vintage, traditional, farmhouse and so on but the thing I love about designing my own space is that I can decorate with things I love and I don't have to follow any rules. And we're obviously not minimalists. It's for us, not for a decorating magazine, right? We love how much taller and bigger the room looks and our mix of decorating styles works for us. I'd love new furniture but it's not in the budget and this set from the 90s is in excellent shape. It works for now.

    A few updated photos/fall decorated...






    As you know from last week, I've been working on fixing up the bistro set I scored for $15 at a yard sale. It's painted to match our existing patio furniture for extra seating under the grape arbor.
    The cushions we have are brown for the most part except for the swing which has sage/tan and gold stripes so I felt limited by that.  :(  But, I was able to find a fabric that looks good with everything!

    wanted round extra-poofy cushions for the chairs.  Goal achieved and then some. Oops! It's cushion overkill.  But, it is what it is.  No pattern and my first attempt at round, 3D cushions with piping.  Not too bad but definitely  Poofy. Tall. Unique.  :)

    I did document my DIY steps in pictures so if anyone is interested in some helpful round cushion tips, I will create a tutorial. 

    sewed ribbon to sheers that I got here to tie to the grape arbor to disguise the imperfections...I mean create a romantic atmosphere.  

    Before I continue, I have to point out what's not done (because that's usually what I see).  :)
    Don't mind the "floor" of the grape arbor.  It's weeds and a mess right now but we have DIY plans for that when the budget allows.  And next year I will be staining the wood structure..so please overlook that right now too. Oh - and Mr. DIY says the weed-wacker needs blades, so pretend you don't notice the overgrowth at this time too, please.  Plus rain every single day = long grass that needs mowed.  :)  Now that I have that out of the way...

    First, here was the grape arbor when we bought the house.  Quite a rustic eyesore but potential beauty in those old vines regardless and a 50 foot mostly shaded area not to mention tons of grapes!
    Before Pictures - Here is what it looked like the day we closed on the house.

     Here's a close up.  "Hello Chippy!"

    Even at it's ugliest, it was a beautiful space for my brother's small wedding in 2008.
    And a great space for shaded seating for my sister's baby shower last year.

    Mr. DIY (and talented stepdad, Butch) built up the new wood structure around the old rusty iron skeleton, lifting and shifting the grapes in the process before removing the old iron poles.  It's about 7'x7'x50' (except for the gazebo area).  The grapes survived the stress!

    Here are the after pictures with the new bistro set and sheers.

    Too windy for candles in the candelier but we do have white lights at night that follow the lines of the gazebo.
    And the grape arbor now 'in progress'

    Still a little work with the pavers or flagstone path underneath.  It'll look so much better after staining the wood structure, but what do you think so far?   Care to join me for a glass of wine and relaxing under the rotunda?  Perhaps with Keanu Reeves from a Walk in the Clouds?  :)

    And some new pillow covers for the existing patio furniture (and the swing fabric that I had to consider with the new fabric).

    And my window boxes:

    Thanks for stopping by to see our home! What do you think?
    Do you have before/after or DIY home improvement pictures?
    I'd love to see 'em! Email me at thediyshowoff.blogspot. I can take your info directly from your blog post or blog not necessary - just send me a note with pics. :)

    BHG Kitchens & Baths Summer 2010 issue listed 
    The DIY Show Off blog as an inspirational source!)

    1st Place Winner of the July 2011 Cali Bamboo Project of the Month Contest.

    Listed as a favorite in the Before & After Category of Flea Market Style Spring 2011!

    DIY/Home Improvement feature in our local newspaper (p. 25&28)

    Dining Room featured in Emily Henderson's 2011 Holiday Guide...

    See ALL of my projects by clicking


    Peace Love & All Things Creative said...

    I absolutely love your guestroom/craft room/office. SO adorable!

    mommyinthemountains said...

    Wow! I love your house. What a great property and floor plan. They just don't build houses like that anymore. Why don't they? We are dying to sell our house and buy an old turn of the century house too.

    Prudently Painted Vintage said...

    I absolutely love the fireplace mantel on the porch! Great Idea! I'm in the process of redoing my master bedroom and I am going to use a mantel as a headboard. I Just love old fireplaces! Also, I am very envious of how organized your craft area is.

    Beehive said...

    What a great transformation. I particularly love the smokey taupe living room. It's one of my favorite benjamin moore colors. xoxo

    dhw said...

    Amazing. Amazing. I love the grape arbor transformation and the beautiful property you saw such potential in. It's really spectacular! The smokey taupe made a huge difference and I think I just found my new living room color! thank you! I must admit I'm a little envious...always wanted a barn, an arbor and those sweet glass doorknobs! You've done a beautiful job!

    Ashley said...

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I absolutely LOVE your home AND your blog! I am so flattered that you stopped by!!!


    Toni said...

    I love your home and your renovations. Just beautiful. Thanks so much for linking up to my party.

    A Bowl Full of Lemons

    Mrs.B said...

    Everything is awesome...just Beautiful!

    Mary said...

    Amazing talent! I'm so impressed with everything, but my favorite place would be grape arbor. What a beautiful space!

    Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

    Hey, Roeshel, I totally enjoyed looking through all your home projects,one room at a time. I know I've seen lots of them along the way, but missed a few too. I miss so much in blogland these days, just can't keep up. You have a beautiful farmhouse, what fun to fix that up. And you've done SO many beautiful projects too. I know you love living there, it is gorgeous. So great to meet you this week! xoxo

    Kristi said...

    Your home is beautiful. I wish I had the initiative to get out there and sew and change the world I live in to the one I want to live in. You have renewed my thoughts on getting out there and changing things for the better.

    Catie @ Catie's Corner said...

    Wow Roeshel, your home is lovely! You two have done soo much. You should be proud of yourselves. Ok, now I'm really off to write up my Pinterest post. : )

    Seven Sisters said...

    I just went on your amazing tour! Absolutely beautiful. I would not have had the vision to see past the "before". You are extremely talented and I applaud all your ideas and hard work! Thanks for sharing! Janel

    Bart said...

    Love your work! I also have a 100+ year old house and am in the process of stripping 30 layers of painted wall paper from lathe and plaster walls! So much fun. I noticed that most of your work involves painting the woodwork. The woodwork in my house is wide and in good condition. It is also very dark, almost a mahogany color. Any suggestions on how to decorate around such dark woodwork?

    The DIY Show Off said...

    Bart - sounds beautiful! Lucky you that it's all not painted! Our trim was already mostly painted in our home. I love dark trim. My only suggestion is to keep paint light in color because the beautiful wood trim should be the highlight, not the walls! Here's an article I found that might be helpful: http://www.ehow.com/info_12010206_decorating-ideas-white-walls-stained-trim.html

    I've learned that I tire easily of darker paint colors on walls. Neutral/light make it easier to change out decor and always look good. That's just my opinion - especially after having a red livingroom. I've seen beautiful rooms with dark trim in light buttery yellow, gray tones, blue grays, muted greens, beige and white - all make the trim stand out beautifully.

    Good luck!

    ~FARM CHIC~ said...

    Roeshel-your blog is amazing!!! Love it all, your house and outdoor space with the wicker furniture is so much like mine! (Well yours is beautiful and refinished!) I have so many plans for my old farm house that I get a little overwhelmed! Thanks for the inspiration,
    Farm Chic

    Katie said...

    Roeshel, I just took a peak at your Farmhouse tour. It's stunning! My husband & I are planning to buy his parents' old farmhouse in Ohio soon so your blog has just provided me with lots of inspiration on making over an older home like that. I love your slate floors especially. We're hoping to someday have slate in our master bath.

    Unknown said...

    Stunning! You are very talented and it was so much fun looking at all the updates.

    The DIY Show Off