Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Ta Dah! List

You can look at the experience of living in a "fixer-upper" from two different perspectives:

1.) An ever changing adventure that cultivates creativity through an array of home improvement projects.

OR

2.) An exhausting and expensive undertaking , that causes stress because of the looming, never-ending "to do" list.

I try to be a "glass-half-full-number-1" kinda gal, but sometimes I just can't help but be overwhelmed by number 2.

Wait....that came out wrong.
Oh! You know what I mean!
:-)

Anyways, when I feel like I might be on the verge of getting overwhelmed by the amount of work there is left to do, I try and focus on some of my favorite things that are already done around here.

In my Dining Room, my favorite thing is the old screen door I salvaged from the back side of our house:





One day, I'll have a pretty pantry beyond it's squeaky vintage hinges:



And when I look back at photos of this area taken on the day we bought the house, those impatient feelings begin to subside...


...and give way to feelings of accomplishment.

Pottery Barn's "Medici" pattern and the soft, alternating bands of color (Behr's "Fencepost" and Sherwin Williams "Natural Choice") in my Reading Room are my favorite parts of this little space...

There are about nine things I still have to do to this room, but after looking back at how she started out, the phrase "you've come a long way baby" does spring to mind.



One of my favorite parts of the Living Room is its thick, painted pine panelling:



It didn't start out that way though. Looking back, one week of priming (oil-based Kilz) and painting (Sherwin Williams "Natural Choice") really wasn't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. The "before" photo encourages me to make a little time each week to do something to the house, because something as simple as paint can entirely change the way a room makes you feel.

One of my favorite things about the Kitchen are the wood corbels I installed (while my husband was out of town!) underneath the upper cabinets:



They only cost $9.00 each at Home Depot, but they create such a "custom" look.



And my "before" shot of our Kitchen is the biggest motivator of all...

The best part is, I really didn't spend a whole lot of money here. For the cabinets, I purchased paint, polyurethane, hardware, and extra moulding, to give them more height. For the walls, I purchased inexpensive bead board panelling, trim moulding and "barely blue" paint. We have temporarily laid a laminate wood flooring down on top of the existing tile. The grout between the tiles was badly stained and the tile itself was the wrong color. The laminate wood cost $.99 a square foot, so the total cost to lay laminate over the whole Kitchen was around $200.

So if you're feeling like your "to do" list is heavily outweighing your "tah da!" list, look back at your old "before" photos. Then re-direct your focus away from what you still have left to do, and notice the incredible things you've already done!

"Be happy with where you are and, at the same time, eagerly and optimistically anticipate the thrill of the next great adventure." - Kate Corbin
:-)
Layla

PS...Because of interest from a few publications, (so excited I can't even stand it) Kevin decided he should tackle some more unfinished projects in the Kitchen first. So the Guest Room will have to wait a bit. He started adding more moulding to the top of the cabinets yesterday, and in between Consultations, I've taken a picture of every step so that I can post a tutorial here this week. Check back if you're interested!

Oh! And I encourage you to stop by and visit my new, creative blog friend, Victoria, at: Shade that Lamp

76 comments:

The Nester said...

LOVE it all.

Will you be my decorator?

Victoria said...

WOW! You have done an amazing job in your home. I love your screen door, your reading room, kitchen, well, ALL OF IT :-) You should for sure feel encouraged at all you have accomplished.

MrsSouthernBelle said...

I love your kitchen cabinets! I'm trying to convince my husband to do ours black!

Tracie said...

great reminder! way to be an optimist! :)

Wendy said...

Your blog is such an inspiration. You have accomplished so much, love everything you do.

I might have missed an update, but how is Design Star going?

Kelly B said...

It looks awesome!! I am planning on doing some similar things to our cabinets, but ours will be red. I am excited about the corbels and adding the crown. So exciting.... thanks fr the inspiration!! :)

Michele said...

I'm amazed at your vision and ability to carry it out economically. Looks beautiful!

Emily@remodelingthislife said...

You've done such an amazing job but I totally know what you mean about feeling overwhelmed. I do the same thing and go back through old photos to motivate myself. I am not sure I've ever commented but I read faithfuully and really enjoy your vision and what you've done with your fixer.

Abigail Hutchinson said...

Oh wow!!!! your kitchen is fabulous! I love it!

Kevin & Kelli Palmer said...

You are so true. Thanks for reminding me about my Ta Dah list.

Connie said...

Oh how I covet your black kitchen cupboards! You did an awesome job. There is NO way I could convince my husband to that in our kitchen since we just put them in 8 years ago...but a girl can dream.
You did an awesome job in your home.

Michelle said...

Love everything! You inspire me everyday! I just re-wrote my to-do list so this post is perfect timing..Thanks!!

Jennifer@3sonsandadaughter said...

Layla~ You just do not know how perfect the timing of this post is! We bought a 30 year old house last summer that is in fabulous shape structurally. Decoratively speaking it screams 1980's. OY! It looks infinitely better than it did the day we first walked in as owners and I cried like a baby. It smelled like an old man and had a dark brown accent wall in every room with darkening shades and heavy drapes on each window. We bought it for a steal and knew we would be stripping, changing and painting every square inch. But,almost a year later, we still have a ton of things not crossed off of our to do list. I am possibly the worlds least patient person. I'd like to wiggle my nose and have it all ready for "House Beautiful" to come in and start snapping their cameras.
However, we did finish the boys' bathroom and when I feel overwhelmed - I just go sit in there (in an admiring kind of way, not a functional kind of way) and relish in how great it looks! I've regrouped and refreshed and can go back to my diningroom and stare at the 2x2 splotches of greens all over my walls and try to make a decision.
Thanks for the reality check! Have a super day!
Jennifer

kirwin said...

As I seem to say each time, I love it all. I can't believe you get to LIVE there....!

Magic Brush said...

Love everything... especially the kitchen cabinets!!!!!

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

I totally agree with you. When you buy a house that needs work the to-lists can get overwhelming. I love that idea of having a ta dah list and just taking a moment to see all the wonderful things you've already accomplished.

I love the reading nook and the kitchen. Wow don't get my started. Look at what a little bit of paint and creativity can do. I love the black on the cabinets. I recently got white cabinets put in so my hubby would kill me if I wanted to paint them black. But at least I have your pictures to calm me down.

Reborn said...

Gorgeous! Quick question about the top cabinets, because I've been thinking of trying this:

Did you just remove the doors and add moulding and stuff to create the open shelving look? Or did you build new shelves?

Can't wait to find out! :)\

Reborn

rustandroses said...

Your little reading space is to die for! I love all of the colors you use! The way you balance color and texture and contrast is just too yummy...I would love to know how you did the trim on the upper kitchen cabinets; this is something we have always felt would make a big impact in our little kitchen. Also, I think the corbels you added made a wonderful differnce, too! :)

The Old Painted Cottage said...

Layla, you are so right. The process of remodeling can be so incredibly overwhelming, but stepping back and measuring your progress is the very best pat on the back you can give yourself.

By the way, I sent you several emails with photos a few days ago, and I just wanted to make sure you received them. Hope so!

oxox
Jennifer

AnNicole @ OurSuburbanCottage said...

Love this! Thank you so much for this post. I moved into my house less than a year ago and I have a tendency to kick myself for all of the things that are still unfinished. I guess I need to create my own mosaic of everything I HAVE accomplished with these two little hands in the past year and give myself a little pat on the back:).

Thanks again!

emilymcd said...

You know what, girl? You are incredible. Simply incredible. I have a kitchen with good bones but hum drum cabinetry and am not in the market for a whole new kitchen. Your blog post today made my day.

Here's some pics:
http://dykstrahouse.blogspot.com/2007/04/home.html

Emily

Rebecca said...

I can picture it all in a spread of one of my favorite magazines. Too bad Cottage Living went out of business :( I hope Country Living comes calling!

Denise said...

Yay! A tutorial! Will be waiting for that! And I am happy about your magazine prospects - how exciting! How validating!

And I love the way you phrased #1 and #2 - I never looked at it that way - but I will try to look at it from the #2 POV from now on. Thanks!

the BLAH BLAH BLAHger said...

The corbels are genius!!! Love that look!

Pam said...

I am lovin' your blog and read it faithfully, though I have never commented before. It's very inspiring to see what you are doing with your "fixer upper". We bought a repo a year ago after a long, excruciating search for a home. It has great bones but needed an awful lot of cosmetics. I sometimes get overwhelmed at the "to do" list, also. Thanks for the the reminder.

Glad your hubby's back.

Britt said...

where did you buy your laminate flooring from??

Elizabeth (blue clear sky) said...

Your "So if you're feeling like your "to do" list is heavily outweighing your "tah da!" list, look back at your old "before" photos." is perfect advice and so needed today as I walked around our home looking at all the things I want to do. This is why you definitely have a future in design; you have the vision, can get it done yourself, and inspire others. Thanks so much!

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

How exciting about the magazine opportunity. It was only a matter of time...your place is SO magazine-worthy! And as for the never-ending projects...I often feel the same way, but I also think I will be sad when they're all finally done. It's a lot of work, but it's fun work!

Daisy said...

It's amazing that your kitchen makeover only cost $200! It's stunning.

Mrs. B. said...

This is FANTASTIC.
I want to see more more more of that reading room. Jealousy written all over my face...

Misti of Studio M Designs said...

You know I love your style! I am totally digging the corbels...
~Misti

Erin said...

I love this post-I love the idea of a "Ta Da" list! Fantastic.

Jessica said...

i think you have done a fabulous job. i so enjoy every post and seeing your updates.

i know i've said it many times, but you are an inspiration!

Extreme Home Renos said...

Aside from the house looking fabulous, WOW on the publications opportunity! Did they come aknockin' on their own, or did you submit your interest?

Daryl said...

What a great reminder! I love the idea of a "Ta-da!" list and often do go back and look at before photos. I love checking your blog. It is just wonderful.

Daryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LuLu said...

Stepping back and seeing all you have done is great! thanks for the great reminder not to get overwhelmed, and your home is lovely!
LuLu

Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick said...

LOVE those corbels under the cabinets -- great idea.

A family of boys said...

I just love your kitchen! So open looking. Someday I hope to have some style in my home other than "mom of 3 young boys". I can't wait to spend more time gazing at all the beautiful things you've done.

time-worn interiors said...

Hello Layla, just found your blog when a friend of mine called and said you featured my house in your Nov. 5th posting!(the doublewide) It's so weird to see my house on other peoples blog! But I'm really glad I found your blog, your house looks great, love all the changes you have made! I'll be back soon, getting ready to do a big show in Texas, lots of stuff to get done.
Later Theresa

Missy in Texas said...

I can't wait to see your tutorial on the cabinets. I was just about to ask you to do that. I want to do my the exact same way as yours. I was going to paint mine in white, but then I saw yours and I changed my mind.
Thank you in advance.

Corbels said...

Wow the rooms look incredible! I can definitely tell that you are a person with taste and have a strong attention to detail.

Again, great rooms.

TJ

Domestically Sassy! said...

I love your "re-do's". You eye for clean lines and comfort make me feel sad your not close enough to be my own personal decorator ;(

I'll have to settle for you being my 'Online Personal Decorator'!

Lynn said...

I love before and afters. Especially when I look at how far we've come in our little nest.

Love reading your blog,
Lynn from forloveorfunny

Rona's Home Page said...

Even though we're not homeowners and we do move frequently I get much needed inspiration from your projects.
You've definitely shown me that I don't have to spend alot of money to create a home that my husband, teen and I can call home.
For now, it's a 2000 square foot apartment. Next year, who knows?

Meghann said...

I couldn't agree more - we bought our house when it was 2 years old and though the inside is pretty darn nice for a first house (dark hardwood, custom molding, gorgeous kitchen, etc), the OUTSIDE was hideous - no landscaping, 8 fOOT HIGH weeds and dirt. No grass at all. 6 years later, I have to say it looks a million times better, even if it isn't where we want it to be - yet. It will get there, and being impatient won't speed anything up, so don't worry :D

Meghann said...

P.S. your reading room is divine! I want one now!

Tootsie said...

OUTSTANDING!!!! great work!

Allidink said...

Wow! It looks so great! I can't believe how far its come. I love the idea of a reading room, that is sooo nice.

All the best,
Allison

pedalpower said...

Everything is looking fabulous! And smart too!

PJ said...

You're doing such great work on your house, Layla! I *heart* your pantry door more than words can say! I wanted to do that to the soon to be pantry, but the kitchen is 'manland' and the chef doesn't deem it functional enough for him. DARN!!

momof3girls said...

can't wait to see more of the kitchen! Glad your hubby is home with you! Congrats on the anniversary of the date you met each other!

Alexis said...

Thanks for this post - we are buying our first house (1940's) next Friday and I already have a list a mile long of ways to homeify it. This helps me to see it in a longterm perspective and not goet too overwhelmed buy the thought of fixing everything all at once. With 3 kids under 4 it's it's going to be a LONG process :)!

marty39 said...

Oh how beautiful your home is. I love the painted paneling and your kitchen is just fabulous. The corbels you added to the cabinets is genius. What a great idea and it look just beautiful. I also love the cabinets painted black, great job. Thanks so much for sharing, this was a wonderful post. Hugs,Marty

Jen r. said...

Looks great! what a huge difference!

Hillcrest Acres said...

WOW!!! Beautiful. Stunning. You are full of amazing creativity and it shows in your home. I can't believe your kitchen redo was under $200.00. It looks like a million bucks.

My house is ready and waiting for you to come decorate it.

Karol said...

Amazing work in your kitchen. You are awesome! So glad I found you on Nesting Place!

Karol :0)

Rick and Shannon said...

Love, love everything you've done! I'm getting ready to do some painting and really like some of the colors you've chosen. Question: what color did you paint your trim work and beadboard? What are your thoughts on that? The house we moved into this past summer has much of the trim/doors painted the same yellowish cream color as the walls through out the house. I really like the crispness of the more white cream, but it would be a TON of work! Do you think the trim shouls be the same color through the entire house?

Eleanor Oser said...

Where do you get your blinds that are in your living room?? I am looking for some just like that that are affordable! Thanks!

Frippery said...

Stopped by way of the Nester. Fabulous. I love the black kitchen cabinets. I painted mine cream a few years ago but I am really loving that black. Great blog! Pam

Kurstin said...

wow! you did a really good job re-vamping your home! i love it! Beautiful.
-k

Shabby Rose Cottage said...

Corbels were a great idea wish I thought of it. You should be proud of what you have ta done. Everything is beautiful and you have come a long way!

Rachel said...

Everything is sooooo beautiful!! I always wish I had taken better "before" pictures of our house to remind myself of how far it's come (and to show friends who never saw the before!)

Question:
We painted our kitchen cabinets as well. However, they are the type that are only faced with real wood. What do I do with the insides? Paint them? Would love to know what you think :)

~Rachel

Sarah said...

Wow, your kitchen is gorgeous! I love your living room too! You have great low budget ideas! I am following you!

anita said...

love LOVE the outside screen door inside..now that was inspired!
and just generally love the crisp,
clean, tasteful look that you do so well!

and your gorgeous too!

SoBella Creations said...

You have totally transformed your house. I love the kitchen!

Kim said...

Layla, love your style and everything you do!

I've been working on my master bedroom makeover from your consultation and I hope to have a "Ta-Da" very soon.

Thanks for sharing your talent!

Aubrey said...

I have to say you are a GENIUS to do what you are able to on a small budget. I really like your style too. Starving artists--you're funny. I'm definitely following your blog to see what else you do with your, and other people's, houses.

ness lockyer said...

This has given me some hope that our 1800's fixer upperer will be done soon. I love your before and after photos. Your kitchen cupboards look wonderful with the wicker and white bead board.
Ness xx

Anonymous said...

Layla,
Look at all the great comments on this post! They speak volumes about your creativity and cleverness. I've been a fan for a few months and am encouraged and cheered by your posts. As the proud owner of the c. 1958 mid-century modern custom ranch (with great lines and good bones) that my dad had built, I've wrestled with ways to keep it fresh and not dated. I have sleek tongue-and-groove paneled redwood partitions in a pale stain and painting them likely is inevitable. I wanted to call attention to the marvelous job you did with the pine paneling in your living room - so many people would just have ripped that wood out thoughtlessly, but you've transformed it into a fabulous cottage/country decorative asset simply with paint. It's sheer genius! Folks, do think twice and you can make those natural wood features become the shining stars of your decorating schemes. Layla has helped show us the way!

angela | the painted house said...

I did our cottage walls in Natural Choice, too! Ah, great minds think alike...if I may! :) I love it on the tongue and groove walls so much.

What a transformation in your cottage!

Candy said...

LOVE all you've done! You have inspired me in my un-ending kitchen projects. It's nothing big, but we'll just say my kitchen needed a LOT of cosmetic work. I was in need of instant gratification the other day and took the doors off my cupboards over my peninsula...LOVE it! I put pics on my blog, but just wanted to let you know that you inspired me to make that change since all the other changes are taking such a long time. Ugh.

Amber said...

I just found your blog through The Nesting Place & A Soft Place to Land and I love it! I'm so glad I did! Your decorating ideas are fabulous! I will definitely add you to my blog reader and be back for many more visits.

Rochelle said...

Love those kitchen cabinets and your reading room!

Fine Linen said...

I'm so very excited I found your blog. My husband and I are building a home, and with no mortgage/loan. So I'm so very happy to have found your blog for creative beautiful ways to decorate on a budget. I love all the do it yourself projects, seeing how my husband will be building our home himself.
The color of your kitchen is what I have in mind for our living room, but only had what I wanted in my head..lol...till you shared the actual name. Thank you!
Would you mind sharing with us what the color is in your dining room. I love it!
Thank you again, and keep the wonderful ideas coming.
Blessings

Nicole said...

Your home is amazing! As I scrolled through quickly I honestly thought I was looking at inspiration pictures from a magazine and then I realized these are actually pictures of your house! It is absolutely beautiful! The cabinets especially wowed me, they look completely custom!