Before & After, Summer Edition:: Our Second Year

At long last, the B&A Party is finally up and running!
Welcome to the summer Before and After party! 
The idea behind the B&A parties here is that you get motivated to start a project by linking up your idea at the beginning of the month (or in this case, the summer), and then coming back to share how it came out.  Anything goes – house projects, quitting smoking, starting a business, taking up running, learning to cook.  

However, you are NOT required to have linked up a “before” to contribute to this after party today!
Share what you’ve accomplished, whatever it may be, and celebrate getting stuff done!!
Find some motivation, inspire and get inspired – that’s what these Before & After parties are all about!
My main goal for the summer was to put the house projects that I’ve been working on for the past two years on hold for a while and make some memories with our kids.  I feel like their childhoods are passing us by at a frantic pace, and I really, really don’t want to look back someday and think, I wish I had spent more time listening, talking, and intentionally having fun with my kids while they were under my roof.  I needed to take a break from photographing home projects, turn the camera on my family and enjoy the ages they are at right now.
So while we didn’t do anything remarkable this summer, we did manage to have tons of good old fashioned fun, and I will never regret not having made much progress with my house over the last few months!
what fun would this big end-of-summer before and after party be without some before and afters???
This month marks two years in our present abode, a house that had great bones but needed a bit of a facelift.  The first year of ownership was filled with dramatic before and afters as I painted nearly every wall and trimwork, totally changing the feel of the house.  
The second year, though, has been  s l o w – g o i n g,
as I tried to use what we had in a new way, to create a comfy,  casual, layered, interesting and easy-going home for my family of five.  
Creating a home that you really love just takes time, and when I start to lose patience about how it never feels done, it’s good to look back at where we started.  I can honestly say the only room that is DONE is Hannah’s room, but then again what would I do if I didn’t have carpentry ideas, painting projects, furniture makeovers and the like on the horizon??
Truly, despite moving at a turtle’s pace, I feel so lucky to be able to renovate this house – it’s a dream I have harbored for years!!  And so, in celebration of spending two happy years fixing up our new home,  I present to you some of the progress of our house and the tweakings that Year Two brought.
The total game-changer for this house:  our finished basement.
Our last house was much bigger and had a finished basement so adapting to the space in this house was  a bit challenging.  We knew before buying the house that finishing the basement as a space for the kids and their friends, and movie nights with the family, was an absolute must for us.
While I am a big fan of DIY, we had this room professionally finished by a builder last winter.  It is still completely devoid of any decor, but the kids don’t care and LIVE down there with their friends.  Mark envisions the big open area as the perfect spot for a pool table but the kids love it for playing knee hockey!  This is hands down the best improvement we could have made to our house.

This year I added board and batten to the foyer and the stairs.  The tile grout got a coat of paint until we rip it all out and add hardwood to match the other rooms.  When we had our basement finished I also changed out the solid door in the foyer with a French door, which turned out to be one of my favorite changes to this space, making the basement feel like a real part of our home.  The mirror is from our master bedroom and I love it’s large scale, and ultimately would like something woody and warm here, but the finish on this piece is not what I had in mind.  To be continued!
This room served as a TV room (dare I say “playroom” for my teen/tweens?) until our basement was finished.  I painted the walls, refinished and relocated the table and chairs and also relocated our lantern light from the kitchen, and made drop cloth curtains.
{Next up:  a natural rug to finish it off (and disguise the sorely distressed floors!)}

One of the first things I did when we moved here was paint and decorate the kids’ rooms.  Since the above after photos were taken, Hannah has rearranged her furniture approximately 7,429 times.  
The big change I made in the past year was to redo her closet by taking the doors off and making the space really functional and fun.  Believe it or not, this open closet concept and organization has worked great for her!  

The master bathroom was long overdue for some attention.  Someday we hope to enlarge this space, but in the meantime I really wanted to just work with what we had.  I striped the walls with a pearly paint, hung the shell mirror and jewelry board in here and built shelves for towels and storage.

The reason I wanted to share some of these before and afters is to tell you:
sometimes making your plans come to life takes
Time to have money in the bank to afford renovating and decorating.
Time to dream about what you want your home to feel like.
Time to make decisions.
Time, because if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, there is only so much TIME in the day!
Throughout this whole journey of fixing up this house, like raising my children, I constantly remind myself to 
enjoy the process.
Renovating and decorating my house is something I love to do, but it’s not exactly necessary to living and breathing, so I can’t take it all that seriously, and I hope you don’t either!
Enjoy the process.  
Enjoy the dreaming, and enjoy making your dreams for your home a reality, even if it takes time.
Okay enough about me – let’s see what you’ve got!  Link up your before and afters of any kind to share, inspire and celebrate getting something accomplished!