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My Five Favorite Before & Afters

Happy August lovelies!!! Today I’m back with my sweet friends Pam of Simple Details, Jennifer of Dimples & Tangles and Kris of Driven By Decor for My Five Favorites!

Our guest host this month is definitely one of my favorites, none other than the insanely clever, crafty DIYer Shelley of Crazy Wonderful! You guys, seriously, if you’re new to Shelley go check out her beautiful home, and while you’re there keep in mind that many of the things you’re seeing, Shelley built, created, hacked or designed! (I’ll wait for you!)This amazing DIY mirror was made by Shelley of Crazy Wonderful blog.

That gorgeous mirror? Yep, Shelley made it! Oh but then there’s this one, what???  Shelley has so many amazing DIYs and projects, and we’re all so happy she’s here to join us to talk about our favorite before and afters!!



As of yesterday, we’ve lived in our current abode for 7 years. We came from a big young house that didn’t need any work, and believe it or not I WANTED a project house and somehow talked Mark into it, so our life here has been one big work in progress with many, many before and afters along the way!! I’ll be sharing whole room transformations over the month of August but here are a few of the projects along the way. Affiliate links are included in this tutorial for your convenience. Read more about affiliate links here.


Our stairs were super orangey and covered with vile carpeting that I couldn’t wait to pull off. Even after stripping and sanding the treads, they were in such bad shape from pet stains (I know, so gross) that I ended up staining them really dark. It was a great alternative to replacing all the treads!



An orange oak staircase with stained carpets gets a makeover with ebony stain and a seagrass runner.

DIY installation of a seagrass runner completes a stair makeover in an 80s era colonial.

You can find the herringbone seagrass runner I used for a DIY installation here. Read more about this staircase makeover in these posts:

How to install a seagrass stair runnerHow our runner has held up

Tips, tricks and resources for installing a stair runner Installing board and batten



The funny thing about these chairs is that we used to have a formal dining room set in our previous homes, and when we moved here I sold it. And then I went to a thrift store and bought formal dining room chairs. Except these ones had a gross finish and holes in the caning. But I knew they had potential!


Dining chairs found in a thrift store get a makeover.


These curvaceous and high-backed cane chairs were thrift store treasures that received a makeover.

Cane back chairs from a thrift store get a makeover.

Beautiful cane back chairs with an outdated finish get a new life with paint and fresh fabric.

See the original post about these chairs and read about my attempt to recane one of them here.

Check out some more of my favorite thrift store scores here!



I looked at new tables as well as at thrift stores forever before finally finding this gem on Craigslist. The top is solid oak and has two leaves that allow us to fit 14 people comfortably…..


,,,,,and it also came with this gorgeous 60s-70s speckled finish 🙂

I stripped it and then stained the top walnut and the base black…..


An outdated dining table gets a dark walnut finish.

A Craigslist table with an outdated finish gets a newly stained walnut top and black pedestal bases.

….and then a few years later I stripped it AGAIN and gave the oak an aged, limed finish and a white base.

An old table found on Craigslist is given a warm, aged, lime oak finish.We liked the dark stain, but the lighter look is perfect for our house!

A Craigslist dining table makeover story.

The walnut and black table makeover can be found here, and you can see more of the newly limed table here.  Read the tutorial on how to give a piece of furniture a limed oak finish.



When we moved to this house I LOVED that our fireplace had built in shelves and cabinets on either side of it (beautifully done, by the way). I did not love the peach paint over the brick, the orange oak, or the mantle that was super high.


An 80s era fireplace gets a dramatic makeover

I painted everything in sight white, but in no time the hearth looked terrible so I painted that black, and we lived with this for several years.

An outdated painted brick fireplace before a dramatic makeover.

Eventually I got around to making this over….


An outdated fireplace is resurfaced with marble tiling.

An outdated brick fireplace is resurfaced with marble tiles.

Raised fireplace hearth tiled with marble herringbone mosaic

Fireplace hearth with marble tile

In addition to the marble surround and hearth, I added moulding and rebuilt the mantle and cabinet shelves (which I desperately need to style because this hodgepodge below makes me CRAZY, but at least it’s better than where we started!)

Remodeled fireplace.

One last look at the before and after….

A dramatic fireplace makeover

The fireplace reconstruction How to tile a hearthHow to tile a surroundHow to seal marble



Last but not least, we have really been enjoying this before and after these last couple of years! Check out the view from the right corner of our deck when we first bought this house. The backyard really wasn’t a yard at all; trees covered one half of it,


A backyard makeover

and on the other half was this fenced-in area, great for the former owner’s dogs, but not so great for throwing the football or hosting a barbecue.

A Massachusetts backyard before a makeover.

We love trees but ones that are so close to the house that they cause the deck and roof to rot, not so much!


Eventually grass and my little seagrass garden grew in along a stepping stone path to the deck.

Last year I added a pea stone patio and fire pit, and here is the view from the corner of our deck today. The edge of the grass along the top of this photo is where the fence once ran.

Pea stone patio with stone fire pit | Shine Your Light

Stone veneered fire pit using a cast cement kit from Stone Farm

It’s all still a work in progress but this before and after is one that will be evolving for many years to come, a little at a time!

What’s your own favorite before and after that you’ve done? It’s so much fun, and so gratifying, to take pictures and then compare your before and afters – I highly recommend it even if you’re not a blogger!


Those are just a few of my favorites – check out the GALLERY for more furniture makeovers, home improvements and DIYs! And don’t miss Pam, Jennifer, Kris and Shelley’s fave B&As are too, they always have something inspiring to see!

Simple Details

Dimples & Tangles

Driven By Decor

Crazy Wonderful

Special thanks to Shelley for joining us today!

Have a wonderful day sweet friends!


Catch up on the My Five Favorite series here!

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Thursday 29th of April 2021

Wonderful work! This is the kind of information that should be shared around the internet. so that people do their work very easily and effectively. Bundle of thanks.

Schilly Construction Inc

Monday 14th of August 2017

These are all wonderful transformations/projects. I fell in love with the new fireplace. Thanks for sharing.


Tuesday 15th of August 2017

Oh thank you so much! The fireplace tile is still one of my favorite changes we've made to our house!


Tuesday 8th of August 2017

Sherri thank you so much for your kind words! I totally agree on paint, and it's one of the cheapest ways to dramatically change a space. Good luck with your table project - definitely try the liming wax, it's such a great way to add a bit of patina!


Saturday 5th of August 2017

Many thanks for your article about fixing crooked lampshades. My house was built in 1952, and the light fittings were inserted t;hen. Of course, the lampholder skirt, as they call it here in Oz, won't keep the simple shades firmly fastened, and naturally it's also too long to allow the bulb to fit the socket. However, when I saw your nice simple proposal to just insert a washer, I finally realised that I could just saw the the bottom fringe off the skirt and put it in above the shade as a substitute washer. This would also mean that the bulb would actually fit firmly in the socket. I bow down in respect and admiration before your genius. PS. I've left out all the words I've said about this. I'm sure your husband will give them to you if you ask.


Tuesday 8th of August 2017

I'm glad you think the lampshade trick will work for you!

[email protected] Charm

Friday 4th of August 2017

All of the makeovers are soooo good! I didn't realize how much work you did on your yard! It's amazing!


Tuesday 8th of August 2017

Thank you Brenna - the yard is still a work in progress but it's fun to see it evolve one year to the next!