Getting to Grand

You know how in junior high you were all about denim and chokers and flannel and oversized t-shirts, and you just knew that fashion could NOT POSSIBLY get any better? That was me. I remember specifically having that exact thought.

I wish I had a better example for you, but this was all I could dig up of me and some friends at what I think was an eighth grade dance:

junior high pic

I’m the one in the back who looks like she’s wearing one of her dad’s old shirts.  This was my ‘special event’ outfit, apparently. This, to me, was as good as it got, and ever could get.  I mean, what else could there be besides baggy t-shirts and wide-legged jeans and Doc Martens? Nothing, duh.

Thankfully time passes and styles change and our tastes evolve.

Same thing with Erin and her kitchen.  (Although her before kitchen was actually cute in it’s time.  Unlike … whatever I was attempting to do up there).  She loved her oak kitchen, and she loved it hard. Until one day, she just didn’t. She looked around, and it had become outdated.  It felt dark and cramped. The appliances were on their last leg.

Time for a change! And what a beautiful change she made. Knocking out the wall, peninsula, and soffit created so much room, it doesn’t even look like the same space.


tan and brown kitchen before

White kitchen - wood floor - makeover | Like an awkward duckling growing into a graceful and stylish swan. Lovely. So much more to see from Erin on her blog Just Grand.

just grand kitchen makeover before

White kitchen - wood floor - makeover |

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Stage Manager

Trying to sell a home?  Here’s one tip … probably your listing pictures should NOT include Christmas decor.  That just screams “This house has been sitting on the market for MONTHS!

Here’s another tip: Don’t underestimate the powerful power of staging.  It’s so powerful, it should be one of the elements.  They should have named the group Earth, Wind, and Fire and Staging.

You could hire an expert, like the staging-guru Robin at Madison Modern Home, who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to really set the scene.  I love how she updated this fireplace, makes a world of difference here.


glass wall - white living room before


modern living room - gray brick - makeover |

This dining area also benefited from her expertise. Notice how the large-scale table and chairs makes you think the room is much more spacious than the crowded little set before did? I like how she even pulled the chairs away from the table, emphasizing all that spaaaaaace. Heck, you could have a barn dance in here if you wanted to now.

plain dining room before


modern dining room - sleek- makeover |

But if hiring a pro isn’t in the cards for you, don’t fret.  There are lots of steps you can take to make your home staged to sell.  Clear the clutter and personal belongings, define each space clearly, use furniture and accessories to enhance your home’s best qualities and distract from its worst, and you’re already on your way!

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Happy Room, Happy People

If you’ve been looking for a meeting place for your Super Sad People Who Are Sad Club, I’ve got the spot for you. This before dining room.  I don’t think happiness could exist in such an overwhelming realm of burgundy and brown.

But all that changed once Emily got on the scene.  Now it’s electric, bright, and happpppyyyyy! So tell your club to keep looking.  You’ve joined a new one.  Meetings start at eight in Emily’s dining room; I hear there’s pie.

See all the details at I Dream of Style.


dark, burgundy dining room before

bright aqua - dining room - makeover | betterafter.netPS: Who can tell me the name of that plant?  I think I need one.

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Farm House Fresh

Man, it’s stories like this one from Better After reader Bethany that make me wish I had bought a 136-year-old fixer-upper farm house. Too bad those don’t exist where I live.  The closest I could come is buying  a 25-year-old faller-downer meth house, which is nowhere near as charming.  No thankies.

But she scored big with this beautiful home built in 1878, which switched hands a few times before it ended up being purchased by her grandparents in 1972.  Eventually, it came into Bethany’s possession and she has been bringing it back to life ever since.

Luckily it had been lovingly cared for and only needed a few cosmetic updates, including new lighting and uncovering those original fir floors.  136-year-old floors! Wow, what a treasure.  Bethany, start a blog already, we need to see more!

farmhouse dining room makeover

farmhouse dining room makeover after


farmhouse dining room makeover floors




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