Parting with Paneling

I have finally finished shopping for The Mystery Thrift-Off! Whew! It was actually A LOT harder than I thought it would be.  Some of the items I ended up with are … special. Real special. Reallllly special. It’s going to be so fun to watch! I’m shipping them today, and the participants will have a few weeks to work their makeover magic. Then the fun begins for the rest of us! Follow along on instagram, with the hashtag #themysterythriftoff.

And now, to kick your Friday off right, please enjoy this living room and hallway makeover from Better After reader Angie. As you can see, it was previously a root cellar. I kid, I kid, butreally, it was DARK.  She said the entire room only had one ceiling fan for light. And did you see those ceilings? Let’s zoom out …
Wood Ceiling Living Room Before


Wood Ceiling Living Room Makeover |

Oh no. I can see why one ceiling fan would not have done the job before. Not only did they add plenty of recessed lights, they also drywalled and painted over the paneling, which makes it feel 10,000 lumens brighter.  Is that a real measurement? I’m too tired to Google.


Wood Ceiling Living Room Before |

Wood Ceiling Living Room Makeover 1|

But don’t weep for the paneling. Angie still kept that woodsy feel by covering the beams and ceiling with cedar planks.  Mmm, I bet that smells as good as it looks.  I love the scent of cedar. I might have stayed up too late and this is my bone-weary exhaustion speaking, but don’t you think Cedar sounds like a pretty good baby name? Put that one on your list, expectant moms.  You’re welcome in advance.


Wood Ceiling Hallway Before|

bright hallway

This hallway is really magnificent. Very cathedral-like.  The before was so SO dark and gloomy, I don’t think I would have dared walk down it alone at night. Even just looking at the picture makes me nervous! But the after is so light and bright and airy, it’s like an entirely different room.  Great job Angie! We want to see more!

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You can tube it!

There has been an infestation of bees in my neighborhood lately, which is probably why I dreamed I was a beekeeper last night.  Which reminds me, I forgot to tell you about another one of my personal rules, one that I wish everyone would adopt: If you must tell someone about your dream, wrap it up in 10 words or less.  For example: “Alec Baldwin chasing me with knives through a haunted Costco.” And we’re done.

There’s nothing worse than listening to someone drone on and on about their dreams. (Their literal dreams, not like, their hopes and dreams. I’m not a total monster). There’s just nothing you can say to contribute to the conversation.

But anyway, back to being a beekeeper. I have a friend who is a beekeeper. I think he is awesome because he taught himself how to be a beekeeper by watching videos on YouTube. Isn’t that crazy? What if you could do that with any profession? “I’m not a ‘certified’ dentist with a ‘degree’ or anything, but don’t worry. I’ve watched a ton of YouTube videos.  Now open wide!”

But it can be done. Better After reader Sara and her husband bought their house about three years ago and she says, “we did everything ourselves with the help of YouTube and blogs.” That’s absolutely awesome Sara! You’re right up there in self-taught-beekeeper status to me.

Let’s take a look:

dark outdated kitchen before

open shelving kitchen makeover after



The kitchen is my favorite part! I love the open shelving and the wall-o-backsplash.



Whole House Makeover LR After


Whole House Makeover Living Room Before


The living room looks about 25 years younger now.  Love the new floors.

Whole House Makeover Dining Room Before


Whole House Makeover Dining Room After


Major upgrade in the dining room, but I love that she kept the corner built-in and beefed up the chair rail into legit wainscoting.

And here’s a peek outside, isn’t it the cutest? It was charming to begin with, but a fresh coat of paint and and aqua door really make it smile.

Whole House Makeover Outside Before

Whole House Makeover Outside After

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Quirk it out.

I have a few personal rules and guidelines that I live by. For instance, if you put something in my face and ask me to smell it, my automatic response is “Personal rule! I do not smell things that people tell me to smell.”  Another one is that I won’t ever wear a belt that comes pre-attached to a pair of jeans. Nice try, cheap belt.  Another one is that I will absolutely not go swimming in a river and I make no apologies about it whatsoever.

I don’t care if Gwen Stefani was all, “I’ll be your best friend forever and dress you up in my clothes if you just come swim in this river with me!” I’d be like, “Smell ya later, Gwen.”

Anyway. I do have a point. Another one of my personal guidelines is that quirky people are my favorite people! I seek them out. My whole life I’ve been attracted to those types of personalities that veer away from ‘normal.’ They’re the most fun.

Marisa ditched this perfectly normal matchy-matchy scene and created a totally eclectic living and dining area.  I mean, there’s a pirate ship chandelier. She seems like a riot. I think we’d be great friends.





Check out her blog Moky and Marisa to see all the wonderful details up close, and to get a glimpse of that pirate ship lit up at night!

Do you have any personal rules? I’d love to hear them.

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Jaclyn was haunted by this big blank wall. Situated between a sliding glass door and a large window, it desperately needed an OOMPH-factor. The lone TV and electric fireplace were doing a very half-hearted job of delivering any oomph. They had like, 2% oomph.

How about a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace?  Oomphy enough?

White and Gray Fireplace Makeovers |

White and Gray Fireplace Makeovers |

Yes indeed it was! Here’s the best part. This fireplace is simply panels of stone veneer placed over a wooden frame that her husband built. The firebox is an electric insert. The whole thing took two days! Doesn’t it look amazing? See more from Jaclyn at Love and Bellinis.


Sally also gave her fireplace a one-way ticket to Oomphville by ditching the beige drywall ‘accents’ and tile surround, and replacing them with beautiful custom woodworking and a stunning herringbone tile design.

White and Gray Fireplace Makeovers |


fireplace after

I know! It doesn’t look like it could possibly be the same fireplace and room, but it is! See the proof for yourself at Love of Homes.

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