A very, very, very small house.

Do you ever watch those ‘tiny house’ shows? You know, where they feature homes with literally the same square footage as a generously-sized tent? Can real human beings really live this way? Happily?

You bet your sweet buns they can! Better After reader Sarah is one such human. Check out this itty-bitty apartment she recently remodeled for further proof.

Before, it was a termite-infested hodge-podge of shoddy workmanship. The home was built in 1908 and split into separate apartments in the 1950’s. Since then, it had received nothing more than ‘band-aid’ style improvements and was in need of a total gut job.

Black and Yellow Bedroom:Kitchen Before

Black and Yellow Bedroom:Kitchen

Sarah to the rescue! She opened up the wall and reconfigured the entire layout, keeping everything unified with a black, gray and yellow color scheme. She focused on packing as much function as possible into each square foot of this space, 240 to be exact. The kitchen is only eight feet long but has everything a standard kitchen would have. There’s even a pull-out spice rack wedged between the fridge and the range!

Below you can see the former bathroom. It was moved to the other side of the apartment and Sarah created a new office to take its place.

Black and Yellow Bathroom:Office Before


Black and Yellow Bathroom:Office


Bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom, AND office? It’s practically palatial!


See more of Sarah’s work on her website S Jane Design.

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Step by Step Staircase

Step by step … ooh baby … gonna get to you gii-ir-ir-irl!

NKOTB forever, am I right? I just watched this video in its four minute and twenty-seven second entirety, and it’s just as good as I remember it being in 5th grade.

Ok, perhaps not. Those were some … less than intricate dance moves. Although Jordan really was fiiiiiiine, kokopelli shirt notwithstanding.

Here are some timeless steps for you though.  Tasha hated her carpeted stairs, like 99% of people with carpeted stairs do.  I know I’d get rid of mine in a heartbeat. So she …

Numbered Staircase Before


Numbered Staircase

… tore up the carpet, replaced the treads and numbered them just fore cuteness sake.  So great!

Ooh stairs! I really want you in my wo-o-o-orld!

Check out her blog Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body to see how she did accomplished this in ONE weekend.

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Power Playroom

This before room certainly wasn’t bad. I mean, check out that window! Plus vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors? Not bad at all.

But it’s a playroom, in two shades of brown. Probably not the first color choice of most kids. Still, I don’t want to make assumptions. So just to be sure, I called my 9-year-old son into the room and said, “Hey, would you like it if I painted your room in two colors of brown?”

He replied, “Uhhhh … that would be interesting.” Such a diplomat. Then I showed him the before picture. “Oh, that’s pretty cool I guess,” he replied.

I realized my plan was backfiring and panicked a little.

“W-w-wait!” I stuttered. “What do you like better, the brown room, or THIS room?”

Bright and Fun PlayRoom makeover Before


Bright and Fun Play Room

Then I showed him this after picture. He gasped. A nine-year-old boy literally gasped. He announced that the after was way better. Then he realized he might have hurt my feelings because it seemed like I had really high hopes of painting his bedroom in two shades of brown. He backpedaled for a minute, until I assured him that I liked the after picture way better too. He seemed relieved. So there you have it.

This playroom makeover belongs to Sara at Shabby Grace and she did a fantastic job brightening it up and bringing it to life. It looks twice as big now. Did you notice the fancy new trim around the window too? Be sure to check out her blog to see all the cute little details!

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Oompha Loompha loftity doo(over)

I’ve just decided to switch our Friday schedule to Monday, which means that the test we take each Friday on what we learned during the week will now take place on Monday, before we’ve learned it.  But since today is Tuesday, it doesn’t matter in the slightest.

Can you name that movie?

But before I give it away, let’s keep talking about tests and homework and such because I have a colorful homework loft for you to enjoy first.

Before, it was like a plastic skeleton. Good bones but no personality. (Except I have a friend has a bunch of plastic skeletons that she hauls out for Halloween, and they seem to have a ton of personality.  She usually buckles a few in the seats of her car and just drives around. She’s a scream).

ANYWAY! Homework loft. That’s what we had here.  A nice space that needed some oomph.

Colorful Homework Loft Before

Colorful Homework Loft

Veronica was called in to oomphify it, and she delivered a cheerful makeover that brightened it up in a big way. The accessories are really what brings it to life, and the teal paint on the bookcase backs shows them off perfectly. She even designed the fabric for the window treatment herself. Doesn’t it look like a happy place to study? I feel my brain getting bigger just looking at it.

You can read more about it on Veronica’s blog The Naked Decorator and also learn why she calls herself that … oooOOOoooh!


PS: did you guess the movie quote? The title of this post should give you a hint …




(Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

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