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One Year Later – what we’ve done with the house

    One of the things that made us so excited about our new house – besides the private, expansive lot and location in a great town near some of our closest friends – was the potential to add our style. So many houses we looked at had already been updated to sell and while most buyers would be excited about not having to do a bunch of work in their new house, that was the opposite of our desire.

    While we were not looking for a major fixer-upper, we were on the hunt for a house that needed a cosmetic makeover. We knew right away when we saw this one online that it was the perfect house for us (read the story of how we found it here and a full tour of the before here).

    You’ve likely heard me say this before, but we are approaching this house makeover in phases. If our budget allowed, we’d love to just tear it all apart and put it back together as we see it in our imaginations … but, that’s not our real life. And so we’re moving along at a pace that works for our family, our time and our bank account.

    Over the past year, we did tackle a few major projects and lots of little diy’s.

    There are times when I look around the house and feel annoyed that we haven’t done more and then I really think about it and realize we’ve actually accomplished a lot. So this post is to share all the progress we’ve made over the past year with you, but also as a reminder to me that we’ve come a long way!

    Here’s a collection of before and afters, progress photos and mini-makeovers we’ve done in our house this year.


    In the entry, we painted the walls and ceiling (Shoji White by Sherwin Williams) and the trim, doors and banister (Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams). We swapped out the ceiling lights with simple drum shade flush mounts which really modernized the space.

    Here’s the post all about the phase one entry updates.

    We painted the banister (such a great transformation!) and replaced the carpet on the stairs. I can’t wait to swap out the front door to let in more light and bring wood floors throughout the whole main floor. I think that will really create cohesion from room to room.


    The living room is such a good before and after.

    We decided to go moody and dark on the walls (Ancestral by Behr), trim and mantle (Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams). I hand-painted the tile with a graphic pattern to add a punch and love it every time I walk by.

    Here’s the post about how I painted the tiles.

    On the other side of the room is a piano and opening to the dining room, which has yet to be touched :)


    Off the entry to the right is a small office that Ryan uses. It previously had large built-in desks and bookshelves that dwarfed the size of the room, so we pulled them out and added in a smaller scaled desk and bookshelves.


    We were not planning on making any changes to the kitchen until we do a big, total remodel (aka. tearing it all out and switching the footprint of the room), but on night one, we couldn’t help ourselves and a mini makeover ensued.

    This mini makeover consisted of painting the walls (Shoji White by Sherwin Williams), cabinets and trim (Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams), changing out the hardware, adding a few extra can lights, swapping out the sink and faucet and replacing the upper cabinets with open shelves.

    The changes were low-budget and high impact. I’m so glad we did an in-between makeover to make us enjoy living and using the kitchen as it is now rather than waiting for the complete dream makeover to come.

    Here’s the post about the kitchen makeover.


    Off the kitchen is a little window-less bathroom. The walls were deep red when we moved in and was the first thing in the house to get paint.

    I painted the vanity, added crazy botanical wallpaper, switched out the mirror and added a few accessories and it’s a whole new room.

    Here’s the post about the bathroom makeover.


    The family room is our most used room and it hadn’t been touched until just a few months ago. I finally painted the walls and trim (same as the rest of the house) which really cleaned up the space.

    We have such great plans for this room – ceiling beams, new light fixture, built-ins, wood floors – and I can’t wait to get it to be the statement space we imagine it to be.

    Here’s the post about the family room updates.


    Upstairs, we replaced all of the carpet and trim and painted the walls and ceiling (you guessed it: Shoji White by Sherwin Williams). The trim hasn’t been caulked and painted yet and the light switch/outlet covers are still off. But we’re 80% complete with the upstairs bedrooms, so that’s a win.

    More about what we did with the dormer window.

    little girl's collage wall


    The middle boys share a room with bunkbeds and two big closets. We still have a few details to add – painting that trim, adding window coverings and some closet organization. I’ll do a real reveal when we get a little closer to finished.


    step stool bedside table

    Our bedroom hasn’t received much attention other than the walls, carpet, trim and new light fixture. Our mattress is on the floor and I’m using a step stool as a night stand for now. Someday we’ll get real furniture.

    Details about our room here.


    When we moved in, the third floor was one large open space with a stairwell in the center. We decided to split it up, add walls and create a bedroom on one side and hangout room for the kids on the other.

    Here’s the post about the third floor hangout room.


    attic boys room outdoors

    Through a doorway off the hangout room is our oldest son’s room that we also use a guest room with friends and family come to stay. It is so nice to have a queen bed to offer guests and our 13 year old is not complaining about it either :)

    attic bedroom

    We have some decorating to do in here and sliding barn doors need to be finished for the closet and entrance. I’ll keep you posted when we get those up!


    Above the garage was a big storage space that was a dream come true for us. We wanted a house with room for a home office and this space was perfect.

    We finished the walls, added vinyl floors and trim, put in a wall of desks and moved our big dining room table to the center of the room for added work space.

    It is so bright and quiet and visually inspiring for me and a great addition to our home.

    Here’s the post about finishing the studio and another about how I decorated it for summer.

    I guess we really have done a lot this year!

    It’s fun to look at all of the progress and appreciate the hard work that has gone in to making our house right for us. Of course we have a million ideas and plans and I’m looking forward to seeing how those play out in the years to come.

    Any questions about sources or need help finding posts that cover these spaces? Let me know in the comments!

    62 thoughts on “One Year Later – what we’ve done with the house”

    1. Hi Emily,
      Beautiful home and lovely design choices overall! Just an idea for an inexpensive window treatment to consider To diminish the ” arched windows.”: buy neutral- colored matchstick blinds and hang to height of curtain rods . “roll up the shade” to a height that is “visually pleasing”to the overall appearance of room. Super design trick with not much expense or effort! Combined with your dark trim and light walls, it would be fresh and hide the ” arched” window detail!

    2. It’s just beautiful! The shoji white looks like a pretty white. I have seen it in pics where it doesn’t look white at all. I’m so confused. What is your take on it? Does it feel white to you?

    3. Have you been to the salvage yard in South Tacoma for your barn doors? That’s where I found mine! Extra wide, and the original painting (on one side at least) was perfect.

    4. Hi! I am wondering about your white paint color. You mentioned in a post about picking your white paint that you chose White Heron by SAW, but in this post you only mention Shoji White. Did you switch paint colors?

      Btw, we’re neighbors! I just a house in Woodinville, WA. It is also surrounded by trees and in need of a major cosmetic upgrade. We are working on it bit by bit, just like you! Keep the inspiration comin’!

    5. Oh my gosh. You have quite a gift! And I want those sectionals all over my house now! One question. In your oivingroom younhave a rug on rug. I have tried that and haven’t had any luck with oadding that will keep the too rug from ‘walking’. Any suggestions?

    6. Hi Emily. Did you ever write a post on setting up a “real” paper binder to hold your swatches, receipts, and inspirations? Or was it all done with your phone and Pinterest? I prefer hardcopies and wanted your thoughts on putting one together. Thanks.

    7. Emily ~ you are amazing! The funny thing is…THIS would be my finished project! Love it all. I started a makeover of A room and STILL have not completed it (a year later!) and I only have a 1200 square-foot home!!! I want to thank you for always keeping it real. You are intentional about replying to your posts…you willingly and thoughtfully share your links…you shop at Target (the best!)…and get me thinking outside the box. Whenever I look at a room or space…I visualize and think “what would Emily do?” I am grateful for your blog ~ for the inspiration that you are and the “friend” that you have become. God bless you and your family!

    8. Hi Emily, you are really bringing this house up to it’s potential. This is a dream to those who want a house with good bones and layout but want their own personal stamp, I love all your projects,but my heart belongs to the kitchen.

    9. Wow, what a transformation! Love the color you chose for the trim and how it ties into the mantel and other features of your home.

    10. I was scrolling through this post, admiring all the lovely changes you have made over the last year, when my 6 year old plopped down beside me. He said, “that house is so cool!,” which I thought was amusing since he isn’t usually too aesthetically focused. I prodded just a bit to see why he thought so. Much to my surprise, he said “it’s just so cool with all that white, black, and gray, and it just really looks stylish.” 😂 So thanks for continuing to inspire me with your house updates, and who knows, maybe you’re also helping cultivate a future generation of renovators as well!

    11. Your home is beautiful! Can you please share where you got your kitchen mat by the sink? I’m looking for one that is neutral and will go with the striped tea towels that I bought from jones design company that I love! Thank you!

    12. Emily, you are such an inspiration. I have always loved everything about this blog space. You have an incredible eye for design and I especially love that you keep it real and do it all in a realistic way. Thank you for sharing this with your readers. You have created such a lovely space for your family. So much to be proud of.

    13. I’d love to hear about your decision to pain the doors and trim (I love it) and we often look at homes that look similar to this. I love the look of the dark trim. I’d have never thought of it. and It has opened my eyes to think bigger as we walk thru homes to buy. Did you have them professionally sprayed? with kids does it hold up well? What color did you choose? Second question, since you removed most of the upper cabinets in your kitchen, do you run out of space? or have you learned an art of pairing down? Like what is in your kitchen? (what lives where? Help me think in a grander way.
      Emily, i’m so grateful the Lord has gifted you with an eye for this sort of thing, because i have been blessed by your gift and learn from you often. It has made my life richer. Thank you for sharing it! hugs to you sister!

    14. Your house is beautiful! I would love to know the sources for your throw pillows, especially the textured white ones on the family room and third floor couches. Thank you!

      1. Most of the time I like to the sources at the end of specific posts, so you can always check on those posts for links. But, let me make it easy on you and say that the textured pom pom one on the family room couch is from Target, the X pillows are from CB2 and the textured pillows up on the third floor are also from target.

    15. I love it all!
      Quick question…how does your house feel on all those gray rainy WA days? I’m asking because though we live in California our house does not get a ton of natural light inside (low rambling ranch style home). I’m thinking of painting our kitchen cabinets a dark color but then I’m afraid it will be too dark. I know it will look good if there it is painted dark but I’m wondering how it feels.

      1. Our house definitely feels dark – mainly because we are surrounded by trees and the sun doesn’t make its way into our windows very often. The dark cabinets do feel dark, but I think it is the dark gray tile floor that bothers me the most. I can’t wait to see how things feel with a warm wood floor everywhere and see how much that brings warmth to the house.

    16. I love your home! You’ve done a great deal of work! May you always feel blessed living there! The pillow in your husband’s office…Is that goat artwork by Vicki Sawyer?

      1. Thank you Ashley! We do feel thankful for the house.

        That goat pillow was a random find on and I don’t know who the artist is. But I’d sure love to know!

      1. It was just an extra storage space. No heating or air conditioning, but the walls and ceiling is insulated.

        Because we don’t have severe weather, we have been just fine with a portable heater in the winter and portable A/C in the summer (although we really didn’t use the A/C much this summer).

    17. Thank you so much for sharing a progress post like this! I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the things that I would love to change or update about my house, so it is nice to read about someone else who is struggling with wanting to do everything at once. And it is also encouraging to see what you have been able to do with small changes!

    18. Hi neighbor!

      Such beautiful transformations in such a short amount of time – you have been busy!! I love the changes. You have definitely inspired change in my own kitchen. I am running with the mini makeover concept right now until we can really do the overhaul we want to do! Who says it has to be perfect right now? It can still be beautiful in the meantime 😊

    19. Amazing-love it all! Those grays make it so peaceful. I want that big sectional of yours it looks perfect cozy but with classic clean lines-2018 goals

    20. I love the changes you have made in your home in just one year! It is truly lovely! Could you post the colours of paint you used in your home? i

      1. Colors are pretty easy since there are just four :)
        All the white is Shoji White by Sherwin Williams
        The gray on the kitchen cabinets and trim is Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams
        The living room is painted Ancestral by Behr (a moody green/gray)
        The third floor is painted Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore.

    21. Diana | Dahlias and Dimes

      You’ve done an incredible job in only a year!! It looks like you’ve truly made it a place that fits your family perfectly. Nice job :)

    22. It is really amazing how much your have done in the last year. Such a beautiful home. Good thing you have a blog to look back and see just how much you have done ;) I love the 1 year later pic of the entry, the scale of the black dresser is perfect for that space. Keep it up! Can’t wait to see more. :D

    23. Wow! I absolutely love your style and am so amazed how much you got done in just one year!!! Thanks as always for the inspiration, Emily!

    24. Your updates look great! I am on the hunt for bookshelves like the ones in Ryan’s office–do you recall where they are from?

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