True Confessions, An Update

Happy Place

I don’t know how many of you remember this, but a while back I did a post entitled “True Confessions of a House Gone Bad” where I got out of bed, walked around my house, and just took a picture of each room without cleaning, styling, or otherwise trying to make it pretty.

My goal was to capture the truth. Unvarnished.

It was embarrassing, but it was also liberating. Suddenly I was able to talk to all of you about the real situation my home was in and get help and advice on what to do about it.

Best. Decision. Ever. (And THANK you.)

Well, it’s been over a year, and I thought it’d be nice to take a look and see where we’re at. What’s better, what’s worse, what’s unchanged…

So again, I didn’t clean, I didn’t style, and I didn’t compose my shots. I just went from room to room and clicked. Here’s what I saw:

Living Room:

Living Room Before & CurrentThis is one of the first rooms I worked on, with your help and advice. I completely emptied the room and worked on furniture arrangements, then I did a digital makeover to play with ideas. Of course, then real life intervened and the couch got ruined, I got a new loveseat, then an antique cabinet for Christmas. Finally, my friend Krista helped me come up with a new floor plan that included the piano, and now the room looks like this:

Living Room

I still have tons to do in here — paint, trim, plaster, slipcovers… but at least it’s not embarrassing.

Verdict: Much better!

Dining Actually Just Part of Family Room

Having the dining room here was kind of an experiment that didn’t really work. We now just have the one dining room by the kitchen that we had momentarily been calling the breakfast nook. So this is really a picture of one part of our family room.

Family Room Before & Current

Verdict: Meh. I’m glad it’s not a dining room, but it’s really not very nice, either.

Family Room:

Family Room Before & Current

This probably looks pretty familiar since I just posted some pictures of the family room the other day, when I was trying to notice the positive things instead of dwelling on the negative.

Before I moved the piano, I had slightly different furniture in here. But I’m pretty happy with the arrangement in here now.

Family RoomAgain, the next steps are lots of painting, sewing and decorating — I want a cheery palette in here (what Mr. Magpie calls “Easter Colors”). But again, it’s cozy and makes me happy for now.

Verdict: Much better!


Kitchen Before & Current

Not a lot of changes showing here. BUT, since these pictures were taken, there’s been changes, and oh boy am I excited to share them with you! Hee hee hee! 🙂

Verdict: Oh, It’s Changed… You’ll See! 🙂

(The Actual) Dining Room:

Dining Room Before & Current

It’s hard to tell here, but there has actually been quite a bit of change in the dining room. We cut our dining room table down so it would fit in here and brought back our oak chairs. I also was trying to paint the whole cabinet before Thanksgiving last year, but as you can see, I ran out of time.

BUT, I did get the fireplace wall plastered and my salvaged door painted, and so the other side of the dining room looks like this:

Dining Room

Still tons of things to do, BUT, it’s way better than before. It’s so much brighter!

Verdict: Better.

Laundry Room:

Laundry Room Before & Current

Mostly we just added shelves in here. I have a plan, but it’s not at the top of the list right now.

Verdict: Marginally Better.

Craft Room / Office:

Craft Room Before & CurrentThis room actually got way, way worse before it got to the state it’s in now. BUT, in the process I reorganized the storage in here and though it’s hard to tell, the room is functionally much better.

Plus I have a comfy place to sit when I’m doing handwork, or for family to lounge. I’m still working on this room, and I posted a whole ton of inspiration posts showing craft rooms, furniture, storage and pin boards.

For now, I’m trying to just work on this one little spot:

Office & Craft Room

Progress is being made, just very sloooooowly.

Verdict: Organizationally Better.

Office Bathroom:

Office Bathroom

Not much to say. It hasn’t changed. Except that it’s messier (luck of the draw there).

Verdict: No Change.

Master Bedroom:

Master Bedroom

Only small changes in here. I rearranged the furniture slightly, and briefly considered making this my top project (I didn’t). A few weeks ago we started building the mini-library outside the room and I loooooove that. I’ve also been steadily adding more pink into the room, and you all know that makes me happy.

Chandelier in Master BedroomAs with all the rooms, there’s a ton I want to do. Banishing all that wood trim is very high on the list. But the room isn’t on the top of the list at the moment. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, as they say. 🙂

Verdict: Mostly No Change.

Master Bathroom:

Master Bathroom

Well, it’s cleaner, anyway! 🙂

Verdict: Mostly No Change.

Rocket Boy’s Room:

Boy's Bedroom

Now, this room is pretty much always a huge mess, so it makes it really hard to tell what’s going on in here. Plus we’re still lacking a couple of storage items so again, hard to tell. BUT, we actually completely cleaned out and reorganized and rearranged this room and it’s MUCH better in terms of how we’re using the space. We’re planning to actually finish this room this summer so we can finally give my poor soon a really great room that WORKS for all his stuff.

Verdict: Better (But Hidden In the Mess!)

Baby Girl’s Room:

Girl's Bedroom

Again, hard to see with the mess, but there’s been LOTS of changes in this room! I moved her chandelier in here from Rocket Boy’s room, then started fiddling with her artwork, which made me decided to go ahead and really DO the room, starting with all new trim (moulding) and wainscoting. We’ve also been (again, sloooowly) collecting things for her room, too, like her headboard, bedding, and furniture.

Of course, along the way there have been inspiration posts and posts about how I’ve tried to work with my toddler on the design of her room.

This is one of the rooms we’re actively working on because it doubles as a guest room, and we’re expecting guests this spring!

Verdict: On It’s Way to Way Better.

Guest Bathroom:

Guest Bathroom

And yeah, remember how I said we’re having guests soon? So yeah, we might need to step up our activity in this loooooooooooooong guest room project! (Seriously, anyone remember when we first did the demo? Yes, that was nearly four years ago!!!!)

Verdict: Mostly No Change, But Stay Tuned.

WHEW! That’s a LONG post there, Nellie! But it was therapeutic for me, and I hope (HOPE) interesting for you. You can see why I said the other day that we are trying to make this dream come true “one Saturday at a time” because we have to do things in very small chunks.

But the best part for me was to see how far we’ve come, just in the last year (plus). I am always thinking we’re not getting anywhere, but we did! Sure, it’s not a lot, but it’s quite a bit considering how little time we have to work on it. It’s nice to see that we ARE making changes and we ARE getting somewhere.

I might take the time and go back to seeing how far since come since we bought the place, too. I think that might help me really start to see that things ARE different than they were before.

Thanks for hanging in there with me, messes and all!

Updated: Of course, the BIG thing you might notice in here is that we have A LOT of STUFF (you are so right, gentle readers!) It’s a source of constant frustration and we do have a major purging operation happening now, too, which is hard to show on the blog, but definitely rolling forward. We’ll never be minimalists, but we have a LOT of room to improve. As I said on my Facebook page just a few days ago, “Holy Toledo, we have a lot of stuff, Batman!”


~Angela :-)

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  1. Linden Townhouse says:

    You are so brave to do this! You are making progress! I like the way the living room looks very much. The master bedroom looks serene. It looks like you have some very nice pieces to work with. I believe that I saw two very pretty antique dressers in the other part of the family room–I love the one with the mirror. That said, and I say this as someone who leans toward minimalism, I think that you have a lot of STUFF! I really believe that streamlining your family’s possessions would make the task of organizing your home a lot easier. I do recall your last home when it was on the market. It was spare and beautiful! Do you think there are things you can let go of? Thanks for sharing, Angela!

  2. Hi
    I’m glad to see your state of mind; much better. You work and have 2 small children. I think you are doing well.
    I had 3 under the age of 3 and I learned a concept that has helped me. It may seem simplistic, but it worked for me.
    Q; How do you eat an elephant?
    A; One bite at a time!
    Sometimes, it would be 5 minutes to clean out a drawer or move a picture.
    Face it; you are totally occupied with the business of daily living.
    Company is good. Company makes you hit areas that you would just ignore.
    Hang in there! You’ll get there.

  3. Barbara H. says:

    Wow, Angela, you are such a brave woman! It seems like my house is perpetually messy and in need of cleaning, but it too has actually improved. My living room is much better and stays pretty neat – well, most of the time. And I’ve been slowly re-organizing and re-thinking, too, so the rest of the house is on its way. Unfortunately, things have to get worse so that they can get better. Your post is a great marker for how far you’ve come and I feel like I’m not alone in the mental chaos of trying to improve my space.

  4. Thank you for taking the risk to share real life with us. I think more of us deal with real life than we know! We just don’t want anyone to know it. You always inspire me – and I’ve been inspired by your photos and words. We’re in much the same situation (minus children in our home all the time). Working one Saturday at a time and sometimes ‘stealing’ a part of a day here and there. Making progress but it doesn’t seem like it until we look back and see how far we’ve really come. Can’t wait to see more.

  5. I love this post! You know I love it when people mix the pretty with the real on their blogs. Your house has come a long way. I’m totally excited to see how the kitchen is going to change.

  6. I love your house. It’s just so cozy!

  7. Working and having kids and making progress is an impossible formula for home improvements. Kudos! Baby’s room has so much more light now. Well done.

  8. HI, Angela, thanks for stopping by! Nice to hear from you and yes, I’m so excited about the house & getting to start over. Can’t wait to make it my own. So glad you are still decorating away over here. xoxo

  9. I can definitely relate to some of the before photos! I tell myself this is the spring to pull things together.

  10. i think its amazing what you have accomplished! WOWIE WOW! can’t wait to see what’s next!!! ;}
    m ^..^

  11. Wow, the before and after pics are amazing. I love when people show me their photos of rooms before they remodeled. Def makes the work much more appreciated!

  12. I love this so very much!
    Thank you for being real. 🙂

  13. Loving the fact that you have cats, they make your life better in all ways. Regards from Europe!

    • Thank you so much, Anca, and thank you for coming all the way from Europe to visit! Hee hee! ~Angela~

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