Tag: before and after

5 Ways to Update Your Space

5 ways to update affordably

My bio is true, I specialize in affordable updates. My client Sandee was so nice to let me share the changes we made in her Kitchen and Dining nook.  Her budget was tight, but that didn’t scare me because they were willing to put in a ton of work themselves, and boy did they.

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This is the vision board I presented to Sandee and her husband.


The floor was recently done and beautiful.  A few things they requested to stay were the countertops, major appliances, dining table, chairs, and light/fan.  So here is my recipe for updating this space, which can work for so many of you.

1// Cabinets

If you can and are willing, change or paint them.  I love the options at IKEA (along with their quartz countertop choices), but if that’s not in the budget, which it usually isn’t, then paint them.  Everyone needs to do it at least once in their life. And then never do it again. The transformation can be incredible and worth it.  I give all my clients a tried and true instruction sheet, just be ready for sanding, sanding, and more sanding.  It’s about a 1-2 week process.  Sandee’s aesthetic is pretty contemporary and after showing her two different color boards, she chose black.  Being the detailed (nice way to say perfectionist) person that she is, they look fabulous, especially in person.

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Kitchen Cabinets Before


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Kitchen Cabinets Before



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Kitchen Cabinets After


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Kitchen Cabinets After


2// Wall Color

This kitchen was a sea of brown to me.  Since the cabinets were now changing to black, she needed a nice white background.  Not wanting to commit to pure white, I suggested one of my favorite whites with gray undertones…SW Eider White.  Her and her husband painted it and again, it looks fabulous.  The high contrast is what makes it look so good.  We’ve all heard this before, but it’s so true…if you are willing to do it yourself, paint is the cheapest way to transform a room.

3// Backsplash

So many Texas homes come with brown tile backsplashes in the Kitchen, which can feel dark to me.  Sandee and her husband very carefully removed it and replaced it with very affordable, classic, white subway tile with white grout.  Looks so clean and fresh.  There are so many resources to help you with this (you tube, blogs, Home Depot), the price of tile and grout is so cheap that this is totally doable.

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Backsplash After


4// Window Treatments

Sandee really loves the color red, and still does, but I told her to pick a new accent color to breath some fresh air.  We decided on blue.  Goodbye red.  I first suggested replacing the blinds with custom roman shades, but that wasn’t in the budget and I’ve never successfully sewed them myself to recommend a DIY project.  So we went with Pottery Barn linen drapes in blue.  They are gorgeous!  She told me her husband helped find affordable hardware online for the unique hardware angles (instead of doing custom), and when the drapes came he ironed them.  So Cool!  She loved them so much, she also splurged to add them to the adjoining family room.

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Dining Nook Before



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Dining Nook After


5// Accessories and Art Work

This is where a designer (like me!) can really make a difference and help pull it all together.  I am very anti cluttering up above your fridge if you have empty space.  My first suggestion was to buy a pre-made upper cabinet, or the more affordable choice was a floating shelf.  I’m so glad she chose this option because it allowed for self expression with  accessories.  We went shopping at Home Goods together and I put everything that “speaks to you” in the cart.  I like to help guide, not necessarily pick, accessories so that the space reflects you not me.  Before we checked out, I re-evaluated everything with her and made sure there was balance and scale.  If there was a splurge in the space other than drapes, it would be the wool rugs.  I love them.  The art on the wall is also a favorite of mine.  The pictures were taken by her husband who is a hobby photographer, from their recent trip to Italy.  They picked their four favorites, framed them in white IKEA Riba frames, and grouped them together.  I remember looking at me funny when I said get the white frames…she was so used to black and she thought that white would wash away on the new light walls.  I told her to trust me, and luckily she did because now the art is whats showcased and not the frames.  So Lovely!

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Accessories and Above Fridge Before



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After: Accessories edited and floating shelf above fridge added


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Sandee painted her Kitchen Aid! Did you know you could do that? It was red before.


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I wish I took a closer picture of the wall art because its fabulous and original.


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New Drapes and accessories in the adjoining family room


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Here is the hard worker herself! I love this girl. And by the way, she is an amazing baker, and I’m glad she’s my friend.  The only thing she hasn’t done is add the pendant lights above the sink/bar area.  If I had a #6, it would be to update the lighting.


There you have it! 5 affordable updates everyone should and can make, especially if you are willing to do a lot of the work yourself.  IF you want to hire it out, I always suggest getting three reputable bids.

I made all of these suggestions to a friend recently who wanted to sell her house fast and for top dollar (which they did), and her only complaint was that she didn’t do it sooner to enjoy! Now if that’s not motivation, what is?!


My House- Paint and Carpet

I love my home.  It was built in 2007.  It first belonged to a neat and tidy English lady whom everyone loved on my street. Her husband passed away and she moved to California to be with family.  Meanwhile she rented it out.  For one year the renters TRASHED it, turned it into a daycare, and left it in shambles.  Summer of 2013 we stumbled across it.  At first I was disgusted, then my realtor asked me if I liked the layout.  And…I really liked the open layout.  Hmmmmm.  It had four bedrooms like I wanted, was a one story rambler, and backed up to a beautiful green space which meant privacy.  Like so many home buyers looking before me, they probably had a difficult time looking past the white-turned-brown carpets, water damaged hardwood floors, filthy walls, and bugs everywhere (someone left the back door open for a month!)…but I saw the potential. I knew it would be a smart choice because it was the worst house on the best street.  Here are some before pictures.

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Back 3 Bedrooms and Living and Dining Room Paint

So…Before moving in and replacing the carpet, my sister Lindsey and I painted all the bedroom walls and ceilings.  I wanted a warm gray, so I chose Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore.  I had to decide fast and although it’s a beautiful color, I still think it’s too dark for me.  There is only one window in each of the bedrooms, so not much natural light comes in.  So we also painted the ceilings to help with add more reflective light.  It felt so good adding a fresh coat of paint on those filthy walls.  I even added a fresh coat of paint on the baseboards.  I’m glad we did this before we got new carpets because a whole gallon of paint spilled and we did nothing but laugh!  The Revere Pewter looks really good in the front Dining/Living room because there are lots of windows and natural light.  Again, I like this color, I don’t love it.  I wish I had joined the white paint train instead but almost three years later and the thought of repainting exhausts me.  Now you see my lazy side.

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My sister Lindsey aka “The work horse”. She helped me paint every inch of my house. This room has the Revere Pewter paint and white ceilings.

Master Bedroom Paint

I wanted to paint my bedroom a different color, so I went with one of my favorites, Wickham Gray by Benjamin Moore. I.Love.This.Color.  It’s the epitome of fresh, yet so neutral.  We painted the ceiling as well.  Remember, all of this painting happened in one week because we were getting new carpet.

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This is the master bedroom with Wickham Gray on the walls and white ceilings. Ready for new carpet!



Then, we got new carpet.  I chose a low pile with a gray-brown color.  I love the color to this day.  But I do wish I chose an even lower pile, something more interesting with a square pattern, but at the time I was being very money conscience. Lowe’s has this Stainmaster lowpile that I still think about today.


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Main Corridor Paint

My sisters and mom were in town one week, and we pulled together and painted the main corridor of my house which includes the entryway and hallway that leads to the kitchen, dining nook, and great room.  I almost went white but chickened out at the last minute.  I then chose a Sherwinn Williams color called Eider White.  It’s white with a hint of gray.  I really do love this one.  I’m glad I went with a little shade of color.  This time, I enlisted my husband to paint the ceilings white.  If you have ever painted ceilings before, you’ll probably never do it again.  It’s awful hard on your body, but totally worth it!

Just by changing the carpet, and painting almost every square inch of this house, it began to feel like me.  It went from dark terra-cotta tuscan, to fresh and modern.  I probably spent about $500 on paint and supplies.  Small price to pay for such a HUGE difference and to personalize the space.  Stay tuned for a video and pictures of the AFTER for the main corridor and all the spaces in my house.  Keep in mind I did everything myself and on a next to nothing budget.

BEFORE Sept. 20013 (Phillip and my relator, going over purchasing papers)

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