I have mentioned numerous times that we have been renovating since we bought this house seven years ago.  I like to keep it simple and tell people that we have been renovating FOREVER, which is what it feels like.

I highlighted our laundry room a few weeks ago and now that another room is pretty much complete (Go Honey!) I thought it was time to post some more photos.

First, a bit of history.

We moved into this house in the spring of 2001.  The first room(s) we thought we would tackle were the kitchen and living room combo.  We live in a split-level house (Ah, the Seventies) and so the kitchen and living room are basically on their own floor.

In the kitchen the cupboards were oak, the floors were a nasty linoleum and there was a half-framed-in “dining room”.  The living room had blue carpet, faded white walls and some nasty Seventies paneling on the wall dividing the two rooms.

I would scan photos from then but I have more than enough photos lined up for the second makeover we gave the room.  Plus, I’m lazy.

We (Matthew) knocked out the wall, built new cupboards and an island. We (again, Matthew) turned the big picture window in the front of the house into a bay window with a window seat (because I had always wanted one of those).

The kitchen/living room combo was now referred to by the official name of The Great Room.

When we first moved here we were huge fans of log homes and so we made the walls look like they were the inside of a log home. After the room was complete, I forbade Matthew from doing the same to any of our other rooms because HOLY WOOD OVERLOAD, BATMAN.  We have done wainscoting or wood beams in the rest of the rooms.

My dislike for the wood on the walls grew greater and stronger until I finally beat Matthew into submission Honey saw my vision and agreed with it.

Before I show you the “Before” photos (which are technically also “After” photos), I need to make some disclaimers as to the qualities of the shots:

1. I was walking out the door to spend the day at the beach with the kids when Matthew mentioned that he was going to start tearing the wood down.

2. I was too lazy to set up the tripod and take proper shots because the kids were yelling at me to HURRY UP AND TAKE THEM TO THE BEACH ALREADY.

3. I thought I would add my wide-angle attachment (which I had never used)(which also should have be used with a tripod), and though I could see that the shots were not what I wanted it was TIME TO GO.

4. You will at least get an idea of the old look.

Without further adieu, BEFORE:

That would be Matthew hiding behind Emily’s Little People doll house. That would be Emily on the coffee table.  Matthew built it when we first redid the room but he now hates it and plans to build a new one.  We will be offering it for free, to a good home.

Take a look at the hearth.  The blond brick has to be the most boring shade of brick on the planet. The fireplace itself consisted of some nasty brass and you can’t see from the distance, but there were hummingbirds etched in the glass.  Classy.

I should point out that the wood floors are not laminate.  They are real wood from a mill, which Matthew installed, sanded and coated.  He is amazing.

Here I am panning left.

Wood!  Wood everywhere! Nobody light a match!

Now the view into the kitchen:

That’s my Step Mom at the sink.  She was visiting to help with the kids as I left for BlogHer the next day.

Are you ready for the “After” photos?  I sure was. Here they are:

Matthew bought special paint and covered the brass.  He also had new glass cut.  Good-bye, hummingbirds!

Matthew did all  of that rock work himself.  The alcove that was on the left before was completely useless. We bought the shelves from IKEA and Matthew built the rock around it.  I need to add a few more photos on the right shelf above the wood but I always take forever to decide what should be included.  I do know that I will hang a large print off this year’s family photo above the chair on the left, once we actually take said photo.

Panning left, we have the bay window.  Nothing has changed, but thought you’d like to see the pine trees out the window.

We really do live in the sticks.

Panning further left we get the armoire that Matthew built.  It houses a TV and other electronics.

I haven’t finished deciding what to decorate the shelves with, but you get the idea.  The walls on either side house 16×20 prints of this photo and that one.

Panning left again we have the dining area. The chairs are from Pier One but the table is the oak one we got as a hand-me-down from Matthew’s parents when we moved here. He just bought the wood to build a new table. Woo!

The final pan to the left:

I think that the whole room is so much brighter now that the paneling is off of the walls. It also seems less tacky.

I also think that the room finally lives up to its name of The Great Room.

My favourite part is the hearth.  It is no secret that I hate winter, but with the fire roaring, a good book and a hot cocoa (or hot toddy) in hand, I think I could be pretty cozy there.

Care to join me?

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  1. anji September 7, 2008 2:18 pm edit

    tons better! (or tonnes, as a good canadian should write!)

    were you able to recycle the wood you took down for anything? I try to reuse wood as often as we can around here… as long as it isn’t rotting, hehe… sometimes we end up making two or three different objects out of the same wood… hubby is downstairs as we speak, recycling some wood (again!)

    Looks great!

    anji’s last blog post..Almost done!

  2. angella September 7, 2008 2:21 pm edit


    Yes, Matthew is a “wood man”. He has a huge shop where he stores it all – he never throws out wood either. It will be used eventually…or given to friends who can use it :)

  3. Rhi September 7, 2008 2:58 pm edit

    It’s gorgeous! Now, please invite me over for dinner…

    Rhi’s last blog post..Friday Bullets: Different Area Codes Edition

  4. Victoria September 7, 2008 2:59 pm edit

    oooh lovely!!!

    Victoria’s last blog post..Think About It

  5. Hannah September 7, 2008 3:00 pm edit

    Well, I think it looked beautiful before (I love wood!) but it looks amazing afterwards too. Great job, Matthew!!!!

    Hannah’s last blog post..Our weekend

  6. dayna September 7, 2008 3:05 pm edit

    It didn’t look horrible before, but it definitely looks better and brighter now! Go Matthew!

    dayna’s last blog post..Serious Writer’s Block

  7. Jen September 7, 2008 3:26 pm edit

    Looks great Ange! I love the stone around the fireplace. :)

    Jen’s last blog post..Fallen

  8. Secret Agent Mama September 7, 2008 3:31 pm edit

    While I liked the before just fine, the after is quite remarkable.

    Kudos to you guys for all your hard work! It’s paid off and it shows.

    P.S. The light on the day you shot 1st picture after the armoire was awesome!

    Secret Agent Mama’s last blog post..Weekly Winners XXXXIII

  9. teresa September 7, 2008 3:39 pm edit

    Very beautiful. I love the hearth too.

    teresa’s last blog post..The junk drawer

  10. Rachel Joy September 7, 2008 3:46 pm edit

    I totally love it! The armoire is stellar. We have something similar that my hubby made to match bookshelves that our friend made, but yours is way cool.

    Rachel Joy’s last blog post..Savvy Mom!

  11. joyce September 7, 2008 4:21 pm edit

    It’s UNBELIEVABLE!!! I think the now less woodiness makes it look much more modern, but still classic and cozy. The fireplace is incredible. Your husband deserves a long massage for that work!

    joyce’s last blog post..a place for everything, and everything in it’s place

  12. Heidi F September 7, 2008 4:27 pm edit

    That fireplace is FANTASTIC. Matt deserves the “Honey Of The Year” award for sure!

  13. Sharon September 7, 2008 4:29 pm edit

    Wow – that looks incredible! In front of the fireplace would definitely be my favourite spot too!

    Sharon’s last blog post..Friday Love List: Fill in the blanks edition

  14. witchypoo September 7, 2008 4:48 pm edit

    Honey is definitely a keepah! Love the armoire too.

    witchypoo’s last blog post..Pimpathon

  15. Kate September 7, 2008 4:57 pm edit

    Matthew did a GREAT job! I love the feel of your home, classic yet comfortable. Beautiful!

  16. sizzle September 7, 2008 5:02 pm edit

    Your house is so open and lovely.

    sizzle’s last blog post..A New Opportunity

  17. Andrea September 7, 2008 8:10 pm edit

    I really like it! I agree with an earlier commentor: modern yet classic.
    I’m big on light… Someday my dream is to live in a loft-type apartment with big tall windows. Oh, and sky lights also. I love natural lighting. Living in Alaska was tough for me!
    Your great room is just gorgeous with the sunshine coming in – I love the way the wood gleams from the light hitting it. I think your husband made a great choice with the colors and the design!

    I happen to love hot chocolate and fireplaces too. A visit in perhaps February? :)


    Andrea’s last blog post..Sunday Cleaning

  18. slynnro September 7, 2008 8:15 pm edit
  19. Amanda Brown September 7, 2008 8:48 pm edit

    I love it, I love it, I love it.

    Amanda Brown’s last blog post..Round

  20. Michele September 7, 2008 11:53 pm edit

    I’ve always wanted a bay window too!!! I LOVE everything you, (and Matthew) have done – it is beautiful!

  21. K September 8, 2008 6:01 am edit

    Your home is very beautiful and Matthew is a very skilled carpenter! You are so very blessed.

    K’s last blog post..headache

  22. Maria September 8, 2008 6:22 am edit

    Your house is gorgeous!!

    Maria’s last blog post..The Barometer of My Ever Increasing Filth

  23. ali September 8, 2008 6:48 am edit

    it’s got such a warm cottage-y feel! i love it!

  24. Elaine September 8, 2008 7:00 am edit

    Absolutely gorgeous and yes! so much brighter!! Your home is just lovely Angella! And… that is ONE talented husband you have there! WOW!

    Elaine’s last blog post..Family Time, It’s SO NOT Overrated

  25. hills September 8, 2008 8:42 am edit

    It looks gorgeous. I love your window seat!

    hills’s last blog post..ABC 123 Baby You And Me Girl – Part 4

  26. Jennifer, Playgroups are no place for children September 8, 2008 8:58 am edit

    It’s gorgeous!! I’m so impressed!

    I’ll take you up on that toddy, too!

    Jennifer, Playgroups are no place for children’s last blog post..The hills really ARE alive with The Sound of Music

  27. Jazz September 8, 2008 9:25 am edit

    It looks fantastic…..

  28. gorillabuns September 8, 2008 9:30 am edit

    Your house makes me realize, I need to polish my floors stat! Actually, cleaning my house would be good for starters.

  29. bethany actually September 8, 2008 10:09 am edit

    I am very impressed by the new rock around the fireplace!

    bethany actually’s last blog post..30 moments hath September: 1 through 6

  30. Anna September 8, 2008 10:38 am edit

    I would join you in a heart beat! It is cozy and inviting!
    Matthew is one handy man! You have a keeper for sure. Well I knew he was already. Your love for him beams through in nearly every post. He is also one lucky man!

    Anna’s last blog post..Pain in the heel

  31. Heather September 8, 2008 12:21 pm edit

    Beautiful! My house is also a 70s split-level, but was renovated before I bought it. Phew! I don’t have a Honey to rectify such problems. My only issue is how to arrange all the living room furniture.

  32. The Over-Thinker September 8, 2008 5:54 pm edit

    I am absolutely drooooooling. My favorite shot is the one under “final pan to the left”……..me love you long time if you gimme-it!

    The Over-Thinker’s last blog post..We can put a man on the moon…but Hollywood can’t make a decent looking fake tattoo!!

  33. Kami September 8, 2008 6:05 pm edit

    I think it looks great both before and after. Matthew is a talented man, you are a lucky lady. Not that I am telling you anything you don’t know!


    Kami’s last blog post..Because I’ve got nothing else to post about….

  34. Mrs. Wilson September 8, 2008 6:42 pm edit


    I would LOVE to check out your house … maybe a play date? Tomorrow? Oh wait, that won’t work … you live TOO FAR AWAY!

    Mrs. Wilson’s last blog post..Saturday

  35. monstergirlee September 8, 2008 8:40 pm edit

    I like it alot! And I Love the fireplace – wow. Rustic without being over the top. Nicely done kids!

    monstergirlee’s last blog post..Random Stuff

  36. Jules September 8, 2008 9:01 pm edit

    I thought that the before pictures were great, but the after pictures are even more splendid. Love the fire place!
    So now, where did you get the stones from? ‘Cause I think i see my next fire place….. when we eventually start renovating…. 200 years from now. I tend to procrastinate a bit. *sigh*

    Jules’s last blog post..Boys…………

  37. Audrey Jung September 9, 2008 8:26 am edit

    you have a beyoooooooootiful house!

  38. Moose September 9, 2008 10:54 am edit

    Wow! You live in a catalogue!

    Looks beautiful.

    Moose’s last blog post..You Can’t Fight City Hall

  39. Tracee Sioux September 9, 2008 11:24 am edit

    I want to invite you and your readers, personally, to send photos of your empowered daughters to be Poster Girls on the Empowering Girls site.

    We’ll use them in the header and as cover art. We’re fighting negative media with positive media.

    The details here: http://traceesioux.blogspot.com/2008/09/poster-girl-send-photos-of-your-girls.html

    Tracee Sioux’s last blog post..1st PosterGirl – Hannah

  40. Elisa September 9, 2008 1:15 pm edit

    wow, what a gorgeous room! you are totally hosting the next blogroll brunch ;-)

    Elisa’s last blog post..help! I’m Paris Hilton!

  41. Ernesta Rossi September 10, 2008 7:02 am edit

    Hi Angella,
    I came across this post quite by accident, but glad I did. Your reno is stunning! Enjoy! (and thanks for inspiring me to get my rear in gear for a few small jobs around my roost!)

  42. Kristabella September 10, 2008 6:37 pm edit

    Yes, I’ll come!

    It looks great! Honey is amazingly talented! Is that weird I called him Honey? I should have just called him Matthew.

    Kristabella’s last blog post..Bacon Crashes My Pity Party

  43. San Antonio Lawyer September 14, 2008 5:04 am edit

    Oh my God! If I have a house like that, or given a chance I could live at a house like that, I swear I’m not gonna out anymore! That’s is really gorgeous!!!

    San Antonio Lawyer’s last blog post..Get Assistance From Lawyers That Care NOW!

  44. mitch of garden furniture September 19, 2008 12:28 am edit

    Your house is sooo beautiful! I love the wood and the fireplace is really gorgeous.

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