Archive for the ‘before after’ Category

So I had this Ikea Lack shelf sitting in my garage for the longest time and it didn’t even occur to me that perhaps I could use it in my house for some extra storage… especially all the kids books that were piling up all around the house (man those kids like their books!).   I previously used this Ikea shelf in my children’s store “babycheeks” but moved it out and into my garage about a year ago.  It’s really plain and SCREAMS Ikea so I pretty much steered clear of it until… I came across this photo:

and was stopped in my tracks!  Immediately I grabbed my hubby and asked him to haul that baby inside and got working away on it immediately.  And here’s what I came up with:

I know… not nearly as glamorous as my inspiration photo but not too bad considering its full of the kids books, coloring supplies and artwork, and its great that it’s all accessible to them and they can just help themselves.  What you can’t see is that right in front of this bookcase is the kids table and chairs set where Lily sits for hours and hours each day coloring, drawing or reading while singing to herself.  What I wouldn’t give to spend just a moment in her perfect little world!  Anyhow, here’s a quick before and after of our living room so you can get a better idea:

Soon I will working on a little overhaul to our living room so this bookshelf will probably change again.

Inspiration photo from MA Belle.  Pop in and check out the rest of her beautiful home. 


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So finally, I am getting around to posting the photos of my 2-year-old (almost 3) niece, Rachel’s, bedroom.  Originally I was not happy with the photos I took, so I went back recently and – the room but was then still not happy with the photos.  Gosh, its definitely a challenge trying to photograph a space especially when I have no experience doing so.  Hence, the “take a photography course” on the goal list.  Anyhow, the photos ended up turning out just OK, I guess good enough to finally share them with you.

So onto the story of the room.  I was given the same budget as Sarah’s room of $1,000 and quickly worked away at finding the perfect fabric that we can use as the inspiration for the entire room.  Unlike Sarah’s, I did not want to go with soft and pretty, I preferred a little bit more punches of color and fun things for this energetic and happy little girl.  And after ordering many many MANY swatches of fabrics online I finally found the exact one!  Take a look at the drapes, the whole room was designed around this particular print.   After this, the room came together very easily and in a very short period of time.  You can see listed below are all the great finds I bought from Etsy (my go to shopping site) and do want to share with you that Apartment Therapy’s kids site, Ohdeedoh, played a huge part in the design inspiration.   I would love to hear your comments so please don’t be shy!

There you have it.  Many of the beautiful items seen in the room were purchased from Etsy… of course!

Pink Monster Pillow from Cranky Pants Knits

Keep Calm and Carry on Postcard from Lilly and Coco

Little Dreamer print from Trafalgar Square

Just Like Me little girl from Little Bit Funky

Owl Drawstring Bag Tutorial by Winter Peach

Perfect Pear Pillow from My Dear Darling

7 Piece Pom Pom set from Orange Kisses

Black Paper Cutout Letter from Papercutdiecut

I also have to mention that many of the items were hand-made by myself :  the doll bedding, peg family, fabric flower garland, trinket shelf, porcelain red and white mushrooms, LOVE bean bags, throw & floor pillows,  bird house, wall photo blocks, and hair clip frame.

Update – since first creating this post I have enrolled myself into a photography class which I’m still in the midst of.  So much to learn and loving every minute of it!  And happy to be out of auto and into manual mode now.  2 fist pumps for me!  So I make this serious promise to you all that from this point on my photos will be nothing less than perfect (hopefully).


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YAY!  It’s finally done!  After a few months (seems longer!) of rainy dreary weather I was finally able to finish the backyard patio.  I actually finished it a few weeks ago but just got around to photographing it.  When dreaming up the design, I wanted to make sure that it had a bright and cheerful mood, with lots of greenery and pops of color.  Of course it had to be child friendly, be easy for entertaining and wanted to make sure this rather small space was maximized to its full potential.  I am pretty happy with the results and loved that the entire makeover came in under $500.  So have a peek and let me know what you think. 

Now we can sit back and relax and the enjoy the sun.  The kids are loving it and it’s where we now spend most of our days.  See below for the breakdown of my costs. 

 Click here for more before pictures. 

And here’s the breakdown of what we spent:

  1. soil – $25
  2. shrubs – $60 (We bought the 3 white planter boxes a few years ago at the Vancouver Caban closing out sale for a REALLY good deal)
  3. herb garden – $24 (I already had the green planter.  We decided on rosemary, basil, chives, thyme and italian parsley… yum!)
  4. power washer rental – $45 (it definitely needed a good scrub down first)
  5. 3 piece bistro set – $169
  6. fabric & notions – $10 (I used a lot of scrap fabric that I had from previous projects)
  7. pillow inserts – $36 (6 @ $6 each at Ikea)
  8. green garden side table – $39 (at Homesense)
  9. lounger cushion – free! (had this stuffed away in my closet)
  10. bistro cushions – $6 ($3 each at Jysk)
  11. woven table runners – $12 (from Jysk)

grand total: $427.  Not too bad.  See more after photos here

I was hoping to purchase an outdoor area carpet and some artwork for the blue wall but have yet to stumble upon something that’s just right.  So for now, this is as complete as it will get, but still a million times better.  And now onto my next room redo… quick and easy Laundry room makeover here we come!   

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Well, here it is!  My little 1 hour turned 2 day project.  But well worth the wait.  Heres the before again:


So much cuter now!  See more before pictures here.

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Last weekend my Mom, Lily and I went for a girls morning out to our local flea market on the search for some good finds.  I stumbled upon this little stool that would be perfect for the kids room re-do.  It needs a complete overhaul but it was in great shape and liked that the top actually opens up and thought it would be a perfect place for the kids to store those little hidden treasures.  And not to mention, I could probably have it looking brand new in under 2 hours.  Gotta love those easy projects.  So I picked it up for the full asking price of $5 and off I went.  Here’s the before pics.

And today I started ripping it apart and probably would have gotten it all done while my little jungle boy (Ethan) was napping but first ran out of staples and then my white spray paint can got clogged.  So that was it for today.  Off I go to the Home Depot tomorrow for more supplies!  I will keep you posted!

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Recently my sister approached me and asked to help her re design her 2 little girls rooms.  Sarah just a 6 month old baby 2 and a half year old Rachel.   Both rooms were a completely blank slate, white walls, white furniture, no personality.  They moved into their new house 1 year ago and have decorated the rest of the home, but left the girls rooms for last and now she had run out of steam and inspiration.  So that’s where I stepped in.  And as we spoke more about what we could do, she became confident that I understood her vision and left me with a budget of $1,000 per room (not including drapery and main furniture) and asked that I keep it all as a  surprise for her.  Wow… what a great challenging opportunity!  I jumped on that right away without any hesitation.   So here’s Sarah’s room before:

So the only thing she asked was no typical Pottery Barn Kids room (no offense Pottery Barn!).  She wanted eclectic, fresh, colorful and maybe a little soft and pretty shabby chic.  So where did I head first?  Straight to Apartment Therapy’s 0hdeedoh for all my inspiration.  I spent hours going through pages and pages of room tours and started collecting ideas.  Soon, in my head I had a vision and theme for each of the girls  rooms.  I was so excited to put everything together and see if I could actually make it functional for her little ones AND look good.   After 3 months of collecting and hard work, here’s how it looks now:

Here are some of the items (mostly from Etsy) used in the room:

Black Paper Cutout Letter from Papercutdiecut

Dainty Cuckoo Clock in pink from Callaghan Art Gallery

Just Chillin Paper Butterfly Pack and Wedding White Paper Butterflies from Jaime Mancilla

Mini Fabric Bunting from Knotted Nest

Owl Drawstring Bag Tutorial by Winter Peach

Paper and Wire Cow Sculpture from Boo Kee Sue

And I do have to admit that the fabulous book rack is from Pottery Barn Kids… just couldn’t help myself!

Hanging Hot Air Balloon Mobile from Hanging Mobile Gallery

And some of the items like the wood building blocks, fir wood shelf, rag quilt, wall hooks, framed hair clip holder, and the many colorful throw pillows were all made by myself.

Watch for Rachel’s toddler room makeover to be posted soon.

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We have been working on our not so lovely yard lately in hopes of it becoming a place that we spend most of our days with the kids this summer.  The last few years we didn’t do much with it since we ended up spending most of our time either at the beach or I was at work (sad truth).  But this year, I have vowed to my hubby that since it has such good bones, it’s so lush and green and has so much potential and with a little hard work and a small budget it could be glorious once again.  Now’s the time, especially since Ethan is now 2 years old we need a place for him to explore and keep his constant curiosity busy.  And by golly… maybe we will even entertain back there this year!

So here is the before pictures for you to see.  I have tons of great money-saving ideas which I hope to make happens over the next few weeks.  enjoy!

Note the completely overgrown garden on the right hand side, beach ball and all!

Here’s the view looking out from our patio/seating area.

This is Lily in her rubber boots with her friend the garden gnome.  His favorite thing to do is go down the slide! (or at least that’s what she thinks).

Ethan finding some new friends of his own.

Stay tuned for the after pictures!

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