Before and After

LAST UPDATED: Jan 02, 2021 | PUBLISHED: Mar 16, 2019 | By:

It’s fun to reflect on all we’ve accomplished. Life isn’t always before and afters, but my do they feel good, even if they just show progress.

As our home has evolved this before and after post has, too! I like to update it each spring sharing new projects and decor.

take a tour of Julie Blanner's home that celebrates everyday life

It’s been 5 years since we moved to our Tudor style home in St. Louis. While it wasn’t our dream home, it has become home and I love it more and more everyday. Over the past couple of years we’ve done a lot of projects, big and small to adapt our home to fit our lifestyle and aesthetic. There are still a lot of projects to do, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to do a quick before and after to remind myself that it was worth it!

Where to start? The exterior! I couldn’t bring myself to paint the brick, so I embraced it with a muted color palette. A little paint, a much needed new roof and landscaping transformed the exterior of our home.

everyday white exterior

The front porch has unexpected charm with a pebble porch. Soon we’ll replace the front door.

fall front porch decorating ideas

Simple & neutral Christmas front porch decorations

The entry was so dark with light blocked in every direction. We removed the closet to make the living room appear larger and to allow the light to shine through. We replaced the slate with hardwood floors and removed the carpet on the stairs replacing it. Soon we’ll add a stair runner.


how to decorating for spring

The entry along with most of the main level, was painted in Sherwin Williams Zurich White. The popcorn ceilings were removed and we also replaced the light fixture with a brass flush mount.

foyer makeover - the before and after of an entryway

how to update a basic evergreen christmas wreath

best storage containers

The half bath initially felt cramped and the toilet position felt more like a throne.


We relocated the toilet, added botanical art

beautiful half bathroom | small bathroom ideas

painted, added hardwood floors and made the space feel more open with a Parisian sink. You can get all the details about our half bath here.

Pretty and simple bathroom decor

The office is the first space you see off our entryway. This may surprise you, but an orange room with a chalkboard mounted taxidermy isn’t really my thing. We discovered parquet wood floors underneath (find out if you have wood floors) but they were damaged when carpet was installed so we opted to continue our hardwoods into the office as well.


The office is now a calm, functional space filled with traditional decor.

traditional office for home

PS, this piece of furniture was painted – without sanding! Learn how!

Pretty office credenza

Brilliant ideas to organize your home office, calendar and to do's!

The girls call the family room the library, because it’s where the majority of their books reside and they snuggle up on the sofa to read. We replaced the blinds with bamboo shades, the grates in the doors were removed, painted and replaced carpet with hardwood. You can see the result below!


blend old and new to create a neutral room with interest

I incorporated my Grandmother’s Armoire / Wardrobe Linen Cabinet that had been passed down multiple generations.

Living room organization - linen closet

My Great Grandmother’s piano is a family room fixture as well. The fiddle leaf fig brings the room to life.

beautiful family room ideas | fiddle fig piano and sailboat painting

neutral family room decor

easy spring decorating ideas

The Screened In Porch once felt fit for a Girl Scout camp. We painted the interior, added curtains by making Custom Copper Curtain Rods for the Bay Windows and redefined it as an outdoor dining room.

Easy home project ideas - Fall Makeover

outdoor living at it's best - a covered screened in porch, perfect for dining and entertaining

The deck was so tired and worn. We stained it, added outdoor lighting and furnished the space. You can learn How to Stain a Deck here.


Outdoor Living | Beautiful decor ideas and how to define your deck or patio as an outdoor living room

Outdoor decorating ideas

Our Dining Room had an awkward 60’s window – I wasn’t sure how to make it work. Ultimately I repurposed existing linen panels using a custom brass curtain rod to define the window. Fresh paint, a beautiful brass light fixture, wood floors and my Grandma’s dining room furniture completed the space.

Our dining room in progress - balancing dark wood furniture & minimizing dated features

interior design blogger Julie Blanner shares her home in progress

traditional dining room decorating ideas

Traditional dining room decor

The Breakfast Nook has really evolved since we purchased the home 4 1/2 years ago. We redefined it, added light, painted, replaced the floors and added shadow bow molding for characterl

Halloween entertaining - beautiful Halloween table setting BEFORE

The above photo is one of my favorites of the breakfast room that was taken for a Halloween party but the photo below shows the subtle details we added when we redefined the space.

wood nook table and chairs

breakfast room of home blogger Julie Blanner

breakfast nook table

And my favorite, decorated with Christmas Arrangements!

christmas garland around doorframe

The kitchen has evolved. Originally we updated the kitchen to work with the oak cabinets. The first image below is the before….



A kitchen makeover without paint - making the best of an 80's or 90's kitchen

Stunning mudroom design from luxury home blogger Julie Blanner

And in the after, you’ll see our new kitchen with cream kitchen cabinets filled to the brim with kitchen organization ideas.

A white kitchen with brass accents.

neutral kitchen with wheat laurel wreath

shaker kitchen

how to arrange tulips

Even the cabinet interiors received makeovers. You can learn how to organize a Kitchen Pantry here!

kitchen organization pantry

and our Refrigerator Organization has made packing school lunches a breeze!

kitchen organization

The small Powder Room felt so tight with a deep garage sink and counters that extended over the sink and the toilet.

powder room before

I utilized several tricks to make the space look and appear larger. Since it’s in the mudroom and primarily used by kids I also implemented a few features to make it easy to maintain. You can read (in the link above) to learn more and see a video tour.

Home design blogger Julie Blanner shares her powder room transformation that blends utility and design

traditional powder room

Home design blogger Julie Blanner shares her powder room transformation that blends utility and design

The mudroom also felt dark and tight. We opened it up, added character and made it easier to clean – and keep our home clean. You can see the before photos below.


Hard to believe this is the same view of our mudroom! Visit the post to get all the details!

Christmas decorating ideas for the mudroom / entryway

Beautiful interior design ideas

beautiful spring decorating ideas for your home

The garage reeked of smoke and when we moved in. After weeks of airing it out, we still struggled to get rid of the smell. You can learn How to Get Smoke Smell Out of a House here if you’ve struggled with the same.

We also moved in fast and furious with construction soon to follow. This left us with a disastrous garage until we implemented storage systems like this Outdoor Running Closet.Organize your gym gear with an outdoor closet | garage storage and organization

Organize your running gear with an outdoor closet | garage storage and organization

But this is still my favorite Garage Organization project!

garage organization tips

Even the side entrance received a little makeover. I failed to take a before shot, but this “before” back view of the home gives a little perspective.


In addition to painting the exterior, we retained the light fixture (for now) and door and updated the hardware. It’s amazing what a difference simple tweaks can make.

christmas door decorations garland, wreath and a mini tree

The garage exterior is the first thing you see as you come around the bend down our street. It stood out – but not in a positive way.

Painting it in a monotone color with a muted roof really elevated it. For true tudor style, we incorporated copper lanterns.

Natural Fall Decorating Ideas

Natural Fall Decorating Ideas

The living room is small, which presented a number of challenges. The fireplace felt dated and the wet bar was an unnecessary use of space. Even Ani was unsure.


We opened up the wall where the bar once stood, used paint, hardwood floors and molding to create a timeless space. You can see more of the Living Room After here.

spring home

best storage baskets

We transformed a cabinet next to the tv into a Bar Cabinet to maximize space and function.


Beautiful bar cabinet in a built in bookcase

Beautiful bar cabinet in a built in bookcase

The Basement and Basement Stairs updates were both functional and inexpensive.


This stair runner project cost just $300!

how to update your basement stairs on a budget

with a little paint and easy to clean vinyl floors it felt like a new space!

A simple finished basement on a budget

a beautiful finished basement with brilliant tips, tricks and ideas

The hallway was so dark! It boasts 8 doors which makes it feel really small. We replaced the carpet with hardwood floors, added new lights, new doors, brass door knobs and more.

hallway before and after

get tips and ideas to update a hall with dark, dated doors

hall decorating ideas

hallway with a lot of doors

The Linen Closet was a quick and easy update that maximized function. You can get all the details of how I pare down, what I store in there and the inexpensive labels used by visiting the post.

How to organize a hall linen closet

The hall bath needed a lot of help! It wasn’t even close to code, soffits made it feel small and had 2 showers!

lowes makeover before

We turned it into a Spa Bath – the girls use it daily and it doubles as a guest bath!

A look into a white bathroom with a door slightly ajar. Gold finishes and pink flowers on the vanity. #spabath

Ani’s Room has evolved a little more since I last photographed it, more to come soon!


Little girls bedroom ideas - integrating old and new

how to make a teepee

Adalyn’s Room is now simple and sweet.


girl bedroom decorating ideas

I cut down a console table to make a desk that doubles as a side table. Just above it I added a little custom word art.

children's bedroom play area

My favorite feature of Adalyn’s room is the brass and crystal light fixture we purchased at an estate sale in our neighborhood.

Brass & glass chandelier for little girl's bedroom

Make a silhouette of your kids in just a few easy steps - beautiful bedroom decor

Isla’s Room is small, but functional

white nursery | girls bedroom design

easy and inexpensive ideas to add christmas magic into kids bedrooms

We are fortunate to have a laundry room on the second floor adjacent to our master bedroom. It is incredibly convenient. We gave this room a refresh with a sink skirt, new faucet, hardware, light fixture, paint and accessories.

Easy home project ideas - Fall Makeover

laundry gift basket | perfect idea for a high school grad going away to college or a beautiful housewarming gift idea

simple laundry room organization ideas with free printable labels

how to organize your laundry room and the best natural stain removers

Great tips for a functional laundry room

Simple storage solutions for the laundry room

The master bedroom has two large windows but still somehow felt dark.


It, too, received a little refresh with a larger project to come!

beautiful bedroom Christmas decorating ideas with lights

decorating indoors with Christmas lights

art over nightstand


Thanks for taking time to reflect with me on a before and after look of our home. Truly, it’s a before and during, but it’s always nice to take a moment and appreciate what you have done when you feel overwhelmed about your to do list. I often remind myself that it’s more important to enjoy our home than to decorate it. Think about all the things you love about your home rather than the things you don’t. It will not only bring you peace, but will also help better define your next project.

Right now my favorite room is our breakfast room. What’s your favorite room in your home and why?

As always, if you see something you love, you can follow the link to the post or shop our home here to be directed to the specific product.

This is the board I created 6 years ago!

Interior design board - styling a traditional home

This post was originally written June 2016 and has been republished December 2017.


mini loaves of bread gift wrapped