Over the past several years, both our home and style have evolved. Home isn’t always before and after, the process is just as important.

Last year our home was recently featured in the St. Louis Post Dispatch and through the years spaces have been included in Real Simple, Oprah, Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, Traditional Home and so many more.

julie blanner and family in front of white farmhouse
Our family of five at a local lavender farm, Longrow Lavender. Photo by Sarah at Sweet Smiles Photography.

This year, I was ready for a refresh. While there’s still work to do, I can’t help but feel cheerful with the fresh feel.

Before and After

Today, you’ll find some new, never-before-seen photos and angles of our home, and an updated family photo so you can see how the girls have grown!

Can you believe the difference in the photo above, compared to the original one below? It’s such a thrill to watch them grow and change.

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

9 years ago, we moved into our Tudor style home in St. Louis… I cannot believe how quickly time has passed! While I never loved the style of our home, I’ve embraced it, making it feel a little more like us along the way.

Exterior Curb Appeal

When we purchased our home, the exterior left a lot to be desired. It felt drab.

everyday white exterior

We almost immediately painted it in light, but traditional Tudor Paint Colors, added new roof and landscaping to transform the exterior.

The spring blooms just might be my favorite, though the fall colors are difficult to beat through the diamond paned windows.

They gracefully frame our copper mailbox on an iron post (find the mailbox in my shop). The post was painted to match our exterior paint colors in Sherwin Williams Everyday White.

copper mailbox accented by pink blooming tree

We framed the home with trees, bushes and plants that would bloom each season. The lilacs are always a highlight!

lavender bushes

Driving past a friend and neighbor’s White Brick House nudged me to take the leap and paint the brick Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee. The Tudor trim is painted in Benjamin Moore Pale Oak to add a slight contrast.

neutral tudor home with diamond windows

We accented it with copper gutters and traditional copper lanterns which have started to show verdigris.

cream tudor garage with copper gutters and bike

As you know, one of my favorite things about a neutral home (indoors and out) is that it transitions with ease from one season to the next. Spring, Summer, or Fall, I love it all (except winter!)

netural brick house with dutch door copper lanterns and porch decorated for fall
neutral tudor home with copper gutters dutch door and hydrangea


Step inside and you’ll see one of my favorite transformations! The entryway / foyer! The entry was so dark with light blocked in every direction.

A dark entryway in the before photo for a home's before and after makeover

The door wasn’t very welcoming and let in very little light. Adding a white oak Dutch door made it feel more inviting, adding light and charm! Of course I had to add a little unlacquered brass for good measure. I still have a bit of decorating to do, but couldn’t resist sharing a sneak peek!

wood dutch door

While it was of substantial size, it didn’t add a lot of function and blocked traffic going to the living room and connecting kitchen. We removed the closet that was blocking light and the walkway. It makes both the entry and living room appear larger and allows the light to shine through.

We replaced the slate floors with sand and stain hardwood floors which made the rooms feel like one. Picture frame moulding, or wainscoting, added some much needed detail.



We removed the carpet, sanded and stained the stairs, painted the risers and some day, will have the runner that has been sitting in my office for a year installed (whoops…I keep forgetting!)

Originally we painted it in Sherwin Williams Zurich White, but recently painted the entry Sherwin Williams Extra White. For this particular space that receives minimal light, it felt a bit dingy. I just love how cheerful it feels now!

A marble countertop with paint swatches and small cans of open cream paint colors.

The Ultimate Guide to Paint Colors

See detailed guides for colors, learn how to select, sample and so much more to find the right colors for your home!

As you can see, our entryway is now a wide open space, with views into several rooms of our home. It feels bright and light, giving glimpses of a variety of spaces, including our powder room!

Entryway Bath

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

bathroom with floral wallpaper

We relocated the toilet, integrated floral wallpaper, art, hardwood floors and a Parisian sink to give the illusion of more space. You can learn more about our powder room here!


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.

A room painted orange with a deer on the wall

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.

neutral office space with slipcovered chair, velvet curtains and floating desk

The office is now a calm, functional space filled with traditional decor…and anxiously waiting for an overhaul this fall! I have some exciting plans for it that will make it more functional and can’t wait to get started.

Family Room


The family room is the most infrequently used room of our home. We replaced the blinds with bamboo shades, the grates in the doors were removed, painted and replaced carpet with hardwood.

The popcorn ceiling was scraped and we kept it pretty minimal. You’ll often find Chris strumming his guitar. I also incorporated my Grandmother’s Linen Cabinet that had been passed down multiple generations.

family room with linen cabinet

I’m looking forward to continuing a little refresh here as well…

Screened in Porch

The Screened in Porch once felt fit for a Girl Scout camp…

Easy home project ideas - Fall Makeover

We painted the interior, added curtains by making Custom Copper Curtain Rods for the Bay Windows and redefined it as an outdoor dining room.

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

Over time, our needs have changed and it’s now a relaxing patio where we play games and watch movies – especially in spring and fall! We used a screen porch kit to make the screen panels more durable and easier to replace as storms took them out over and over again. So far, so good! This system is much more reliable.

A white screened porch completed with a screened porch kit.


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

This past year, we decided to utilize it for outdoor dining that seats 10. It makes entertaining so easy with the adjacent breakfast room that seats 14.

I want to add stairs and a glass deck railing since we love it so much at the lake house.

Dining Room

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.

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

Fresh paint, a beautiful brass light fixture, wood floors and my Grandma’s dining room furniture still felt underwhelming.

traditional dining room

It has always been under-utilized and neglected. While it’s still in the midst of an update, a sneak peek…

wallpaper and white curtains

Breakfast Nook

This room is directly off of the kitchen, and while there is an air vent, otherwise was a classic sunroom that became hot in the afternoon and cold in the winter.


We redefined the space as a breakfast room by adding light, a brass pendant, painting it Benjamin Moore Navajo White, moulding (using the Painting Walls and Trim the Same Color method) and replaced the linoleum floors with hardwood.

We had insulation blown into the walls and floor to make it useable.

wood nook table and chairs

The table extends to seat up to 14! You can see it decorated with Christmas Arrangements and how it connects to our kitchen here…

christmas garland framing breakfast room

This spring we painted it Benjamin Moore Simply White, added rattan chairs for a little texture, new French doors and Brass Door Knobs. It feels so peaceful.

A white windowed breakfast nook with a wood dining table.


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

An oak kitchen with dated countertops

Same View After

You can see how expanding the window and painting the walls and cabinetry the same color brightened the space. The larger island adds function and doesn’t feel “lost”. Adding a panel ready dishwasher helps it seamlessly blend in.


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.

We selected a Lacanche Range as the centerpiece of the kitchen and paired it with Inset Cabinets, Beadboard Backsplash, and Unlacquered Brass Hardware.

cream kitchen with lacanche range and lilacs

A rare view peeking from our kitchen into the neutral living room, featuring our Brass Lantern pendants.

Just to the left is the bar area.

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

Powder Room

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.

A small bathroom with brick floors and a pedestal sink


The mudroom felt very cramped. We opened it up by removing the tiny closet that blocked light and consumed valuable space.

Brick floors collect the dirt and don’t require mopping, just vacuuming. Painted cedar walls wipe clean with ease. It’s the best space for collecting snow gear, muddy boots and so much more, without the stress.

A dated mudroom in a 70s home

Almost the same view…where the closet once was, I added an antique chest to store sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, gloves and so much more. We also removed the door, leaving just the door frame, which really made it feel more open and inviting. Every inch counts in small spaces.

The view when entering from the garage…


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 painted the garage Farrow & Ball White Tie and added a brass and crystal door knob to make it feel like an extension of our home. Peg rail is an easy way to add function to the garage, but while maintaining an indoor feel.

A garage with cleaning organization painted in a neutral paint color

Last Spring I talked Chris into building a Potting Bench for me! We added Beadboard, Unlacquered Brass Hardware and painted it in Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog. I love pulling my car in now! It gives me a great space to work and store all of my pots, tools and more.

A potting bench painted in a green gray color, flowers and tools on top

We had a Garage Floor Coating painted on to give it a clean slate. It makes it easy to clean and prevents us from slipping when it’s wet.

Side Entry

I failed to capture a before photo, but you can see the back of the home below for an idea…


Fresh exterior door handles and paint go a long way!

neutral entry with brass hardware and bike

Fire Pit

Last fall, Chris created a pea gravel fire pit area. It’s a great place to entertain, watch the sunset, outdoor movie or enjoy a s’mores charcuterie board. I can’t wait to share the rest of the back of our home when the landscaping goes in later this month!

Garage Exterior

As you come around the bend on our street, the garage is the first thing you see.


We opted to make it monotone and paired it with a muted roof. For true tudor style, we incorporated copper lanterns and copper gutters.

cream tudor garage with copper gutters and bike

Living Room

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 this Neutral Living Room here.

We’ve updated this space quite a bit recently, adding new Pillow Covers, a new lamp, fun accent furniture from Studio McGee at Target, and redoing our Bookshelf Decor.

A white living room with a wood coffee table

Oh, and don’t forget the Samsung Frame TV. It might just be the best thing that ever happened to our living room!

A white living room with bookshelf decor.a brick fireplace surrounded by built ins,
A white living room with a wood coffee table


The basement bar, basement bathroom and basement stairs projects were all a long time coming! Many of our choices were both functional and inexpensive.

diy staircase makeover with a stair runner rug

After our basement flooded last year, we did another update with a little paint and easy to clean LVP floors it felt like a new space! We painted the walls in Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee and it’s feeling like a fresh and fun clean slate.

A bathroom in basement with gold sconces and a mushroom paint color on the vanity

We overhauled the entire basement with a drywall ceiling, can lights, new windows and lvp floors (we ripped out cabinets and bars) and a new bath.

A small basement wet bar painted gray, beverage fridge to the left

I can’t wait to show you the next update with pretty new furnishings down here – it’s coming together slowly but surely.

An empty basement with white walls and a medium toned vinyl plank flooring.

Upstairs Hallway

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
hall decorating ideas

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

Shared Bathroom

The hall bath (which the girls share) needed a lot of help! It wasn’t even close to code, soffits made it feel small and had two showers!


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

Little girls in floral robes in a white spa bath

Girls’ Bedrooms

The girls have now switched rooms and each have been redecorated to suit their age. I’m long overdue in sharing them! This is Ani’s previous room before and after.

how to make a teepee

Here’s a sneak peek of her new room:

cream bedroom with pink quilt chandelier lamp and star light
pink and cream bedroom with white dresser and crystal light

Adalyn’s Room has undergone a major transformation this year. She’s growing up before our eyes and deserved a new Tween Bedroom!

Below, you can see the space before we bought the house and a glimpse of her six years ago when we first redid this space.

girl bedroom decorating ideas

When we changed it into a sweet pale pink little girl’s room, 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.

Now she has a beautiful gold canopy bed, glitzy gold touches and a splash of big pink peonies on one wall. It’s a fun, grown up space for her!

The now replaced fabric pinboard was perfect for displaying artwork and precious photographs.

girl next to dresser with gold pin board and flower on wall

Isla’s Room was small, but functional. She has since moved to a larger room and her former room was converted into the guest bedroom.

white nursery | girls bedroom design
easy and inexpensive ideas to add christmas magic into kids bedrooms

Modern Laundry

We are fortunate to have a Second Level Laundry Room adjacent to our master bedroom. It is incredibly convenient. As you can see, we initially gave this room a light refresh with a sink skirt, new faucet, hardware, light fixture, paint and accessories.

Easy home project ideas - Fall Makeover
simple laundry room organization ideas with free printable labels
how to organize your laundry room and the best natural stain removers

Now we’ve done a full refresh, with new cabinets, peg rail, a custom built closet to add function and feel more intentional and a new wall sink.

Want to see all the photos of this pretty laundry room? Check out our Modern Laundry Room update! I’m in love with our herringbone floors.

A laundry room with greige cabinets, a wall sink and herringbone floor.
A laundry room with greige cabinets, a wall sink and herringbone floor.

Primary Bedroom

The Primary Bedroom has two large windows but still somehow felt dark.


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

A romantic bedroom color of warm white on the walls
A romantic bedroom color of warm white on the walls

I’d like to update our primary bedroom bedding this year! Any ideas or thoughts on what would look good in this space? We just added new bedside tables and painted them for a soft, pretty look.

Primary Bathroom

While we haven’t found the time or budget to take on a full renovation of our primary bath, we did upgrade it this year! These simple cosmetic changes made a world of difference.

A bathroom with light gray board and batten

See the full update about our board and batten here, and learn how to paint ceramic tile here!

A small bathroom with painted tile and gray board and batten on the walls

Guest Bedroom

The guest bedroom is simple, yet fitted with everything a guest needs for a relaxing stay. It’s decorated with inexpensive block print sheets, Craigslist furniture like this Rattan Bed and a sailboat painting.

We had custom peel and stick wallpaper made to create an accent wall, but it ended up bubbling and sadly had to be removed. Fortunately, I love the space just as much with our simple cream walls.

rattan headboard with traditional bedding and sailboat painting over the bed
door opened to traditional bedroom with bed, pillows and painting above

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.

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  1. Julie, I am learning so much from your beautiful home! In an earlier post, you mentioned getting some of your interior doors custom made at Lowe’s, after you learned about it from a friend. Have you already tried this out, and if so, what exactly did you order? I love the look of your doors–it’s exactly what I want in my home. Thanks for your help, and all of your inspiration!

  2. I also like the tile in the laundry room. It looks neutral to go with white and cream colors without being too plain. Thanks.

  3. Just found your blog! Your home is lovely. Jealous of your screened in porch????. Can’t wait to see more!!