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.
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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.

BEFORE
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

Entryway

Step inside and you’ll see one of my favorite transformations! The entryway / foyer!

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

The stained glass door obstructed natural 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 door knobs for timeless warmth.

Before and after: A doorway transformed with a light fixture and a rug.

We removed the closet between the entryway and living room. It was a substantial size, but didn’t add a lot of function. It not only blocked much needed light from both the living room and entry, but it also interrupted traffic flow to and from the living room and connecting kitchen. Now, both spaces appear larger and light shines 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 painted it Sherwin Williams Extra White to make the space feel even brighter.

I added functional scallop decor – a boot tray and umbrella stand and am seeking the perfect piece of art to hang just above.

Directly across from the door is our stairwell.

Stairs

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BEFORE

We removed the carpet, sanded and stained the stairs, painted the risers and finally have the stair runner scheduled for installation! I’m even more excited to hang silhouettes of our girls just above.

The entryway is now a wide open space, with views into the living room, dining room, family room, office and powder room.

Entryway Bath

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

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BEFORE

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!

bathroom with floral wallpaper

Office

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
BEFORE

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! I have some exciting plans for it that will make it more functional and can’t wait to get started.

Family Room

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BEFORE

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…

A piano in a family music room.

Screened in Porch

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

Easy home project ideas - Fall Makeover
BEFORE

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 for durable panels that are easy to replace due to storms, if needed.

A white screened porch completed with a screened porch kit.

I decorated it with all the comforts of a living room – comfortable sofa and chairs, outdoor rug, and of course, ever changing pillow covers (I think I have a problem)!

Deck

The deck is nestled between the screened in porch and breakfast room, just outside our kitchen and dining room. With high visibility, it was one of the first spaces we focused on after moving in.

deck-makeover
BEFORE

It was so tired and worn, so we stained it with a solid color.

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

We added outdoor lighting and furnished the space.

Outdoor decorating ideas

This past year, we replaced the deck, but retained the railing. We plan to add stairs and a glass deck railing – it was one of our favorite lake house updates and we can’t wait to enjoy it here, too!

A wooden table set before dinner on a deck at sunset.

We transitioned our deck to an outdoor dining space. The teak table seats 10 guests. French doors open to the adjacent breakfast room which seats 14, making it versatile for entertaining family and friends.

A white dining room with a wicker table and chairs both before and after.

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
BEFORE

Fresh paint, a beautiful brass light fixture, wood floors and my Grandma’s dining room furniture still felt underwhelming. It has always been under-utilized and neglected.

The addition of wallpaper and pinch pleat drapes makes it feel cheerful.

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.

A dated room with wood windows and a peaked ceiling.

We redefined the space as a breakfast room by adding a brass pendant as the centerpiece of the room, adding picture frame moulding and painting both the walls and trim the same color, Benjamin Moore Navajo White. The linoleum floors were replaced with sand and stain hardwood that we carried throughout the entire first level.

Insulation blown into the walls and floor has made the space usable, regardless of season.

A gold bar cart with a rattan dining chair next to it.
A white breakfast nook featuring a wooden table and rattan chairs with a brass lantern hanging above.

I recently repainted it with one of my favorite cream paint colors, Benjamin Moore Simply White.

I flanked the Restoration Hardware dining table with slipcovered chairs for comfort and interest. Rattan chairs add texture and make the space feel a little breezier.

The room features and olive tree, hanging platters (that can be removed for use when entertaining) and a brass bar cart filled with entertaining essentials.

A white windowed breakfast nook with a wood dining table.

The new French doors open to the deck for the indoor/outdoor feel I crave, while living in the Midwest.

A framed Hermès scarf in a soft palette of blues, greens and yellows is featured above the dining table.

Before, a dining room with wicker chairs and a chandelier. After, the same dining room with wicker chairs and a chandelier.

Kitchen

When we purchased our home, the kitchen was almost completely blocked in by walls. A small window over the sink was the only natural light source. Just behind where this photo was taken was a 3′ door to the mudroom and adjacent, a 3′ opening to the living room.

An oak kitchen with dated countertops
BEFORE

When we moved in, we refreshed the kitchen retaining the oak cabinets adding light with paint and playing with accents.

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

We were able to slightly expand the window, allowing more natural light to pour in. As I mentioned before, painting the deck in a solid stain also reflected more light into the kitchen.

I had our cream kitchen cabinets custom matched to our Lacanche Range and integrated a panel ready dishwasher, which allows the eye to continue, giving the illusion of more space. Painting the walls, trim and cabinetry the same color brightens the space and draws the eye up, disguising 8′ ceilings.

Inset Cabinets and thoughtful kitchen organization solutions maximize space.

The kitchen features marble countertops, a beadboard backsplash, brass lanterns, farmhouse sink unlacquered brass bridge faucet and unlacquered brass hardware for timeless warmth.

A kitchen with white cabinets and a white sink transformed before and after.
A white kitchen with a rug on the floor
A bar in a cream kitchen with a wine refrigerator.

Powder Room

powder room before
BEFORE

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

A small bathroom with brick floors and a pedestal sink
AFTER

I implemented several tricks to make the space look and appear larger through lighting, a pedestal sink and a tall mirror.

Since it is primarily used by the girls, I wanted to make it easy-to-maintain. The walls were painted Benjamin Moore Navajo White in semi-gloss so they reflect maximum light and wipe clean. This small space adds a lot of function, especially during snow storms when messes are abundant.

Mudroom

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BEFORE

The mudroom felt very cramped. The closet and shelves block the little light coming in from the mudroom bath and mudroom window.

We opened it up by removing the shelves, bench and tiny closet that consumed valuable space. Hooks, a bench and baskets stored beneath make it both functional and more spacious.

AFTER

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
BEFORE

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 chest stands were the closet was.

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 white wall with peg rail holding clean supplies in a garage organization guide.

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…

BEFORE

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.

BEFORE

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
AFTER

Living Room

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BEFORE

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. Over the past few months I have been updating this room and can’t wait to share with you!

Before and after, a white couch in a living room.
The room before a fireplace with a white shelf.

I have SOOOOOOO many more updates to share that deserve new images in the basement and upstairs, but for now…

Basement

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

BEFORE
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
BEFORE

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.

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!

BEFORE

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

A white bathroom with gold fixtures and a Benjamin Moore White Dove trim.

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.

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BEFORE
IMG_4939-2
BEFORE
Experience the enchanting Christmas magic with a teepee in a girl's bedroom.

Here’s a sneak peek of her new room:

A white dresser with pink flowers and a mirror.

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.

IMG_4861-2
BEFORE
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 wire wall 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!

A cream, pink and gold tween bedroom with a gold canopy bed.

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
BEFORE
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.

IMG_4945-2
BEFORE

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

Below is what the space looks like in 2024. More to do, but simple and lovely for now!

A guest bedroom with a rattan headboard and pink and green chinoiserie art 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?

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129 Comments

  1. sorry Julie, it is all too bland for me. It does not look like it is lived in, especially with your precious girls. Needs warmth for my taste. I miss the richness of textures. …looks too staged. sorry !

  2. When I grow up, I want to be just like you, lol!
    Thank you for your generosity in sharing your home. About the dresser, how did you have that finish? I haven’t clicked on the pic link yet. Any info will be greatly appreciated!

  3. What a beautiful home you have made for your family! Thank you so much for sharing these before and after pics. It helps to see how your vision has transformed the spaces. Gorgeous!