House Tour-Before & After

Friday, April 11, 2014

Here it is, the big before and after! I'm thrilled to be able to share these with you so this is a long post-you better settle in and get ready to scroll. I've tried to match up the original real estate listing photos with current ones. Although they aren't from exactly the same angle, I think they give you the general idea. When compiling these I was actually shocked to see where we had started from and where we are today. If you're interested in how we got here take a look at our progress here, here and here. I tend to focus on all the things we still have left to do, like the bathroom and the basement but it's nice to step back and see the changes-plus I love a good before and after and I'm pretty proud of all our hard work.

Entryway/Downstairs Hallway

The first thing we did in the hallway was close off the door to the kitchen. It allowed us to create a usable kitchen space and we didn't really needed three entrances into the kitchen. We also ripped out all of the carpet and the dated linoleum, added slate grey ceramic tile and refinished and painted the stairs. 

Let me tell you about those stairs. If you read the 'Great Staircase Debate' post here - you'll know I was undecided as to which style of stair railing would work best and not cost a fortune. A few people asked me what was so wrong with the original banister. While I do like the look of iron work it tends to read more 'Spanish Colonial or Spanish Revival' to me which didn't fit with our 1950s cottage. The banister itself also had a horrible plastic handrail that could not be removed so goodbye old railing. Ripping out the carpet and the millions of staples that went along with it was a job I'll be forever grateful to my dear old dad for. The process of sanding, refinishing and painting the stairs was also incredibly time consuming. Finally, we got a quote to make the stair railing that came in at over $2300. I convinced Chad that he could do it himself. After reading a few books he managed to do a amazing job for under $600. He's a keeper that one.

My dream wallpaper was way out of budget but this wallpaper we ended up using from Rona does the job for way less than half the price. I think it gives the entryway some interest and ties in the turquoise used in the rest of the house. Repainting everything else a fresh white also made a huge difference. 

Upstairs Hallway

The upstairs hallway was drastically improved by just removing the carpet and more white paint. Again, Chad's new stair rail also made a huge difference. The little table at the end of the hall was something the former owner left for us and I may eventually end up repainting.

Living Room

I'm really pleased with how the living room ended up. It didn't go exactly to my original plan and I sure had a few moments of total freak out concern. One thing I never doubted was my love for that light fixture. It wasn't cheap and I bought it very early on in the process on a trip to Toronto back when I naively thought the reno would be on budget. It was also nearly impossible to hang. Picture Chad and I both standing on ladders 12 feet in the air with our arms above our heads-me yelling not to break my baby. In the end I think it is my favourite element in the room and totally worth the splurge. 

I had originally wanted Chad to build a pipe and reclaimed wood shelving unit to cover the entire back wall in order to house the infamous BINGO sign. Again, it came down to budget. After I removed the TWO layers of wallpaper-one faux brick, followed by one faux wood, budgetary restrictions left me with one option-paint. The black wall actually makes the space feel bigger than when it was white and makes a nice backdrop for art.

Apart from removing all the carpet and refinished the floors (something I don't suggest anyone do themselves) the only other changes-apart from gallons of white paint-were to remove the room dividers and decorative bulkhead that was being used as a planter box and display shelf. In terms of furniture and artwork, most of it is vintage- either from my family, estate sales or flea markets. The rug and drapes are from Ikea. The couch was found on ebay here. The large abstract art was something Chad and I made using leftover house paint.

Dining Room

Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room really made the most difference in the overall flow of the house. The old dining room had this ridiculously small pass-through, an acoustic tile ceiling and dark wood panelling. While I think wood panelling has it's place and can look beautiful it was next to impossible not to damage when we removed the wall and added the patio door. The patio door was one thing we didn't do ourselves and hired a contractor to do. It creates an enormous amount of light and really adds to the overall bright and airy feel I was hoping for. The dining room table is vintage, the chairs were a gift from my parents, the rug, curtains and display case/bar are all from Ikea. The sputnik light is from Morba in Toronto. 


The kitchen was really a hot mess-seriously. I mean I've seen some cute retro kitchens but this one was so small that not more than one person could stand in it (the original picture is deceptive). It was also what can only be described as a fleshy peach tone. There was an pipe behind the fridge that caused it to sit in almost the middle of the room. There was nothing worth keeping and it was a complete gut job. We filled in the side entrance door and the door to the hallway all while opening up the wall to the dining room. All the cabinets and appliances are Ikea and the countertop is quartz. There are still a few finishing details to complete (isn't that always the way) like adding grey tape to conceal the white base cabinet joints, building a wine rack (please Chad) and discussing whether we want to add trim to take the upper cabinets to the ceiling (not an exciting job in a older house that is not at all level). Overall, I am very happy with the layout of the kitchen and the durability of the cabinets and counters (which so far seem indestructible). 

If you've made it all the way to the end of this, thanks. I hope you enjoyed the pictures of our little work-in-progress. Time to take a break and enjoy my living room with a glass of wine.

28 Response to House Tour-Before & After

April 11, 2014 at 12:10 PM

I'm drooling! It looks so amazing! Good on you guys. I can't imagine how much work that has been, and in such a short time period. I can barely motivate myself to think of tiling, let alone a full home reno.

What's next? Buy another home and flip it Chad? :)

April 11, 2014 at 12:13 PM


April 11, 2014 at 6:16 PM

You guys are unreal!!! Nomesayin!!!

April 16, 2014 at 6:33 AM

This is amazing! Okay, I want more details on the staircase, as I am planning on doing the exact same thing at our place here in Montreal (we have a horrible iron banister too! Ugh!!). Did you end up getting the special-order banisters from Home Depot? Did you follow any kind of code, like how far apart to space the banisters? What about the "newel" - also from HD? And the wooden bit on the top?? I want all the details!

April 16, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Hi Christine,

Thanks so much. I loved following your kitchen reno on Apartment Therapy-it turned out great in the end. Your timing is perfect, Chad is just working on a while post about how he made the staircase. I'll tell him to hurry up.

June 25, 2014 at 12:14 AM

Hello Christine,
i love your new home.
Nice renovation!
Thanks for the Before-After Pictures - i like them so much.

Greetings & Love

June 25, 2014 at 6:49 AM

Thank you Ines,
I'm glad you like the pictures and I'm also glad we're done the renovation and can finally relax!

June 25, 2014 at 9:46 AM
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June 25, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Your house is so beautiful! It is very inspiring that you did so many things yourselves. And - I love how you were able to look into the house and see potential. It gives me hope for when my husband and I buy our own home someday.

June 25, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Your home is incredible!! I just found you via A Beautiful Mess. I'm a fellow Canadian and officially your newest follower :)

June 26, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Thanks Tanya,
I'm so glad you like it. I've been following along with your amazing lakehouse renovation as well.


June 26, 2014 at 7:45 AM

Just popping in from your feature at A Beautiful Mess. I LOVED seeing your before/after photos! I'm hoping to start house-hunting in the next couple years, and I want to train my eye to see BEYOND wood paneling and closed-in rooms so I can see the what you've created in your home. Thanks for sharing!

June 26, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Omg I am so jealous! I love your house, its like my style to a T!

June 26, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments. I hope it gives you inspiration to see past stuff like pink carpet - unless that's your thing!

June 27, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Hi Sarah!!!!

I loooove this! It looks great but one question:
Did you also get the Nutid refrigerator? I love those appliances but for seem reason I feel like the fridge doesn't look like the rest of them, with their glossy glass fronts. I have been hesitant on buying them.


June 27, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Hi Heather,

Yes the fridge is Nutid and while it's true it doesn't match the oven and microwave exactly I don't find it to be jarring in real life. I found the contrast of the white high gloss cabinets with a white countertop more jarring as the cabinets aren't a pure white that's one of the reasons I went with a grey lower cabinet. Anyway- I love the white fridge as it really hides all marks and I'm not continually cleaning it like I had to with a stainless steel one. I hope that helps.


July 21, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Hi, I love your house, so inspiring! I'm wondering what's on the living room windows behind the blue curtains? I have a similarly huge window in my living room and I really love the way yours looks.


July 23, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Hi Erin,

Thanks so much - I'm glad I can provide some inspiration! The blinds behind the curtains in the living room are Ikea Lappljung panels, here is the link:


August 25, 2014 at 5:51 AM

Do you have a cooktop in the new kitchen? I see the hood, but no burners...

August 25, 2014 at 6:29 AM

Your house renovation is simply stunning. So happy to have come across your site thanks to The Kitchn :)

August 25, 2014 at 7:16 AM

Thanks Paige,

I'm glad you like and thanks for stopping by!


August 25, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Cooktop? Can't see anything

August 26, 2014 at 7:04 AM

The cooktop blends seamlessly into the countertop below the vent hood- you can see it if you look closely. It's the Ikea NUTID Glass ceramic cooktop-


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