Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Before...and Before...and After

Since last April, we've been hard at work getting our house ready to put on the market. The frustrating thing is...there's always more you can do!

Take our living room, for example. Here's the best I've got for "before" pictures. Note the ugly wallpaper (now removed) and the green walls (now butter tan). Note also the couch position--and the cute children, if you want.

This (below), for many years, was my office area--right here in the living room. That's a couch to the left, facing the TV in the other corner of the room. We sold the rolltop desk and I worked very, very hard to condense everything into my other desk upstairs in the bedroom, and into one small filing cabinet in my closet.

With half the furniture gone, we rearranged and wow!

But we weren't done yet, as it turned out. Here's the family room:

(See the CD shelves on the two ends of the wall unit? This past weekend, I packed up all but a few of our CD's and we removed those two towers.)

A realtor suggested we switch the couches in the two rooms. The leather couches seemed oversized in the family room...but they look great in the front room:

And I finally went picture, mirror and valance shopping for this room. (It looks like our TV grew a little since Christmas, too...!)

Back in the family room, we kept the two couches all through the holidays, but just a few weeks ago, I decided to chuck the one. It was in terrible shape underneath the slipcover, it weighed a ton, since it was a sleeper sofa, our last guests on it slept terribly, the slipcover over it was always a mess, and I wasn't planning on moving it, so why not toss it now?

We brought up the leather chair from Papa Rooster's office...and our biggest room finally looks big! (What a difference between the summer and winter lighting, huh? I sure can't wait for summer!)

Now this was one of my earliest projects. (That's the landing on the stairs heading up to the second floor.) All of this--gone. Either given away or packed up and on its way, as I type, to our storage space in Wisconsin. Yep, Papa Rooster rented a U-Haul and we emptied out our garage tonight; two of the kids went with him to help unload.

And this was one of our most recent projects. I forgot to take "before" pictures of the powder room; you'll have to imagine white wallpaper with teensy blue flowers all over it. It was a blue and white bathroom before, and it's still a blue and white bathroom. Only without wallpaper.

I was very happy with the color choice. Here's why I didn't go with something more neutral:

I figured that the more I tried to ignore the blue floor, the blue-er it would look. But if I embraced the blue...it might look less dated and more like we actually chose it. And now I'm hearing that blue is the new "in" color!

Oh, and here is one of my other recent projects. I don't have a real "before" picture (the one with the stacks of books on the floor on both sides of the bed, on both nightstands and on top of the bookshelf), but here's the one we used for the listing last year:

And here's the "after this past weekend":

It's amazing what less furniture can do!

And remember the mauve blinds? They're still there (I close them every night so the light doesn't wake me as early in the morning), but now they're hidden by a lovely Battenburg lace-edged valance. It was hard to get a good picture of them today--there was too much sunlight. (What a great problem to have!)

And now, the job I'd been hoping I wouldn't have to do...

Try to ignore the hooligans celebrating a 16th birthday for my oldest Bantam a year ago, and note the wallpaper. It's pretty nice as wallpaper goes--I picked it out myself a decade ago, and I think it especially looks good with the floor:

But the realtors all think it should come down. The rest of our house is now so nicely neutral that they think this room should be too--and wallpaper is out. So I guess we have another big project ahead of us.... (No wonder this hasn't been our best year of homeschooling!)

What do you think of that corner bench? Would you assume it's built-in? Friends of ours (who had 9 children) insisted we take it when they were moving, and we never dreamed it would look so good in our dining area. It actually saves space too--we can push the table closer to the wall than with chairs there. (Oh! Now that Easter is over, we can remove a leaf from the table and a chair or two!) I don't know if we'll be able to use it in our next house or not, but perhaps I need to say "corner bench negotiable" or something.

And now for the 64 million dollar question: What color should we paint the walls after we strip the wallpaper? This room is in between the off-white family room and the butter tan living room. We've got the butter tan everywhere--going up the stairs and into two bedrooms--so we can't continue that any further, I think. It needs to be neutral--of course.

See what I mean? It never ends!!

No, wait--the real big money question is: How can I keep my little kids from standing up on the bench and touching the wall after we paint?? The great thing about wallpaper is--it's WASHABLE!!!


Megan (FriedOkra) said...

Try a low-sheen eggshell paint in the kitchen - it's not shiny, but it IS still very washable. I'd go with a nice pale yellow or tan in the kitchen.

Summer in FL said...

Oh Jeanne -- the house looks great! I'll be praying for a quick sell this time.

Brea said...

Girl, your house looks great! I can tell a lot of hard work and love has gone into everything y'all have done.

No color suggestions, but I do agree with Megan about the kind of paint. We've got that all over our house, which I love, seeing how my kids have been blessed with the gift of messiness!!! It really does wipe right off, especially of you get to it quickly.

Good luck with everything, and I can't wait to see what you choose!


martha said...

Looks so good, Jeanne! Great job!

I've had very good results washing my painted walls with white vinegar/water. The tough marks come off with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Today's bright sunshine tells me it's time for me to work on my on home. Thanks for the inspiration!

Heather said...

Your house looks great! No suggestions about the kitchen color, but I would go with a different color than the color that's throughout the house. The washable paint really works well for us in our lemon-yellow kitchen. Love the Currier and Ives dishes you have in the bathroom!

Amy said...

How about a light rusty color? Sort of like the color of the walls in the bedroom, only browner. More terra-cotta-y, maybe? Something that would be in the same family as the floor in the dining area.

Jenny in Ca said...

oh wow, you guys have really worked hard- the house looks great! I enjoyed all the before and after photos. When we sold our house about 5 years ago, we removed furniture too, and got rid of clutter- it is amazing how big and nice rooms look with less furniture and 'stuff' crammed into them.

really, really hoping for good things for you- you are all on my heart.

Linds said...

Why not try a warm yellowy shade of cream? I thought I was painting my kitchen/family room cream, and it is a yellow instead, but we all love it. Always warm and sunny even in winter when there is little light.

The house looks amazing. Well done!