This past weekend, my husband, sister, and I worked on a little project at our duplex. Back story of our duplex-- we bought a super old, like over a hundred years old, duplex a couple years ago. We totally gutted both halves one summer. With the help of our families, we completely renovated the kitchens and bathrooms (twice the fun!). We repainted every single room in each unit and restored some old, old woodwork back to shine. It was fun, or at least interesting. :) Maybe I should rephrase... It was a great experience. We learned a lot about team work, deadlines, lath and plaster, dust, and grime. We gave that duplex a lot of love that summer. So even though we finished each unit, fixed the yard, and replaced 26 windows, our sad lonely back stairwell went ignored. This poor stairwell wasn't in good shape to begin with, but after renovating, moving, demoing, etc. it was even worse for wear. We had giant holes, insufficient and hideous light fixtures, and mismatched woodwork. In my eyes, it needed just a little love to give us that welcome home feeling. My before pictures aren't a true before. This was after we patched up all the holes. Note: never tried to use plaster (unless you like instant cement and hardcore messes). These pictures do give a little idea of what it was lacking, however. A few smooches here, and a couple nuzzles there.
We replaced our back door for something a little more sturdy. In that process, we ended up having to kind of mix and match some pieces for the trim surrounding it. Adds a little character, maybe?
It is absolutely lovely to have a window in this back entrance. It lets in a ton of light in what would otherwise be a kind of creeper stairwell. The original trim was unpainted wood. However when we replaced the windows, we put a white vinyl in (less expensive and for a back stairwell, we could stand to cut the cost). So that trim also needed to be painted. And holy cow, that window and floor needs to be washed! I think I was the last person to wash it, and we haven't lived there in about a year.
You can see the mismatched walls pretty well in this photo. After lots of patching and some priming, we had about four different colors happening! And I won't even begin on that light fixture...
That light is even worse.
With the hard part of patching the holes being completed, the rest was simple. Replace the lights. Paint some trim. Paint some walls. And add a few finishing touches: Replace switches, sweep, mop and shine, change out dead light bulbs, etc.
What I love about this before and after is the simplicity. After the patchwork, all we did was paint, switch out some lights, and put in a little elbow grease. You can easily make a dramatic change in a room in your home by slapping up some paint. It's also, in the grand scheme of home renovations, one of the cheaper changes to do. Never underestimate the power of little changes as well. Switching out old outlets and switches for fresh and clean new ones is inexpensive, and can give a much more polished look to your home. A simple light fixture can add much needed light and a more modern twist. Granted, our light fixtures here are more about function than for appeal, but you get the idea. Taking time to really clean and shine up your woodwork can make everything seem so much newer. Or you can give the trim a quick sand, prime, and a fresh coat of white paint to brighten your whole house! It really is simple, easy things that can make such a huge difference to making your home more homey.
And for funsies...
Have you been up to any simple changes in your house? What do you love to do to make that simple difference in your rooms? Please share!