The Transformation of Our Fixer Upper

Today’s post is a fun one because I’m taking a little stroll down memory lane to see how our fixer upper has been transformed since we moved in two years ago. You guys, SO much has changed in two years ago (you can check out this post to read the crazy story of our journey here) so I thought it would be fun to look back at how things were when we first moved in. I actually did a little digging and I was able to find the listing photos of our home that show how everything looked when the previous owners lived here. And holy cow, I was shocked to see how different the same house can look! I can’t believe all the changes that have taken place in just two years. Nearly every room in our home has undergone some kind of transformation, well aside from the laundry room and basement bathroom–but we won’t talk about those! And I even have rooms I’m currently working on that you guys haven’t seen yet, like our mudroom and the kids’ bathroom. There’s still so much left to do, but today I want to focus on what has been done and celebrate the progress we’ve made so far. I have a ton of before and after photos to share with you guys, so I’m going to break this into two separate posts. Today is part one and it’s all about the transformation of the exterior of our home, the front room, living room, kitchen and breakfast nook. Let’s get started!


It’s a weird looking house, right? I’m not a fan of the exterior at all, especially from the front, but we make it work. Here’s how it looks now:


We painted the house last fall and of course I had to go with a shade of white. You guys were actually a part of that process too, because I asked for your opinions on which paint color we should go with in this post. We ended up going with Oyster White by Sherwin Williams and I loooooove it!

Front Room:

This is the first room you see when you walk into our home.


Farmhouse Style Front Room Makeover

Farmhouse Style Front Room Makeover



farmhouse style painted white fireplace

You can see how I painted the fireplace white in this post. It was actually way easier than I thought it would be, the whole thing can be done in one afternoon!

farmhouse style entryway

We also built this simple entryway space with beadboard, trim and a few hooks. This is still one of the easiest projects we have ever done but it totally transformed this empty spot. You can see how we did it in this post.

Living Room


farmhouse style living room

This room is so much brighter now! And that DIY reading nook we built is still my favorite thing everrrrrrrr. See how we did it in this post.



farmhouse style living room

Farmhouse Style Living Room

Farmhouse Living Room for Summer

That passthrough we put in the wall between our living room and kitchen was one of the most challenging projects we’ve taken on since moving in, but boy was it worth it. I loooooooove this view! Check out this post to see how we did it.

Kitchen + Breakfast Nook:


Farmhouse Style Kitchen Farmhouse Style Kitchen

Farmhouse Style Kitchen

This space has undergone big changes lately. Between the planked walls in the breakfast nook, new appliances, and the passthrough in the kitchen, this area is so much brighter and more open. And it’s not finished yet! We are actually working on a couple of other big changes in here, so stay tuned.

Farmhouse Style Kitchen and Breakfast Nook

Isn’t it crazy how the same house can look so different? This little fixer upper has seen a lot of changes over these last two years and it’s been so much fun to watch things evolve. And I know it sounds nuts, but I always say that moving here unleashed something inside of me that was just waiting to come out. I’ve been an avid DIY-er and furniture painter for years, but it wasn’t until moving here that I really felt this overwhelming need to create our home. Does that make any sense at all? Looking back now I was stifled by our previous two homes, both of which were foreclosures. I was unable to make them what I wanted and I felt limited by the things I didn’t like, so I put little effort into either of them–which was really foolish of me. But when we came here it was like I was finally able to run wild with my creative side and bring my vision for our home to life. I really just fell in love with the process of making it ours. It’s been such a crazy journey so far and I can’t wait to take on our next project!

Thanks so much for dropping in today my friends and following along on our fixer upper journey. Stay tuned for part two–I have many more before and after photos to share!

Welcome!! I’m Sarah-- mama to three kiddos + wife to my high school sweetheart. I'm usually over-caffeinated, browsing Amazon + running on lots of grace. Grab a snack + get comfy!

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  1. 7.26.17
    Loretta DeSpain said:

    We’ve been in our home four years now and lately I too have been comparing the before and afters. Making a house into our home is a labor of love that I feel never ends. As our family grows and our needs change I find new ways to transform and love this place we’ve been blessed with. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home and inspiring me with diy projects and makeovers.

    • 7.27.17
      Sarah said:

      I agree Loretta, it’s a labor of love that never seems to end. There is always something that needs to be done it seems, but I kinda love it!

  2. 7.26.17
    Christina said:

    Good morning! Beautiful work! I have a question . . . I am a high school counselor and LOVE the picture in your reading nook regarding starting a “new” day. Where can I purchase one like that for my office?


  3. 7.26.17
    june clarke said:

    So much lighter and fresher looking. Good Job!!!!!

    • 7.27.17
      Sarah said:

      thanks June!

  4. 7.26.17
    Nikki said:

    I love all of the changes you have made to make it feel more like your home. I really love the fireplace…so much brighter. You have done a great job with your transformation ????

    • 7.27.17
      Sarah said:

      Thank so much Nikki, that fireplace was such an easy project!

  5. 7.26.17
    michele said:

    our home is absolutely lovely …so cozy and comfy…love it. congrats on the beautiful baby girl…give her a hug!

    • 7.27.17
      Sarah said:

      Aw thank you so much Michele! I’ll give baby girl an extra hug for you. xoxo

  6. 7.26.17
    Cindy said:

    I love all the changes you made. So pretty and comforting. Where did you get the “shutter”-type hangings on either side of the pass-through you added? I looked on the original post and didn’t a source.

    Thank you.

    • 7.26.17
      Sarah said:

      Hi Cindy. Those are actually just old windows hanging on either side of the passthrough! I was lucky enough to find a matching pair.

      • 7.26.17
        Cindy said:

        Oh how lucky for you (and unlucky for me!). I adore antiques and these are really pretty. Guess I will have to try very hard to find something similar! Thank you for answering my question.

  7. 7.26.17
    Jana said:

    Oh my Sarah! What a big change and I love it!! I love “befores & afters” anyway, so thank you. Just love your style and how you keep it that nice with three kiddos is beyond me! Just love it!!!

    • 7.27.17
      Sarah said:

      It’s not that clean all the time, trust me Jana. I just make sure to clean up all the toys before I photograph! 🙂

  8. 7.26.17
    Dianne said:

    Love all your updates!
    Looks like a cozy family home.

    • 7.27.17
      Sarah said:

      Thank you Dianne!

  9. 7.27.17
    Ivory said:

    Wow, it’s like the ugly duckling meeting the beautiful swan, you turned your home into this beautiful swan. I love everything you did here. You made your home beautiful, warm, and welcoming all at the same time.

    • 7.27.17
      Sarah said:

      haha, I love that Ivory–It’s definitely looking a bit more like a swan now!

  10. 7.28.17

    Wowza. All of it it so fun, festive, bright, cheery and welcoming. It says come on in and put your feet up and let’s have tea together. I especially love the skirt/curtain you put up on the fireplace. I can hardly wait to make one for my black hole!

    • 7.29.17
      Sarah said:

      That’s right Cindy, I’m ready to put my feet up and have tea. Come on over! 🙂

  11. 7.28.17
    Jane said:

    Love, love, love!

    When I started blogging it awakened a part of me who wanted to make decorative changes in my home that I had pretty much given up on. It’s inspiration, definitely. And we are all different. You love using your vintage and ‘junk’ finds ( I mean that nicely!), and I loved showcasing my cooking with pretty dishes and tablescapes. I also made major changes in many rooms which needed updating and a stamp of my personal style. I took my garden and outdoor look more seriously. Heck—I redid the laundry room! Hubby thought I was nuts! “It’s for the blog!!!!”. lol

    Blogging is really a great world to jump into. I love that so many of you younger girls, especially moms at home, can make a few bucks here and there and put your brains and God given talents to use. My ‘baby’ just left the nest and I wondered what I’d do to create an abundant life. Well…nine years of blogging honed my creative skills and I’m now a free lance writer and columnist. Sometimes I think taking care of four little kiddos when I was just 30 was easier!!! lol. Still, I’m making money doing what I love. We get something back from our efforts.

    Best wishes,

    Jane x

    • 7.30.17
      Sarah said:

      haha Jane I can totally relate to taking on projects that might not get a lot of attention–all thanks to the blog! It’s truly the best “job” ever and I feel so lucky to do what I love AND be home with my people. Congrats to you on 9 years of blogging, that is AMAZING!

  12. 7.29.17
    Pam said:

    When you live in your home as you begin the “transformation” process you don’t realize how dramatic the changes really are! Simply beautiful!

  13. 7.30.17
    Mary Anthony said:

    Love love love!!!I Asked this question on your facebook page too, but what and where did you get that piece above your pics and T.V.?
    I feel like a copycat… I’ve already painted my living room Autumn Blond and love it. Thanks for responding with color awhile back!!

    • 7.30.17
      Sarah said:

      Hi Mary! That’s actually a piece off an antique headboard. I think it mounted to the top of the headboard. We got it at an auction and I just painted it that soft gray color. And yay for painting your living room Autumn Blonde, I bet it looks awesome!

  14. 8.1.17

    You’ve done a beautiful, beautiful job in making your home light and inviting and comfortable.
    Just a quick something I noticed — In your “before” house exterior photo there is an embellishment on the chimney that may be a nice detail to bring back to your “after.” But everything you’ve done is a big improvement!
    Thank you for all the inspiration!

  15. 8.11.17
    Marilyn Soto said:

    Hi Sarah -we are FINALLY finished with our kitchen update (thanks for the inspiration) and wanted to send you some before and after pictures -just don’t know how or where to send them.

  16. 8.13.17
    Cici said:

    Hi Sarah!
    Will you please tell me the brand of love seat/chair and a half you have with the “Live Simply” pillow on it?
    Thank you!
    Cheers to your fab style!

    • 8.13.17
      Sarah said:

      Hi Cici! That chair is from a local furniture store called American Furniture Warehouse. It’s called the Milan Beige Chair. I don’t think it’s available anymore, but you can find similar options in this post I shared a while back:

  17. 8.18.17

    Where did you get the “fresh baked pies served daily” sign?? I LOVE it!!

  18. 9.25.17
    Aileen Nickel said:

    Just found your site a few days ago. I’m already in love with everything you do. You home makeover is just gorgeous. Just purchased the paint to redo my powder room in whites. Can’t wait to get started. Keep the projects and pictures coming. What a talent!

  19. 12.2.17
    Jennifer Straight said:

    Sarah I recently found your site. I actually seen your post of your cheap Christmas Tree at walmart I too bought 2 this morning. Love them! Thank you for sharing links to items purchased. I also wanted to thank you for opening your home and sharing your special can u just come decorate my home…lol!