Reno Before and Afters: 2009-Present



According to some psychology research, adults are supposed to be better than children at postponing gratification if they believe that the long term pay off will be higher. As an example, when a child is asked to chose between a $10 bill today or a $20 bill a week later, the child will often chose the $10 bill today (immediate gratification), whereas an adult would likely chose a $20 bill a week later (delayed gratification).

Many of us make choices everyday that might not provide immediate gratification because we know there will be a payoff in the future. For example, we may workout even though it might not make us immediately happy because we know that there will be a benefit in the future. We chose healthy food even though we might want something unhealthy because we think about how we might feel in the future. We might invest money into a RRSP even though we want to shop til we drop because we think it will pay off down the road.

Obviously, it can be perfectly normal to live in the present moment and want instant gratification too (you can fill in the blank here!), but generally speaking, our ability to delay gratification ameliorates with age.

And this is my long-winded way of leading into today’s post on renovations!

Eric and I recently delayed our gratification (yes, I’m still talking about renos!) when we decided to give up a vacation in order to pay for our dining room renovation. We postponed our immediate happiness for something that we thought would give us happiness down the road. And, damn, that is hard to do sometimes…even as an adult! But now that it is all said and done, we are both really proud of our hard work and we are happy that we did it. We’ll have to catch up with a vacation at a later date!


For 2 weeks (a week longer than planned) our house was in a disaster for our dining room renovation. Since we bought the house at the end of 2008, we have renovated the following:

  • family room
  • entry way
  • upstairs hallway
  • master bedroom
  • sunroom
  • master closet
  • Living room (didn’t finish)
  • and now the dining room


Our plan is to tackle our renovation projects little by little as we can afford it…and we will be DIY’ing to save as much money as possible.

This is what 2 years of renovations (a little at a time) look like! The biggest lesson we have learned throughout it all?

However much time you think it will take to do a project, double it!

Family room BEFORE:


That wall paper was tough to remove because it had little pieces of wood all through it. It took us weeks to remove it and clean off all the glue!




My brother Chris (he’s a contractor/firefighter) and friend Jay helped us with the electrical work in the family room. It is always wise to have a professional help with electrical work!



Family Room AFTER:


We purchased the sectional couch off Craigslist. We got a great deal and it was in mint condition when we bought it. I love Craigslist sometimes. It can be hard to find a ‘diamond in the rough’ but when you do, you score big!

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After the family room, we stripped all the wallpaper in the living room and then primed it.

Living room BEFORE:


After stripping boxes and wallpaper:


After priming:


That is as far as we got with the living room. We are not done though…more on that below.

Upstairs hallway and Master Bedroom:

Hallway Before (this was after we stripped the pink and purple wallpaper off the wainscoting)


Eric installed hardwood flooring in our bedroom and in the hallway. Initially, this was a surprise for me while I was away (he planned on finishing it in a week) and it ended up taking 2 and a half months!!! LOL…I can laugh about it now, I guess.

We also painted everything.

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Our bedroom after painting:


Master bedroom After:


As you may have noticed we have no wall art. Rome was not built in a day! ;) Eric also refuses to let me put up the Ikea prints from University, haha.

Now onto the dining room


Dining Room before:


Chandelier Before:


[Is there any way we can salvage the chandelier or turn it into something else?? Crystal Jewelry, perhaps!]

The first thing we did was shave the popcorn ceiling and remove the box trim.

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Sand everything down, wash glue off walls a million times, etc. Then prime x2.

This wood trim was the worst to paint because it was really hard to get into the grooves and the paint dripped a lot. Our arms screamed in pain! It was like a 10 hour Body Pump Class that focused only on the arms.

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After priming, it was time to paint the trim. We painted 2 coats of primer on the trim, followed by two coats of the actual paint. It was very tedious work, but thank goodness for music and beer!!


We had a lot of painting dance parties singing Lady Gaga and Rihanna while dangling off ladders. Lots of beer was involved.

And then we painted the pop of colour. Did anyone notice the orange paint in this pic that I posted last week? It was a sneak peak! I was wondering if any of you would catch the orange…


We chose a bright shade of orange called Carved Pumpkin by Para Paint. We got the sample matched to get a low VOC paint by Sherwin Williams. The wall needed THREE coats.


We love how fresh the orange is….it makes me happy just walking by this room!

We have wanted orange in the dining room since we moved in and it was so cool to finally see it happen. We painted all the other rooms neutral colours, but we are truly bold colour people at heart. It is so much more fun!

The wainscoting on the bottom helps balance out bold colours, so it is not overwhelming.


I think the dining room is a room that you can ‘go wild’ with and experiment!


After painting the orange, we installed the chair rail (very scary because it has to be perfectly level!), then the wainscoting, and finally the baseboard. Two coats of primer and two coats of the off-white paint. Triple Yawn.


Sure looks sharp though!

Do you like our black dining table?


I joke, I joke…that is my AM photography station.

Below is our actual dining table, a hand me down from our brother in law and sister in law, Dave and Ewa.


We have plans to refinish the dining table, but it won’t be for a while because we are taking a much needed break from renos. At some point, we will get some dining room furniture and a chandelier. Unfortunately, these things are really expensive so we might have to wait for a while. Finding a chandelier is really tough! We have been looking for a while now and we have no idea what will fit with our room (especially with not having much furniture).


We also installed a wardrobe during Reno-cation Week. I will not get into how painfully long this installation was! All I have to say is IKEA and you know what I mean.

After closet installation:


At some point, we want to buy a large antique mirror for the end of the closet.

I am donating this bin of clothing (a bonus of organizing clothing!). It also happens to be Sketchie’s new favourite sleep spot. ;)


I hope we don’t donate him too!

Oh and this weekend was not restful at all. We realized we still had a lot of reno loose ends to tie up, as well as cleaning the entire house! No peace for the wicked as my grammie always says.


It feels good to have the house back in order now.

Sketchie is certainly happy to have his dining room back.


Our next room to tackle?

The living room


Our plans are to remove the ceiling and put up new drywall, remove the wooden green door frame, remove the pink carpet, and paint. We won’t be starting this for a while though! We are taking a much needed break. Doing renos on a tight budget is a bit difficult, but we are doing the best we can with what we have!

Maybe you can help us chose a colour for the living room? We want it to flow nicely into the dining room.

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{ 193 comments… read them below or add one }

Mimi March 7, 2011

Oh my goodness, everything is gorgeous! I am sure you’ll feel it’s all worth it in the end, but I can imagine how much of a mess it’s been in the meantime!

P.S. I LOVE the spiral staircase in the background!


Ashley March 7, 2011

Holy crap woman!!! I didn’t realize how much you guys were doing. It all ended up looking really great!! Your bedroom looks so peaceful. The lights are just perfect. Our room is a bit cramped, but hopefully will still feel nice when it’s done! The orange color is AMAZING!!! We’re going pretty neutral for now, but have an orange accent idea that I’m suuuper excited about! :) I’m definitely starting to feel your pain…ahhhhh


Ilana March 7, 2011

My kitchen is orange! It’s so fabulous and cheerful. My living room and dining room are a soft pale peachy color that is very warm and goes well with the orange kitchen.


MarathonVal March 7, 2011

Wow Angela, everything looks amazing!!! I’m so impressed with all the work you guys have put into your house…. Mike and I are far too lazy (and not handy enough) to do any of that. Everything looks beautiful!!


Kristina March 7, 2011

Your family room is AMAZING! So nice and cozy feeling for the dreary Canadian winters (I’m from BC, feel your pain!). And that orange is beautiful! Once you get furniture in there it will be wonderful. LOVE everything so far!


jen March 7, 2011

the renos look great. do you know orange stimulates appetite? good colour for a dinning room. not so much say for say a bedroom. that is what 2 years of design school taught me lol. that is it. i love the orange and your family room seems cozy.


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 7, 2011

Yes I learned that in psychology!
Whohoo ppl will really love my food now…haha


Meg @ MegGoesNomNom March 7, 2011

Gorgeous! I simply love the orange! When I moved, the first thing we did was paint our dining room a deep, lovely red – a bold change from the pale yellow we had before. Your hard work paid off – looks awesome.


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 7, 2011

I LOVE red in a dining room!


Andrea @ Vegvacious March 7, 2011

Wow – all of your hard work has certainly paid off. Your house is looking beautiful! I love the pop of colour in your dining room. Our kitchen is a burnt orange and I just love it. We get complimented on it all the time. Now go get some well-deserved rest!!


Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) March 7, 2011

I can’t get a 100% shot of it but I actually like the detail on your living room ceiling. It’s so unique! How old is the house?


Anna March 7, 2011

Wow! Your house is gorgeous…especially now you are updating the 1920s/1980s ghetto fab! I guess the moral of the story is NEVER USE WALLPAPER! Haha.


Nicole @ yuppie yogini March 7, 2011

Poor Skethcie! I bet he has not been happy with all the renovations messing up his world.


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 7, 2011

Nope he was NOT impressed at all. He is happy again :)


rebecca lustig March 7, 2011

i just LOVE the colors and crown molding throughout your home! Simply beautiful and elegant


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey March 7, 2011

Your home is absolutely gorgeous – I love that staircase!!!


Odette @ theonlyplanetwithchocolate March 7, 2011

Wow! That looks so fantastic :) I love the orange… my kitchen right now has one red wall and the rest of the walls are yellow- it’s amazing how the colours of a room can make you feel! You guys did a ton of work, but I’m sure you’re just loving the reward:) Congrats!


Becki @ Hike, Bike, Eat March 7, 2011

What an awesome staircase!!! Your renos are beautiful!


Emily @ One Sweet Vegan March 7, 2011

WOW! I’ve been looking forward to this post and it was well worth it. I love the new dining room color! You two have been busy.


Michelle March 7, 2011

I absolutely love the orange! I have a similar green color in my living room/kitchen, and have been debating on what color to paint any of rooms adjacent to it [entry stairwell or half bath or upper stairwell], and I think you’ve just sold me on the orange with the wainscoting. It’s so beautiful! Well done!


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 7, 2011

We are really happy with the orange –> green flow :)


Ky G March 7, 2011

Absolute-freaking-lately awesome! WOW! I love it all…you have such great taste in everything. That family room…if I didn’t see the before pics, I woukdn’t have believed it. Kudos to you both and your helpers ;-)


Gina March 7, 2011

It turned out beautiful, no BEYOND beautiful! I love how modern the decor is :)
And your living room is the epitome of cozy!


Maria @ Oh Healthy Day March 7, 2011

I am tired just reading this. You both are champs!

I love the orange and white look – it’s a like a Cold Buster Clementine Smoothie (which I’ve been obsessed with lately by the way!)


Maissa March 7, 2011

It looks beautiful! I love the orange dining room and it looks so good with the green kitchen! Worth the effort in my opinion.

When my boyfriend and i moved into our current place we spent a week and a half repainting, it was so tiring, but SO worth it because with one coat of paint (ok, 3) we changed the entire feel of the place.


Ashley March 7, 2011

I love your house! Especially the staircase I think that’s my favorite. My bedroom is orange and I love it. Everything is so beautiful.


Charlie March 7, 2011

My grandmother just bought new bedroom furniture for her new house and she chose the same bed as you!
I have a trendy grandma ;).


Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete March 7, 2011

I love the orange in the dining room! That is beautiful!!! But what I really love are your hard wood floors in the dining room.

I would totally give up a vacation to have a renovated house!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) March 7, 2011

Holy sh*t. I just got a call from Architectural Digest. They said they want to feature your house in it! :)

Seriously, Angela, the work you two have done is beyond words. I should expect nothing less of you though…from your food photography to your recipes to the absolute Class Act way in which you run your blog and conduct yourself…your house is stunning.

The living room with the wood beams in the ceiling
your morning photography station (love the apron stand!)
the orange paint
the score on the diamond in the rough on CL

Girl. It’s AMAZING!

Well worth this “Eric and I recently delayed our gratification (yes, I’m still talking about renos!) when we decided to give up a vacation in order to pay for our dining room renovation.”—

GOOD for you…your house is amazing and you will cherish it for decade(s) to come!!!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 7, 2011

Thanks hun!


Donna March 7, 2011

The orange is gorgeous Angela!
Not sure where in Ontario you are but Living Lighting has the most amazing unique lighting fixtures and there are always some great sales going on
Ps: I’m madly in love with that staircase! :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 7, 2011

Thanks Donna I will have to check them out!


Sara Stainbrook March 7, 2011

it looks fabulous!!! and oh my goodness so tiring :)
As for the chandelier… using the crystals.
On HGTV once (seriously love that channel) they had taken the crystals and took some fishing line and put a crystal on each end… they made all of the strings varying lengths. The chandelier they used was almost like a longer flat plank of wood (you could use metal too) and there were candles all sitting on the top… (or they had an option of electric lights along the bottom part) then they hung the pieces of fishing line crystal over the plank so they hung down below. if you have more questions email me and maybe I can explain it better (or draw it :)

It was such a fun and funky way to use the crystals!


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 7, 2011

that sounds cool!!


sarah (sarah learns) March 7, 2011

wow – you guys are doing such an amazing job on your renovations! i can’t believe you’re doing that all yourselves! also, i loooove the bold pop of orange in the dining room. nice color choice.


Emily March 7, 2011

Ange, you have such a beautiful home! You and Eric do great reno work! Cannot wait to see all the final products :)


eatingRD March 7, 2011

wow gorgeous! That is such hard work! We still have a ton of little house things to finish from when we moved in, I need some of your inspiration! It looks wonderful :)


Mae March 7, 2011

The house looks awesome!
Have you seen this video about delayed gratification and kids? The marshmallow experiment:


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 7, 2011

YES!!! We watched it in one of our classes…it’s so funny!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 7, 2011

Ange, you guys have done a fantastic job!!! I can’t believe you and Eric (and friends!) have made all of these changes yourselves. I especially love the orange paint – it is so bright and fun!! Can’t wait to see the finished living room… but first, I think you guys should take a very well-deserved break! :)


Carpensm @ A Life Without Ice Cream March 7, 2011

Looking great! Nothing more satisfying than a reno!


Danielle March 7, 2011

Wow! Your home is gorgeous!! I love the family room with the central fireplace!


Katheryn March 7, 2011

Everything looks wonderful. You two did a fabulous job!


Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans March 7, 2011

Wow! I am very impressed! You guys have worked really hard and its definitely paid off!! :)


Jil @ Big City, Lil' Kitchen March 7, 2011

Props to you guys! Seriously – this looks amazing. It’s so fresh and bright.


Ashley March 7, 2011

You have such a cool house! LOVE the grand stair case- just beautiful! Such unique accents- the dining room is so open now! Good Work Team :)


Helen March 7, 2011

It’s all so lovely! I’m inspired- too bad I’ve got a plain-jane apartment I can’t work on. One day, we’ll get a place!
Looking forward to seeing more of your handiwork!


Lauren @chigallauren March 7, 2011

Wow, your place looks fantastic, great job-love the decorating and paint colors and the older features of the house (molding, floors, etc) is so gorgeous!


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