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 }

CathyK March 8, 2011

thanks so much for sharing all the renovations with us, angela!
you and eric have done a masterful job…all of your hard work has certainly paid off.
orange is my fave colour so i esp love your dining room!
i foresee many happy times and memories being created in your *new* space.
and i so agree – i apply the bob and doug mackenzie (hope you get the hoser reference!!) philosophy to renovating: “double it and add 30!”


Toni March 8, 2011

My gosh everything looks beautiful! I lived through renos for about a year also and it was NOT fun during the process! However, once it was all done I did not regret it for a minute! Gorgeous! Enjoy it! :)


Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner March 8, 2011

I LOVE the orange! It looks so amazingly cheerful. I can’t wait until my husband and I have a house so that we can really make it our own.


Laura @ Starting Out Fit March 8, 2011

What a great reno!! the dining room looks fantastic Angela!!! :) Your hard work has definitely paid off.


Elizabeth@The Sweet Life March 8, 2011

GORGEOUS. Love, love the bright orange!!!!


Zestful Lou March 8, 2011

Wow! Great work!! Orange is my favorite color, but I think I would be so hesitant to paint a room orange. Way to be bold! It looks absolutely fantastic!!


Erin @ The Grass Skirt March 8, 2011

Thank you for sharing these pics! I absolutely love looking at home before and afters. I adore the orange in your dining room. We have a deep orange in ours that was there when we moved in and we both love it.


Ana March 8, 2011

Amazing, your house is gorgeous!! What great work you guys did Angela! I love the orange color of the dining room!!


Lesley March 8, 2011

You guys have definitely gotten a lot done! I’m in love with you dining room color, it’s perfect :)

P.S. We don’t have any art in our bedroom either, ha.


Jillian @ Reshape Your Life March 8, 2011

Everything came out gorgeous!! Renos definitely take longer than expected… It’s been almost 6 months and we are STILL finishing our kitchen! Awesome job getting it done in only two weeks!


Traci(faithfulfoodiefashionista) March 8, 2011

Looks great! I love the spiral staircase too :)


Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher March 8, 2011

WOW–I absolutely loved this post, Angela! Lovelovelove the orange paint. Am living vicarious till I can get my own place :))


kate@ahealthypassion March 8, 2011

Wow your house looks incredible I love the sectional couch and all the pretty pillows. I think the orange you chose is awesome I love bold colors and it looks beautiful with the white trim


Marcy March 8, 2011

WOW! I can’t get over how much better the after pictures look. It looks like so much work though! Kudos to you for sticking to it!


Brandi March 8, 2011

LOVE love love the orange!

We’re in the process of getting into our new house projects, too. It’s so fun to see what other people are doing! I am now addicted to diy and reno blogs :)


shana March 8, 2011

Wow yall did A LOT of work and it looks like it’s paying off. Your home is beautiful!!! great job


Jackie March 8, 2011

Your house has the most amazing bones! I love everything you’ve done. What a dream house!


Stacy March 8, 2011

Wow, I am SO impressed with all of the hard work you guys have put into your house. Everything looks amazing! Now I wish we could get the renovation motivation you have…or maybe y’all can come tackle our house for us! ;)


Elizabeth March 8, 2011

The orange is great, and doesn’t the color orange stimulate the appetite? So a great color for the dining room!


Richelle March 8, 2011

Wow, awesome work! You guys have done so much and it looks great!


Aubre March 8, 2011

I love the way Navy Blue looks with Orange. It balances it out but still lets the organge “pop”. Something about Navy Blue is so elegant, too. A nice color for a living room
Everything looks great :-) You two are really talented with the renovations!


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 8, 2011

Oh wow NAVY is a GREAT idea!!! Love it. I never would have thought of navy at all! It’s so elegant- esp paired with white.


Aubre March 9, 2011

Thought I’d give you some links for ideas!—orange—

I don’t think you need to go SO into the navy blue and orange combo, but it does look really nice to have navy with the ability to draw in some orange from the dining room. I can’t wait to see what you decide to do! Also, I made the crispy chickpea bites last night for dinner and they were amazing :-)


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 9, 2011

thank you so much!!! I told Eric about the navy orange combo idea and I think I sold him on it. We think it is going to look awesome!!


Jenny March 8, 2011

I love the orange color! It is so cheerful and happy looking! I imagine it could help boost any mood! Looks great!


Jennifer @ March 8, 2011

Wow! Impressive renovations, you can tell you guys put a lot of work into it. Kudos!

I actually love the ceiling and door frame in the living room, such unique features. I vote for you to keep them and do a shabby/chic theme with vintage, royal, Victorian era touches. Could be so fun!


FoodFeud March 8, 2011

You have a gorgeous house! It looks like so much space! The staircase is beautiful and I love all the different colors for each room, especially the dining room. Really nice job and I’m glad you’re pleased!


Misty March 8, 2011



Felicia (a taste of health with balance) March 8, 2011

wow angela that all looks amazing!! you guys have done such a beautiful job!


Nikki T March 8, 2011

That color in the dining room is wonderful!! Great work on the renos!


Jenny March 8, 2011

You guys are motivated! The most I can get into is choosing wall art :)
I love the rug in your bedroom! And I love that orange as well. It makes me want a tropical smoothie or something!
And I am not a cat person at all, but I must say your cat is the cutest thing EVER! It’s like his coat was made an unusual coloring and pattern and he always has the best facial expressions. So, in short, I love pictures of Sketchie. :)


Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run March 8, 2011

You just wore me out reading that, I can’t imagine doing it. I LOVE the orange. A neutral taupe type color might look nice leading into the dining room? Love all the pictures. You make me want to repaint my bathroom something fun now. :-)


Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food March 8, 2011

Your renos are awesome!! My boyfriend and I are in the process of doing the same thing. We are taking our time and trying to save as much money as possible by doing a lot of it ourselves. You have done such a wonderful job! It looks like a totally different house! Yay for you! :-)


AGS March 8, 2011

Major kudos to you with this work. Having done COMPLETE renovation on our first residence (as in — gutting it), I swore to my husband, I would NEVER undertake/be involved with such a project again. Consequently, we’ve only done basics, such as painting, on our new place, and my husband is trying to be patient. I am really happy to see this great outcome from your hard work, because I know from personal experience how much effort you had to put into this.


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 8, 2011

This is incredible! I especially love the dining room color. It looks so inviting and cozy.

Can you come to my house next?? :)


Kelsey March 8, 2011

Wow! Beautiful rennovations! I LOVE the orange walls. :)

And your pasta dish with lentils from yesterday looks just perfect.


Liza Jane March 8, 2011

Very impressive! I love the color in the dining room.


Halley (Blunder Construction) March 8, 2011

Your house is so unique! I can see why you are renovating (the old wallpaper is yuck!) but you really are lucky to have so many awesome feature built in. The living room ceiling is a toss-up, have you thought about white washing over it instead of removing it? I love the dining room color, I mean LOVE it. How about a pale yellow?


Catherine March 8, 2011

I love the molding on the ceiling in the living room, too!


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 8, 2011

We are debating painting the crown moulding….we are worried though that it won’t take because there are 10 coats of paint on it right now. We’ll have to see I guess! I do agree that it is very unique and beautiful!

Pale yellow is one of the colours we are considering actually!


Beth March 8, 2011

Thanks for posting the before & after photos from all of your renos.
Talk about a lot of work. Phew!

Looks great now though.
You two did some amazing work :)


Carly March 8, 2011

WOW!! It looks absolutely amazing!!


Janet Perez March 8, 2011

I have seen some pretty nice Christmas Tree ornaments made out of old chandeliers


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 8, 2011

that is a fun idea!


Christine (The Raw Project) March 8, 2011

Awesome renovations, love the family room! I have a lot of respect for anyone taking on home renovations, hubby and I tried that with our older house in Florida and nearly went nuts. :-P So true on Craigslist, I scored some amazing unique bar stools. Yikes on the old living room! And the master bedroom is gorgeous! And love the dinning room, the color is great!


Nicole March 8, 2011

Great job on the renos! I can relate. We have a big project on the go at my house, too.

In case you’re interested, there is a whole street of lighting stores on Cartwright Avenue in Toronto (very close to Yorkdale). I bought mine from a place called Lighting Originals on that street.


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