A Look Back: Before and After Slideshow

This is my 248th post. At the end of June/beginning of July, I played around a bit a managed to get a couple of posts up on my blog, but after July long weekend I buckled down and was committed to blogging daily. Since then, I have only missed one day and that was because I was brutally sick with Strep Throat. I must admit that some days are easier than others, but I am hoping that the sunshine, warmer weather (by that I mean less cold) and longer days will get me motivated and back into DIY project mode. The winter has been very long and my motivation level for doing projects has failed in comparison to my desire to curl up on the couch with a warm blanket. Anyways, I thought I would help to get myself motivated by taking a look back at some of my favourite transformation projects and share the before and after shots.  I have done entire posts on most of these projects, so you can check the archives if you want more information on what I did. Enjoy the show and hopefully this will motivate you to get out some paint and give something a new look!

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Upcycled Decor Screen Part 2

A few weeks ago, I made new fabric panels for the screen in our living room. The new fabric looked good, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the overall look. The frame of the screen was a reddish-brown and the new fabric really seemed to pull-out the red tones in it and I didn’t care for the look.  I decided to give it a light sanding and spray paint it heirloom white.  Here are the before and after shots of the completed project.  Be sure to click the first photo to enlarge it and view the others as a slideshow.

We are cooking our turkey today and my dad will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner this evening. This week I am featuring some of our favourite turkey left-over recipes.  Be sure to check it out and see what’s cookin’ at the Roys this week.

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Cabinet Rescue

Several years ago, friends were throwing-out this antique wardrobe.  It was pretty much a BFI rescue.  I must admit, it was pretty ugly.  It was painted chocolate-brown and despite the fact hat it was heavy, it was not overly sturdy.  The original piece had a bar across the top and was designed to be a wardrobe.

Antique Wardrobe

I loved the carvings on the front doors, but the oval panels were quite warped.  Once it had been completely stripped down, we realized that the sides of the piece were done in a different wood than the front and thus we decided that stain would really not do it any justice.  It was huge work stripping the paint from all of the nooks and crannies around the decorative carvings on the front, but it certainly made for a beautiful finished project.

Wardrobe Transformation

We also reinforced the back and replace the bar with shelves.  The panels were removed and replaced with chicken wire. This piece has always served as our dining room china cabinet, but we are planning to move it to our spare room for clothes and linen storage. Who knows, it might make its way back to the dining room yet!

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Antique Dresser Upcycle: Bathroom Vanity

Three and a half years ago, we gutted the main floor bathroom of our 1921 home.  It was ugly and quite disgusting.  We originally hired someone to do the job, but after demonstrating work ethic that was deplorable, we completed the project on our own.  I am so lucky to have a husband that can do almost anything when it comes to home repair and renos!

This bathroom reno was major and every single item became a major design decision for me.  I knew what I wanted and each item had to fit to perfection within the new space.  I can honestly say that I probably spent 200 hours looking at fixtures, vanities and other accessories.  I pretty much knew right then and there that I would never be able to have a new home built.  I would literally drive the entire family crazy.  Besides that, I don’t know if I could ever give-up on the character and warmth of a heritage home.

Look at this ugly vanity that was in the existing bathroom. It just had to go….along with the toilet, walls and pretty much everything else!

Old Vanity

The Search for a Vanity

I knew I wanted a Victorian Style bathroom and was determined to find pieces that complemented the look.  We searched every bathroom store in the city and scoured the internet, but to no avail.  In the end, I decided to look for an antique piece that could be converted into a vanity.  So aside from shopping bathroom stores, I began to look at antique stores in the area.


This sign was in the window of a local antique shop. Hilarious!

One day, while visiting my one of my favourite stores…The Old House Revival Company, I explained what I was looking for to one of the clerks.  I didn’t find anything in the store, but she invited me into the “staff only” portion of the basement to see if there was anything that caught my eye.  As soon as I reached the bottom of the stairs, I saw it.  The piece.  The exact shape and style I was looking for.  I knew it would be perfect, but was also quite sure that I would need an extra dose of sweetness and persuasive intellect to convince my husband.

So, you can see it was in less than perfect shape and my husband did not initially share my vision. However, he has also been with me long enough to know I would never let it go….this was the piece I wanted. We paid the $100 (cheap for a vanity), but perhaps not the greatest deal when you consider that it was in no way usable in its current condition.

Upcyling the Anitque Dresser

We sanded the piece down to the raw wood and then had a cabinet-maker from the area make new drawers on sliders to replace the old ones.  He used the existing drawer fronts to maintain the integrity of the piece.  The original dovetail is still there and had to be left, but it is completely hidden when the drawers are closed.new drawers on sliders

The top middle drawer would not be usable because of the piping, but he was able to make the large middle drawer in a U shape to go around the pipes.  (I would show you a picture, but that would mean I would have to clean the drawer first and I am too busy to do that today! Sorry.)  He also cut the hole for the sink and painted the piece out white. (Unfortunately, it is already on my list of things to do as it really needs to be repainted.)

painted dresser

Here is the dresser all repaired and painted. This is just before the hole for the sink was cut.

The Sink for the Vanity

My cousin had a pottery sink in her bathroom and I always loved the look. I thought that pottery would be a perfect look with the vanity style…kind of like the old washstand with a basin. We went to a local pottery shop and I found a chocolate-brown sink that I immediately loved. It was $295 and I wanted to be sure there were no chips or anything so I was looking it over before purchasing it. When I turned it over, there was a slight crack on the bottom. I asked the sales lady about it and she said that “baking cracks” were common and that it wouldn’t have an impact on the integrity of the piece, but that she would give me a discount for the crack. It was on the bottom and would be completely hidden under the vanity top, so as long as it was not going to break, I was going to take it. I couldn’t believe it when I got to the till and she asked me if $50 would be an acceptable price! “Uhhh, yah!” We have had the sink for three years and there has never been a problem. What a score!

The Finished Antique Vanity Upcycle

I absolutely loved the finished look.  The curves of the dresser and rounded drawer fronts were exactly what I was looking for.  We were forced to lower the sink into the cabinet a bit more than I originally wanted to, due to the height of the dresser and clearance needed for the wall mount taps, but it turned out fine.  We purchase the handles at Lee Valley and love the design of them.

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Just Add Paint ~ Cabinet Make-Over

A few years ago, I was looking for an antique vanity for my daughter’s room.  I ended up having to drive out of town to pick-up my Kijiji purchase, but when I got there I found out she had a second vanity, a dresser, a little cabinet and bench.  She was really wanting to get rid of the stuff and if I remember correctly, I got everything for around $60.  I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was cheap.  I took all the pieces and sanded, repaired and painted them over time.  Here are the original pieces.

I actually still have one of the vanities (not in above photos) that I have not yet completed.  The little cabinet (on the left in the last photo) was not an antique, but was old and built well.  I painted it out and used a dollar store stencil to decorate the top.  It now sits in our kitchen below our menu board.  I love the finished look and the cabinet virtually cost nothing as it was thrown in with my other purchases.


cabinet in kitchen

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Upcycled CD’s ~ Family Center

I wanted to create a “family center” in our kitchen.  My idea was to have a location that contained all of our family schedules, memos, chores, etc.  I decided to use an idea I found on Pinterest to pull it all together.

Upcycled CD’s


The idea that I originallly found on Pinterest was done with a Christmas theme, but I thought I could use her brilliant idea to make a “family” sign for our family center in our kitchen.

  1. Find old CD’s (or DVD’s) equal to the number of letters you will need.
  2. Drill a hold in the top so that you will be able to hang the finished project.
  3. Use the CD as a tracer and cut-out circles that are equal in size to the CD’s.  I used a variety of scrapbooking papers that coordinated well with my kitchen colours.
  4. Carefully adhere the paper to the CD’s (I used my tape gun for this).  You could use glue, but make sure you do it carefully so that you don’t get bubbles.
  5. I then gently sanded the edges to get some of the pattern off the paper and then inked the edges to “age it” a bit.
  6. I used my Cricut machine to cut-out letters for my CD’s.  (If you have been following my Blog, I am sure you can see that I could not survive without my Cricut).
  7. Punch a whole through the paper and the existing hole that you pre-drilled through the CD.  You will want to make sure that you line your letters up so that the hole is at the top (obviously).  Adhere your letters.
  8. Finally, put a ribbon or string through each CD.

CD upcycle


Wooden Display Rack

To create the rack, my husband used an old piece of wood and a piece of dowelling that we had in the basement.  He simply drilled 6 holes in the wood equal in diameter to the dowel and then glued and inserted the cut pieces of dowel into each hole.  I painted and then distressed the entire wooden rack to give it more of an aged look.

upcycled CD's



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Wooden Fruit Bowl Upcycle

I frequent garage sales and places like Value Village or thrift stores in search of “castaways” that I might be able to upcycle.  I often have a list in hand and am looking for specific items, but will sometimes come away with unexpected treasures.  I am a total sucker for things made of wood and will always search the housewares for items of this nature.  Here are some of my past purchases.  Wooden items like this often sell for under $5 and can be really beautiful once they are painted.

I upcylced a pedestal bowl similar to the one in the photo above and we now use it as a fruit bowl in our kitchen!  I simply sanded the surface to scuff it up for proper paint adhesion, and then primed and painted the surface.  Spray paint is ideal for getting a smooth and professional finish.

painted wooden fruit bowl

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Modge Podge on Steroids

Hey all you crafters out there!  I just heard about a new product and thought I’d give it a try.  I would refer to myself as more of an upcycler or Do It Yourselfer, but I do dabble in crafts and homemade gifts.  This product may not be totally new, but it is new to me and maybe to you too.    I already love Modge Podge, but this stuff is really cool.  I actually bought it specifically to use for a school project.

Modge Podge Dimensional Magic

modge podge dimensional magic


This medium is impressive.  Basically you can use it to add dimension to crafts, jewellery, cards and other projects.  When you apply it, it appears milky, but will dry clear.  The Craft Critique gives a really good description of the product and how it’s used.


Upcycled Medals

I was at a thrift store recently and they were selling old sports medals for 50 cents each.  I thought that maybe I could upcycle them and use them for awards at school. (I bought an old trophy as well, but couldn’t figure out how to keep the new paper plate I made level enough to apply the Podge.)

I decided to cover the surfaces of the medals and the trophy plate with awards that would fit with my program.  I made them out of paper, but knew that they would not be very durable if left like that.  When I heard about the dimensional podge, I thought it would be perfect for this project.  I simply applied an even layer over the entire paper surface on the medals and got down in the little groove between the paper edge and the medal.  I let them dry for 24 hours and they look good and feel hard as rock.  I am hoping that they will be as durable as they seem.  You will notice that the paper seemed to be curling slightly when I applied the podge.  (See wet podge slide.) I was a bit worried about how this was going to turn out, but when it dried, there were no issues with the paper bubbling up or appearing warped.

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Although you might not be interested in upcycling sports medals, this product could work for a variety of other projects. It was easy to use and I am really pleased with how they turned out.  It is a bit hard to see the dimensional surface on my project, but if you good Modge Podge Dimensional Magic, you will see lots of great ideas under Google images.

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Hockey Themed Bedroom: The Reveal

We were so lucky when we did this bedroom make-over, as my son’s room was already navy and beige with a red stripe.  The colours matched perfectly with the Winnipeg Jets colour scheme, so it was pretty easy to pull together.  We made the hockey coat rack and hockey shelf for Shay for his birthday, and told family and friends we were doing his room as a surprise.  One of his Aunts bought him a Jets flag and another bought him a clock for his room.  He already had a few posters.  I picked up the garbage can, piggy bank and even a kleenex box at our local dollar store.  The red unit was a recent upcycle project that we just moved up to his room and the folding chair at the desk was recovered to match his decor. I upcycled an old Winnipeg Jets t-shirt into a pillow sham for his bed.


Hockey Room Reveal

The room has finally come together!  Here are a few photos that show the overall design of Shay’s hockey themed bedroom.  Like my daughter, he has a good-sized bedroom with a walk-in closet.  He also has many beautiful windows and an abundance of natural light.  (A painter’s nightmare, I might add.)

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The Power of Paint

I picked the kids up at camp on Friday night and then spent the weekend with my cousin and her family out at their farm.  The kids had a blast at camp and enjoyed the weekend with their cousins, but couldn’t wait to get home and see their dad.  It is already 11pm and I have not yet posted for today, so I am trying to post about a previous project.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any before shots, but I will try to explain.

Our New, Old Home Needed Paint

We moved into our home in July of 2008.  The house was built in 1921 and was really in great condition, but needed some cosmetic work.  Most of what we have done has been minor, with the exception of a complete bathroom reno.  Our home is a one and a half story with 2 bedrooms on the upper floor and two on the main floor. Although the upstairs bedrooms are the largest, it made the best sense to put the kids upstairs and for us to have our master bedroom on the main floor.  The second floor consists of 2 large bedrooms with walk-in closets, a good-sized sitting area at the top of the stairs, and a full bathroom. I believe the square footage on the second floor is around 700 square feet.  When we moved in, we removed the 1970’s brown carpet and began to transform the space with paint.

Despite the fact that we live in a heritage home, we knew that there was no hardwood flooring beneath the carpet. We decided to replace the ugly carpet with oriented strand board (particle board).  This may sound completely crazy, but we had this in an upstairs of another home (a long story) and absolutely loved the look, value and durability. We bought cheap OSB (oriented strand board) and laid the 4 X 8 sheets on the entire second floor. My husband sanded them down to a beautiful blond colour and put on several coats of urethane. I absolutely love the textured look and we are not concerned about the wear and tear of the kids on the floors. My son even plays floor hockey in the oversized landing area! The entire second story floor was done for under $700 including wood, machine rentals, urethane, etc. and we love the look!

It all turned out well in the end, but we did have some glitches in this project ~ the urethane yellowed and I was so upset that my husband re-sanded the floors (this did not go over well) and to top it off the heat from the sander and saw dust combusted during the night and the result was a minor house fire ~ YIKES!! We were all sleeping on the main floor during the renovations and woke to alarms blaring.  Luckily no one was hurt and the damage was minimal, but it was a very stressful event. The moral of the story ~ should you decide to install OSB, be sure to buy a urethane that dries clear without any yellowing or you will be disappointed 🙁

The entire upstairs needed to be repainted and we proceeded to do so, with the exception of the bathroom.  (It was not to my liking, but had been recently re-done.)  My daughter’s bedroom is the largest at 15′ X 17.5′, with a large walk-in closet in the back corner of the room.  She had lots of space, but the dark brown carpet and chocolate-brown walls just had to go!!

Recipe for Revitalization:  Just Add Paint

I am so hooked on colour and paint. I truly believe that almost anything can be made to look a whole lot better with a coat of paint.  Generally speaking, paint is a simple and inexpensive solution to any out dated space.  The inspiration for her room came from a cushion that was purchased a few years prior.  I actually designed this room when she was 4 and had a similar design in our previous house.  She is now 11 1/2 and still loves it.  The greatest part is that some of the items are still from her original nursery, as it was done in the aqua tones that are still a part of her current colour pallet.


The Room Inspiration: A Cushion

The Colour Pallet

The main colour for the room was taken from the flower on the cushion and applied to the walls using a colour wash.  The aqua blue walls were painted using a translucent colour wash over white walls. Of course, the chocolate brown walls had to be primed and painted white in order to provide an appropriate base for this technique.

Aqua Walls

You can see the door to the walk in closet to the left of the antique vanity.


Here is a before shot of the antique vanity and bench.

I picked up two vanities, a dresser, the little table beside the vanity and the bench for around $50 or $60 through Kijiji. I stripped the paint and gave it a fresh coat of white paint. I also put a few coats of urethane on the top to protect it from wear and tear. I kept the original hardware, but gave the handles a coat of silver spray paint to update them.  I painted the bench and re-covered the seat to match the upholstered chair in the opposite corner of her room.  (I re-upholstered this chair for Eden’s nursery when she was born.  Her nursery, was the same aqua colour with apple green.)

I decided to leave the little nook white, but incorporate some striping mid way up the wall. This nook sits to the left of the walk-in closet.  It has sheer curtains bordering it.  At times, she has put her bed in the nook instead of the craft/homework desk.  (These curtains were also in her original baby nursery.)


The dresser on the left was purchased with the vanity.


Here is a before shot of the dresser.


The stripes in the nook were created by applying 1/4″ painter’s tape over the white wall. The green was applied and then the tape removed to reveal the squiggly stripes created by the negative space of the white wall behind the stripe.

The Wall Mural

The throw pillow on Eden’s bed also became the inspiration for this hand painted mural on her bedroom wall. It incorporates all of the colours in her room and ties everything together. It was a huge project, but the style is one that has lasted from little girl to tween and she still loves it, so it was really worth the effort. (This is actually the second time I painted her this mural, as she had the same one in our previous home.) The little cabinet on the right is just a Walmart cheapy that was hand painted and designed to match her room. The chair next to it is the upholstered chair from her baby nursery.


Hand painted mural.