Before the Before


Over the last couple of weeks, I shared some shots of our new house -- including the upstairs, the downstairs, and the exterior. In some areas, the house is a bit of a fixer, and in others, it's a blank canvas. We have all kinds of plans for it, and if you follow me on Instagram, you know that some are already underway even before we move in in a few weeks. For this reason, I like to think of all the photos I've shared so far as the "before" shots. What's pretty cool, though, is that even these shots are worlds better than the state of the house nearly 20 years ago.

The previous owners left behind a photo album of shots taken back in 1994 before they undertook some pretty significant restorations and updates -- the before-the-before shots. If you think the fireplace got a major facelift, you should see what the upstairs looked like before. Read on to see more crazy side-by-sides.

As much as I love shag carpeting in rust orange and moss green, I'm pretty excited that they restored the lovely wooden floors hiding under there.


Today's version of the kitchen is less than ideal from a functionality perspective, but it is a huge improvement over the 1990s country blue and wallpaper-clad version of itself.


The view into the dining room hasn't changed much over the years with the exception of some much needed central air and the replacement of the ceiling fan. We have some cool plans for transforming those windows, though.

Dining Room
I would have sworn the downstairs bathroom was all original, but from the looks of the photos, the previous owners replaced the wall tile.

Downstairs Bath

Even the light fixtures -- which are currently in need of shades -- got a nice restoration job.

Light Fixtures

The upstairs is clearly where the previous owners put in the lion's share of the work. My mind can't really wrap itself around what this space might have looked like and how anyone could have the vision that the previous owners must have had. The changes up here also involved a complete reconfiguration of the stairs leading up to the bedroom, which wasn't really captured well in the photos, but it resulted in the beautiful open stairs we now have in our living room. I'm sure glad they took the project on, because saying it is a vast improvement is a massive understatement!

Master 1
Master 2
Master Nook
Master Bath

The front hasn't changed much. Honestly, it looks worse now than it did then.


Finally, the back got a nice deck, which is in need of some real repairs now, but the potential is certainly there.

Exterior - Back

How cool is it that the previous owners left these behind?! It really makes me appreciate the space all the more. I feel like every house should come with a little storybook of its history. Although not nearly as dramatic, perhaps I should leave behind some before shots of our condo when we move out?

I'm sticking with the upstairs renovations, but which of the changes do you think was the most dramatic?

Signature 1



  1. ohmygosh i love that they did this for you! i am totally leaving before-befores for our house's next owners. so cool.

    but not cool? that gray/blue, shiney fireplace paint job!

    i also LOVE the exposed beams (or whatever they're called) in the master. they did a great job up there.

    1. I KNOW! What was up with that paint job?! And those mirror tiles...which actually kind of strike me as a little Kelly Wearstler if done right...which they weren't.

  2. That is wonderful! And is that a Mrs. Winners bag in the kitchen? I could slam a Super Cinnamon Swirl...wonder if they are still around?? :)

  3. WOW - totally beautiful! Just stopping by to say hello from the Social Fabric Community!

  4. That's so cool that they did that! You have a really nice little house! :) I'm kind of maybe (haha) on a house hunt myself!

  5. You mean you don't want those butterfly tiles in the bathroom?? :)

  6. so cool you have all of these pictures, Mandy. I'm dying to see what you're going to do with this great little house of yours xx

  7. It is nice to have these. I really regret not taking more before images of my home so that I can show how much we did. x


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