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Home Tour In Pictures (Part 1) – 2013 vs. 2022

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to do a “home tour” where I show the pictures that I took of this house back in 2013 on the day we were handed the keys, and show you what those exact views look like today. I had intended for the entire tour to take place in one post, but as I started editing pictures and realized the sheer quantity of pictures involved in this endeavor, I realized that there’s no way I can put all of those pictures into one post. So it looks like the entire tour will take three posts.

Today, I’m focusing on the kitchen, breakfast room (which is currently being used as a temporary sitting room), and pantry areas. In Part 2, I’ll focus on the living room, entry, and music room. And then Part 3 will be the hallway, hallway bathroom, guest bedroom, home gym, and master bathroom. I won’t be showing the sunroom, my studio, or the front exterior of the house this go around.

So let’s get started!

This kitchen was the first big remodel I ever did, and I did most of it by myself. As you can see in the “before” pictures, there wasn’t really anything to salvage from the old kitchen, so I tore it down to the studs, ceiling joists, and subfloor, and then rebuilt everything.

There was originally a wall separating the kitchen and what’s now the sitting room. This wall was originally an exterior wall with two doors leading out to a covered breezeway that connected the house to the garage. When the covered breezeway was enclosed to make an indoor room (which the previous owners called a den), the wall was left in place, as was the slight step down from the kitchen into the den.

So I took down that wall and replaced it with a cased opening to open up these areas to each other. The door that led to the garage (the gray door in the photo above) now leads to my studio.

This is the same view with a vertical photo where you can see that the kitchen was lit by one bulb, and just like the rest of the house, the ceiling was covered in polystyrene ceiling tiles.

Now the room has considerably more lighting, and there are no more ceiling tiles. And of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg on the changes I made — new flooring, new cabinets, new cabinet configuration, etc.

The original kitchen felt closed in like a box with the wall separating the kitchen from the den, which blocked out most of the natural light that came in through the large windows in the den.

Opening up that wall made the small kitchen feel so much bigger without the wall blocking the view and blocking out the natural light from those windows.

The wall that currently has the cased opening between the kitchen and the living room originally had a full wall of cabinets. The whole arrangement of the original kitchen was incredibly inefficient.

Now that cased opening feels like it has always been there. My kitchen doesn’t have any direct natural sunlight, but it no longer feels like a cave since it has natural sunlight coming in from the sitting room and the living room.

It really amazes me how opening up a couple of walls can make a room feel so much larger. My kitchen really isn’t big, especially compared to today’s standards in new build homes. My kitchen is only about 9′ x 14′. I still can’t get over how tiny it originally felt.

I didn’t enlarge the footprint of the kitchen at all, but it feels about twice as big as it did originally.

If I were to list the top five changes I made to this house that made the biggest impact, adding a cased opening on this wall would definitely be on that list.

It might even take the #1 place on that list. And even though it made furniture placement in the living room a little more challenging, I still never choose to go back to a solid wall here.

The original opening from the music room (which was the original dining room) into the kitchen was also pretty narrow.

I was able to widen it just a few inches — enough to make a big difference to Matt — while still having enough wall space for the cabinets and range to the left, and cabinets on the wall to the right.

From this angle, you can see the original sliding glass door that was in the music room (aka, the original dining room) that led into the sunroom. That’s the room that will eventually be torn down. We plan to add on a family room/media room through those doors.

So for now, from this angle, I get to see my pretty music room sliding doors that I made. I blocked the view into the sunroom by using “frosted” window adhesive on the glass on those doors.

To the right of that back wall of kitchen cabinets, you can see the back of the original den, which is now the pantry.

That room was so long (around 24 feet), so I portioned off the back seven feet of space by building a new wall to create the pantry.

The back wall of the kitchen is where the sink was original located, which was relocated to the peninsula. This wall also had a window looking into the sunroom. Of course, that window was originally an exterior window, and the sunroom was added on later.

Since we do plan on adding onto the back of the house eventually, I removed the window and installed a whole wall of cabinets.

The previous owners used this room between the kitchen and the garage as a den. The floor in this room was about two or three inches lower than the kitchen floor, and it had a dreary dark plywood ceiling that sloped down at the back of the room.

This whole room went through quite the transformation — concrete poured to raise the floor to the same height as the kitchen, plywood ceiling and wood walls replaced with drywall, the back seven feet sectioned off to make a pantry, the two large windows at the back replaced with one small window to give me more storage space, etc.

Obviously, that just scratches the surface, but you get the idea. The door that leads to my studio is in the exact same place as the previous door that led to the garage, so that gives you an idea of where the wall was built to section off my pantry at the back. I also removed that sloping ceiling at the back, and turned it into an angled ceiling in the pantry.

And then standing at the back of the room and looking towards the front, this was the original view, with the kitchen on the right, and the garage on the left.

Since I couldn’t stand as far back to take this current photo (because I’d be standing in the pantry, and the view would be blocked by pantry walls), I had to step in front of the pantry walls and use my wide angle lens to get the view as the “before” picture. Wide angle lenses distort things a bit and make things look bigger than they are, but you can still get the idea. The distance from the garage (studio) door to the front wall of the sitting room is still the exact same distance today.

And I had to do the same with this one. To take this original picture, I stood in the back corner of the den and took the picture towards the kitchen.

If I did that today, I’d be standing in the back corner of the pantry, and this is the view you’d see.

So I stepped out of the pantry and used my wide angle lens to get a view as close to the “before” picture as possible. Obviously, that puts the angle off from the original photo, but you get the idea. 🙂

Again, this is the original exterior door that led to the garage. It sat right about in the middle of this long side wall of the den.

That door is in the exact same place, but it leads to my studio. And the back portion of that room is now sectioned off to create my pantry.

And standing in the front corner of the original den and looking back angled towards the kitchen, this was the original view. That closed door led to the sunroom.

The door to the sunroom is gone. The two windows on the back wall were replaced with one smaller window. There’s now a wall sectioning off the back of that room to create my pantry. And the wall separating this room from the kitchen is gone and replaced with a cased opening and a peninsula of cabinets and the kitchen sink.

So I’ll wrap up this part of the home tour here. In Part 2 (which I hope to post either tomorrow or Wednesday), I’ll share the living room, entry, and music room.

By the way, if you want to see more details about these room remodels, you can check out my archives here:



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  1. WOW – totally mind blowing. Your mind must have been in overdrive when you imagined what you would do with all that when you looked at the house. I could never “see” all those changes and improvements. What you have done is beyond amazing to me. I only “found” you a few years ago, so I guess I missed SO much! Thank you for the tour! Looking forward to the next one.

  2. You are truly amazing to have the vision to see your BEAUTIFUL home in the ugly duckling you started with. Great work and dazzling results!

  3. Simply amazing and so well thought out for your lifestyle. The previous owner just plopped on extensions with very little thought of flow and detail. I’d love to know if your neighbors have similar floorpans and if you’ve motivated them to do something similar.

  4. A spectacular transformation! Your imagination and determination have created a beautiful living space and inspired us all. Thank you!

  5. The work you’ve put in is amazing. And the quality and thought towards design and function are just outstanding. So wish I had your talent and ability. Girl, you are something else!

  6. The difference is beyond amazing. And the fact that you’ve almost single-handedly completed all of the heavy work as well as designing and building furniture/art is nothing short of super, duper amazing.
    Congrats on all of your hard work coming together in these beautiful spaces.

  7. Wow! I found your website in 2014, I think. My life was stalled for about 8 years from where I normally like it, so I had a lot of time to peruse and enjoy all your content then and from there on. Let me just say you have been a life saver for me, thank you! And I have learned so much that I put into a house we bought at the end of 2017, and our previous house that we fixed up and sold last year. You are way more important than you know.

  8. I am amazed every time I see all that you have accomplished. Wish I were younger so I could tackle my house. I’m 82 or I would try.

  9. This is so amazing! I absolutely love how you opened up this space! Light and color flow through from room to room! It’s so cheerful and refreshing!

    I have a question for you about the kitchen cabinets: I remember you said you used HD stock cabinets. Are you still happy with how they’re holding up? We’re planning a kitchen remodel and I’m wondering if those cabinets are something we should consider. I remember you added trim to give them a custom look. Is that something an advanced beginner could tackle in your opinion?

  10. I have been following you since 2013! Back then I was still living in South Africa and thought that I would love to blog about my DIYs, just like you. It took MANY years and moving to Canada before that happened, but it finally did! I just want to say thank you for being the inspiration in more ways than you will ever know! You are amazing!

  11. I particularly love your use of color and how you fearlessly charge ahead with your ideas, even if that means having to revisit later and change things up to improve it further. That’s one of my issues – wanting to get it right so badly that I just freeze.
    I also love how you tackle such large projects on your own and I know that you’re very modest, but I hope that you give yourself credit where credits is due. You never cease to amaze me! 😘

  12. Kristi, you have such a pretty home. I am in awe of your vision, talent and sheer determination to get the project completed. You are a rare woman indeed. I also envy your ability to take on much of the work yourself. Where I live I would be prosecuted for anything more that building a cabinet and painting. Definitely not allowed to have anything to do with plumbing including waterproofing, electrical or construction without a license. Huge congratulations on what you have accomplished.

  13. Pantry not exactly a remodel. It’s a full blown new build! 😂 OMagosh! You have done a yeoman’s work in here! I’m so blown away. It looks so fabulous!

  14. I have been with you since condo days! You still continue to amaze and inspire me! Just keep swimming!👍😊💕

  15. Standing ovation, slow-clap style! How remarkable to see what it’s like when someone completes their To Do list. I can’t decide if I think your talents or tenacity are more impressive; both are incredibly enviable! Your colorful home is so refreshing to see.

    Keep up the great work. Thanks for bringing us along for the ride.

  16. You put a huge amount of work into all of those, and the results are stunning! (Also, I love that you’ve got before and afters taken from the same (mostly) view, so we can see a side-by-side comparison. Sometimes people use a completely different angle and I can’t figure out how the after matches with the before!)

  17. Amazing! It’s lovely. I loved the green you had on your cabinets earlier, but actually like the blue better. It’s such a pretty color. Also, just curious – what did you do with the old kitchen cabinets? I understand the need to update – but those cabinets were pretty cool in a vintage sort of way. Were you able to reuse them somewhere? You are one talented gal!

  18. God bless you and Matt. Love your talent – and I love your fruit of the spirit posters as well!! Keep up the fantastic work when you can.