3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour

This post has been a long time coming. 3 years to be exact. Because our entire house is FINISHED! I mean… mostly. (Is a house ever really totally finished?)

We still have our laundry room, possibly a little flooring, and a few small spaces to go, but I was so excited to dust off our home’s before shots from the old archives when we first moved into our house back in December 2013. From the moment we unlocked our front door for the first time, this blog was born.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

It’s been exciting and stressful and exhausting and has felt very much like raising a “baby” in a way.

Our house is a suburban tract home, meaning anything we wanted to “upgrade” during the building phase would cost a huge heap of mulah for less-than-superior work. We bought our house for the square footage, knowing we could customize it over time, but in the beginning, we just wanted the most square footage for as little money as possible.

So I thought it would be fun to update our full customized before and after home tour, Christmas style.

The Foyer

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

When we first moved in, we didn’t really own any furniture besides a crib and an old couch. Robert had just started his career after graduating from college on the GI Bill, I was teaching at a nearby high school, and Olivia was just a spunky 1 year-old. Funds were tight, but we were determined because we were so excited about this very first house of ours and knew it was a great starting point.

We ended up furnishing and making over our foyer with the help of Craigslist and good ol’ willpower (as was the case with the rest of our rooms).

You can read all about our foyer’s DIY projects and source list here.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

The Hallway

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

Our hallway felt a bit claustrophobic at first, but we managed to make use of the space by incorporating this bench we found on Craigslist for $35. We added the board and batten to make the hallway feel larger and add dimension. It’s now our go-to spot to kick off our shoes and drop our bags when we get home.

You can see more about our Christmas entryway here.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

The Dining Room

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

This space was furnished entirely out of secondhand finds and cost less than $700 total.

I made the rope chandelier from a plain thrifted black one using trusty hot glue and a hula hoop. The flea market china cabinet got a quick and simple paint job. I painted and refinished the dining table. And the dining chairs I got from an estate sale, despite being a huge job, were well worth the DIY reupholstering hassle using drop cloth canvas.

You can see more about our Christmas dining room here.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

The Kitchen

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

I’d always wanted white cabinets to open up this very dim, dark space, but our stock builder only offered one color, brown. A lot of labor went into this kitchen, and I think I love it even more for the effort we personally poured into it. There’s something so satisfying about walking into a room and knowing you DID that! And you never ever thought you’d be capable of completing a project so huge.

You can read more about our kitchen DIY projects, budget breakdown, paint colors, and source list in this post.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

The Living Room

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

This is a shot from our breakfast nook, but our living room has seen the most projects over the past few years.

To add character to our plain doorway, we added this DIY faux beam for about $80.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

We always wanted a fireplace but couldn’t justify the $5,000 upgrade to have a very small one put in from our builder. And since we live in South Carolina, we didn’t need one for warmth that much anyway.

So faux fireplace was the way to go. (Don’t you love these sophisticated before shots? 😉 So fancy. )

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

The fireplace was our first big home improvement project ever. In hindsight, there are probably some things I’d change. It’s not 100% perfect, but I still love how big of a statement it makes in here. And it only cost $600 as compared to the $5,000 from our builder for a rinky dink one. Totally worth it.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

On our stairs, I decided against my original plank wall plan back in the day (thank goodness) and made a gallery wall from thrifted frames. To accommodate our ginormous TV, we found a plain buffet table on Craigslist that we reworked to look like an antique printer’s cabinet.

You can see more about our Christmas living room in this post.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

The Playroom / Media Room

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

Upstairs, our playroom got a major overhaul this fall with lots of built-in storage, work desks, and relaxing space to utilize as a whole family. I love being able to work at the desk or on the couch in the afternoons as Olivia colors or “cooks” in her play kitchen.

You can see the playroom’s DIY projects, budget breakdown, paint colors, and source list in this post.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

Olivia’s Bedroom

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

Once Olivia was ready to transition from her crib to a “big girl” bed, we gave her room a girly makeover. All of her furniture came from the thrift store or consignment sales (besides her mattress) that I painted. We kept most of the room neutral to grow with her easily. If the day comes when she decides she hates pink, it’s an easy fix.

She’s constantly singing and dancing everywhere she goes, so we stuck with a ballerina theme and incorporated a ballet barre with a big mirror for lots of twirly dress-up fun, which she does every day.

You can see all about this bedroom’s DIY projects, budget breakdown, paint colors, and source list in this post. 

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

Olivia’s Bathroom

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

This bathroom makeover ended up being so simple mostly by using paint and replacing the plain mirror. Even the countertops and floors look like a different color because of the paint change in here.

You can see all of this bathroom’s DIY projects, budget breakdown, and source list in this post.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

The Office

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

This office has basically served as Robert’s “man cave”. He came up with most of this room’s design on his own since he wanted a space where he could display some of his mementos from his USMC days.

We furnished his office with this Pottery Barn desk we found for a steal on Craigslist and utilized garage shelving for industrial bookcases.

You can see the office’s DIY projects, budget breakdown, paint colors, and source list in this post.
3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

The Master Bathroom

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

We managed to makeover our entire master bathroom for less than $400 by painting the cabinets, replacing the mirror, framing the window, adding a plank wall behind our tub, and giving our existing shower door a black steel window look.

You can see our master bathroom’s DIY projects, budget breakdown, paint colors, and source list in this post.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

The Master Bedroom

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

Our master bedroom was literally a white box when we first moved in, like every other room in our house, so we decided to add some character by incorporating white planks with plywood and framing our windows.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

This dresser I found at an antique shop fit in better once I changed the hardware and added a mirror on top. I found an antique Duncan Phyfe chair for the corner of the room too, but for now, I just removed the seat and put our Christmas tree in it. (Learning photography and practicing with my camera helped a little bit too.)

You can see our master bedroom’s DIY projects, budget breakdown, paint colors, and source list in this post.

3 Year Blogiversary Before and After Home Tour | blesserhouse.com - A full home tour of a suburban tract cookie cutter house with before and after shots and DIY home improvement project inspirations on a budget.

Some days, I look around our house and still can’t believe how far we’ve come. But I think, more than anything, I love that Robert, Olivia, and I have been able to include pieces of our past and meaningful treasures here that make it home.

This place is so much more than installing upgrades and decorating rooms. It has truly made us realize that we can do so much when we are determined and willing to take risks. In a way, our house has built us. It’s taught us valuable lessons about hard work and even my and Robert’s marriage- about how to problem solve, about how to remain calm and sort through chaos, about how to remain humble and admit you don’t always have the answers to everything when something goes wrong. In these three years of home improvement, we’ve learned to trust each other. We’ve learned to see things not as they are, but as they could be.

And we thank God every day for those valuable lessons that we never saw coming when we turned that door key three years ago.

I want you to know, the journey of this house is not about the accumulating of material possessions. (It should never be about that.)  It’s about the journey, the growth and strengthening of ourselves. He gave Robert and I a passion for making a home and all it stands for. I can’t wait to see all of the adventures we’ll have and the lessons we’ll learn for years to come, in this house and thereafter.

signoff

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41 Comments

  1. Wow, your house is beautiful! I love all of the decor and all of your statement walls. My home is slowly getting there, three years and counting 🙂

  2. Fantastic and Fabulous Homes beautifully designed and looks Wonderful and Comfortable Homes Heart Family ??????

  3. Amazing Lauren! I’ve loved following along for the last couple of years. So much has changed and it all looks great! Merry Christmas!

  4. WOW! I’ve been along on the journey, but seeing all together in one place here, with all of the before and after pictures – oh my goodness!? Such an amazing transformation and so many wonderful and creative ideas! Thank you for inviting us in and for always being so real and so open – it really is refreshing! Thanks for sharing your talents and abilities, not to mention all of your great ideas. Blessings to you and your family this Christmas!

    1. Thank you so much for being here through all of it, Lanita! I’m just as amazed. I don’t notice how dramatic it is until I see it all together. Hope you and your family had a great Christmas!

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