Our New Home “The Befores”

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new home header

 Things have been busy for us the last few months. Just to recap, as your head is probably spinning as fast as mine is with all our moving around, we’ve moved once again.

It all started 3 years ago, when this blog had just began, my husband accepted a transfer for work that took us across the state. We built a beautiful home on a lake which you can see all about HERE. We loved the home, but hated being away from our friends and family and due to some other circumstances, we pretty quickly realized our time there was limited. So, when the opportunity came to return “home” last year came, we took it. The problem being, we couldn’t find a house to move to.

Since we wanted our kids to return to the schools they had been in two years prior, and the school system had done some redistricting to further complicate matters, you could say our options were limited. Thankfully, we knew and loved one neighborhood {which just so happens to be where Terry lives so you know it’s a good place to be!} but there wasn’t anything for sale last spring. Suddenly a house popped on the market for rent–the night before we we leaving for a Disney vacation of course– so we just decided to go with it sight unseen and make it work for a year.  You have seen that home here and there on the blog {the porch, my daughter’s room and my home office}, the owners are very kind people and we were very lucky we were able to live in it for the last year. My home office was even featured in Working Mother Magazine while we were there, crazy!  Looking back on it, I know this was the path we were meant to take, while moving twice is difficult, we are now where I know we are meant to be.

While we were searching for a house last year we heard that this {our new} home was going to come on the market in the future.  After a few bus stop chats with the owners, we took a look at the house last Christmas. Our purchase was completely untraditional, and shows how smoothly things can go when you both honor essentially what is a “handshake deal”.  Once we were both ready, we closed and moved in. While this house is 8 years old, it has been extremely well taken care of, which was of great importance to us in purchasing a resale home. It’s also still in much of the builder “white” decor, which is nice since my palate tends to be more neutral, I don’t feel any huge rush to change everything right away.

So, that is the story. The only thing left to mention before I show you all the “Before” pics is that we consider this our forever home. I pray, after 3 moves in 3 years, that we will truly be here are very long time and we’re treating it as such. I am moving more slowly on decorating it then I usually do, as I want to make good decisions that we’ll be happy with for a long time. I have tons of ideas–of course–and its been fun to dream about the possibilities while NOT worrying about resale for a change.

living room

OK, so on with the Tour! This front room was originally light blue, but I took these pictures after we had some painting done right before we moved in. Interestingly enough, the color is BM Classic Gray but it looks almost white, which kind of disappointed me. We do have plans for built-ins across the far wall so the color probably won’t matter once those are done. I also envision some “interesting” curtains on the bay window that is just outside the picture to the right, so I don’t know that I will feel the need to repaint with more decor in the room. This room is farthest along now as far as being “decorated”, and while I said this post was all before’s, I have one “in-progress” I will share at the end if you want to see where this room is heading, but you’ll need to keep reading!

The Before…

dining room

The After…1dining-room-header




family room pic

Above is the Family Room in the house, you can also see the sun room off the kitchen which was a major selling point for us. The two-story family room was NOT a selling point, as they are way too loud, but it’s hard to find a home around here of this “genre” without one, so we’ll just make do.

Update: See how we updated the fireplace in the room above HERE:


Update: See how we updated the Hallway/Console HERE:


Here is our kitchen “Before”…

kitchen before

They say kitchens “sell” houses, they are pretty important.  I loved the “bones” of this kitchen, it’s large and light and bright thanks to the sun room off the back. I have big plans to refresh this space and make it more my taste.

kitchen 2

Here is the start of our kitchen makeover plan.  I am planning we will do it in 2 parts, we’ll start with a cosmetic makeover shortly including new lighting, window treatments, a tile backsplash and painting the cabinets. Part 2 will come later, and will likely include new appliances, changing the super small pantry into something larger, and rethinking the desk area into something more functional like a beverage station, and we’ll probably also replace the granite with something else.

Here is my short “to-do” list!

kitchen marked

 Exciting stuff, huh? Overall the kitchen is in great shape. The work area is huge {thanks to the cooktop NOT being on the island, something that was hard to find but important to me} and the cabinets are well made. The granite isn’t my taste {I find granite too busy, maybe it’s just me?} but it’s certainly a  nice upgrade to have. I am debating a cabinet color, do I go with a creamy ivory white to pull those tones from the current granite or go with a “whiter” white knowing eventually we’ll replace them with something else–marble, soapstone, butcher block? Thoughts? Please weigh in!

{update: Breakfast Room is done, see it HERE!}


And then we painted it {click HERE to read about my favorite paint color}


Here is the master bedroom,  the sunroom off it is the perfect quiet spot for my home office.

master bedroom

Update: Sunroom turned office is done! See my full office makeover HERE:


console in office

And here is an image of our builder master bath, we dream of knocking out the corner tub and enlarging the shower but that is FAR down the road.

master bath

We have also been hard at work on our kids’ rooms. Our boys’ rooms are close to done, I will show them soon.  We wanted the kids to feel settled as quickly as possible knowing that they have suffered through 3 moves right along with us. My daughter is in need of an upgrade from a little girl room to a bigger girl room, so that is next on the list.

{update: Girl’s Room is done in pink & gold! See it HERE}


We have much to do, but it’s exciting to finally be “home”.

Here is the sneak peek I promised, if you follow on instagram you will see that I used a bit of gold “rub and buff” on this mirror that I planned to get rid of, and now it’s back in my good graces. I have a rug on order and we’re starting the built-ins next {well, next as in “soon”!} so it’s all coming along.

living room sneak peak

Be sure follow 11 Magnolia lane via our social media or sign up for an email subscription HERE so you see all the progress we’re making in our home.




  1. What a lovely space! So much potential wishing you all the best! Excited to see the “after”

    • Thanks Deb! I appreciate it. Its so fun to have projects again in “my” home, I am grateful for that. Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

  2. I love your plans for the kitchen!! I would being doing the exact same. To most that looks like an awesome { new} kitchen. To us bloggers we see builder grade {ugh}! I can’t wait to see your kitchen & Master transformation After all the years ,this Blog is the one I still go back to for inspiration !! Love it!



    • Thank you Paige, yes your right that the kitchen is great as it is–which sure makes it easier to live in while we decide what to do with it to make it feel like “us”. Thanks so much for visiting us and for your kind words, we’re so glad for you loyal readership. Have a great day.

  3. We have done your type of moves with our biggest squeeze being in 4 houses before our oldest was 4 years old. i look forward to seeing how wonderful you make your new home into your beautiful long term home. Enjoy the process and I know you will do things just right! I do enjoy all of your posts from you three ………Rosalie

    • Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 Glad to hear others have survived the multiple moves process! Have a great day.

  4. Hi Amy,

    How exciting to have a new house, a new canvas. We are moving in June and I’m excited to “start over” too. The moving part, not so much, I can’t believe you’ve done it 3 times in 3 years!!
    I am rethinking our counters too and have thought about butcher block. Have you used it before, if so, what is the maintenance like? From a germ stand point it’s a little scary to me, but I love the look.
    Thanks for your awesome blog of inspiration!!!


  5. What a fun and bright new space to work with! I am envious of the size of your kitchen island! I love your vision to brighten the kitchen. You will find the granite to be less busy once the cabinets are painted. I always love bright white but I think in that space you are right to pull a creamier, off-white from the (for now) granite for the cabinets. It could be really cool then to paint the island a few shades darker, more of a linen, gray, or taupe. I also think taking the cabinets up to the ceiling could have a great impact on the room, especially with whitish cabinets. Eliminating the shadows above the cabinets will make the room feel bigger. Can’t wait to see your “afters”!
    Tracey http://www.facebook.com/MadeNewHomeFurnishings

  6. Hi Amy, I’m curious – have you painted your kitchen cabinets yet? My kitchen looks almost exactly like yours, with similar granite and cabinet color. I really want to paint my cabinets but I admit I’m a bit nervous to do it. My husband says it will ruin the home’s value. I’d love to hear your thoughts about that, as well as see your process and/or a tutorial on how you do your cabinets when the time comes. You have a lovely home and elegant taste in decor. Can’t wait to see the after photos!

    • Hi Tara–thank you so much for your kind words. I have not started my kitchen yet. I am DYING to get going but it is a huge project and we’ve got some little projects we need to knock out first. I will absolutely post a tutorial on the paint, etc. as I go along. I have some big plans for this kitchen 🙂
      I know it makes some people nervous to paint wood–my husband would probably prefer I left ours “As-Is” as well–but it’s my house and my kitchen so I am not afraid to attack them with a paint brush! I believe it’s important to make your home truly your own, if you aren’t planning to move anytime soon then I think you are safe to paint if you are so inclined. If you think you will move then you may want to speak to some Real Estate agents in your area about what may happen value-wise. I know when Christy painted her cabinets {she has a great post on it BTW} that it augmented her homes value, but each market is different. Whatever you decide to do–good luck with it and be sure to keep us posted!

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