Not-So-Extreme Makeover: Sunshine and Rainbows Edition

September 9th, 2014 by Dionna | 15 Comments
Posted in Carnival and Special Series, Carnival of Natural Parenting, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, My Family

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Welcome to the September 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Home Tour

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have opened up their doors and given us a photo-rich glimpse into how they arrange their living spaces.


My living spaces tend to be fairly simple and clean: not only because I’m a little OCD about excess stuff, but also because I’ve never had an eye for decorating. But I do love to have plenty of light in our rooms, and I am a sucker for rainbows (<--my rainbow-inspired Pinterest board). And so, lack of interior decorating skills be damned, I decided to re-envision a few rooms in our house. We live in the home my mother grew up in. It's been in the family for well over 50 years - but only a few things have been updated in that time (carpet and bathrooms).

From Dark and Vintage to Bright and Cheerful: The Dining Room

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When I was pregnant with Ailia about three years ago, I decided that I really wanted to give birth in the dining room. But not the way it was. My grandma had put in a dark green flocked wallpaper decades earlier, and no one had bothered to take it down. As popular as vintage is, I couldn’t stand to have it anymore – it made our entire front living area darker. And so I ripped it down (I also ripped out wallpaper in the toy room and guest bedroom, but I’ll spare you those remodels).

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We painted the walls lavender, the bead board an oatmeal brown, we painted mirror frame white and hung silver beads and white lights on it, and we put up a few decorations.

I made sure to keep a bit of the wallpaper. The kids and I painted some frames with a rainbow of colors, rubbed them with wax, then Tom spray painted them white. We rubbed the spray paint with sand paper, and the colors came through in a distressed look (instructions).


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I hung two colorful garlands to the entrance of the dining room. One was made by my friend, Tracy, who hot glued buttons together (so cute!). The other I made from paint chips and three different sized hole punches. You can also see my fun plates – the blue and white ones in the kitchen on the right are from London (the other two I picked up to match), and the three hanging high in the dining room we made with the kids’ hand and footprints. And last but not least, one of my favorite Brian Andreas prints.

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The dining room is my favorite room in the house. My pictures aren’t the best, so you can’t tell how bright and cheerful it is. This is the hub of our home – we do most of our homeschooling here, eat all of our meals here, I do my work at the table, and it’s the first place we land when waking up or coming home.

And if you can’t tell, we also widened the doorway into the kitchen. Which brings me to our next remodel:

From Dingy to Delightful: The Kitchen

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Tom and his dad completely redid our kitchen last summer. They tore out everything – cabinets, flooring, part of the wall, the stove, etc. Our kitchen was another dark and dismal room. This picture doesn’t do the puke yellow tile (on both walls and floor) justice – it was awful.

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We left Tom and his dad in charge of demolition last summer. The pictures they sent were a little frightening. Like this one. Eep! But I had faith . . .

Our kitchen today is incredible – white, bright, and airy! The butcher block counters are from IKEA, the cabinets are Home Depot, the tiles are from a stone and tile warehouse, and the hardwood floors are Costco. The walls are a very light gray. I’m currently trying to talk Tom into putting more hardwood floors down in the living room and toy room – two very high traffic areas that I’m sure are harboring tons of nasties.

You can’t see in the picture below, but Tom and his dad also built a small pantry into the other half of the room. The room is so much more bright and open. It’s a hundred times better than before.

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From Meh to Marvelous: The Living Room

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I re-painted the living room at the same time I redid the dining room. One wall is the same oatmeal brown as the dining room panels, the rest is white. But it has always looked kind of bland and boring to me with the oak TV cabinet and Tom’s leather furniture.

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This past winter, I talked Tom into taking out the TV cabinet and installing white cabinets and shelves. We also took out the leather recliner and brought in my red couch.

I added fun pops of color to the shelves, including a fun sign we made using a tutorial from my friend Charlie at Three Blind Wives.

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Now . . . to convince Tom to start on the bedroom and back rooms . . . ;)


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon September 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • Being Barlow Home Tour — Follow along as Jessica at Being Barlow gives you the tour of her family’s home.
  • A Tour Of My Hybrid Rasta Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes you on a tour of her kitchen complete with a Kombucha Corner, a large turtle, her tea stash, and of course, all her must-have kitchen gadgets. Check out Hybrid Rasta Mama’s most favorite space!
  • Dreaming of a Sisters Room — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, dreams, schemes and pins ideas for when her younger daughter is ready to move out of the family bed and share a room with her older sister.
  • Building a life — Constructing a dream — Survivor at Surviving Mexico-Adventures and Disasters shows you a glimpse inside the home her family built and talks about adaptions they made in constructing their lives in Mexico.
  • Why I’m Sleeping in the Dining Room — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook welcomed a new baby but didn’t have a spare bedroom. She explains how her family rearranged the house to create Lydia’s nursing nest and changing room in spaces they already had.
  • The Gratitude Tour — Inspired by Momastry’s recent “home tour,” That Mama Gretchen is highlighting imperfect snapshots of things she’s thankful for around her home. Don’t plan to pin anything!
  • Our Home in the Forest — Tara from Up the Dempster gives you a peek into life lived off-grid in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
  • natural bedding for kids — Emma at Your Fonder Heart shows you how her family of 3 (soon to be 4) manages to keep their two cotton & wool beds clean and dry (plus a little on the end of cosleeping — for now).
  • I love our home — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings explains how lucky she feels to have the home she does, and why she strives so hard to keep it tidy.
  • Not-So-Extreme Makeover: Sunshine and Rainbows Edition — Dionna at Code Name: Mama was tired of her dark, outdated house, so she brightened it up and added some color.
  • Our little outdoor space — Tat at Mum in search invites you to visit her balcony, where her children make friends with wildlife.
  • Our Funky, Bright, Eclectic, Montessori Home — Rachel at Bread and Roses shows you her family’s newly renovated home and how it’s set up with Montessori principles in mind for her 15-month-old to have independence.
  • Beach cottage in progress — Ever tried to turn a 1980s condo into a 1920s beach bungalow? Lauren at Hobo Mama is giving it a try!
  • Conjuring home: intention in renovation — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama explains why she and her husband took on a huge renovation with two little kids and shares the downsides and the ups, too.
  • Learning At Home — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling helps us to re-imagine the ordinary spaces of our homes to ignite natural learning.
  • My Dining Room Table — Kellie at Our Mindful Life loves her dining room table — and everything surrounding it!
  • Sight words and life lessons — The room that seemed to fit the least in Laura from Pug in the Kitchen‘s life is now host to her family’s homeschool adventures and a room they couldn’t imagine life without!
  • A Tour of Our Church — Garry at Postilius invites you virtually visit him in the 19th-century, one-room church where he lives with his spouse and two kids.
  • Preparing a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the Montessori baby-toddler space she’s created in the main living area of her home along with a variety of resources for creating a Montessori-friendly home.
  • The Old Bailey House — Come peek through the window of The Old Bailey House where Erica at ChildOrganics resides with her little ones.
  • My New House Not-Monday: The Stairs — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shows you her new laminate stairs in her not-so-new-anymore house.
  • To Minimalist and Back Again — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went to the extreme as a minimalist and bounced right back. Read how she finds it difficult to maintain the minimalist lifestyle when upsizing living space.
  • Our Life As Modern-Day Nomads — This family of five lives in 194 square feet of space — with the whole of North America as a back yard. Paige of Our Road Less Traveled guest posts at Natural Parents Network.

15 Responses to:
"Not-So-Extreme Makeover: Sunshine and Rainbows Edition"

  1. Survivor   survivorSurvivorinMX

    The light colors really opened up your home! What a nice remodel. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jessica   jessicajbarlow

    LOVE it, mama!! Everything looks amazing!! You’ve done a wonderful job. :)

    Love and light,

  3. Claire   lactatinggirl

    I absolutely love what you did! One of my favorite things in my house was painting all the walls (which we did because of the possibility of lead paint, but we picked different colors for each room). It’s amazing how a different color can completely change a room.

    I’m also incredibly jealous of your cabinets in your kitchen. I want white cabinets so bad!

  4. Beautiful! I especially like the lavender walls, but I understand wanting to keep a bit of the old wallpaper, too. My laundry zone in the basement is lavender, and I love it.

    • We have so much more remodel to do – the laundry/basement being one such area. Lavender downstairs seems like it would make it so much more cheerful. I might have to just do the wall behind the washer/dryer, if only to make me smile while folding :)

  5. Love that you framed the wall paper such a good idea. And i also love Brian Andreas, I’ve bought his cards in the past, thanks for posting the link to his site, maybe I’ll get a print! The house looks great, I know from our remodel how much of a difference it is to have a space that makes you feel happy!

    • I also gave my mom and sisters framed wallpaper for Christmas last year – we laughed over that wallpaper too many times not to share ;)

  6. Laura   Puginthekitchen

    Love it. Love it even more because we have the commonality of living in our grandmothers’ homes. Do you wonder what she would think of your changes? I often do!

    • I just read your post, Laura – I said something similar! I think my grandma would really appreciate the added sunlight. She probably would have let me do something while she was still alive, had I made the time. I miss her :(

  7. Tat   muminsearch

    Wow, just the thought of how much work you’ve done makes me tired, so I’m not surprised Tom needs a bit of convincing. But the result is so worth it!

  8. I love all of the changes you have made. It is so fun to come and see all of the little things and how much you guys have brightened up the house.

    And I agree – Tom needs to get on board for hardwood in the living room! It would totally make that room shine.

  9. Jessica   crunchychewy

    Oh my goodness, this is amazing. I am really blown away! It’s images like yours that keep me off Pinterest for fear of inadequacy ;-) I did *not* grow up with simplicity or beauty and am still on quite the learning curve! This is just so clean and lovely. We just got a crazy high quote on prefab cabinets my MIL wanted to buy us – built-in cubbies in lieu of closet. They were not formaldehyde-free and could not guarantee the lowest of VOCs. I am super sensitive and am kinda glad the quote is high so that I can find a contractor to build something from scratch with clean finishes. The mishmash we’ve got going on just won’t do, especially not after seeing amazingness like this! Thank you for sharing and inspiring.

    • You flatter me :) I’m always so unsure of myself with decorating, but I’m super pleased with how we’ve done the decorating in the living/dining rooms!

  10. Lauren @ Hobo Mama   Hobo_Mama

    I love it! So colorful and light. White cabinets in the kitchen make such a huge difference, and I love the built-in shelves and cabinets in the living room.

  11. Your home is so beautiful! I’m so jealous. I love all the unique, handmade little touches. It’s what makes a home.

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