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Lake House Before & After Projects: Year 2

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A Year of Home Improvement and DIY Decorating Projects

It has been two years since we moved to live on the shores of Lake Murray, South Carolina. When I look back it doesn’t seem possible.

This time a year ago, I posted about all the home improvement projects we took on the first year after we moved to start making the house feel more to our liking.  Remember the staircase makeover, removing the wall between the kitchen and living room, and making over the brick fireplace to stone?

Today I thought I would look back to remember all that I did to the house this year, 2017.

DIY Kitchen makeover before and after photos

The biggest was finishing up the kitchen makeover. Having this done gave the first floor a whole new vibe. It made a HUGE difference that was worth all the time and effort.

Read More: Finishing Up the Kitchen Makeover

Kitchen countertop painting to look like white Carrara marble. Giani Countertop painting kit review.

The most amazing transformation took place when I painted the brown Formica counters in the kitchen to look like Carrara Marble. They came out fabulous. I used a special paint kit and would do it again as the paint finish has held up wonderfully. If you dislike your counters and don’t have a budget for new ones, I highly recommend painting them.

Read More: Painting Kitchen Counter to Look Like Carrara Marble

How to create a hidden closet under a staircase as well as a hidden door.

The other major change we made was in the two-story foyer. We added a hidden closet under the staircase. A few readers named it The Harry Potter closet. :-)  I store my cleaning supplies in the closet and a few seasonal items.

Read More: Adding a Door Under the Foyer Staircase

How to make a fake transom over a door

We finally took on giving the “hallway of darkness” a brighter feel by adding new flooring, lighting, doorknobs and white bead board on the lower section of the walls.  I used a faux painting treatment to make the walls above the bead board look like grasscloth wallpaper. I also added a fake transom over the exterior door.

Read More: The Hallway of Darkness Makeover         How I added a Fake Transom over the Door


In the“hallway of darkness” there are 5 doors in the narrow hallway. To make the space have some character, I made and placed a sign on each door telling what the contents are in each. I am even making another sign to put on the new pantry. I will be posting that next week. So stay tuned.

Read More: Making Faux French Enameled Signs for Doors

DIY ribbon organizer to make for easy to access ribbon storage

I have been tweaking my studioffice to make it better for the way I work since the day we moved into the house.  I finally added another work station so I now have a desk, a work-station for sewing and paper work and also my worktable where I can make a mess…

Read More: Studioffice Makeover

How to paint a glass vase. Easter-and-spring-decorating-ideas-to-make using paint.

…like when I painted this plain vase using craft paint.

Read More: Painted Glass Vase


My laundry area used to be brown and dingy. Now I don’t mind doing laundry at all. Seeing the maps all over the walls makes me smile every time I open the doors.

Read More: Laundry Room Makeover

How to install a Brisa Retractable Screen door in 30 minutes. DIY home improvement projects. Screen door options for exterior doors.

I love when a breeze blows though the house when the weather is nice. I couldn’t have a swing-out screen door to our garage because the garage door track is in the way. Installing a retractable screen door took care of that problem.

Read More: Screen Door

Decorating with colors in the guest room-

Back in the spring I took on the Color Lovers Challenge with a group of other decorating bloggers.  This guest room got a makeover that included lots of color pops to make it cheery and inviting when family and friends come to stay with us.

Read More: Make over of Guest Room

Blue and white bathroom decorating ideas

I also took on making over the guest bathroom for the Color Lovers Challenge.

Read More: Guest Bathroom Makeover


How to paint faux woodgrain on a surface. I painted these doors a much lighter color using a woodgraining tool and paint. Painted finishes on wood and more using paint and glaze.

Someday I want to replace these doors, but for now, painting them using a faux woodgrain finish made me happy. I like the finish so much that in the spring I may even do the same paint treatment on my garage door.

Read More: Painted Faux Woodgrain on my Front Doors

Easy sew custom box cushions to fit any chair shape or style. Full step by step tutorial shows you how to make thick box style chair cushions that are perfect for dining chairs

My dining area needed a pop of color so I added blue and white chair cushions that I made from scratch. Instead of making ties to tie them onto the chairs, I made them sticky so they would stick to the seats, no ties needed.

Read More: Chair Cushions

Make this fun and flirty pom pom trim for a slipcover. The pom poms are attached in a way that can be easily removed so you can launder the slipcover and not the pom pom trim. Easy home decorating project.

I have always like the rattan ottomans in my living room. I have had them for a long time. To give them a new look I made fun and flirty new covers with large pom-pom trim.

Read More: Pom Pom Trimmed Ottoman CoversShed Roof options with Nu- Wood Shutters

Adding shutters to the lake side of the house was the post that received the most comments I gave ever received on my blog in one day.   They really do make the house look much better.

Read More: House Exterior Mini-Makeover

Now that 2017 will be history in a few days, I am ready to start 2018 with new creative ideas and DIY projects.

The first being how I gave my small pantry closet a makeover.

I will be posting it next week. Stayed tuned.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday week.

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Before-&-After-DIY-Home-Decorating-Projects #homedecorating, #budgetdecor #homeimprovementprojects #beforeandafter #roommakeovers

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  1. I love all your ideas and projects! You have transformed an already awesome house. Can’t wait to see what you do next. Love your blog!

  2. Thanks for all the inspiration in 2017. Can’t wait to see what you will come up with in 2018!

  3. WOW!!! You’ve done a LOT this year!!! Your house looks AWESOME!!! Can’t wait to see what you do this year!
    Happy 2018!!!!
    PS: Thank you again so much for the BEAUTIFUL real wreath I won from your blog! It was beautiful & smelled so good throughout the holidays! LOVED it!!!

  4. Your house looks wonderful! Happy New Year! The doors and the map walls are two of my favorites.

  5. Happy New Year! I wanted to pick a favorite post from this past year but I couldn’t pick just one. I’d start writing about the kitchen makeover and think oh but the laundry room was great then the fireplace came to mind and the front door and so on. You have a wonderful blog, Looking forward to what you have to share in 2018.

  6. I am so impressed by all the projects you’ve done.
    The house looks fantastic.
    I look forward to seeing what else you do going forward.

  7. Gosh! I hardly know what to say! I’m fairly knew to your site and this is the first I’ve seen of your 2017 makeover. I love it. I especially like the wall paper in the utility room. What a fantastic idea!

  8. It is amazing to think you accomplished so much this year! So many blogs show off work they paid someone else to do so I love seeing your work which is mostly DIY. I am anxiously waiting for your pantry post as mine is in dire need of an upgrade.

  9. It’s amazing that you and Ed have accomplished so much in one year! You and he are so ambitious! Always enjoy your posts, and wish you both the proverbial “Happy New Year”!

  10. Diane, thanks for this blog post with some of the many things you have done in your new home. I especially loved keeping up with your kitchen transformation. I personally love white cabinets so I think it’s a great change! Could you please tell me what type of glass knobs you got for your kitchen and your hallway? I recently had my bathroom remodeled and I am having such a hard time finding cabinet knobs that are the right width and that come with the right size screw. I have purchased knobs and then gone back to the store and returned them multiple times because they were not what was needed. I had a glass knob with a scallop edge design put on my new door to the bathroom which I really love and I really wanted to match the knobs to the glass door knob is possible. Thanks so much!

  11. I loved all your projects this year but my favorite has to be the stencil wallpaper you did in the bathroom. But I could go on about all of it really. Happy New Year.

  12. Diane your lake home is beautiful. I have enjoyed seeing all your updates for 2017 and always look forward to reading your blog!
    Wishing you and yours all the best in 2018

  13. Thanks for the great wrap-up. This is my favorite blog and I look forward to seeing the creative way you make your space your own. Looking forward to following along in 2018 – Happy New Year!

  14. I’m new to your blog in this year, and I loved this recap to see things I missed. I love the signs on the hallway doors and I like the maps in the laundry room!

    The shutters on the outside look great as well. Sometimes its the little things, isn’t it, that make a house a home!

  15. I have so enjoyed your make overs. The lake house is gorgeous. I really like and trust your product recommendations – as you know TV ads make some things look like a snap when they are not. Your step by step tutorials are very helpful and give great encouragement to DIY newbies. Happy New Year Diane!

  16. You have been busy, and with great results. I have a question, I have same layout for kitchen and I was wondering why you took off the cabinet doors to right of sink, instead of the ones over the left side. I was thinking of taking front and back off of cabinet to see thru to hallway, but didn’t know if you have thought of this and decide for some reason not to do it. I wanted to ask before I began such a project. My hall just seems cut off from the kitchen and didn’t know if it would work.

  17. What a good year at the lake house, Diane. I loved all of these projects! I especially loved the kitchen makeover and hope to try the countertop painting myself later in 2018. Thanks so much for sharing all your great DIY expertise with us. Happy New Year!