Blank Walls Have So Much Potential

I don’t know anyone in the world who doesn’t appreciate a good before-and-after.  It doesn’t even matter what, exactly, is being made over, as long as people can see adequate Before shots and successful After shots.

Blank WallRight now, it’s a blank wall.  Soon, it will be a work of art.  I hope.

It must have something to do with the psychological effects of instant gratification…instant facelifts.  Never mind the fact that hundreds of dollars/hours generally go into room or personal makeovers…a five minute before-and-after recap makes people believe that positive changes are easy and painless.

Before-and-after photos make me happy.  Ugly Before?  Beautiful After.  Done.  Have a nice day.  I will, thanks.  You too.

Because I so appreciate a good before-and-after, I will not tease you with all the before shots of a room makeover my sister and I are doing for our mom’s Mothers’ Day gift.  This project is the main reason I’m staying in Mesa for another week before heading back to Canada.  It’s going to be amazing.

My parents added on to our house when I was a junior in high school (grade 11, Canadians!).  The addition turned out beautifully—it doubled the size of their kitchen and added a “great room” that has hosted many a family party since then.  Despite the fact that it turned out well, we never really added the “finishing touches” that it deserved.  It got blinds, but no curtains.  It got paint, but sparse wall hangings.  It got french doors, but random furniture.  We’ve really been meaning to finish it off for years—nothing’s stopped us but lack of time/energy/motivation—but this is the week it’s finally happening.  My sister and I have a plan.  It’s going to be good.

We are in the midst of it now, having hired out our favourite contractor to do crown molding and thick baseboards, plus a wee bit of wainscoting around the bar area (for charm, of course).  The painters (We got to hire some!  As in, not us!  As in, score!) came and caulked this afternoon and are due back tomorrow to start the ceiling (I’m sorry, but I just need to say it one more time: Score!).  The whole room should be ready to go just in time for my brother-in-law to take charge of his kid for the weekend, leaving my sister and I with nothing but time.  It’s going to be excellent.

Once it’s all done, I’ll do a solid before-and-after post.  Until then, I hope these mid-process photos will tide you over…

Dining Room Remodel1We aren’t touching the actual kitchen part—the cupboards and counter tops will stay the same (they’re brand new with the addition).

Dining Room Makeover2I spy wainscoting.  Charming.  Those stools will be black.

Dining Room Makeover3My sister made that ribbon memory board, but it’s time to make a few changes to it.  Plus, it looks so lonely there (as does the overstuffed chair).  This wall is my biggest worry.

Dining Room Makeover4I’d like to paint that chunk of cabinets to make them look like a separate piece of furniture, but my mom would never go for it.

Dining Room Makeover6That wall has been blank all its life, save for a brief period when it hosted my brick-red hutch, glimpsed here (which I found through Craigslist right before my wedding for a total of $120.00, and subsequently took to Canada when I moved away).  Since that month, I’ve always envisioned another hutch against that wall, but my sister is thinking more along the lines of shelf+bench.  She’ll probably win, because she’s the good daughter.  Also, we’re painting that table.  And my dream is to find eight mismatched chairs and paint them all the same colour, for a very vintage look.  We’ll see…

Anyway, if you’re the type of person who hates home-y DIY projects, Archives of Our Lives is going to be very bad for your chi this week.  Just warning.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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24 Responses to Blank Walls Have So Much Potential

  1. jethro says:

    Oow, i love DIY shows. What a nice gift for your Mom, and a great posting idea. Will be fun to watch the before and afters.

  2. Jenn says:

    Can’t wait to see how it turns out! While I hate hate hate painting, I have many an organization project for this summer! I feel like those before and after pictures just aren’t as exciting. Like last night, I organized my entire closet, and my husband said, “it looks the same to me!”

    Good Luck to you this week!

  3. Joel says:

    I see something that would add TONS to the kitchen that you didn’t mention!

    While you said you are going to leave the cabinets alone, you really should add pulls. They just add another dimension to otherwise plain cabinets, and they are really easy to install. With 300,000 cabinets, it won’t be the cheapest thing, but heck, you’re hiring painters, so that shouldn’t matter.

    Look into it!

  4. DeAnna says:

    Sounds like fun! Work, but fun!! Every time I head south my mom always has a project for me to do that usually involves something in her house or yard. Whether it’s drywalling or painting or just trimming the heck out of their bushes, there is always something. I can’t wait to see pictures!

  5. Carmen says:

    I love this type of stuff, the before and after whether its losing weight, new hair style, renos you name it. Its one of my favorite things. Can’t wait.

  6. Sarah says:

    I can’t wait!!! I am a makeover JUNKIE! I love What Not To Wear, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Beauty and the Geek, etc… AHHH! You should come decorate my house Little Miss Stewart!

  7. ann marie says:

    I’m going to LOVE this week!

    Oh how fun it is to make something beautiful! I love that you and your sister are taking on the task! Crown moulding and wainscoating makes me HAPPY!

    I would vote a hutch on that wall too, but I’m sure whatever you do will look nice!

    I want to see your cute hutch! That little peek was not a good look. I vote you take a picture when you get back! :)

    I can’t wait to see! Happy Decorating!

  8. mikelle says:

    I bet your mom will love it when you guys are done. Sounds like it will be a fun project, especially when you minus the kid (that’s my thinking anyway…any time I can get crafty stuff done without kids is great). I love the addition that you guys did…it really opened up your house. I have many fond memories of hanging out at your house.

  9. Katie says:

    Great idea for a Mother’s Day gift! I went with running shoes. Lame.

  10. Nice…..
    I like.

  11. Holly Decker says:

    you are right… before and after pics… ADDICTING.
    you know, i notice a spring in your step (or exclamation in your typing) when you are home and bonding with your sister… and i love it. i am glad to know you are having such a good time- and this is so exciting of a project. i remember what it looked like before the addition- and its already a great improvement!

    ps. i thought of a good AoOL question today and now i forgot it. i had the idea in the shower and now its lost. agh. *sigh* ONE DAY i will remember and ask it

  12. Whitney says:

    Seriously a blank wall is the best! I cant wait to see the changes.
    P.s I think you should paint those cabinets a different color from everything else… It would look spectacular.

  13. anna says:

    When you’re done there, why not stay another week and come help my poor pathetic home? Five plus years and only two rooms painted and only two rooms have things on the walls.

  14. raygon says:

    Your parents are so lucky. I cant wait to see it when it is finished.

    Not like I spent a lot of time there, but seeing that kitchen makes me feel homesick.

  15. mameelynn says:

    I can’t wait to see how it turns out… I live off of HGTV…. Maybe it is because I live in an apartment and I’m not aloud to paint or make any big changes. I can’t wait till we own a house so that I can make changes whenever I want to!

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