House and Sewing Room Updates – Before & After

First of all – thank you so much for the kind words on my last post. It definitely feels good to be back to sewing again! In addition to sewing, I’m feeling happy that the dust has settled (literally and figuratively) at my house after a bunch of planned and unplanned home remodel projects last year. I thought you might like to see a peak at some of the projects as well as my sewing room update.

Pemberley pastel colored Economy Blocks

First, here’s a progress update on my growing Pemberley Economy blocks collection. They’re just so pretty. I’m going to make a few more for a small lap quilt and standing back to look at them, I think I’m going to add a few tone on tone prints that read solid to provide some contrast and a place for the eye to rest amidst all the pretty prints.

Also in the works – two other baby quilts. One that is a surprise that I’ve been keeping under wraps. I just picked it up from Melissa at Sew Shabby Quilting and have the binding ready to go. I’ll be gifting it this week and excited to share next week, so stay tuned!

Stack of denim, gingham, and other woven blue fabrics

I also pulled my stack of denims, blues, and grays (many left over from this patchwork quilt) to make a quick baby gift this weekend. This one is for another friend, who just received her second grandbaby. I went with simple patchwork again for a quick finish. I’m going to quilt it this week and will share that next week too!

It feels so good to be back in my sewing groove again. Having the holidays wrapped up sure helps. It also helps to have my house back to a functional state again. (The mental bandwidth for house projects can be so taxing.)

We’ve made some nice updates this year – some planned and some unplanned – and I thought it would be fun to share a few pictures. Because, who doesn’t love a good Before and After contrast?

Staircase Remodel 


The part of the house I’ve most wanted to update for a while is our front entry hall.  It’s a little bit of a ridiculous “Grand Foyer” – a huge waste of space, if you ask me, but it is what it is, and it’s the first thing people see when they come in our door. And it was way overdue for an update! We’ve lived in this house for 10 years and this is how it looked since the time we moved in until last fall.

A year ago we finally had the walls painted white and that alone made a HUGE difference to get rid of the poopy brown. I was ready to pull the trigger on the rest of the renovations this summer – then we had the Great Kitchen Disaster of 2019 (more on that in a minute) and things got put on hold because I just couldn’t do it all at once. Fortunately, later this fall, we were able to finish. 

Craftsman-style Staircase update - white paint, herringbone carpet

Here’s the updated version. Huzzah! It’s so pretty and makes me happy everytime I walk in the door. That herringbone carpet might be my favorite part. Our carpet was just nasty for way too long. (You can read about the quilt in this photo here.)

I’ve been looking at staircases on Pinterest for months and decided I wanted a Craftsman style banister. Hopefully it’ll also make a great backdrop for styled quilt photos, so you’ll probably be seeing more it in the future. 😉 (The quilt on the ladder is my Hopscotch quilt – pattern here. I got the black metal quilt ladder on Clearance from Magnolia a couple years ago. I think it is back in stock.)

Kitchen Disaster/Update

Here’s the “Before”:

If you’ve been around these parts for a while, you may remember that back in June we discovered a slow-leak flood that had seeped into the walls and under the floors while we were out of town. This resulted in the bottom half of our kitchen being torn out down to the wall studs and a total kitchen renovation. This was NOT part of the plan this year. Various parts of my house are in need of updates after living here for 10 years. We updated the kitchen about 5 years ago, so it wasn’t anywhere near the top of the list.


But, our hand was forced when we had to rip up the floor and rip out the wall. 🙁 (By “we” I mean the guys from the restoration company. I’m very thankful we had insurance to cover costs of the repairs.) The renovation process took F O R E V E R – I about died when they initially told me it would take about 2 months to rebuild the kitchen. It ended up taking FOUR AND A HALF months. (Hindsight, I’ve learned that I would just hire a regular contractor rather than work with a restoration company on the rebuild.)


I know people redo kitchens all the time, and I’m sure it’s always a pain, but I’m going to indulge in a little bit of a pity party as it was totally  unplanned. It just threw us out of all of our family routines.  And of course during the months of the year that my kids were home all day. Fortunately we had a mini kitchenette with a stove and sink in our basement, so we weren’t forced to wash dishes in the bathtub, but it did get old having to go to the far corner of the basement anytime we wanted to eat. (I know, #firstworldproblems.)


Each step the theme was “hurry up and wait”. The floors would get done and then we’d wait a month for the cabinets to be installed. Then we’d wait another month for the countertops, etc. I think this could be an effective new form of mental torture. BUT – as you can see, we survived. (So I can officially stop whining. But I do have new sympathy for anyone else going through an unexpected renovation.)

Here’s the final finish:

They were able to repair the cabinets but we had to replace the countertops and backsplash and restore/refinish the floors. Since we had to make those changes, I decided it would be worth it to replace the sink (I got a large single basin sink and I’m in love). With all of the changes, we decided to update the walls too and painted them ourselves.

The paint color is Simply White by Benjamin Moore – same color we used in the front hall. It’s a warm white and I really like it. The floors had to be repaired and refinished. I’m still a little bitter at the floor guy since it was my big chance to update the floor color, and I’m convinced he didn’t use the right stain. But I was too emotionally burned out to make him come back and redo the whole process. So, while they’re not what I hoped, at least they look better than they did before.

Kitchen Renovation Update - White Subway tile, warm white granite countertops, Simple White paint

I’m totally smitten with the white subway tile. And here’s a close up of some floating shelves we added ourselves. (I found them on Wayfair and they were the perfect size for this space. Nice.)

While I definitely wouldn’t have chose to go through that reno, now that it’s done I’m happy overall with the outcome. whew.

Sewing Room Update

Last thing to share is the current state of my sewing room (which was built as the dining room in this house, but since we never actually dined in the dining room, for the last 5 years it has been the perfect dedicated sewing space.)

Since the hardwood floor had to be replaced and repaired in the kitchen, it meant we had to have all of the continuous wood floors in our house refinished. Which also meant we had to move everything out of the majority of the main floor of our house. Including this room. (Again, not how I planned to spend my summer.) Here’s how it looked in August:

Empty Sewing Room - Wall color Tidewater by Sherwin Williams

The one good aspect of having to take everything out of your sewing space is that it forces you to go through a lot of that crap stuff and it was a good chance to purge as well as to only bring back the things I actually use. So there’s a good silver lining. 

It was also a good chance to rethink more effective ways to use the space. One awesome sewing room update was getting rid of the china hutch in that room and replacing it with:

Sewing Room Update - Using a large Ikea Pax wardrobe for storage solutions

a giant Pax wardrobe from Ikea. Be still my heart. I love it so much. But my children may never help me assemble Ikea furniture again. I’ve decided assembling Ikea furniture is like having a baby. You remember it was hard, but you can handle it – and then once you’re in the middle of the process again, you think, “oh yeah, I forgot how bad this is…”

Sewing Room storage solution with customizable Ikea Pax Wardrobe

But this sucker holds SO MUCH stuff, it was worth it. (Just like the babies.) I can keep supplies or projects I’m working on close at hand, but they’re all contained neatly (kind of) behind closed doors. I also love that it’s easy to customize with shelves, drawers, etc according to your needs.

I still have things to do to feel fully settled back into this space, like rehang this pile of mini quilts. I also wanted to add a bulletin board and just last week found a good one 50% off at Hobby Lobby. What I need now is someone with an artistic eye/flair to come hang everything for me. lol. I have too much analysis paralysis when it comes to hanging stuff – especially gallery-type walls.

Ikea Hemnes dresser - storage for Sewing Room

So there you go. A peek behind the scenes. It definitely wasn’t the way I planned last year to go, but we survived mostly unscathed. (Except for my finger, haha.)

You know how the song goes: You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have 2019. Or something like that…            

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  • Reply
    Debra Grizzell Parker
    January 22, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing! Your home is beautiful! Love the updates.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    lol I love assembling Ikea furniture…but then I’ve never done a Pax. Your house looks great. I love that new entry/stairs!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    What a lovely space you have created for your sewing! I am in the purging stage. Ugh…what a job. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Leslie Schmidt
    January 23, 2020 at 12:06 am

    It all looks lovely, Amy. I liked your analogy between assembling the furniture and giving birth. Once the pain is over, you forget what it was like. And the end result is worth the effort. I’m glad your finger is healing and you are able to get back to sewing. The economy blocks are so sweet. They will make an adorable little quilt.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2020 at 1:14 am

    It all looks great, and the Ikea wardrobe is a fabulous idea. x

  • Reply
    Patricia Simon
    January 23, 2020 at 3:15 am

    You have a beautiful home! Thank for sharing.

  • Reply
    Sarah Craig
    January 23, 2020 at 3:46 am

    Your new spaces are all lovely! The staircase/foyer is particularly amazing – the difference color and style can make is so refreshing. Now that the pain is over, just like childbirth, you can enjoy your new baby!!

    • Reply
      January 24, 2020 at 12:29 pm

      It IS amazing what paint can do! I always drag my feet being indecisive and then once it’s done, I always wonder why I waited so long.

  • Reply
    Little Quiltsong
    January 23, 2020 at 4:46 am

    Beautiful, beautiful updates. Love what you have done – even though some of it was forced upon you – you did wonderfully. Enjoy! Praying your finger heals completely!

    • Reply
      January 24, 2020 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you. xoxo

  • Reply
    Beth H
    January 23, 2020 at 5:15 am

    I KNOW your pain. We moved, and are living through a remodel at the moment… and yes everything takes longer than the contractor expects!!! It has been 6 months and the studio and most of our belongings are still in boxes, and what I have unpacked has moved around so much I don’t even know where to find it any more! Good news is that spring is coming.

    • Reply
      January 24, 2020 at 12:30 pm

      Yes, you do KNOW! It’s such a pain just not being able to find stuff. Hang in there!

  • Reply
    Melanie Shoaf
    January 23, 2020 at 6:50 am

    The carpet on the stairs is absolutely the star. Good choice Amy!

  • Reply
    Connie Rademacher
    January 23, 2020 at 7:18 am

    I love the quilt on the ladder at the bottom of your staircase and wonder if you can give me the pattern name and info.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2020 at 7:23 am

    I love your new bannister! Beautiful!

  • Reply
    Patricia Hanna
    January 23, 2020 at 7:39 am

    What a lovely home! and that staircase re-do is WOW! Just gorgeous.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Everything turned out great!

  • Reply
    Maxine Reisenleiter
    January 23, 2020 at 7:51 am

    Thanks for writing about this and including lots of photos of the before and afters. It’s all beautiful. Congrats on your “new” home. Also, I just love those Economy blocks. I saw your post on them a while ago and thought that I need to do that too. I have so many quilts on my list of “to-do”. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    January 23, 2020 at 8:43 am

    Amy, your renouvation project is spectacular. I have the same kitchen cabinets.
    I like the walls.
    Your sewing room is superb, I love ikea furnishings
    These kind of projects and diversions are always kind of rough and fun. Always good when it ends well

  • Reply
    Shirley Clark
    January 23, 2020 at 9:25 am

    It all looks wonderful! I love your kitchen!
    I feel your pain! Our washing machine overflowed last August, and we spent days drying out the floors and bottom of the sheet rock. Insurance paid for a company to come in and clean it up, but what a mess. We have vinyl plank flooring, and it was fine. We had to replace baseboards in several rooms. We’d have liked to do more, but we’re aging up there, and just don’t want the hassle.

    • Reply
      January 24, 2020 at 12:40 pm

      I totally get it. Somethings you can’t ignore and somethings just aren’t worth the extra hassle.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Hurray for surviving major unplanned renovations. Turned out great! And now you can enjoy the “new”.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2020 at 10:48 am

    So fun to read and see all that you have done, planned and unplanned, on your home! It turned out beautifully, including the color of the wood flooring! It is great fun to read your posts about all things quilting (including home renos that impact your sewing space). Thank you for the great photos.

  • Reply
    Terri in BC
    January 23, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Love the new banister and sewing room updates. Do you recall what paint colour you used in it? I’m getting a new craft space and that is the colour I am looking for.

    • Reply
      January 24, 2020 at 12:39 pm

      Yes! Good question – I realized I forgot to put that in the post (I’ll add it now.) The color is Tidewater by Sherwin Williams. 🙂 I painted this room about 5 years ago and still love it.

  • Reply
    Robby H.
    January 23, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Everything looks so beautiful and fresh. We’ve need to do a reno of our main floor and… ugh. I’m happy to hear about your sink and how much you love it. That’s what I want and people keep trying to tell me I’ll miss having two sections. Since I find neither side the right size for tasks now, I can’t imagine that have one could make me any unhappier than the current state of things. (I probably should not actually say that, right?!) Enjoy your beautiful “new” home.

    • Reply
      January 24, 2020 at 12:38 pm

      I can honestly tell you, I have never once missed having two sections and I LOVE that I can put large casserole dishes or baking trays into the sink to wash. Plus, I figured I could always keep a washtub handy if I needed a separate basin for soapy water or something, and I haven’t done it yet! That’s my 2 cents. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 23, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Love the changes. So beautiful!!!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    IKEA furniture, giving birth. Ha, ha, ha!!! I love your craftsman stair rail. I can’t believe that your dining room was big enough for a dining table. Much better as a sewing space. Where did you put your china? Enjoy your new space and hopefully no more demo and construction in the future!

    • Reply
      January 24, 2020 at 12:36 pm

      It is a pretty small dining room, much better used as a sewing room. 😉 I have one other smaller cabinet in the room. I moved the serving pieces and table clothes that I use regularly to that piece and put the rest in the basement. It was a great switch.

      • Reply
        Sherri Van Ryn
        January 25, 2020 at 5:25 pm

        Your home is beautiful, love the renovations! Thanks for sharing Amy!

  • Reply
    January 24, 2020 at 5:33 am

    Love the renovations. Your kitchen is beautiful. The white walls look great and will make your beautiful quilts stand out. Your sewing room wall color is perfect. Can you share the shade ? Very pretty. Enjoy your new space !

  • Reply
    January 24, 2020 at 5:41 am

    Amazing what a new coat of paint can do!! Renovations and updates are all looking amazing. I especially love the new organization cabinet in your sewing room! Enjoy sewing in your new set-up!

  • Reply
    January 24, 2020 at 7:03 am

    It looks really lovely. We have a small galley kitchen in a 1964 built ranch home. It needs to be remodeled so bad, our drawers don’t roll out, you know what I mean, but now I’m having second thoughts! Hahaha!

    • Reply
      January 24, 2020 at 12:34 pm

      I will say now, it was worth it. Especially if you plan ahead (not emergency unplanned mode.) It’s disruptive and a pain, but the result are worth it.

  • Reply
    January 24, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    I commiserate with the kitchen flood. In October of 2019 we had a black water (read : toilet water) flood throughout most of our downstairs. We had to rip out parts of our downstairs to the studs. Our house is only 2 years old! Our was less extensive than yours but we basically lived in the master bedroom for a few weeks. Then we all got some gnarly intestinal virus during all this. It sucked but we survived!

    • Reply
      January 25, 2020 at 4:03 pm

      Yuck! That sounds awful!! I’m so glad you survived, but that definitely doesn’t sounds fun.

  • Reply
    Sheri Ketarkus
    January 25, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Lucky you- only 4 months of Reno. I did 1 year with no kitchen! A lot of eating out. The camp kitchen I set up in the garage became unusable when then basement contractor put all the dugout dirt in front of the doors. Then we had to pump water out of said digging for 5.5 months before any concrete got poured. Long story short, I’m now living the carefree life in a fifth wheel camper. Not fancy, but easy living. Glad your torture was short lived. Ain’t a kitchen a grand thing!

    • Reply
      January 25, 2020 at 10:08 pm

      Yikes! 1 year with no kitchen sounds crazy! Makes you never take a kitchen for granted again, right? Glad life is a little more carefree for you these days.

  • Reply
    Barbara McDonald
    January 25, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Re: quilt displaying – have you considered buying curtain rods with rings that have clips to hang the quilts from? That way you can change the quilts out whenever you’d like and it would cut down on the number of holes in your wall.

  • Reply
    Shari Jamieson
    January 25, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing. What joy your refreshed spaces must bring. Have you considered a picture rail to hang your little quilts?

  • Reply
    Gail noll
    January 25, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    Front entry re do is sooo pretty, I just love it!!!

  • Reply
    Sally King
    January 25, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Your entry is breathtaking…no longer a waste of space for sure! And your kitchen is exactly what I would have if I could have it😄

  • Reply
    Kathy McIntyre
    January 25, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    This is breathtakingly beautiful! I love before new after photos and the results you see are amazing. Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you can now fully enjoy your beautiful home.

  • Reply
    Karen VR
    January 26, 2020 at 2:05 am

    Oh I have been lusting for any of several different IKEA pieces, and we don’t have one close to us, and my husband has heard of the “nightmare” of assembling. Now I have another to add to the list. So many quilting spaces seem wonderfully organized with IKEA, and I am organizationally challenged so could use all the help available. Your home is lovely and I do like your bannister, but I have to say I think color is beautiful in a home too – I kind-of liked the entry and adjoining room with color, but maybe not the “poopy brown” lol. I painted a wall in my living room an army green one year and lived with it way too long, so understand being sick of of a color. It is always inspiring to see before and after pictures. Renovations and remodeling is stressful. It is expensive and inconvenient and we all want to make the right choices, so I think we enjoy it when others share their experiences. Thank you.

  • Reply
    January 26, 2020 at 6:03 am

    Just breathtaking! It was worth the wait for this beautiful result!

  • Reply
    Lisa Sweet
    January 26, 2020 at 7:14 am

    You have done a super remodel, and unlike so many modernizations, it is not sterile and impersonal.

  • Reply
    January 26, 2020 at 7:36 am

    What great updates! Everything looks so clean and crisp and an easy space to relax in. And the comment about Ikea furniture – spot on – haha!

  • Reply
    January 26, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Everything looks so great

  • Reply
    January 26, 2020 at 11:57 am

    Amy, love all the changes y’all made, looks beautiful. Which PAX wardrobe and drawers did you get? There are so many different sizes, I’m having trouble choosing. I’ve been wanting Ikea for my sewing room for quite a while.

  • Reply
    Donna B
    January 26, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Wish I lived closer. Hanging a collection of anything is on of my favorite things to do!

  • Reply
    Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts
    January 26, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    It’s all so pretty! How lovely to have it all back together like you envision it. You could use tape to hold the quilts on the wall until you figure out placement. I use this one to make wavy quilts lie flat on a wall when I’m taking pictures. https://amzn.to/2O0GGCE Myra~

  • Reply
    January 28, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Holy cow!!! All of your afters are breathtaking!!! You’ve inspired me to go look at the Pax wardrobe. I definitely need a way to stow my mess… Thanks for all the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Karen Seitz
    January 29, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Thanks for the tour. Everything looks great! I loved seeing your Portmeirion dishes in the china hutch. They’re the same my mom had for so long. 🙂

  • Reply
    Helen L
    February 8, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    Your kitchen is gorgeous (and thanks for the heads-up about not having a restoration company do the work: our neighbors had a kitchen fire and I’ll swear it took 6 months for the “professionals” to finish it! They would work for a few days and then be gone for a whole week! NOT professional!!!) And sorry about the floors!! That is so disappointing to have it not be what you picked out!! I feel for you not having the mental strength to make the flooring guy do it again! And the new cabinet is great!! And maybe putting it together would be easier next time WITHOUT the kids!! I put together two Ikea drawer with shelves units and it was really satisfying to do, but I didn’t have children running around while I was doing it: It was nice and quiet so I could think! 🙂
    Just one more note: I was helping my daughter sew a REALLY simple quilt, and when it came time to do the binding, she pulled up your tutorial! I was so happy to see her find your tutorial and tell her that you were someone I follow! 🙂

  • Reply
    Barbara OC
    December 13, 2020 at 6:54 am

    I love this post Amy. Everything is just beautiful. Wishing you and your family a safe and healthy Christmas!

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