Our New House: Kitchen Makeover Before & Afters

“Welcome” to our home! You’ll quickly see that what drew us to this little oasis just south of the Twin Cities was not the condition of the home, but all of the space! Room to garden, grow sweet corn and hay, to have a few animals and to let the kids roam and explore.

The quarter mile long driveway brings you to a classic little barn that we hope to use for chickens next summer.

House Tour: Master Bedroom

Welcome to our master bedroom. When we moved into this house I was surprised to hear that my husband thought that our master bedrooms were too “girly” in the past. To me they may have been boring (lots of beige), but I wouldn’t have considered them girly.

So, while I wasn’t ready to give up complete control of the design in our bedroom, I told him I was open to input. So he picked out this teal meets slate blue color for the walls and I couldn’t be happier with it. It is peaceful and restful but still current.


I also really liked the dresser that he chose (black, from Ikea):


I selected this manly “Bold as a Lion” poster from LifePosters.org, available HERE, that we framed (in a frame from Ikea, probably goes without saying! ;) )Master-Lion-PrintAnd, when we were in the market for new bedding we had been watching Hotel Impossible (we were running out of G Rated programs to watch on Netflix, what can I say), but I decided that I wanted “hotel style” bedding.  One of my favorite parts about going to a hotel, is the nice white sheets and sateen striped overlay. So that is what I chose…


I really do appreciate how peaceful and simple our bedroom is. If you look inside the night stands (mostly just there to hold our lamps and on my list to replace!), they are pretty bare:


Haha, I should move the bible up to the top drawer, then it really would look like a hotel ;)

And the dresser is about five times larger than it would need to be to hold our clothes, but we like the style and how it balances our large bed frame:



In the end I really like the more masculine design of our bedroom, and it was fun to collaborate on the choices.

Basement Family Room –>



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House Tour: Entryway

Welcome to our home! We’re so glad that you are here :)

Since simplifying, our home has become our own little oasis in a busy, busy world. People often commented when we brought our fourth baby home here “oh, are you outgrowing that town home? Are you going to need to start looking for a bigger home soon?”

Actually, not only is our town home plenty big enough for our family of six, we have spaces we don’t even use…and that is awesome :)

On to the design, I love when functional and stylish meet which is where the board and batten came in. You can read more about the process for creating it HERE. (And while you are there you can also see what our entryway looked like orange…the pictures hurt my eyes ;) )

I love how the dark doors contrast with the light walls. They were simple to paint and the latex paint has held up really well. Just get a mini, fine roller and a quart of paint and let the transformation begin!


In Minnesota it easy to let coats, and hats, and mittens and boots accumulate, but I try to keep it limited to one light weight and one winter coat for each person. I also look for more neutral shoes that go with everything…I don’t always succeed, but it helps keep our closet a little more manageable!


I really like theses multi hooks on the doors, it makes it easy for the kids to hang up their own coats when we get home.

“Have a place for everything”…from keys, to mail, to shoes, I try and keep this in mind.


And we don’t have a ton of extra room for seating, but I  really like how this bench (Ikea) functions, it is sturdy and easy for our guests to store their shoes on.

Let’s continue to the living room, we’re so glad you’re here!



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Wow, this is REALLY inspiring! I wouldn't think of minimalism looking like this :)

House Tour: Living Room

Welcome to our main level living room right off of our kitchen. We don’t use it much except when we are entertaining since the TV and toys are in the family room downstairs.


Now don’t get me wrong, I actually really like coffee tables, end tables, and a few decorations…but see all of these little guys:


It was just too hard to keep it clean, unbroken, and everything in place. So for this season, we’ll keep the room a little more bare and when they are older, I can decorate a little more again!



This is the Palette Wood Baby gate that my husband built for us. It functions great and adds character to our home.



You can read about the construction process and find plans for it HERE!



You can read more about our fireplace surround at I Think We Could Be Friends, it is actually free palette wood, find the post here: Palette Wood Fireplace surround (seriously, did you ever think that free palette wood could look so good?!? You can see more pictures of the fireplace surround and about the process HERE).



There isn’t much in this room, but it fills up quickly when we have company and no one notices :)

Next is the kitchen!



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Wow, this is REALY inspiring! I would never have guessed this is what minimalism looks like for a family!

House Tour: Family Room

Welcome to the room where the kids spend the majority of their day (when we’re inside) and where my husband and I relax after they go to bed.





We keep all of the kids’ toys behind the couch. You can read about what I think is the best toy storage system ever created and see it in action here :) This is what it looks like behind the couch:


Here is the room from the other direction:

Recliners are not always stylish, but it is comfortable!


It worked out well that the furnace closet is right behind the TV, so we were able to mount everything on the wall to keep it up and out of reach of all of the little hands in our house. We subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime and don’t usually run out of things to watch. We’ve pretty much gotten rid of all of our DVD’s except for all 10 seasons of Friends…they are on Netflix now, but it just isn’t the same ;)



And here is a little closer look at the bathroom off of the Family room. It isn’t very exciting.



Since we still have two in diapers, I keep a basket on the back of the toilet with them for access. Want to see what it looks like under the sink?


This is the bathroom I usually get ready in because it is close to where the kids are, so the baskets hold my styling products.

What I appreciate most about our basement is that even if the kids pull out every toy in the room, empty the contents of the bathroom cabinet and anything else they can find, it can all be put back away in about ten minutes (or less)…and that is awesome.

My Office –>



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House Tour: The Girls’ Bedroom


Funny thing about our daughters’ room: when we moved into our townhouse, we weren’t sure how long we would be here, so we decided to paint all of the rooms in neutral colors so that we wouldn’t have to re-paint if we moved.

So we went to Menards, got to the paint department, and my husband says “girls, what color do you want your room to be??? You can pick any color!”


So they picked pink…of course, they were two and four at the time!

As soon as I started putting it on the walls I knew that a whole room that color would be WAY too much, so I just did the bottom third or so on two walls and the rest is a robin egg color (one of the three colors that the rest of our house is painted in).


The girls really don’t do much in their room besides sleep, so we’ve kept it pretty simple. They each have their own desk (from a garage sale and our next door neighbor for free) and a magnetic board (Ikea) where they can keep their treasures, art projects and anything else that they would like.

You probably recognize the bunk beds from Ikea, as well as the blue folding chairs.


I decided to use folding chairs at their desks so that they can easily be relocated to the kitchen when we entertain.


What has seemed kind of funny to me is that they LOVE having their room clean. They don’t mind helping to pick it up or make their beds and then they just stand back and look at it, it never seems to get old to them :)


I also made this artwork for their room:


And I have about 7/8 of a gallon of pink paint left over if you want to use some! ;)

Master Bedroom –>



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House Tour: Boy Bedroom

Welcome to our oldest son’s room (he’s two now). It is basically just a place where he sleeps and where his clothes are kept.


This is our youngest guy standing in the crib (I had to keep him contained while I was taking pictures!), he is still in our room in a co-sleeper (best invention ever, in my opinion–even though before we had kids we swore we would never let a child in our bed, the co-sleeper definitely helps with that, you can read more about that journey HERE, its been one of my most popular posts at I Think We Could Be Friends :)



While we don’t use the changing table for changing anymore, it is where all of his clothes are kept. The baskets are part of the laundry system that changed my life, click HERE to read about it!


The girls’ closet is really odd shaped, so I keep their dresses hung up in here. On the shelf above is our infant’s clothes in baskets.



Not much else to see here…let’s continue the tour!

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This is VERY inspiring! This makes minimalism look really appealing and not strange at all!

House Tour: My Office

Welcome to my office. As I’ve shared before, one of the driving forces behind living a more minimalistic lifestyle was to be able to have more time to do free lance and pro bono graphic design.


I spend at least a few hours in my office each day and wanted it to be a place that was distraction free and kid friendly.

We created the desk for the kids by cutting a table in half and mounting it to the wall. And the pictures on the shelves make me smile :) The basket holds paper and crayons for the girls.






We put the other half of the table in the closet to hold my printer and sewing machine.


And I had learned a time management tip that has always stuck with me: keep your desk clear except for what you are currently working on and don’t store stuff on your desk. The file holder behind my desk allows me to do just this (from Ikea…in fact my desk, chair, the shelves and kid’s chairs, all from Ikea :).



And, it is true, I will work for coffee…



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House Tour: Kitchen

When we first moved into our town home I was a bit concerned about the size of the kitchen. I really enjoy cooking and hosting and didn’t think it would be quite big enough.

But, like with the rest of the house, as soon as I purged it of everything unnecessary, it is more than big enough and actually functions extremely well.

I’ve really appreciated having the counters clear of everything. Mentally, it makes cleaning up a breeze. If there is stuff on the counters, it means that it needs to get put away, I don’t have to process “that stays out, that goes away…maybe I’ll leave that out for now because I’ll use it again tomorrow…” Instead, everything has a place out of sight and that is its home.

I keep serving dishes and my grandma’s milk glasses on the shelves above the sink, they also double as decoration. The vintage pendant lights (Ikea) were a fun, inexpensive update to our kitchen–only $30 each.



But I think what most people want to see, at least I know that I did when I was getting rid of things, is how far do I go? How many plates? And cups? And spoons??? Here is a look inside our cupboards:


I have more than one plate/cup/bowl per person because the kids aren’t quite old enough to wash their own yet, so for right now, I try and do the dishes once per day, and we have enough to eat a couple of meals before I need to do them.

And here’s a look inside our pantry:


I don’t like stocking up on grocery items (besides meat), because I usually forget that I have them…instead, I try to make a loose meal plan each week and get just enough groceries to get through the week.


I also really like the table set (still available at Ikea). The glass top makes the table appear to take up less space and the metal framed chairs are indestructible. Even the cane seats don’t show any wear yet.




Let’s head upstairs to the baby bedroom!

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This is REALLY inspiring! You can even look inside their cabinets to see what minimalism really looks like!

House Tour: Bathroom

When you stop by for a visit (we’d love to have you!), this is likely the bathroom that you’ll use. 90% the kid’s bathroom and 10% grown-up guest bath, I tried to find a happy medium between fun and…what’s the word…adult-esque.



I always get asked where the shower curtain came from, which was Target a few seasons ago…so your best bet of finding it would be GoodWill or a garage sale ;)


Usually there is a hand soap on the counter as well…I didn’t realize it was missing until post-production…I think the kids took it outside when they were playing with the hose…something about a car wash…oh well, a dollar hand soap is a small price to pay for an hour of entertainment.


I’ve pretty much gotten rid of anything that “sits out” but this bird always makes me smile. My mom bought him for me when we had a girls morning out one time, happy memories attached and he is hardly an inconvenience :)



I love making custom artwork for our home. I had seen a DIY project with paint chips that created a similar design…but that sounds too messy and time consuming to me, so I whipped up this “Happy, Happy, Happy” print.



For the bathtub toys, I use an old dish rack, it strains them well at the end of bath time:


And, if you have hooks in your bathroom, do yourself a HUGE favor and put loops on your towels! Ikea was kind enough to make these towels with them already on:


No more picking up towels off the floor when they slide off the hooks…victory!


Well that concludes the tour of our bathroom…one of my favorite rooms in our house (because of the decor…the function is appreciated, too, though ;) )

Next is the girls’ bedroom –>



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Wow, this is REALLY inspiring! See what minimalism actually LOOKS like!