Taking the house my mom grew up in, the farm my grandparents shared for over fifty years and making it a home for us to grow old in.
We took the house my mom grew up in, the house my grandparents shared for over fifty years and made it a place for us to grow old in! This portion of the website is devoted to all of the furniture transformations that we created over the years from rough befores to the refinished afters. Refinishing can be hard work! To see how we did it check out our Tips & Tutorials!

Home Tour: Master bedroom refresh! Sweet country meets Hollywood glam!

- Mar 13 2017
Master bedroom refresh country, hollywood regency makeover, white tufted headboard, glass lamp and hardware, black painted furniture, dark hardwood floors

Several times in the past couple of months I’ve hinted at showing your guys our master bedroom refresh! It all started when we decided to move the head of our bed from under the south facing windows to the east wall. It opened up the room so much – we can dance up here now! But it left me with a couple of issues, the first big one was that I could no longer use my washstand as my bedside table (not enough room any more) and neither could Joe as he had been using his dresser. So, on I went thrifting on the search for bedside tables, their makeover was a fun and easy one, check it out here. Read the rest of the post »

Country bedside tables get a glamorous makeover for our master!

- Feb 06 2017
A couple of very country bedside tables get a chic glam hollywood makeover using glossy black paint for our master bedroom! Furniture before and afters

So, awhile back I mentioned to you guys that we had decided to move the head of our bed to the east wall of our master bedroom. So I’ve been in the process of moving our headboard, fixing the holes left behind from the headboard on the wall and fixing the floor caused by the awful steel wheels of our bed frame. We LOVE having the bed in its new position but it created a real problem for us, before Joe’s bedside table was also his dresser (Check that out here) and my bedside table was my grandparents’ old washstand I gave a makeover to (Check that out here) but neither now would fit. In fact I was left with less then two feet on either side of the bed to work with!
Read the rest of the post »

Top ten posts of 2016 – Happy new year!

- Jan 02 2017
The top ten posts of 2016 at Grandma's House DIY, wood working, renovation, refinishing, before afters, tips tutorials, do it yourself. Happy new year!

Phew! I’m stuck between having a hard time believing that 2016 has finally come to a close and looking around wondering how on earth time can move so quickly. This was our first whole year together in this old farm house of my grandparents’ and our second winter and, though this winter has already been much more brutal then the last, we are much warmer thanks to a new wood stove and a lot more time for preparation. (It is amazing how much more time you have when you’re not renovating a house and planning a wedding!) If this year is any indication what next year will bring then I am very excited for 2017! And not just for us and our home but for this website!

Read the rest of the post »

Home tour: the Kitchen Reveal!

- Aug 08 2016
Kitchen reveal at the Grandma's House DIY home tour! 15 months of renovation, remodeling a custom country kitchen with a cast iron sink after a full gut.

Oh I am so excited to finally show you our kitchen reveal! You guys have heard me talk many times about how it took us fifteen months to renovate my grandparents’ 100 year old farm house. It was a tremendous amount of work but we did get the majority of it done and now we’ve been living here for a year in August! I know, I know, you can throw tomatoes at me, I have not yet given you guys the complete home tour. You’ve seen our Master bedroom, closet and bathroom as well as my office but, after that, I’ve been pretty much mute. I promised you last week that my kitchen reveal was imminent because we FINALLY finished the door thresholds and I asked Joe at the time, “Do you think our floors are ever going to be this clean again?” His answer was, “I doubt it.” Because what happened when we put in the door thresholds was that I was forced to clean the floors thoroughly and anyone with dark hardwood floors will tell you that they NEVER look truly clean almost no matter what you do. SO, I got out my camera, did a little staging, and tackled the big photography job for this kitchen reveal. But, first, allow us to take a trip down memory lane 🙂 Read the rest of the post »

A $5 Retro desk becomes our brand new coffee station!

- Jul 11 2016
Old retro desk gets black paint and chrome spray paint in a diy makeover to become our coffee station, before and after

I can’t begin the story of this little retro desk until I explain first why on earth I need another piece of furniture in my kitchen. The plan was for the outside glass door there beside the kitchen sink to swing in and fold over in front of the window, so I chose a window the width of a regular exterior door and just left this area totally empty. I had the dream of this door swinging in and against the window/wall: getting conveniently and awesomely and totally out of the way in the summer time when we would then use the outside screen door instead. Well, once we got the sheet rock and trim on it the door would NEVER open all the way. Oops and shit. So, then I had this three feet of “wasted” space beside my kitchen sink under the window. After a couple of months of living here I put a kitchen table in the empty spot and the coffee pots moved over because they’re being right there where I wash dishes on the other side of the sink was driving my crazy. So, this spot became our “coffee station” conveniently “out” of the kitchen but still totally in the kitchen to be “convenient” 😉 Read the rest of the post »

Indoor to Outdoor furniture – I painted until my arm fell off

- Jul 04 2016
Converting indoor wooden furniture to outdoor furniture for our deck with exterior primer, exterior paint and exterior sealant, diy.

Hey guys, I’m so excited to share our new outdoor furniture with you today! We have a lovely and enormous deck that I will tell you all about someday when we finish it (still gotta get those pesky railings done and stain it this fall) so you’re just gonna have to believe me for now when I say its wonderful but its been a waste land since we moved in. Outdoor furniture is expensive! And it was NOT in our budget. So, I’ve been keeping an eye and ear out for something I could buy and refinish. Remember when I mentioned scoring a bunch of furniture at an estate sale a couple months ago? Yup I finally finished it for our deck! Read the rest of the post »

Painted Rocking Chair – From dated to stunning!

- Jun 14 2016
Dated rocking chair gets a before and after makeover with black painted rocking chair, before and afters, DIY.

I scored at an estate sale a while back, picking up one painted rocking chair, another chair with a matching couch, two end tables and a coffee table for only $100 and, as you might imagine, I had big plans for all of it! You can read my post about when I picked them up here. I already completed the two end tables awhile back and I’m very happy to report that we still love them in our living room! Two end tables get a sweet country makeover. This last weekend I spent the ENTIRE day Saturday working on the painted rocking chair and the matching chair and couch and the coffee table. Read the rest of the post »

I finally fixed my grandma’s old red bench!

- Jun 06 2016
An old red bench makeover of my grandma's gets a thorough makeover with new wood, a few supporting screws and stain over the places that were showing, before and after furniture wood working.

I’ve had this bench makeover on my to-do list for a long time, it holds a lot of significance for us as it sat by my grandma’s house for many many many years. When we visited her, not long before her passing, we would come outside with her and sit in this old bench in the sun and visit. One of the last photos taken of my grandma she was actually sitting out front of the house, on this very bench that my grandparents’ built years ago. Read the rest of the post »

Wicker chairs makeover in bold red!

- May 31 2016
Outdoor furniture makeover with red paint, two old wicker chairs get a bold new look with red paint and covered cushions.

Last summer I spotted my aunt giving away a couple of wicker chairs on her Facebook page on a “first come first serve basis” I jumped on them! They were so darned cute I couldn’t help myself! They were a bit beat up and needed a good bath but I really thought that they would clean up just fine. I don’t have ANY experience with wicker furniture but these two were on my list to get done as early this spring as I could. So, I stopped by Ace hardware after I left work one Friday and picked up three cans of outdoor tinted primer, three cans of outdoor red spray paint and two cans of spray-on outdoor sealant. Then, I covered our garage floor with a tarp on Saturday morning and got to work! Read the rest of the post »

My Grandma’s old Cosco step stool

- May 16 2016
My Grandma's old Costco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

Of all of the memories I have of my Grandma throughout my childhood this step stool seems to be in every picture I have of her in my mind. She will always be sitting on it, by her kitchen stove, whether a fire was burning in it or not. I had a pretty cool Grandma, she had herself the very first Nintendo and she and I went through and beat the very first Zelda multiple times one summer when I was 11 years old. She hand drew maps of all of the dungeons – seriously though, how cool is that?! I went looking for those old maps years ago and could not find them but still think of them from time to time. This old step stool, if Grandma wasn’t sitting on it her kitchen, I was! It was my favorite spot and when Grandma passed and this became my home this stool was with me throughout the entire renovation. It was already very old and not in the best of shape and us using it – me standing on it while drywalling or running electrical or plumbing, did nothing but just make it more rickety. By the end of the renovation this poor old Cosco step stool was not safe to use anymore! So, I stashed it in the garage for a day when I knew I could bring it back to its former glory. This weekend I rolled up my sleeves and got to work! Read the rest of the post »

Two end tables get a sweet country makeover – before and after

- May 09 2016
Before and after old end tables get a DIY country makeover with white paint and refinished tops

The weekend before last I ran over to an estate sale not far from us and scored big. For $100 I picked up a wooden sofa, matching chair and coffee table, a rocking chair and these two end tables. I am planning on refinishing the rocking chair (see it here!) and selling it on craig’s list to try to recoup some of that $100 I spent. But the sofa, matching chair and coffee table I have big plans for on our deck (see them here!). Meanwhile, I went to work on these two old end tables almost immediately thinking that we could really use them in our living room. On top of that, I’ve just been chomping at the bit to try the refinished top and painted base that I’ve been seeing online so much lately that I just love. Read the rest of the post »

Mom’s kitchen: Dark & gloomy to bright & airy!

- Apr 04 2016
Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

It has been said millions of times: It is amazing what paint can do! When my mom asked if we could paint her kitchen cabinets white I told her YES without a second’s hesitation. If there was ever a kitchen (or house) that needed some new paint it was my mom’s new little place that she had downsized into! She added a breezeway, front deck and two car garage last year and that had helped the house work substantially better. However, it remained small (and felt even smaller) the walls were damaged and everything was in a shade of a dark brown or pink (and several little tykes had lived here leaving lots and lots of crayon artwork on the walls). This little place needed a makeover BADLY. Especially her kitchen! So, we got to work planning to paint her kitchen cabinets white. Read the rest of the post »

Sanding and staining hardwood floors is not for the faint of heart!

- Mar 08 2016
Do it yourself sand, stain and seal hardwood floors

Flashing back to July of 2015, a month and a half before our wedding that was going to happen here in our backyard and IN our house and it was time to get those floors done. Joe and I rented a drum sander and I bought a bag full of extra sand paper for my little electric palm sander. This was literally the day after we finished all of the painting throughout. We had no idea the arduousness of the the task we were about to tackle. I had already had the brilliant idea of doing none of our base or door trim until after we finished the floors and thank the universe we waited to finish the trim. To say the least stain is messy and splashy and eventually got everywhere… mostly on me. We were very excited when we started because we were absolutely in love with our hardwood floors. Read the rest of the post »

Home Tour: Master Bedroom Reveal!

- Feb 29 2016

The big master bedroom reveal! I know I know I know, we’ve been living in the house 6 months and I still have not posted anything resembling a reveal of the rooms besides when it was empty and we first moved in! I’m sorry guys, you are allowed to throw tomatoes at me. Read the rest of the post »

A story of two rocking chairs, before and after!

- Feb 12 2016

I’m posting a real throwback today: The very first furniture project I ever tackled! Two rocking chairs! After we lost my Grandma we slowly started going through the barn, the out buildings and, finally, the house. The two ancient rocking chairs that we found were in wholly different places in their lives. One was in very good condition (having spent its days in one of the upstairs bedrooms) and was probably a child’s rocker. The other had not lived such a grand life and was the one piece that I was most skeptical about even trying to save so it was the first piece I began my furniture refinishing journey on. I figured if I screwed this one up it wouldn’t be a tremendous loss! Read the rest of the post »

Ugly lamp makeover!

- Feb 02 2016

Many people would say this was one ugly lamp before I started but I honestly can’t bring myself to agree with that, I like anything that’s solid wood and I know it took a long time to make! We happen to have a neighbor that’s a good friend of ours that took up making lamp bases in his garage in the winter time. The majority of his lamps are every inch of cool that you can think of, coming out in every shape and form imaginable, creatively using the “imperfections” in wood grain to create truly one of a kind pieces. He decided we needed a new lamp and showed me a few leaving me at a total loss, how do you pick? Then he held this one unhappily up and I knew it belonged with us. He wasn’t happy with the stain and called it the “color of poo” so I brought it home! Joe said nothing but I could see him thinking, Of all the gorgeous lamps to choose from, you picked that one? Read the rest of the post »

My Grandma’s old carrot bin becomes our living room storage box!

- Jan 20 2016

This old storage box goes back a really long way. This is one of those house objects that’s been here so long that we may as well just assume that it has no age at this point. I’m thinking it may have even been here when my Grandparents moved in back in the fifties. Read the rest of the post »

Top ten most popular posts of 2015!

- Jan 08 2016

Some of these top ten posts really surprised me! The number one most popular post of 2015 especially surprised me the most! Read the rest of the post »

Before and After: The last piece of our Hollywood bedroom set!

- Dec 24 2015

And now, we’ve come to the final piece of the puzzle of our bedroom set. The last Hollywood dresser before and after reveal! I already showed you guys this dresser’s sister here: Before and After: Refinished dresser goes Hollywood glam with black paint! And from there I showed you the old washstand that got a MAJOR makeover here: An old washstand gets new life and purpose! And now, this final Hollywood dresser has settled into its place. The story of this dresser and her sister is a short but very cool one. These two came over on the boat with grandma at some point. We don’t know how long she had them, could have been her whole life, could have been given to her from her her own mother. All we know is that for as all as all of us can remember these two pieces sat up stairs in this very room that became our master bedroom for DECADES. When grandma left us my aunt and mom wanted me to have these and my heart absolutely skipped a beat. They called for black paint, for shiny things, for sexy and beautiful, they called for Hollywood and I answered! Read the rest of the post »

Our barn door coffee table finally gets a much needed shelf

- Dec 14 2015

I hadn’t yet mentioned our barn door coffee table yet because, even though I thought it was really cool, it just wasn’t quite right yet. A few days before Joe and I moved in (while I was working in the yard on SEVERAL projects) I ran out to the barn while I was waiting for something or other to dry and grabbed this old barn door that I had set aside for just this purpose. Read the rest of the post »

Before and After lamp painting and adding a new shade!

- Dec 02 2015

Paint an old lamp white for a brand new look! First, some back story: upon merging our households, Joe wanted to throw most of his furniture away. I allowed it with three pieces: A 1960s round coffee table made of particle board that looked about ready to collapse and two (very old) upholstered chairs, one was an orange rocker (that was broken and on its literal last legs) the other was a big green giant that was mostly held together with green duct tape. My aunt snatched the coffee table before it could be tossed (thank goodness because I was feeling really bad about that) but the two chairs got tossed and I remain pretty disgruntled about it… I mean… we certainly could have put them in the garage for a hang out spot… totally should have saved them. I know, its a sickness, but I’m just not any good at throwing anything away! Anyway, when he tried to toss this lamp I just shook my head at him. It was outrageously gaudy and grungy and not our style in any conceivable way but I knew a little bit of painting might just transform it. Read the rest of the post »

Eleonora’s beautiful buffet gets converted into our entertainment center!

- Nov 29 2015

This post is actually not about the Grandma I talk about so much  (the wonderful lady who inspired this blog, who lived in this beautiful old farm house before her passing a few years ago) No, this post is about a different, my dad’s mom Eleonora. When she passed they gave us grand kids full run of her house with the notion that we needed to take whatever we wanted to remember her and grandpa by. To say the least, none of us really wanted to do anything let alone go through Grandma’s far too quiet house. But, of course, we did, and we’re all glad that we did. I chose this gorgeous old buffet with the stunning little claw feet and the amazing mirror with only an inkling that it may be my entertainment center some day. It was missing knobs and one of the feet was danging by a screw and an old fix made long ago, it was also in pretty rough shape all in all. It needed love, it needed me. Read the rest of the post »

An old cabinet made by my grandparents gets new life as an entertainment center!

- Nov 12 2015

This old cabinet has had the job of several duties over the years. My mom thought it had been made by her parents for my brother though I had a vague recollection of it spending some years in my childhood room as well. Where it really spent most of its time was in her old house’s entryway/closet doing miscellaneous storage duty of tools, hats and anything else you can think of. When it was time for her big downsize she was at a loss as to what to do with this big cabinet. Then it dawned on her: She needed an entertainment center! She would be leaving both of the big and bulky entertainment centers and their giant tvs in her move so, she needed one. So, I got to work! Read the rest of the post »

An old washstand gets new life and purpose!

- Nov 10 2015

After being gifted the incredible bedroom set that my grandma left behind I was in a dilemma for end tables to match. The two gorgeous dressers I had already painted black and added glass knobs to but the more I looked for end tables for the bedroom the more I came up at a loss. (See one of the dressers here: Before and After: My Grandma’s dresser goes Hollywood glam with black paint! and see the other one here Before and After: The last piece of our Hollywood bedroom set!) My eyes settled on this old washstand piece for two reasons. One: it was about the right size (albeit a bit big for an end table) and Two: It shared similar curves to the dressers though it was a different piece entirely. Read the rest of the post »

Before and After: Refinished dresser goes Hollywood glam with black paint!

- Nov 03 2015

Flash back three years ago, it was May of 2013 and I lost my last grandparent: my grandma Charlotte who, with my grandpa Arvid, lived in this old farm house of ours for over fifty years. So much of all of the furniture you see on here today was found here and left to us by them in their passing. On the second floor (which was basically abandoned when their two girls moved out over forty years ago) sat this dresser and its matching sister for as long as we all can remember. Read the rest of the post »

My Grandma’s white cabinets get a face lift in our kitchen!

- Oct 29 2015

My entire childhood my grandma’s entryway was always an interesting place. It was part of the screened-in-porch that wrapped entirely around two sides of the house when it was added in 1925 – ten years after our old house was built. It was also the first part of the screened-in-porch that was enclosed and still remains called the “back porch” by my mom and her sister who grew up here even though it was always the front entryway and always where everyone went into the house. The reason it was called the “back porch” was because, technically, the front door was on the other side of the house, though I think it was only ever used as the “front door” for the first ten years of the house’s life before the screened-in-porch was added. Anyway, at some point here I’ll tell you all about our entryway and what we did with it in the remodel, when it was my Grandma’s entry it was also her laundry room, her coat closet, her spot for her extra refrigerator and her “plant stand” that was always totally covered in pansies and everything else. Over by the old refrigerator I had my eye on these two white cabinets from the very beginning! Read the rest of the post »

An old cabinet: Paint and new hardware for a face lift!

- Oct 12 2015

Ok, so this isn’t much of a before and after and its certainly not a tutorial. However, I’m going to share this with you anyway because I’m SO excited to finally get storage up in our laundry room/closet and, finally, paint on this old cabinet! Here is the old cabinet my grandpa built before we started renovating the house. To see the full on before and after of our entry click here.

Read the rest of the post »

How to: Build your own kitchen sink base!

- Oct 06 2015

I knew from the minute I laid eyes on it that it would become our kitchen sink and that I would be building a custom kitchen sink base for it! Never mind that it had been sitting in a shed for god knows how long and it had, in fact, been filled to the brim with a mouse nest and had probably raised hundreds (if not thousands) of rodents for decades and was, in fact, totally covered in the resulting excretions. Nope, none of that bothered me! I took one look at this sink and my heart soared. It was perfect! Ok, so it definitely ended up “too high” for most people’s standards but, in the end, both Joe and I love our kitchen sink! Once we had our appliances installed I gathered my materials for building the kitchen sink base. Read the rest of the post »

How to: Turn a Buffet into a bathroom vanity

- Oct 05 2015

This post is actually going to be a combination tips & tutorials and a before & after because I managed to find a before picture of this pretty buffet, albeit, it’s terrible quality, it still gives you an idea of how far this piece came. So we unearthed this buffet and its sister dresser (you can check that one out here becoming the vanity for our main floor bathroom) during the clearing out of the farm house at the time of my Grandma’s death. At nineteen years old my mom moved out of the farmhouse (yes, the very farm house this blog is all about!) and moved into her first apartment in town. This buffet and its sister dresser were her first furniture purchases but she didn’t have a whole lot of fondness for them – if I recall she grimaced and said, “They’re not worth anything, I paid almost nothing for them, don’t feel you need to save them.” But I kinda liked them, they had good bones and, though they certainly weren’t fancy, I really liked their lines and they were in incredibly good shape. Read the rest of the post »

Dresser refinish: the Ancient dresser from nowhere

- Sep 30 2015

A dresser refinish using black stain. Between this one and the old beast from the screened in porch I really don’t know which one is more of a mystery. Neither dresser had been used in decades by the time I came along to refinish them. Read the rest of the post »

Eleonora’s Rocking Chair: Before and Afters

- Sep 28 2015

You’ve probably heard me mention once or twice now that I lost both of my Grandmas within just a few months of each other. The majority of the furniture and the old farmhouse and the whole renovation journey started with the passing of my mom’s mom (Grandma Charlotte) whose farm house Joe and I renovated and is now ours. My dad’s mom (Grandma Eleonora) was not what I would have called a hoarder (she just knew how to keep a lot of things) so my dad and his siblings told all of their kids to head over there and pick what they wanted. This rocking chair was one of the pieces I chose and got to keep! Read the rest of the post »

Before and After: The old oak dresser from the screened in porch

- Sep 21 2015

This to me is my very best before and after when it comes to a save I made from the farm house. I would give anything to go back and get a good before picture of this beast. Why don’t I have one you ask? Because I’m a bull and I couldn’t wait to strip it so I just threw myself into the job the first chance I got and boom I had forgotten to take a before. Seriously, the before picture should have been taken even before we cleared out the screened in porch because this beast was not even recognizable as a piece of furniture at that point. As just a reminder, here is the before and after of what the screened in porch looked like! Right there on the left (not far from that creepy old chair) was where this oak dresser resided for DECADES. Read the rest of the post »

A radio stand converted into a red kitchen island

- Sep 14 2015
Red kitchen island built out of an old radio stand wood working diy butcher block counter top

First published on September 14, 2015 now updated exactly one year later with new photos on September 14, 2016! I knew what I wanted in our kitchen – a red kitchen island with a butcher block top on wheels but I’m not always the sharpest tool in the shed, sometimes it takes awhile for me to see what is staring me directly in the face. Read the rest of the post »

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