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Before a Remodel and Old House with Wood Paneling

My very, very, brave Mom gave me permission to post pictures of her home before the Remodel. It’s an Old House with Wood Paneling. I am so proud of my Mom. She’s a wonderful woman who loves us so much. She has spent many years doing for her kid’s and other’s before she has done for herself and sacrificing. She is finally taking that step to make her home beautiful just for her. I am so happy that I am able to help her with it  and that she trusts me to not mess up her house. 🙂
Her style is very different from mine, While I am very Modern Vintage Cottage, she is very Traditional European and she also loves English influences. But that’s okay, it’s fun to get to work on a space that stretches me a bit and look at things a bit differently.
Jason (from Klaske Construction just outside of Dekalb, who did my kitchen.), is also going to also be doing hers, so I know things will roll right along and it will be fabulous.
 She and my Dad had their house custom built in 1983, when that heavily grained oak was in style (as you can see). While they are solid wood cabinets, I think they are going to do much better in their next life garage storage. After 29 years, we are going for a much lighter wood with a grey tone and she want’s her cabinets staggered at the top. We are also looking at granite counter tops. We have a running joke about the current counter tops because the laminate that is on there now, at one time in my teen years was the same ones that  McDonald’s had. ..McDonald’s changed theirs like 15 years ago.
The flooring is going to be a darker wood. I know she is so excited to finally get wood floors after all of these years! I know she and my Dad had talked about it before he passed away and I am so excited for her that it is finally going to happen! I’ll post updates as we go along.


 See that half wall and dark paneling? After this week they are GONE! Finally after 29 years! The mantel is being changed; and the furniture is going to charity. We had considered painting the paneling, but I think my Mom just wanted a fresh start. We are also going to be getting rid of the fireplace cover and open it up. I am trying to talk her into lightening up the brick, but ultimately, it’s her home and should be what she loves.
 Isn’t it funny how this picture looks like it was taken with an old camera? We are actually pushing the kitchen 3 feet  into the family room. It’s such a long room, it can lose a bit and still feel cozy and not cramped.
The cabinets still need to be ordered so we are on the 4-6 week plan right now, gathering our inspiration and ideas, and picking out all of the bits and pieces.  My Mom has been such a good sport; my brother’s and I have given her constant ribbing about the dark paneling, counter tops, and cabinets like any good, sarcastic children would for years and she’s really rolled with it pretty well. I am going to be so happy for her when it is finally a space she loves.


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  1. The “before” picture is identical to my best friend’s mom’s house (who I’ve known since ’85 when I was 10 years old.) She has slowly renovated over the years…first the kitchen, then the carpet, furniture and fixtures but the paneling remains!!! She finally painted it though! Good luck on your renovations. I’m sure it will be gorgeous!

  2. Those pics are so classic of that period. It’s hard to believe that all that brown was SO popular! I can imagine what it will look like….I’ve redecorated the same type of house before and the result is always amazing! The owners always say “I don’t know why I waited so long.”

  3. What a great space, Jen! I can see from the pictures how wonderful the cabinets went with the English look your parents loved. Your Mom is brave ~ I know how hard it can be to change something that has been the same for so long. Good for her for looking for a fresh new look. I’m sure she will love it as you do such beautiful work in your own home.

  4. I cannot wait to see you and Jason and your Mom in that kitchen – knee deep in this project! and of course the finished kitchen!

    what a great space….so open –

  5. Wow…I am so excited to see these after photos!!! Congrats to your parents for taking the leap, I’m sure they will love the finished product.

  6. Hi Jen, your mom’s house looks surprisingly like the house I grew up in. The only real difference is that we had a Ben Franklin stove instead of a fireplace. I wonder if my parents would have embraced a brighter more modern look. Good luck to your mom as she makes these big changes. she is lucky to have a daughter as creative as you…or did your creativity come from mom.;-)?. Love, Penny

  7. How exciting and rewarding for you to be able to help your Mother get the space she has be wanting. She could not have a better designer to help her out with the process. Can’t wait to see it all happen, as the rooms transform, on your blog! Have a great weekend sweetie!

  8. How exciting for both of you! What fun you will have together. I am looking forward to seeing the pictures. Enjoy that special mom time.

  9. Oh my this is going to be wonderful! She’s going to love it and I think it’s wonderful that you ar collaborating on it with her! It seems that remodeling, updating and keeping everything up is a never ending battle.
    A friend of mine just added a full sized mirror above her mantle on her brick fireplace. She was hesitant to paint it but hated how the dark brick absorbed everything she put on the mantel. Now she has a good source of reflection and it made it seem more open and bright.
    She’s really going to miss those laminate countertops!! NOT!! I had
    “harvest gold” countertops when we moved in this house and couldn’t wait to remove them! Looking forward to seeing this go through it’s transition!

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