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Cottage Style to Modern Organic Style

I can’t believe how much my style has changed not only on the last 15 years  I’ve gone from a mish-mash of a completely traditional-eclectic, hand me down, MESS to what I would call a lighter eclectic- bohemian, through Mid-century Modern and now I am dipping my toes into more organic and natural decor. I still like a bunch of different styles, but I really like things to be earthy and organic. I think what I really like is contrast. Dark against light. Layered patterns and textures. It’s amazing how much our home has changed from the dark paint from traditional to cottages style to modern organic style and lots of places in-between. I’m starting out with our entry when birds were really a thing. They were on EVERYTHING.
Entry way with before makeover with pictures

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I’ll admit. It took me  a really long time, and the kids getting a little older to find my style. Decorating is definitely a journey of evolution nd not a sprint. For  a long time I was just trying to keep my head above the water with the kids, let alone get serious about decorating. Then the kids grew and I learned ot decoate with what I like…the good, the really bad and the scary-ugly. Coming out of the early 2000’s everything being so dark and saturated. Mustard yellows, dark maroons, Tuscan everything. It’s funny that those dark colors are coming full circle again.

Cottage entry way makeover with a large clock
Our entire entryway also went though many changes.I loved this bench, It was a $7 yard sale find. We finally needed more storage for shoes in the front with 3 teen girls in the house.

Entry way with bench

The I added an accent with beadboard wallpaper and  the bench wanted to be green.
Beadboard on the walls with a painted green bench
It went much lighter and more organic, I loved this look, but I wanted a more natural tone and feel.
Front entry way with a modern organic feel
I swapped out the painted furniture for the small wood dresser I found on Marketplace. I still wanted something richer feeling.
Using Mid-Century Modern Furniture in Modern Decor
I really love how it looks right now, with darker black walls, but you never know then that will change again. That’s the best part of paint!
Live edge bench in a front entry with an arched mirror and plant on a white wall enct to stairs
Hallway makeover with black doors and brown walls
My living room had been very traditional in the beginning with lots clunky of big pieces of  hand me down furniture and heavy looking art. I was really into clock faces too.
Traditional living room with couch
Then there were tweaks made like a bigger mirror.  If I could turned back the clock, I would’ve upholstered the couches in a more neutral fabric. I must’ve been in my gold phase. For some odd reason, I had a really hard time getting out of yellow. Though I do still love a deep gold  (as you will see later.).
Light cottage living room makeover
It’s fun to see the progression. There is a bit I’ve skipped over, but it’s been 15 years. You can look back by searching the individual rooms. Once I painted my walls white in the great paint “white out”, I loved how neutral everything looked!
Early fall decorating with a natural organic theme
Living room with smoke bush clippings in vintage vases on mantel
And finally I made the dramatic change. I wanted to have our home feel cozy and dramatic and black paint was the answer. Plus, I stripped the fireplace down to it’s bare wood.
Black wall living room with wood fireplace surround and plants
It’s fun to see it from another angle too. It doesn’t even look like the same place!
Living room before makeover
Moving to a lighter look and playing with furniture was a big part of the change.
Cottage living room makeover
Casual boho living room with colorful rug and gray couch
Over time I tried a lot of furniture placement with the rectangular shape and all of the windows and doors as a challenge. I love how the deep gold drapes really add a sense of drama to the space.
Living room black walls and wood tones gold curtains
 Okay folks, here comes the ugly. Hold your hats. Our eat in area was not good.
Dining area before makeover
Luckily over time, it became much better.
Cottage eat in area
I added wallpaper a year or two ago. It’s been thought lots of changes, and will keep changing.
Dining area with black and mushroom wallpaper and hanging lamp midcentury modern style
And the dining area. When we moved in all the walls had been white. I painted the dining room walls deep red. In 2000 it was so chic and so early “Pottery Barn”. It was the talk of the neighborhood and I don’t know if that was good or not.
Dark red dining room before makeover
Then, we went kinda Tuscan. I was a furniture-painter, muralist and faux finisher. I was into dark and heavy. And also, obviously into McDonald’s, and dressing my kids in Happy Meal boxes.
Dining room painted gold
Then I needed to drag myself out of that deep dark pit.
Painting over a mural on the wall
 My first change was actually to get the table out of the middle of the room and really use the space. I have  a very little house, every inch counts.
Dining area makeover with couch and eat in area
 It was better already and  a better space planning option for us, but I still wanted lighter.
Cottage living area and eat in area
Eventually we put in build in bookshelves and the wall received a more modern paint color.
MCM dining area with books stacked to ceiling
 And finally, the kitchen…the poor old dear. She’s been through so much this year. First, when the dining room was red: she was decorated in Tuscan.. with grapes and all.
5-10 years ago.
Kitchen before makeover red walls
  Then came in gold and faux finishing. I know, I know. Like I said, it’s been a journey.
Kitchen makeover with gold walls
And there were those darn, dark cabinets I kept contemplating about painting. And the top of my fridge looks so much prettier now.
Kitchen with dark brown oak cabinets before painting
And finally ,while it was a struggle to paint the cabinets. The paint cans came out, the floor was replaced and all was right with the world. 🙂
White painted oak cabinets and butcher block counter tops
We are so glad we painted them! I am finally feeling like there is a flow to our place. It’s becoming more us. Looking back through all of the pictures I had, it was crazy the way our tastes have evolved and what an utter mess our house was. Change can be good.
Jennifer Rizzo Kitchen White painted Cabinets
Green and white painted oak cabinets
And I love the addition of the dark bottom cabinets. I know it’s going to keep changing, but I love seeing how far we’ve come! Especially as I lean into a more modern organic style. Thanks for sharing this fun journey with me!
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  1. Amazing! It has been time for my dark red dining room to go the moment we painted it 5 years ago! You have inspired me to get it done!

  2. Oh the days of reds and gold 🙂 I am so glad that time is over…I had a red hallway and then a gold dining area with all the wine stuff you know Merlot and Chablis and Pinot it was french in the not so cool french way(yuck) I love your new style super sweet and simple…enjoy your week.


  3. What a great trip down memory lane. I too was into jewel tones with lots of gold one time. Do you think in another 5 years we’ll says what’s with all the light neutrals?

  4. I LOVE your style and the changes. You’ve inspired me to really think about making some long overdue changes. Thanks for sharing you before and after pictures. I’ll be back to visit and check these out over and over to get more inspiration on what I’m going to do next. Thanks again! 🙂 Mumzie

  5. Hi Jen-

    I think this is going to be the most inspiring link party I have ever attended. What a great idea.
    It is so eye-opening to see how our styles have changed as well as what we have learned about ourselves by the way we decorte our homes.
    My best- Diane

  6. Hi Jen, Your home is amazingly beautiful! I have loved your kitchen and eat-in area since the first time I saw them. I also went through the gold and red stage. I am glad I got that out of my system. This is a great idea for a linky party & thanks for hosting.

  7. WOW!!!!!! What transformations! And haha – I was sooo into red too about 10 years ago. When I was a senior in high school I made my parents paint my bedroom almost that exact same color and thought it was soooooo cool and so “Pottery Barnish”! My favorite picture is the one of your kids and the Happy Meal bags over their heads.

    All the transformations are gorgeous but the kitchen is my FAVORITE!!!!

  8. Wow! Thank you for sharing! I wish I had taken pics in time to share because my style has changed a lot just since I started blogging! I think your whole house looks so amazing now… I love every inch of it! Where did you get the brown and white bird lampshade… Anthro?

  9. your evolution party pictures are wonderful! I wish I was ready to participate…but I am at the ‘trying to figure out the right color’ for our living room. It is so dark…my walls are a mossy green and I am trying wanting to lighten everything up in here…so your post was inpsiring!!!! What color did you use in your family room?

  10. Wow you have done an amazing job with your home! I only have 3 years into this house and with money and time constraints the changes are subtle but it was fun to see that changes have come!

    Fun party- thank you for letting me link up!

    bee blessed

  11. Jen,
    this is so inspiring!
    You’ve come into your own!

    It’s light and bright and welcoming.
    Is the party at your wonderful place?

    wish I had time to play along with mr linky.


  12. my goodness, you have been busy!
    i love your home.
    that gross “before” carpet. well, we have gross carpet upstairs. blek.
    it will not only be ‘before’ but sadly probably gonna be for a while.
    i love your eating area. the mirror, the chandy, wow!
    i love your sofa
    i love your kitchen of course.

    fyi, little one walked in while i was reading, i had just come across the berry wine dining room shot and she said…”oh mama , whose home is that? its so pretty”

  13. I can not even tell you what a HUGE transformation you have done to that house….well, I don’t have to tell you…YOU did the work!!! 🙂

    Jenn….you have made your home magazine worthy…seriously.

    I LOVE the green details…it’s my favorite color!!!

  14. It’s always fun to look back at your decorating style from years past, kind of like looking at your high school pictures. You end up asking yourself, what was I thinking. But really, you were just in keeping with the style of the moment. I too had the Tuscan/Old World style in my home when we moved in 7 years ago. Now I can’t get rid of the dark furniture and accessories fast enough.

    You have an absolutely beautiful home. Won’t it be fun to look back in 10 years and see if you still love it then?

  15. WOW! What a transformation! I especially love your new lighter, brighter kitchen. I know my style in decorating has changed as well, but I don’t have the pictures to prove it! Thanks for sharing yours, Marcia

  16. Love this party Jen and can’t wait to check everyone out. Your overview of your home is great and I’m still in awe of your kitchen and your eat in area. Your home is fabulous and seeing the before pics make it all the more impressive. 😉 I’m on the same wave with you, dark red dining room in 2000 to the tuscan faux painted look and now to all white and neutrals.

  17. Well, I’m finally joining in. Getting a late start. I love all of your photos. You know how to put it all together! Your place looks so good now. Love seeing where it all started.
    Thanks for hosting. Great idea!
    Becky C

  18. Oh, Wow!! Jen!! You have made so many beautiful changes! I just love the way your style has evolved. Your house is smiling now, thinking “thanks for making me pretty”. 🙂
    Hope you have a wonderful day!

  19. i can’t out into words how much i love this linky party.

    it amazes me how my style has changed soooo much over the years. and like you said, especially over the last couple of years.

    apparently, i love white. 😉

    i shared three makeovers we’ve done around here and the funny thing is, two of the three are already tons different than even the photos shown. so i’m thinking i should get around to some “update” posts myself soon.

    thanks for letting us join in!


  20. Wow…your home has gone through some changes and I am absolutely in love with the way it looks now!! I have to go back and take another peek or two or three…

    Great party idea too! Lots for me to look at during this snowy week!

    Thank you!

  21. how fun! your after are fantastic! your tastes really do change and it’s hard not to want to change with it! i’ll see if i have something to enter 🙂 i wish i had more befores of our kitchen. never dawned on me to take them five years ago! i didn’t even know what a blog was! hope you are staying warm!! susan

  22. Very lovely and fast transformation. I well remember the “Tuscan” look- I cringe to even say it, and admit I was part of it.

    You have done a great job- it looks really beautiful!

  23. Wow, that was so fun! I can’t believe the changes! I love the sign above the entry to your living room, and your eat-in area and kitchen are amazing! You have really evolved in terms of creativity and use of found goodies. I can’t wait to check out everyone’s evolutions! I wish I had photos from the past, I would share. But since I’ve mostly been a renter, certain things (like carpet and paint) I can not change. 🙁
    I use to be more shabby chic in terms of pink and florals and whites, but have gone more farmhouse and vintage cottage. I try not to get primitive. In our shop I tend to sell and make more french farmhouse country/industrial as that is the trend and it sells well. But in my home, I like more color.

  24. I think your story is the same as so many others, but each time we thought it looked wonderful, didn’t we? I have always loved the whites that you are using, your home is really beautiful now!!!
    Hugs, Cindy

  25. Man, I remember the first red dining room I saw. I loved it! I thought it was so fresh and daring. That was probably in 1998. Maybe a year or so earlier. Now it just seems so dated, doesn’t it? 🙂 I just love your style evolution. Your home is just beautiful now. Hopefully in 10 years we won’t be looking back wondering what we were thinking. Ha!

  26. Now I know when the last owners to our house must have painted ! We have too much golden creams mixed with both red and dark green. Along with flowered paper on one kitchen wall. Looks like i need to get bush with a paint brush…as soon as it warms up!

  27. Oh my gosh….what a hoot that was…those curtains you had were…well….never mind!!! I wish I had more old photos of the house,found one of the kitchen when the kids were young and if I counted one floral pattern I counted 10!!! Love all your afters…your kitchen makeover inspired mine so much…thanks! x0x0

  28. Lady, you’ve got a serious eye. I am still in awe of your kitchen transformation! Isn’t it neat how our style evolves over time? I went from clueless to knowing what I wanted in a two year period of time, and I have never looked back. 🙂

    Love your blog!

  29. First, a question–where did you find that small green dresser? Love it! It looks like it would fit perfectly in my hallway.

    Second, my husband’s going to hate you. I’ve been looking at all my rooms, which seem to be so dark and dreary. And then I see beautiful light airy rooms like yours and I want to throw everything out and start fresh.

    Third, my kitchen looks like yours. Unfortunately, it’s the before picture. I so need to at least paint the cabinets! Maybe showing hubby your kitchen will be the catalyst for getting it done!

  30. It was like a flash back to my own home…. I change my decor more than anyone I know, that was until I saw pics of your home. I too am going thru the all white, french shabby eclectic look. I will be sad when this look goes out of style. Your home looks amazing. I especially loved your kitchen update.

  31. Incredible transformations!

    This post caught my eye because this is exactly what I’m writing about on Apartment Therapy today!!!

    It’s before & After month at AT, but most of our rooms have been evolving slowly.

    Yours are totally inspiring

  32. A fun link-up party for sure! Great minds must think alike because my blog is called “Evolution of Style” and I had the same thoughts as you when I created it! Did I mention my name is Jenny too? 😉 It’s a journey, that’s for sure. Great transformations, and I think many of us are evolving in the same way that you are. 🙂

  33. Wow! Your make-overs are amazing! Can you tell me what colour green you painted the bench? I love the mirror in the ‘Eat In’. Such talen.

  34. I like this party…I have come across a couple of blogs that are part of it and I love seeing how things change over time. Your home has really transformed, but you have always been quite up to date with the times.

    I just saw your button for the Illinois Blogger Luncheon. I am in Chicago and may just make it. Do you have a date set yet?


  35. i remmeber when burgundy, green and gold’s were the color’s in everyone’s house.. including mine.. thanks for sharing your amazing transformations.. you have great style!

  36. Unbelievable!!

    I am sorry, some of that is just terrible… when one see it today. But I bet I would have had exactly the same look if I’d had a house back then. 😉

    I really love your idea for link-party!I don’t have much of a style evolution so I cant participate, but I keep posting the re-dos from our house because the style was kind of terrible when we moved in so feel free to have a look.

  37. Oh. GIRL. This is SO awesome! I love LOVE where you are now. Tuscany – isn’t it BEST in Italy itself? 😉

    FABULOUS FABULOUS FABULOUS style my sweet friend…..

    Sorry I’ve been so MIA lately – ugh – I hate getting behind with my friends!

    Off to dig up those old photos – Can’t wait to see the evolution in one post!!


  38. Your kitchen is one of my all time favorites! I, too, went through a red phase, a gold phase, and a “faux” phase but for the last year or so I’ve been getting rid of those colors and going much lighter. My sun room is still red but will shortly be “neutralized” just as soon as I pick a paint color.

    Thanks for your home tour, I love everything you’ve done.


  39. Just stumbled upon your site from 3 Pixie Lane. Love your kitchen makeover. What a difference a little paint can make! I have been toying with the idea of painting my kitchen cabinets for a while and after searching and reading many blogs, I’ve decided, it must be doable. Just curious if you painted the cabinets and if so, what was your technique and did you paint them just white or do they have some sort of glaze finish? Great work and thanks for inspiring!
    Scissors & Spatulas

  40. Isn’t it fun to look back? Your home looks SO much better now – classic, simple, pretty, fresh. It doesn’t scream out a theme and it’s a look you won’t tire of.

    I had a burgundy kitchen back in the late 90’s and faux painted caramel walls in my livingroom that I inherited from the previous owners. Since then, I’m all about white and pale colours and it makes it feel light, bright and happy. awesome post! 🙂

  41. I so enjoyed all your evolution changes. The now is so fresh and open space feel. I am the same as you. A furniture painter, muralist and decorator. I have been though these same styles. Mine still has more color but I love your style. Thanks for hosting.

  42. The transformation of your house is amazing! I love everything you’ve done. The lighter colors are just beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing!

  43. Holy moly! I’ve been reading your blog this whole time and I’m STILL finding myself amazed at how transformed your house is!! I wanted to participate but my transformation has been in the years PB (post blog 😉 and I could find any pics to scan of my shabby chicified bachelorette pad. There were LOTS of baskets and dried (re: DEAD) flowers.

    I lovvvveeee that you painted your kicthen cabinets. We’re struggling with whether we should do the same.

  44. I just found your blog and LOVE all of your room transformations! GREAT JOB! They couldn’t get any better…I think you can rest now : ) ~Destiny

  45. I am a Spanish girl who I escubierto your blog today and I have to give congratulations because I have been amazed to see your beautiful home is really my style, seeing your changes of a few years now the house has improved as the day and night … you decorator? I have several rooms of my house that if they are good or maybe not leaking something I do not get you … Can you help me according to your point of view that should change or move the site, would send you some pictures of my house to your mail.
    From today I took your follower, has captivated me with your house will try to get ideas, how bad my house is very small, we live in an apartment and has only 80 meters.
    many kisses.

  46. This was such an amazing post! I wish everyone would write something like this just so we could see the changes we’ve made over the years. Thank you for sharing, and your house is absolutely beautiful!

  47. I’m really loving this! It gives me hope that some day in a few years when my kids outgrow their happy meal box hats, I too can take the time to make all the changes to our house that I want to. thank you! 🙂

  48. Just stumbled onto your site through The letteredcottage’s fb page. I love seeing your transitions from dark to light. I too have recently changed my style from dark traditional to light country/cottage. Getting married and buying a home at 20 years old didn’t really give me time to figure out what my style was and now 7 years later I’m finally finding it 🙂 Anyways, I just cleaned up the house and folded some laundry listening to the beautiful music on your site, thanks so much for the last half hour of loveliness I just had!! 🙂

  49. Lovey, Lovely Lovely!!!!! I too am purging old stuff and redecorating to update….I love your eat in area!!!!! Love the white baseboard with the wood flooring!!!!! Think I’ll do that!

  50. What a lovely post !!! Love the transformations- funny how your taste can change …whereas it looks really right at the time ..I am your latest follower….you seem like a woman after my own heart !! I have also filled the world with murals -seemed a good idea at the time, hahaha !!!

  51. Love your house! I think it’s always kind of funny to look back and see what we thought was perfect 5 or 10 years ago. Most of the time I’m totally baffled with myself! Your house is gorgeous!

  52. Your home has transformed into something amazing! It is just beautiful and yes it is funny how our taste evolve over time! I am your newest stalker!:)

  53. jennifer your home is beautiful and looks so inviting! what fun to show your evolution into finding your own personal style! i am so often influenced by others opinions and by what is “in”! thanks for the encouragement to go for it!

  54. I love your before and after pics. Great job!

    I’m having a hard time figuring out how you added cabinets and counter to the right of your stove. It doesn’t seem like you lost any space. Please tell me what you did. Also – did you redo the counters yourself? It looks great.

  55. Could you please tell me the color (green) on your walls in the kitchen that you used. It looks great.

  56. I love your mirror at your eating area – the scroll one – it’s beautiful! Where do you find something like that?

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