Front yard before and after photos

We’ve been working on some outdoor projects and as I was snapping a picture yesterday I realized, some of you have never seen the outside of my house. (Unless you’re secretly stalking me and driving by while I’ve got my butt up in the air planting flowers.) Then I thought, what fun is looking at “afters” if you never got to see the “befores”? So here, for your viewing pleasure, are some pics of my front yard through the years.

Here’s how the front of the house looked when we moved in. The woman we bought it from must have been worried about people peeking in her windows because she had almost every one of them blocked by some kind of tree or shrub.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

One month later: oh, there is a house hiding back there. If you look close you can see the tree trunks we hadn’t removed yet.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

This is the only pic I could find from 2007. It doesn’t show much but you can see we cleaned things out a little more and filled in with some annuals that year.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

In 2008 we removed the circle of shrubs blocking the front steps/window (you can see it in the 2nd pic), reshaped the flower bed, and filled in with grass where we needed. We were left with this clean, blank slate. Ahhhh.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

Then we started filling in with some shrubs.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

About this time all hell broke loose in the back yard, specifically on our back screened porch. We had to replace the roof. And the floor. And the ceiling. And the deck. (You’ll being seeing pics of all that soon.) So the front yard was put on hold for a while. A long while. Four years to be exact. Last year we finally started working on it again.

This view is looking out from the front door, toward the street. See that big circle of sh!t around the trees? It’s 30% beautiful ground cover and 70% nasty thistle weed. It’s driven me crazy since the day we moved in.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

One day I kinda lost it (noticing a pattern?). All that crap had to go. First I hit it with the mower – very therapeutic.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

Then it was time to get down in the dirt and start digging, and pulling, and yanking that crap out. We mulched it with leaves for the winter and this spring . . . ta-da!

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

There’s still some thistle coming up. That stuff is like cockroaches. It could survive a nuclear war. After I conquer it, which I will, the plan is to plant grass and pretend that circle was never there.

And finally, current photos of the house and flower bed. It’s funny to scroll up and see how much that little burning bush has grown. And the crab apple tree really needs a prune job.

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

Front yard before and afters | laughingabi.com

Some of you may have noticed the front door went from brown to red. I don’t remember when I painted it but it’s one of my favorite things ever. I’ve always wanted a red door and this house was screaming for it.

So now you’re up to date which means I can start sharing the new stuff we’re working on. Can’t wait!

Do you look back at old pics of your house and see something you forgot? Or something you wish you could forget?

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Loft bed for a little girl’s room

Psst, to see this room update from the beginning, check out these posts:
Phase 1: Decorative storage update for a little girl’s room and no monsters in the closet
Phase 2:A modern tree mural update

Remember this post where I shared a cute way to display a little girl’s stuffed animal collection? Well forget all that. It’s gone. See, the problem with raising creative children is they get these ideas and the next thing you know you’re redoing things that were never even done yet. And yes, I realize I could have just old her “NO” but it was such a goooood idea. It had to be done.

Introducing Baby Girl’s new loft bed.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

I know loft beds are nothing new but the genius of this one is it was TOTALLY FREE. We drug the bunk beds down from the attic and put them together without the bottom bunk. The chair is a thrift store treasure that was sitting in the corner of our bedroom, holding piles of laundry. And the little table was her nightstand. $0!!!

Here are some shots of Baby Girl hard at work putting it all together with The Hubs.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

As for that Ugly Doll collection, it’s back next to the bed where it belongs – just a little higher.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Some of you may remember that the bed used to be under a recently updated tree mural. Obviously we moved things around to make it all fit. The tree is still there but it looks more like this now.

Loft bed for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

I’ll admit I’m sad that Baby Girl isn’t sleeping under that tree every night. I designed the whole thing around her bed. But when I see her all snuggled up in that chair, reading a book, I can’t help but smile.

I still have a long list of finishing touches for the loft and the bedroom.

  • Paint dresser knobs
  • Touch up paint on bunks
  • Find something to hang on walls under loft
  • Create some storage solutions under the loft so things aren’t just laying around
  • Cover ugly support boards on loft “ceiling”
  • Paint ladder
  • “Tape” two small IKEA rugs together to make one patch of “grass” under loft
  • Sew curtains to create “walls” under loft

My biggest challenge? To get it all done before Baby Girl gets another great idea.

Have you ever decided to redo a project when you were only halfway done? Did it turn out better than the original idea? Please say yes. I really need to hear a yes.

A modern tree mural update

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

As part of the update to Baby Girl’s bedroom I needed to modify her tree mural so it was a home for birds and squirrels, not fairies. (See the original mural here.) I’ll admit I never loved the Pixie Hollow tree so I was pretty excited about the chance to do something more modern and contemporary with it. Something urban birds and squirrels would live in. Here are the changes, step by step.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.comWe started by painting over the pixie dust waterfalls so it looked like a plain tree.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

Then we decided we wanted to reshape the middle branches so we painted on the new color, making our branch shapes as we went, and primed the “old parts” that were still showing. If you look at the bottom of this picture you can tell we made some changes to the trunk too. It went on a little tree diet.

The next step was painting the blue wall color over the primed patches. I don’t have a picture of that stage because I was too busy spilling the bucket of blue paint all over the carpet.

!@#&*!

If you decide to try this project I would recommend skipping that part.

A couple vodka-tonics and a good night’s sleep later, it was finally time for the fun part – painting the wood grain/tree rings.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

tree trunk done 1 marked

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

I wish I could give you more direction for drawing these lines. It was mostly just trial and error but here are a few pointers.

  • I used an IKEA duvet cover for inspiration and tried to mimic their pattern in the beginning.
  • I sketched all my lines with chalk before I put anything permanent on the wall.
  • The longer I worked, the more natural it seemed.
  • I used a medium-point Elmer’s metallic gold paint pen

When I painted the original mural I added another set of branches on the wall next to the window. So of course I had to modernize those too.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

And because I’m a creative glutton (and Baby Girl asked with her sweet little puppy dog eyes), I added a branch to the closet doors too.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

Here’s how the two smaller sets of branches look together.

Modern tree mural update | laughingabi.com

I’m really happy with how it all turned out. The metallic paint makes it sparkle when the sun streams through the window. And every little girl’s room can use a little sparkle.

Have you ever updated one of your own DIY projects? Did you like the old or new version better?

I’m linking up with Tatertots & Jello this week. Make sure you go check out all the other amazing DIY ideas over there.

 

Decorative storage update for a little girl’s room and no monsters in the closet

A year or so ago I created a wall mural for Baby Girl’s bedroom. Back then she was all about a little fairy named Tinkerbell so I painted the Pixie Hollow tree over her bed. Now she’s nine and has informed me she still loves the tree but isn’t digging the fairies. (Insert mommy sniffle here.) And so another bedroom redo begins.

First things first. Fairy decals and fairy houses – you’re outta here.

Next, we wanted to fill the big blank space between the tree and bed. Not surprisingly, the Teen Queen is making some changes in her room too, so I went shopping in her “junk” pile and found a Collector’s Shelf I bought from Pottery Barn way back when. Score! It’s the perfect size for the space, the perfect color (matches her curtains) and the perfect storage solution for the pile, er collection, of Ugly Dolls that are spilling out of a basket in the corner.

Baby Girl wanted to help so The Hubs gave her a quick “How to put anchors in drywall” lesson and let her start poking holes in the wall while I went downstairs and made myself a drink.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

A few turns of the screws it was ready for action. (Every time I got out the camera she jumped under the covers.)

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Finally, she got to put all her little critters in their new home. And then we should be done, right?

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Unfortunately, her collection is bigger than I realized and they didn’t all fit. I thought about ordering another shelf but then we came up with some better ideas. Solution #1 – the little key chain Uglies went on cup hooks under the shelf.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Solution #2 – the biggest Uglies that were too um . . .  plump to fit in the shelf got a special place at the head of the bed.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

How stinking cute are they? They look like they’re sitting at the table waiting for breakfast. Now it’s done. And most importantly, Baby Girl is happy.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

I have to show you one more thing we added to her room over the long weekend. This adorable handmade linocut print from The Big Harumph. We received it as a late Christmas gift and decided it was perfect for Baby Girl’s room since she still refuses to sleep with the closet doors closed.

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

Decorative storage update for a little girl's room | laughingabi.com

So that wraps up Phase 1 of the latest bedroom redo. How do you handle it when your kids outgrow their decor? Do you start from scratch? Work with what’s already there? Tell them to suck it up and go to sleep? I’d love to know.

Love & laughs,
abi

 

T is for Tree Mural: A-Z Blog Challenge

A couple weeks ago I posted a picture of the “fashion girls” mural I painted on my daughters’ bedroom wall, and I promised to show you the mural that took its place. Here it is!

tree wall mural

The design is based on a picture my daughter found in this book, A Guide to Pixie Hollow, which explains some of my “artistic” choices. For example, you might think I painted random gold, glittery, vertical stripes in the trunk but those are actually pixie dust waterfalls. (This tree is where the pixie dust is created.)

tree wall mural

And those mysterious things stuck on the tree trunk? Those are the fairies’ houses. They light up at night and cast fun shadows across the wall.

tree wall mural

When I was done painting and stapling up all those branches I decided to add some patio lights to finish off the whole thing. See my baby snuggled up in her Tinkerbell bed tent under there?

tree wall mural

This was my first attempt at painting a tree and while I’m really pleased with how it turned out, it was a big challenge for me. Anyone out there done this before? Thinking about giving it a try? I would love to hear from you.