So, I have the best mother in the whole world. I know that a lot of people will want to argue with me on this, but it is true. My sister and I have been trying for years to convince her to live with us when she retires. Well, she finally retired and my sister won the fight. My sister and brother-in-law have an apartment attached to their house, and my mama moved in. 

My beloved husband put me on a plane for five days to help her decorate and set up the new space. I want to preface the post by saying that my sister, who is also the best sister in the whole world, did the most work in getting the apartment “after” ready. She patched holes and sanded and painted the walls,  built a closet in my mom’s bedroom, ripped out the kitchen and replaced it with a new one. She worked steadily for weeks. I only photographed a few rooms for “before” and “after” because the kitchen wasn’t quite finished yet and the dishwasher still needed to be installed.

The other thing I want you to know about this small makeover is that everything we used my mom already owned. The only piece that we bought was the small bench beside the door because it was perfect for that space and we needed something there.

The living room is small. The second window you see in the first shot is actually in the dining room! But it is my new happy place. I spent every morning on that couch sipping coffee, and it is so cozy and dreamy. The fireplace is actually the only heat source for the apartment, which I think is magical. This apartment fulfills all my fantasies of living in a tiny, charming, country apartment full of quirks. The home is full of light, and has lovely airflow.

I didn’t get a tonne of before pics but all the walls looked like the before shot of the living room. Here is the entryway after all the work my sister did repairing walls and painting and then hanging everything up.

We found this bench, the only thing we bought, in Bobcaygeon at an amazing vintage store.  It was perfect. We wanted something where people could put their shoes on, and we wanted it tall enough to put shoes under as well. The top even flips up so Mom can put gloves and hats in it. We found it at Good Pickin’s. When we saw it the heavens opened up and there was singing. Also, FYI, if you are ever near Bobcaygeon the home decor stores there are on point.  

Along the back part of the main floor is a long wall that isn’t really connected to anything else and isn’t really usable. We placed a long bench, which my mom needs when all her grandbabies come over for a meal, along the wall.  

Also along the back side of the kitchen there was an empty wall next to the bathroom. It is the perfect size for my mom’s red cupboard that I have coveted since I left her house. She keeps telling me “no”, but I keep asking for it! I love the way it looks in my mom’s new house because it is a perfect piece for a country home. It doesn’t hurt that my beloved Nana’s picture is on top. And yes, she was and is the best Nana that anyone could possibly have in the world. I am sorry folks, but I come from a family of incredible women.

My mom’s bedroom is under the eaves up a set of tall, narrow stairs.  I know that tall, narrow stairs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I love them. They fulfill all my character desires in a house. The stairs were the one thing my sister didn’t have time to get to before I got there. They were in pretty rough shape when I started with them. This before pic is after my mom scrubbed them with a magic eraser. 

I love the way they turned out. More importantly, my mom loves the way they turned out!  The nice thing about this project is that the stairs were in really rough shape, which means we could hardly make them worse! The risers aren’t wood but particle board, and everything was uneven. So we painted everything white, filled the gaps in with caulk, and then did a stencil on the risers. My mom loves indigo blue, and while the stencils didn’t come out perfectly, they are perfect for these stairs. I think they bring out the charm of the imperfections of the stairs themselves. This stairway transformation cost us only $70.00.

Just to show the difference between not caulking and caulking, I want to show you some before and after shots of just that one step.

The last couple of pictures are of my mom’s dressing area in her bedroom. She has a small fireplace in her room, which will heat her upstairs bedroom in the wintertime.

And here is her bedroom mirror, under the eaves, with her laundry basket beside it.


This apartment may be my new favourite space. The light, the charm, and the most wonderful woman in the world, all in one place! It is also one of my favourite types of makeovers, using almost exclusively what my client already owns and just putting things in the best place for them. I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I enjoy the home!

If you would like some assistance redesigning your home using items you already own, visit my services page to learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *