before and after

Before & After: Full Home Renovation

by Kate Pruitt

I’ve been dreaming of renovating a full home for a long time, and I would hope that when I do get the chance to do this, I would make smart decisions like art director and designer Beth Chapleau has done here. To keep her budget in check, Beth decided to transform some of the existing elements with fresh colors: the cabinets in the kitchen are now a sleek black, and the freshly white walls reflect tons of light into the rooms. The look is minimalist but still cozy, and the spare decor allows each piece of furniture and styled vignette to pop against the neutral background. For a modest budget, Beth has revitalized and modernized the home, making it the perfect neutral base for continued collecting and daily living. —Kate

Read the full post after the jump…

Time: 8 months

Cost: The kitchen cost roughly $3000 for the new appliances, and the reno (new upper cabinets, countertop, backsplash, paint, light fixtures, handles) cost around $1100.

Basic Steps: I decided to save some money by painting the existing lower cabinets because they were in good shape and I liked the door style, just hated the oak. I replaced the upper cabinets because I couldn’t stand the cathedral arches. I tried tiling for the first time with a classic white subway tile backsplash and light grey grout. I replaced the cabinet hardware with more modern looking pulls and swapped out the tacky fluorescent light for a modern/industrial glass globe pendant.

For the rest of the house: painting was the first thing I did before and shortly after I moved in. The house was dark before and I wanted a clean, light and modern look. I love the original wood floors, even though parts of them are in rough shape. They tell a story. I’ve been lucky with my vintage teak furniture, most having been bought through Kijiji (not sure if America has Kijiji, basically an alternative to Craigslist) and vintage shops. I’ve kept all of the original features of the house, which is why I fell in love with it in the first place (the crystal door knobs and hardware, french doors, grates, etc.) And lastly, as an interior design grad, I have a great love of classic design pieces and began collecting chairs a few years ago… my walnut Eames LCW, Eames molded plastic chairs and vintage tulip chair are definitely a sign of my chair addiction.

My advice: have patience! Things always take longer than you planned and sometimes you have to improvise. Plan things out, being a graphic designer, I draw plans and elevations out to scale before I start anything (the Lowes lumber associates laugh when I bring out a drawing of plywood sheets with the cuts planned out). Curate, clutter drives me nuts… I think a lot of people need to edit what they put on display. —Beth


  • Living, dining, office and bedroom are painted in Behr’s Falling Snow (matte)
  • Kitchen, and hallways are in Benjamin Moore’s Owl Gray (matte) (the perfect neutral grey, I love this colour).
  • Front door: Benjamin Moore’s Overcoat (semi-gloss)
  • Stairs/hallway: Benjamin Moore’s Overcoat (Matte)


  • Upper cabinets: IKEA Appalad cabinets
  • Lower cabinets: Painted with Benjamin Moore’s chalkboard paint
  • Countertop: IKEA Pragel Walnut laminate
  • Backsplash: Daltile white 3×6″ ceramic tiles, Platinum colour grout
  • Cabinet pulls: IKEA Blankett pulls
  • Light fixture: West Elm Globe pendant
  • Appliances: Fridgidaire Gallery collection (Fridge, Dishwasher, Range and OTR Microwave)
  • Thermostat: Nest (Love it!)

Dining room:

  • Vintage teak dining table
  • Eames white molded plastic chairs
  • Vintage teak credenza
  • Living room:
  • Loveseat/Chaise: IKEA Karlstad, Isunda Grey
  • Vintage Danish teak lounge chair
  • Custom walnut plywood shelves


  • IKEA Besta cabinets
  • Custom walnut plywood floating desktop
  • Eames molded plastic chair in Greystone


  • IKEA Malm bed and headboard
  • Vintage teak highboy dresser
  • Hallway:
  • “Fauxdenza” made of IKEA Appalad cabinet and walnut plywood top, IKEA Grip pulls
  • Oh Chair, Umbra

Upstairs hallway:

  • Eames molded plywood lounge chair (LCW) in walnut


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  • Awesome transformation!! I spy with my little eye a “One Fine Day” pillow on your teak lounge chair :)

  • This is such an inspiring transformation! The before pictures really seem so dark and restrictive compared to how flow-y, open, light, and warm the after pictures are! It’s really incredible.

  • This is awesome! Very inspiring as my husband and I are about to embark on a reno of our own in our first home. Is the house in Toronto? I have a friend who has a home with the exact some layout in the West End.

  • Thank you all for the positive feedback!

    C: The oregon map is from Raven Maps (Schoolhouse Electric also sells it)

    Christie: The mirror is the Molger model from IKEA.

  • I love this space. Great job! Everytime i see a sneek peak with white walls it makes me want to run to the paint store and pick some up.

  • I MUST have the grey lamp in the second-to-last photo, with the cozy grey chair, I just want to curl up there with a book. Where can I find the lamp? I love this post, great before-and-after! Beth, nicely done.

  • Fantastic transformation! May I give one more tip? I see you have the IKEA Karlstad soaf. The feet give it away. As you have a lot of lovely MCM furniture with the tapred legs, please have a look at Uncle Bob’s Workshop on Etsy: he sells similar tapered legs that you can use instead of the normal Karlstad feet/legs (just screw on, even I could do it). I had a similar set up as you, and am so glad I ordered the new legs as it makes the Karlstad look (i) less IKEA-y and (ii) blend in fabulously with the rest of the furniture – awesome result, I promise!

  • The floor lamp in the second to last photo is the Hektar from IKEA (It was hard to find up here, it’s new and seems they have limited stock).

    The chair is also IKEA, its the HÄRNÖSAND Armchair (they call it dark grey but it’s more of a navy).

    Wiesje, thank you for the tip… I have considered replacing the legs, I hate the ones the Karlstad comes with. I think I’ll be replacing the whole loveseat/chaise soon with the Kivik… the cushions on the Isunda Grey are hard to keep clean with a dog and they aren’t washable.

  • Where did your bathroom sink/pedestal (?is this what it’s called?) come from? Was it reasonably priced?

  • I must echo all the positive comments. I’m most intrigued by how you transformed the kitchen, as we recently moved and have the same arched upper cabinets that I dislike greatly. The modern/traditional blend you’ve done with your home is lovely. Thanks for sharing it!

  • The vanity is the two drawer Godmorgon unit from IKEA with the Vitviken sink and Grundtal faucet. I would caution anyone who wants to use an IKEA faucet, they use a European sized connector which doesn’t fit with standard water supply lines in North America. We had to come up with our own “adapter”, which was frustrating.

    That’s why I went with a Pfister faucet for the kitchen, which I also forgot to mention in my sources list. It’s the Modena model, which I love the look of and it was relatively inexpensive.

  • Soo beautiful! I love the look of pale rooms, but I’m always drawn to color at the paint store. Maybe I can attempt it in one room – thanks for the inspiration!!

  • Great makeover indeed. All the house was so dark before. Especially the living room and dining room. And no contrast at all! It also looks larger and lighter after the renovation

  • Awesome renovation. I love how new and old are combined to create a harmonious interior. Dining area looks especially nice with the Eames DSW chairs and also love the “side table” next to the armchair.

  • I too have a chair fetish. Were your Eames chairs bought new or are they originals? Where did you get them? Beautiful space!

  • Beautiful job, I also love the bedroom with map like everyone else. How did you do the appalad cupboard doors with out handles? I love the clean look you achieved with them in the kitchen.

  • the new kitchen cabinets and the new vanity look much cheaper than the older ones. They may look more modern, but they definitely look flimsier and cheaper. And all of that white looks so sterile and cold, as if the house is waiting for someone to move in.

  • I don’t often comment but felt compelled- this is AWESOME. what a lovely transformation. Being from Ottawa, IKEA is one of very few sources available and I love how you incorporated it into your home so well. I love everything you’ve done. SOO nice!

  • Ashley, just because it isn’t your taste doesn’t mean it’s cheaper and flimsier. How can you even tell with the bathroom vanity? You can barely see it in the photo.

  • Really inspiring renovation! I love the map and the headboard on your bed as well! Could you tell me where you found it? I’ve been looking for something like it for years!

  • Really inspiring renovation! I love the map and the headboard on your bed as well! Could you tell me where you found the headboard? I’ve been looking for something like it for years!

  • Do you have to prime the ikea cabinets prior to painting with the chalkboard paint? Any tips you could give would be amazing!

  • I’ve heard some complaints about the blankett handles and am thinking about installing them. Are you still happy with them? (great remodel BTW)

  • Hi Amy and Matt,

    I didn’t prime my cabinet doors but they weren’t Ikea cabinets. I just cleaned them prior to painting.

    I haven’t had any issues with the handles, they’ve been great.

  • Hi Beth, love the make over! I’m wondering how your ikea laminate countertops are holding up?? Would you recommend them? I’m thinking they would be lower maintenance than butcher block.. Thanks :)

  • Im so thankful I found your blog! We purchased falling snow to paint all the rooms and living space but I was worried maybe we will be toooo white. Buy your pictures show it can be cozy and light and airy!
    Thank you

  • We are 95% finished with our IKEA kitchen remodel. We put one 12″ Blankett handle on the drawer, and it looks great but when we pull it out, it lifts up a bit. It does not stay tight to the top of the drawer. I read in another blog that someone put a third (middle) screw in but I am not sure they were having the same problem. We have the Grevsta stainless steel cover and we are wondering if maybe these simply aren’t going to work with the stainless steel. Did you have this problem? Would love to get any advice about what to do. Thank you.

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