Tess Wilson's Recent Articles
Page 2
This Converted Sprinter Van is a Surprisingly Livable Tiny House on Wheels
This 2008 Dodge Sprinter is like the TARDIS from Doctor Who and the tents from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; it’s unassuming on the outside, but surprisingly livable and functional inside. The van’s adventurous owners have somehow found enough space to sleep, cook, store outdoor gear, and drive, allowing them to travel to some of the country’s most gorgeous natural locales. Welcome to a wonderland on wheels!
Feb 1, 2019
Before and After: This Bathroom Redo Is the Stuff Bathtub Dreams Are Made Of
This bathroom was quite cool, but had a lot going on: dark marble, metal scrollwork, a sculpted sink bowl, a divider wall, and lots of tile. Now it’s lighter, brighter, more serene, and far more spa-like. Christina and Robert of New Darlings—@newdarlings on Instagram—have created such a fresh new look. Removing the partial wall truly opened up the space, letting the light flow through beautifully.
Jan 31, 2019
Before and After: See the $24,000 Overhaul of a Small 1970s Bathroom
This little ’70s bathroom had some serious space limitations, poor ventilation, and failing plumbing. Though its owner admired some of its best features—that teak vanity!—it was time for a functional overhaul and a major makeover.
Jan 29, 2019
Before and After: This Living Room is All About the New Ceiling
This open-plan living and dining room had tons of charm: A graceful chandelier, attractive and comfortable furniture, lush plants, and lots of natural light. Its owner, however, wanted to added a little something extra—that je ne sais quoi that would elevate the space. Reader Kari Hailey looked for ways to add architectural interest and warmth to the room, and finally found something they could do themselves, without spending a ton of money. Kari cleverly added beams!
Jan 28, 2019
Before and After: This Carpeted Staircase is No Longer a Death Trap
These stairs were intensely carpeted, too small to be very useful or accessible, and generally less-than-ideal. Rather than simply removing the carpet, which would have been a nice upgrade on its own, the stairs were reimagined completely—and moved. When asked to describe the stairway pre-renovation, the homeowner sums up its character in just two chilling words: Death Trap. Honestly, there is no other way to describe it.
Jan 26, 2019
Before and After: This Teeny-Tiny Bathroom Now Looks Surprisingly Spacious
Though this bathroom functioned just fine on paper, it was clearly a bit cramped—that’s the shower stall on the right just inside the door—and, according to its owners, “old, cheap, mismatched, and just plain ugly.” While all the finishes and fixtures look nice enough in the photo, and the palette is cool and understated, photos never tell the whole story. This tiny bathroom is about to get a big upgrade.
Jan 24, 2019
Before and After: Who Knew a $75 Craigslist Find Could Look This Good?
This tall, vintage, secondhand dresser needed a little wood filler and a lot of love, so its new owner gave it all that and a gorgeous coat of paint that totally transformed its look. The new owner of this dresser, who bought it on Craigslist for $75, described it as “a glossy cherry wood… ick!” It did, however, have nice lines, antique charm, and plenty of refined details without too much old-fashioned folderol.
Jan 23, 2019
Before and After: Small Changes Led To This Dining Room’s Dramatic Makeover
This dining room had so much going for it—moody accent wall, nice wood table, gorgeous chairs and credenza, plenty of daylight, enviably high ceilings—but after a light makeover, it’s quite a bit brighter and fresher. Christina Marie Amundson—The Inherited Home on Instagram—achieved a dramatic makeover by making just a few smart changes.
Jan 22, 2019
Before and After: This Living Room Coat Closet is a Total Surprise Inside
This coat closet is great! It’s clean and all the finishes are in good shape. It’s roomy. It exists! But its owner knew it could be so much more: a delightful surprise for guests when it’s time to hang up and retrieve their coats. Absolutely fabulous. Any guest should be honored and a wee bit envious that their coats get to spend a few hours in this tropical wonderland.
Jan 21, 2019
Before and After: This Remodeled Farmhouse Kitchen Has a Huge 16-Foot Island
Welcome to one of the most mysterious kitchens in Before & After history: A kitchen trapped in an octagonal pen, with a built-in fryer and an oppressively low ceiling that spits in the face of the home’s gloriously high ceilings. After a major investment of time, money, and effort, this kitchen is less… unique, but still full of personality. This full-length shot reveals how incredibly high the ceiling is and showcases the odd, church-like feel of this kitchen nook.
Jan 20, 2019
Before and After: This RV’s Cozy Bedroom Packs Some Enviable Secret Storage
The bedroom in this 2005 RV had a lot of beige and a bit of ’80s flair—the intensely gathered valences!—but also boasted handy outlets, wiring for lighting, and tons of glorious daylight streaming in. So one talented DIYer created a bedroom worthy of the gorgeous Oregon views through the windows.
Jan 19, 2019
Before and After: A Pretty IKEA PAX Hack Elevates This Entire Bedroom
Thanks to a blush of color and a clever installation job, the ubiquitous blank-slate PAX wardrobe from IKEA gets a major upgrade in a graphic designer’s Copenhagen apartment. Four IKEA PAX wardrobes are now painted the same pink as the surrounding walls, giving them the appearance of a built-in closet. Michella Laura has turned pink into a sophisticated neutral that sets off the white bedding and trim to great effect and allows the stunning white-and-blue vintage Murano light to pop.
Jan 18, 2019
Before and After: This Remodeled Scandi-Style IKEA Kitchen Is *Chef’s Kiss*
This kitchen had a lovely window, but thanks to dark, abundant cabinetry and a peekaboo wall, not much daylight flowed through the space. After living with the less-than-ideal arrangement, its owner was finally able to renovate—and the results are sunny and fun. The kitchen is now so nice and open, awash in natural light reflected off the white, yellow, green, and silvery finishes.
Jan 11, 2019
Before and After: This Backyard Shed Turned Tiny House for $15,000
This little shed was lurking in its new owners’ backyard, too large for their storage needs and far too large and unsightly to ignore. After a year of sneaking in DIY work in the evenings and on weekends after their day jobs, the couple now has a charming tiny house for beloved—and paying—guests.
Jan 10, 2019
Before and After: It’s Amazing What a Measly $100 Can Do for a Beige Bathroom
Thanks to just $100 and a few hours of work, this standard, beige, and builder-grade bathroom is now as bright and colorful as it is practical. The Downtown Homestead certainly spent that $100 well, investing that money in paint and colorful, personal accessories. The art is a well-framed and beloved print by Kaila Erb given as a gift by a friend, and “everything else was picked based off the colors of the print.
Jan 9, 2019
This Tiny House Was Snapped Up By Its New Owners for Only $250
There are a lot of fabulous tiny houses out there, but very few of them started life as a car dealership office before serving as a beloved taco stand for two decades. This is no ordinary tiny house, and after 50 busy, bustling years, it now provides a peaceful retreat for visitors in rural Texas.
Jan 8, 2019
Before and After: This Bathroom Was Well Worth Two Weekends’ of Work and $2,000
This totally ’80s bathroom was “a beige nightmare” with a few issues beyond the aesthetic, but two stalwart DIYers managed to remedy all that and create a fabulously inviting space, all with just two weekends’ of work and $2,000.
Jan 6, 2019
Before and After: A Welcome Cure for a Cramped and Outdated Kitchen
This kitchen was very cramped, what with all the intense wood paneling, small size, and free-range dishwasher. Over eight years, this 40-year-old kitchen in a 140-year-old home has been updated, and the fabulous results suit the house much better then all this ever could. Reader Chrissie Brackett is here to share a bit more about this kitchen and its challenges: Our kitchen and porch in our 1870s Victorian hadn’t been updated in about 40 years.
Jan 5, 2019
Before and After: These Kitchen Cabinets Got An Unexpected Paint Job
While this kitchen was quite tasteful and full of quality finishes, it didn’t fit in at all in the rest of the colorful, relaxed, free-spirited home. With just $80—and plenty of hard work—its owner gave it a fresh, fun new look. Here’s a little more information about the kitchen and the home, and what led to this undertaking: My kitchen was very dark and traditional before. Our cabinets were a dark cherry wood.
Dec 28, 2018
Before and After: This Kitchen Redo Is a Breath of Fresh Air
One of the main issues facing this kitchen was its general darkness. Despite the two windows, the space was darker than desired, and the color scheme—”honey maple cabinets with the reddish brown granite counters and black granite flooring” with brick-red walls to boot—made it even more cave-like. White paint to the rescue—but also plenty of black paint. Tim Ouyang of Bay On A Budget did a fantastic job updating this kitchen for clients.
Dec 27, 2018
5 Fail-Proof Ways to Make Your Home Look More Expensive
Fake fanciness, without looking cheap.
Dec 26, 2018
21 of the Best Room Transformations We Saw in 2018
There’s nothing more satisfying than a good makeover, so here are 21 of our favorite Before & After projects from 2018. The projects range wildly in budget and scope, and from designer to DIY. First up is this 1950s bathroom with original tiles, tub, and countertop in pale, dreamy turquoise. While it might have been tempting to start fresh, the owner saw nothing but precious potential.
Dec 26, 2018
Before and After: This DIYed Kitchen Was Totally Worth All The Effort
This DIY kitchen was a massive undertaking involving moving windows, removing and building walls, wiring, and plumbing, but all that hard work paid off beautifully in the new, larger, greener kitchen. First things first: This new kitchen is in a completely different spot than it was before, so there’s simply no way to perfectly align the “before” and “after” photos.
Dec 26, 2018
Before and After: This Kitchen Got a Huge Return On a $600 Investment
This 100-year-old kitchen had a lot of charm and a ton of beautiful natural light, but it had some major issues—and a century’s worth of random features and finishes. In a poorly scheduled bout of renovation bravado, this kitchen was made over in the few days before Thanksgiving for just $600.
Dec 24, 2018
Before and After: This Bathroom Was DIYed from Head to Toe for $2K
Although this guest bathroom had a lot going for it—spaciousness, tons of natural light, lots of counter space—it was also, in the words of its owner, “truly a flashback to 1993 in all its bathroom glory.” The scalloped sink and peeled wallpaper had to go, so the entire bathroom got a 21st-century makeover.
Dec 23, 2018
Before and After: This Backyard Shed Is Now a Real Money Maker
It went "from shabby storage shed to chic guest suite."
Dec 22, 2018
Before and After: This Bathroom Embraces One of the Year’s Biggest Trends
This “stuck in 1989” bathroom needed a lot more than just aesthetic improvements, as its tile, vanity, and toilet all had issues. Not unexpected after 30 years, but it was time for a makeover. Graphic designer Malcolm Simmons of Mas Means More gave this guest bathroom a fresh, modern look that looks clean and welcoming for guests, and embraces one of the year’s biggest trends.
Dec 21, 2018
Before and After: An Elevated IKEA PAX Closet Hack for the Ages
It's like walking into a little, glamorous jewel box every morning.
Dec 20, 2018
Before and After: This Laundry Is Now the Exact Opposite of Basic and Boring
This laundry room was pretty nice—lovely daylight, pleasant neutrals, plenty of storage, and a few beautiful accessories. But after a dozen years of basically ignoring it, the room’s owners were more than ready for a makeover. Here’s the scoop on the issues with the laundry room: Our laundry room is central to our house, situated off of our living room and right next to our bedroom.
Dec 19, 2018
Before and After: This Entryway Is Chock-Full of Money-Saving DIYs
This entryway is pretty darn aspirational, but its owner knew it could be even better and was determined to improve upon the “standard, builder-grade finishes like the dreaded ‘boob lights'” and the 20-year-old brown carpet on the stairs. Six weeks later, the stairway and entryway have a fresh new look. While white and cream walls have a definite beauty, the new grasscloth wallpaper adds an upscale richness and texture in the subtlest of ways.
Dec 18, 2018
Before and After: This Living Room’s New Bookshelves Have a Built-In Dog Door
Many makeovers involve transforming dark rooms with white paint and paring things down, but this one is completely the opposite. This room is about to get a lot darker, significantly fuller, and exponentially more fabulous—with one special surprise. This is absolutely stunning. The room has the feel of a 200-year-old study, a magical place to stumble upon in an ancient home. One would never guess it was totally put together from scratch.
Dec 17, 2018
Before and After: This Is Not One of Those Wall-to-Wall White Kitchen Remodels
These classic ’90s honey cabinets are about to get a major makeover, and those tiny backsplash tiles are not long for this world. And while there might be subway tiles involved, this is definitely not one of those wall-to-wall white remodels. Here’s the backstory on this renovation and what the homeowner was going for: Our ’90s kitchen had good bones but dark, dated features and oak cabinets that were begging for some color.
Dec 16, 2018
Before and After: This Stylish RV Kitchen Is Now Impressively Spacious
This 2005 recreational vehicle is parked in a gorgeous spot in Oregon, but the interior wasn’t quite as dreamy. As is always the case, the RV was plagued by an overabundance of beige and brown, and the kitchen storage options didn’t really make sense for its new residents. So much beauty in such a small space!
Dec 15, 2018
Before and After: This Living Room’s Beauty Is Now Off the Charts
This living room had a fabulous picture window, but that was about all its new owners loved. After refinishing the floors, replacing the fireplace, and majorly expanding the built-in storage, they now have a living room they totally love. Sarah of Room for Tuesday has created a combination fireplace/statement wall, and it was a fantastic way to go. The green paint really centers the room and adds a major punch of color, while allowing the rest of the walls to be light-reflecting white.
Dec 12, 2018
11 Wonderful Uses for Washi Tape This Holiday Season
Washi tape has a million uses all year round, but it really shines during the winter holidays—especially if it’s shiny. Here are dozen festive ways to put washi tape to use, ranging from small details to major decorations. Washi tape is the “stitching” that holds together this beautiful wrapping paper quilt. Not only is this gift wrap approach stunning, it’s a great way to use up leftover bits of paper and unify all of your gifts without buying all new paper.
Dec 11, 2018
Before and After: This Big Blank Bedroom Canvas Became Something Beautiful
While this photo may look like an “after” shot, it’s actually just the blank white canvas on which a colorful, glamorous wonderland has been created. While a room outfitted in gray, white, and wood has an understated charm, sometimes it needs the type of beauty that only mint and pink velvet and plenty of gold can provide. The new predominately pink, mint, and white color scheme is delicious, while the wallpaper and bookshelves add a multitude of other hues.
Dec 11, 2018
Before and After: This Unfinished “Dungeon” Becomes Something Dreamy
This “room” was described by its new owner as “a dungeon of a space underneath the garage that was large and dirt-filled,” but being a designer and, some would say, visionary, she saw a dreamy home gym-to-be. This really is a dream gym. Seriously, that floor! It’s the visual equivalent of an ultimate workout jam, and it practically makes one want to start jumping around.
Dec 10, 2018
Before and After: This DIYed Kitchen Will Never Go Out of Style
This kitchen had a lot of problems—the ubiquitous over-sink scallop is just the beginning—so its intrepid but inexperienced new owner decided to DIY an entirely new kitchen by herself, including electrical work.
Dec 9, 2018
Before and After: This Tiny $4K Bathroom Feels Much More Spacious Now
In just 56 square feet, one experienced DIYer needed to fit a shower, toilet, sink—and, ideally, some beauty. After just six weeks of hard after-work work, this little bathroom has reached its full potential. It’s difficult to take great establishing shots of small spaces, but luckily the owner of this petite bathroom is here to describe its issues in detail: Our bathroom wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good.
Dec 8, 2018
Before and After: This IKEA Hack Is Every Organized Person’s Dream
This entryway had a spot for coats, a large landing strip, a mirror for last looks, personality, and beauty, but it was lacking in storage for shoes and other odds-and-ends. A DIYer who enjoys “trying to figure out how to make things with no experience” solved the issue with a few ordinary IKEA drawers and some very special wood.
Dec 7, 2018
Before and After: These Vintage Kitchen Cabinets Are Now Unrecognizable
This kitchen had everything: tile countertops, plywood cabinetry, a built-in oven and microwave, square recessed lighting, and so much beige. In six short weeks, it went from dated to wonderfully now. After living with the original kitchen for two years, Studio Plumb was able to do a major upgrade, replacing the floors and countertops, painting the plywood cabinetry, replacing the appliances, painting the walls, and restructuring the fridge/microwave cubby and the island.
Dec 4, 2018
Before and After: An Entirely New Beautiful Bedroom for Only $350
While a master bedroom with an adjacent sunroom is a glorious thing to have, this particular one was “dreary and dated”—and not very sunny. It was overwhelmed by comfy but massive furniture and ready for a fresh look. Here’s the sunroom first. Nothing fresher than lush greenery, bright blooms, and a happy bird on a newly bright white wall. Avery Michaels of Holland Avenue Home boldly hand-painted this mural—inspired by Rifle Paper Co.
Dec 3, 2018
Before and After: This Bathroom Gets a Fantastic Update for $1,500
Maybe this little bathroom didn’t have spectacular style, but its real issue was a maddening one that many can relate to: “No matter how much I cleaned it was still dirty.” The window is so lovely, but all that daylight probably just helped to highlight the issues reader Amanda Walker was dealing with: When we bought the house the bathroom was dirty and dingy, no matter how hard I scrubbed it never looked clean.
Dec 2, 2018
Before and After: This Bedroom Has a Smart Strategy for Wall-to-Wall Carpet
This bedroom was described as “so sad… but there is so much potential,” and one intrepid DIYer brought out all that and so much more. The stars of the new bedroom are a stunning accent wall made from ordinary board and batten, and some seriously cool rustic wood sliding closet doors. This makeover was completed by Angela of Angela Rose Home, and though Angela refers to it as The Boy’s Room (it belongs to a son), it’s beautifully gender neutral.
Nov 30, 2018
Before and After: A $900 Redo Made This Kitchen Look Twice as Big
Fresh paint, new hardware, stylish lighting... the new kitchen's got it all.
Nov 29, 2018
Before and After: This $500 Bathroom Makeover Is All About the New Floor
With just six weeks of work and $500, this bathroom was transformed from ’80s wonderland—complete with peach tiles, wallpapered outlet cover, tiny triangle sink, stained glass medicine cupboard, and robot curtains—into a bright, modern sanctuary. Thanks to The Handyman’s Daughter, this is like an entirely new bathroom, but in a fun twist, the blue from the old bathroom made it into the new.
Nov 28, 2018
Before and After: This Laundry-Meets-Mudroom-Meets-Pantry No Longer Sucks
Like most laundry/mudrooms in existence, this one was overwhelmed. Serving as a catchall space, it held “swim gear, laundry, and other junk… tons of shoes, the vacuum cleaner, and extra pantry items (since we don’t have a pantry).” That’s enough to overwhelm any space, but one intrepid DIYer spent six weeks turning this one into a lovely, multi-purpose room. While a cheerful pup improves any room by 1200 percent, some other major upgrades are at play as well.
Nov 27, 2018