Before and After: This House Feels Bigger After a Decor and Floor Plan Refresh

Before and After: This House Feels Bigger After a Decor and Floor Plan Refresh

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Name: Maggie Smoller and family
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Size: 1,600 square feet
Years Lived In: 4 years, owned

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Since the day we closed on this house four and a half years ago, we’ve been putting our stamp on it room by room. As self-proclaimed homebodies, there’s nothing we love more than staying in and getting cozy, and it was so important to create a home that we loved being in and living in.

Our first major changes came in the form of adding more function and circulation to the rooms. By opening up the tiny kitchen into what we now use as a dining room and adding a second doorway into our family room, our small house instantly felt as if it had tripled in size. Each project we tackle infuses our style into the space and adds functionality in a way that makes living here so enjoyable. Whether it’s a night in by the fire or an evening entertaining friends and family, our home truly is our favorite place to be. After four and a half years of renovations, we feel like it finally reflects and functions exactly as it was meant to.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Contemporary/Traditional. I see my style as one that reflects traditional design ideas but with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn more to neutrals but love blue and green tones and am all about texture!

Inspiration: I really let the house speak to us and the style just kind of fell into place. This house has been evolving non-stop for the last four and a half years and is now at a place that feels just right. Though, I love a project… so I can’t say things will ever stop changing!

Favorite Element: We love our family room so much. It’s the coziest spot to be at any time of day. The room overflows with light during the day, feeling so bright and cheery. It’s the perfect spot to sip on your cup of coffee and watch the sun rise in the morning, and the views into the surrounding woods really can’t be beat. This room has most likely made the biggest visual transformation since we moved in, and it’s amazing to see how far it has come.

Biggest Challenge: While the size is perfect for us, our home is certainly not huge, and at almost 75 years old, it comes with its quirks. When we bought the house, every room was very closed off to one another, making the space feel a bit like a tiny maze. We knew right away that opening up the spaces to one another, while still keeping a bit of separation, would drastically improve the way we moved around the home and it instantly felt like it had tripled in size.

Proudest DIY: When we first moved in, we decided to take control of our floor plan and make some major changes. Rather than using the rooms how the previous owners had, we decided to turn the small former dining room into a home office (after all, I work from home!) and the “formal living room” into our dining room. In doing so, we then opened up our tiny kitchen to the now new dining room, ripping out the old coat closet. In the closet’s place, we created a nice big pantry in the space between the kitchen and dining room. It proved to be one of the best functional changes we made to the space, adding so much storage space to our tiny kitchen. You can see some of that process on my website.

Biggest Indulgence: We pride ourselves on making budget-conscious decisions and do a lot of hunting for the right items at the right prices. If I had to choose one indulgence, it would be extending the hardwood flooring into our family room. By laying the flooring ourselves we were able to save a lot of money and still end up with a cohesive and beautiful living space.

Best Advice: Take your time. I know it can be tempting to rush and get things done the second you move in to a new home, but I’ve found that taking our time and not rushing into any big decisions has paid off in the long run. It can be so important to live in your home for a bit before you make any major changes so that you know how it truly functions. By slowly tackling project after project in our home, we were able to make what feels like all the right decisions as far as what our home needed in order to function at its highest potential.


Dining room:
Sherwin-Williams — Aloof Gray, walls
Sherwin-Williams – Pure White, all white trim

Family room:
Sherwin-Williams – Frosty White

Home office:
Sherwin-Williams — Aloof Gray, walls

Sherwin-Williams — Aloof Gray, walls
Sherwin-Williams – Pure White, upper cabinets
Sherwin-Williams — Link Gray, lower cabinets

Sherwin-Williams – Frosty White

Sherwin-Williams – Frosty White, upper walls
Sherwin-Williams – Aloof Gray, trim and door

Sideboard – Magnolia Home

Filmore Sofa — Arhaus
Cushions — Safavieh
Grey Emory Tufted Chair — Forty West Designs
Pillows — CB2, homegoods, Arhaus Furniture
Rocking Chair – Arhaus Furniture
Accent Tables – Arhaus Furniture
Floor Lamp — Arhaus furniture
Table Lamps — Ralph Lauren
Coffee Table Ottoman – Overstock
TV Console — Vintage

Dining Table – Cirque Dining Table by Madison Park
Rug — Surya

Floor Mirror – Arhaus Furniture
Bedding – Classic Home
End Tables – Vintage
Bed – DIY project
Dresser – Vintage

Thanks, Maggie!

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