{decorating with style} My Home Style: Before & After Edition

Last fall, I teamed up with a group of 20 bloggers to share our unique decorating styles. We were each challenged by our host, Stephanie of Casa Watkins Living, to come up with just three words to define our style. I debated a long time about what my three words should be - modern? urban? colorful? bold? Finally I settled on MODERN. GRAPHIC. FAMILY.

This week, we are revisiting our design definitions, but this time each participating blogger is sharing before and after photos that illustrate how our design style has evolved and changed over time, and sharing tips on how to bring our unique styles into your home.

Welcome to My Home Style: Before and After Edition!

My Home Style: Before & After Edition
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Let me start by show you what MODERN GRAPHIC FAMILY means to me, and how it looks in our home...

Before moving into our current home {back in 2008}, we lived in a small condo downtown, and we had barely enough furniture to fill a few rooms of the new house. Little by little, we saved our pennies and began furnishing the empty rooms. At that time, our style was well defined as "modern" and we did a good job of picking couches, chairs, and tables that I still love today. But in those early days, that is all we had. Each room was very stark, and desperately in need of more layers and more interest.

Take our living room for example. We had a couch with great mid-century lines, two classic barcelona chairs, and a metal coffee table. We hung two pieces of art on the wall that we received as wedding gifts... and that was it! It was modern, but it was boring!

Little by little over the years, we have been adding to the living room, and this is where the graphic elements of our decor have come together... a few bold pillows here, a giant black and white clock photo there.

Most recently, we've added a third layer to the style of this room. That's where the "family" part of the design comes in. Of course, family is not a word that is typically associated with a design style, but we've put a specific emphasis on incorporating our two preschool age boys into every room of the house in a way that has added to and enhanced our style, rather than detracting from it.

In the living room, the tic tac toe board on the coffee table is one prime example, as well as the jukebox which results in many family dance parties and memories made. There are also bins of toys, a large lidded basket full of train tracks, a rocking horse, and a bouncing cow that call this room home. I also swapped out my collection of museum art books on the coffee table shelf for a growing collection of kids' books about art. This allows me to share one of my interests with them in a totally hands-on manner. 

Around the corner in the kitchen, the family element of our decor is evidenced through a large chalkboard wall, complete with a chalkboard clock, a play kitchen that closely mimics our real set up, and a few more stylish baskets that contain puzzles and coloring books.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let me show you an example of how our style has transformed from stark modern to MODERN GRAPHIC FAMILY.

Living room before and after - modern, graphic, family

We want our boys to feel comfortable to have fun in every room of our house. No space is off limits to them. However, we also recognized that to be a well balanced family, and to be the best mom and dad we can be, we needed to dedicate some attention to our own space as well. Our master bedroom and bathroom were the last two rooms in the house to receive any real decor, and when we finally did turn our focus to those spaces in the past year, we did so with an emphasis on us creating a retreat where we could relax and recharge after long days of parenting.

This is not to say that the boys are not welcome in our bedroom and bathroom. They crawl into our bed nearly every morning, and they often hang out with us in the bathroom while we brush our teeth and get ready for the day. We even have a basket of books and toys in our bedroom to keep the boys entertained when they wake up a little too early.

Despite the boys being a welcome and frequent presence in our master suite, we designed the spaces with more focus on us, and less on them. Where the rest of our home is MODERN GRAPHIC FAMILY, these two spaces are probably better defined as MODERN GRAPHIC GLAM. Every mom deserves a little glam, right?!

Once again, in the before and after photos, you can see how our style has evolved from stark and minimalist {which was more a representation of lack of time and funds than anything else}, to a much more layered and finished look.

Master Bedroom Before and After: Modern, Graphic, Gram

Gray Map Pillow
Mr. & Mrs. Pillows

Once we made over our master bedroom, our bathroom was really crying out for attention. Finally this spring we gave the bathroom a major style overhaul on a budget by working with most of the existing finishes. We removed the single, giant mirror, and changed the lights... but the cabinets and tile in the space all stayed the same, which made the bathroom "reno" much easier on the budget. You can see the full bathroom makeover, read about the money saving DIYs, and get the full source list in this post.
Master Bathroom Before and After: Modern Graphic Glam

Black & White Circle Pendant
Cement Tile

If you'd like to read more about the MODERN GRAPHIC FAMILY style of our home, you can hop over to my original post on this topic, which has many more examples of how we balance stylish living with kid life, and how the kids have actually pushed us to be much more bold in our design choices.

Then continue on the My Home Style Blog Hop, and check out these unique design styles of each of these fabulous bloggers:


  1. Love seeing these before and after transformations!! So fun. XX Caroline

  2. We are way too familiar with that unintentional stark minimalist look that comes when you move into a new house! You've done an awesome job adding layers over time. And that bathroom wall of tile is so cool and unique! Love it!

  3. Modern, graphic and family - perfect way to describe! Love the light fixture in your round-up :)

  4. Your spaces look gorgeous and I love that family is a huge art of our style. They are who we create our homes for after all!

  5. i just love how you have grown unafraid to make bold moves- beautiful!

  6. I just love your style, Angela, and the before and afters are incredible! Your home is so inviting and fun!

  7. Your home is a fun place to be! Great sense of style and playfulness mixed. Loved seeing your before and afters!

  8. Angela your home always has such dramatic, bold graphical features! Love it all and how well you coordinate and emphasize color.

  9. You have such a great, distinctive style....and I love that you have "family" as one of your words!

  10. I love that you do modern with layers! It makes it more warm and cozy for a family :)

  11. Modern. Graphic. Glam for sure with a lot of boldness in there. You are one of the few that I know that can pull off such a clean, bold look. You are a true gem stylistically and so talented!

  12. I am seriously crushing over those cement tiles in your bathroom!! They are so perfectly you. Thanks for sharing your spaces, friend! xo

  13. It's been so much fun seeing the visions for your rooms come to life! You are such a talented designer and I love that I can see a pin or post and know it's yours!