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Before and After: A Portland Home Gets a Beautiful Makeover!

On the fourth consecutive day of rain in southern Sweden, there's only one thing for it: comfort food. And this is what led me to Eva Kosmas Flores. Eva shares mouth-watering daily recipes on her instagram feed @evakosmasflores - all of which have a wonderful seasonal flair (trust me, you'll be drooling!). I couldn't resist having a delve behind the scenes to find out more about the person behind the camera. 

It turns out, Eva is a Portland-based photographer (I've got my eye on her workshops!), keen gardener and a dab hand at interiors. Eva and her husband Jeremy recently transformed their old Portland home from a dated property into a beautiful home - and I simply had to share the before and after shots with you today!  So, get cosy guys, this one truly inspiring revamp! 

Kitchen before 

Eva described the original kitchen as the 'eye-sore of the house'. It featured mint green, almond cabinets with a golden oak trim and lots and lots of formica and linoleum. For someone who cooks and bakes as part of their work, the 70s appliances were also problematic. Needless to say, the pair were keen to renovate it as a matter of priority! 

Kitchen after


Eva and Jeremy hired in a contractor to help with the huge renovation - which included blocking off a doorway, removing the arch and ripping out the entire kitchen and starting over. The results are beautiful - but the project wasn't without its problems. Eva has shared a really honest account of the issues they experienced along the way here


Sitting room / dining room before:

Sitting room / dining room after:


Eva and Jeremy decided to tackle the dining area and sitting room alone - taking 10 months alongside their own work to transform it into a living space with beautiful dark wood floors, re-plastered wall and vintage pieces. A real labour of love! You can read about the details and trials and tribulations here




Bedroom and bathroom before

The second floor of the house felt uninviting, uncomfortable and totally impractical when they first moved in. The pair set about remodelling the space in order to create a dreamy, light-filled and functional master bedroom and bathroom.  

Bedroom and bathroom after

Eva and Jeremy hired a contractor to help with all the structural work such as tearing down walls, opening up ceilings, drywalling, plumbing, electricals etc. They then worked on the details to create a dreamy space with their own signature touch. Read more about the work and finishing touches here



Wow! Such a beautiful transformation! 

I could live on that top floor alone - just add a small kitchenette and I'd flit about as happy as Larry (I wonder if they say 'Lars' in Sweden? I'll have to check that with Per later). 

Is there anything that stood out to you? 

Follow Eva's blog / website and instagram for cooking inspiration, workshops and her latest renovation projects. 

And see more inspiring before and after tours here - honestly, the vision of some people simply astounds me! 

Have a lovely day! 

Niki

Photography: Eva Kosmas Flores

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Before & After: A Century-Old Danish Thatched Cottage Is Given a Revamp!

I love a good before & after - how about you? And the beauty of today's transformation is that the century-old cottage was in pretty good nick when Danish psychologist and photographer Christina Greve found it - but needed freshening up (I couldn't believe the bit about the woodlice infestation below - UGH!). The pair were keen to put their own stamp on the house and add a simple, yet exclusive Scandinavian country feel. Christina and her husband set about working on the exterior and interior as well as carrying out a loft conversion. After 5 months of intensive work, the pair were ready to move in. Excited to see what they did? Here are the before and after pictures! 

Exterior
The pair kept the original windows on the main building and then searched for new windows to install on the attached building. They also painted the property a fresh white and brushed down the thatched roof to remove moss and algae as well as added wood decking to enjoy in summertime. 

She opted for a handcrafted kitchen with a marble top and brass sink, as well as brass doorknobs. The French vintage Jield lamps* were restored in Copenhagen. 

Christina picked up the shelves for €20 in a second-hand shop and painted them to match the cabinets. 


Wine cellar
Christina's husband had the *awesome* vision to transform the cellar (used as a fridge in the olden days) into a wine cellar. When they first found the house it was dark, cold, wet and black with woodlice.

"It was so awful, that the first time I saw it, I ran and said to my husband: "I'm never going to buy that house!" says Christina. 

Once the unwelcome guests had been cleared, the pair dug down to improve the ceiling height - even adding space for a 'bar table and chairs' (sounds like a great speakeasy to me!). They also added a bespoke glass hatch - which although sturdy, was nerve-racking to walk on at first - and something Conrad, the family dog - refuses to walk on to this day!

How awesome! Honestly, if we didn't have a communal garage beneath our home, I'd start digging! Not sure ours would be this full though! Could you imagine having a wine cellar like this in your home?  




Sitting room

Instead of changing the wood floor in the sitting room, Christina sanded it down and added a white lime wash for a lighter look (we did this in our home too and it worked a treat!). They also removed a lot of the storage at the base of the stairs.

Home office


If you work from home - which many of us do right now (I can actually hear Per holding a maths lesson online from my stepson's bedroom right now!), you'll know how important it is to find the right spot. Christina earmarked an area in the hall as somewhere she could run her online photography workshops (love the look of those!), edit photos and write - bathed in natural light (made even better by the new window). The table is a vintage find.

Sunroom / Hallway

Christina and her husband are thrilled with the transformation in the hallway - an area which also connects the old cottage with the newer black wood building. They swapped out the doors and tiles and painted the walls with a light beige chalk paint (see Kalklitir for similar). 

Note: If you're on a tight budget and don't like the look of grouting which has darkened over time, you can clean it with bicarbonate soda, water and a toothbrush. It'll come out as good as new! 

Bedroom


A tremendous amount of work went into converting the attic into a bedroom and living area - including raising the ceiling and erecting a dummy wall to hide the chimney. 

Today, the bedroom has a fresh, summery, coastal vibe! 


Check out the radiator cover - perfect for covering old, slightly unsightly or wonky radiators. Always check if it's OK to cover a radiator first though - obvs! 

Bathroom

And last but not least, the bathroom! For this room, they decided to start again from scratch (saving only the loo roll holder!). The washing machine has been concealed behind one of the drawer sections - you'd never guess, would you? So clever! 
 
Today, the family love to relax and enjoy the wonderful views out over the Danish coast. Until they start flipping their barn that is. Watch this space for another before and after in the future!

That setting! 

Such an inspiring renovation - and a truly beautiful cottage, don't you think?

The great thing about 'before & afters' is that even if you're not renovating an entire property, there are always small things you can take-away and implement in your own home - like the grouting and radiator covers. 

Did you get any ideas? 

Follow Christina's latest projects over at @christinagreve - and keep an eye out for her upcoming online photography workshops (I see there's going to be a FREE five day one soon!). 

And check out the full 'make-over' archive for some incredible transformations! 

Happy Lillördag (little Saturday!) friends!  

Niki

Photography by Christina Greve, shared with kind permission.

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Before And After: Two Dated Apartments Are Transformed Into One Beautiful Home

2020 has been all about the home. It's been a place to live, a school, an office, a gym and above all else, a safe haven. Little wonder so many have decided to carry out home updates and make it their homes an even more cosy and personal place to be. But there can't be many who have taken on such a huge project as Izabella

Formerly owned by the Royal Marine, this beautiful building on the north coast of Germany dates back to 1870. Sadly, the previous owner had ripped out many of the period features, and what remained was buried under layers of tiles, wall-to-wall carpets and wallpaper. Even so, Izabella and her boyfriend could see its potential and decided to restore it to its former glory - room by room. Just in time for Christmas! 

Before:

"We love old houses, and it has always been our dream to renovate one. We fell in love with the high ceilings and the history. We also liked the road, it had an English feel," Izabella shares. "Unfortunately, the previous owner had removed some of the historic elements, but we could see its potential."


The renovation
Izabella and her boyfriend had a vision to turn the two apartments into one house. They were also keen to  restore the original details and add stucco, moldings, wooden floors as well as replace the windows and doors. It was a massive undertaking and involved completely gutting the place and starting again from scratch. Their vision and hard work completely paid off, as they peeled back the layers to reveal beautiful exposed brick and beautiful, high ceilings. 

"Our plan was to connect the two apartments. Downstairs we were looking to add a kitchen, dining room, living room and a small bathroom, and upstairs a master bedroom, dressing room, bathroom, workspace and guest room. To achieve this, we removed walls and changed the entire plan of the house," Izabella explains. 


"We did a lot ourselves since our budget wasn't very big," Izabella tells me. "We also lived on site during the construction. It was definitely more work than we thought, and we still haven't finished! Our philosophy was just to go for it, which worked out well, as I'm not sure that we would have taken the project on otherwise - it was a vast undertaking! Nevertheless, we are very happy that we did!"

The results
Needless to say, the pair have done an incredible job. Small, musty, dated rooms have been transformed into vast, spacious open-plan living spaces. And the house has been furnished with a wonderful blend of old and new.  The result is a calm, minimalist home which oozes elegance and character - and it's ready just in time for Christmas! 

"I think we are most happy with the wooden windows that open outwards," Izabella tells me. "They also have the most beautiful handles with gorgeous details. And you know, the beauty is in the detail! "We also love the herringbone flooring and all the stucco details and holdings. We are happy that we have been able to give the house back its historical flair!"


Kitchen cabinets from IKEA

"To be more sustainable, we chose natural materials and lime wash paint, which is marvellous!"


"For Christmas, I like to decorate with natural materials, foliage and greens with touches of gold and red. It's classic with a modern touch. I also love paper ornaments and light lots of candles."

Wooden Christmas tree from byWirth

Limewash paint from Bauwerk ColourDrift vase* by Cooee

Limewash paint from Bauwerk Colour


"If we hadn't done so much ourselves, the renovation wouldn't have been possible - so we are very pleased with this decision, even though it has been tough at times!"


Thank you so much for sharing your incredible renovation with us Izabella! I salute you for taking on such a huge project - your hard work has certainly paid off! 

What do you guys think? Would you consider taking on a project like this? 

And just how beautiful is Izabella's home?!*

You can see more pictures over @gruenderzeit_zeit

Having renovated the summer cottage kitchen by hand last year I can vouch for the sheer amount of work that goes into a renovation (and that was only the tip of an iceberg). Sometimes it's so nice to see what goes on behind the scenes, you somehow appreciate its beauty even more! 

Fancy taking a look at a few more before and after features? Here are a few incredible transformations: 


And perhaps the most mind-blowing of all: an industrial welding plant becomes a family home and wedding venue

Who knows, perhaps this will be you in 2021! 

Niki

Photography: @gruenderzeit_zeit

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