Sunday, October 29, 2017

Rantings and Ravings on a House Overhaul + Prepping Your House for Pictures

This was supposed to be a multi part post, but after the Part One, I realized I do not have time to do so many posts.  Welcome to the great merger!

CONTENT WARNING: The photos below may make you feel like your house is cluttered and you need to clean.  Let me assure you, my house never, and I mean never looks like it does in these photos - so you can browse them guilt free!

We had photos done of our house over a month ago.  Our realtor suggested getting them done while the weather was still good, so that we have nice, fresh photos ready to go up at a moment's notice should we decide to list while there is still snow on the ground.

Our house was completely renovated (more or less) over the past 18 months.  It was exhausting and expensive.

If you do not want to read all my thoughts, I can give you a quick recap here on how to prep your home for photos: GET RID OF EVERYTHING.  Good luck.

Moving on...

These are not the pictures the photographer took, just some that I snapped with our camera.  This is not a House and Homes spread - but maybe I can share a few things that might help someone.  Or you can just revel in my fake-clean house!

Before we did the pictures, aside from doing a scrub clean from top to bottom, we put pretty much everything we own away.  Stuffed into our furnace room, shed, and vehicles.  All the family pictures, the toys, the strollers, the kids artwork, the homemade crafts, the small appliances, everything.  Goodbye. 

Master Bedroom
Above, is our master bedroom.  We have no headboard.  We have no fancy bedding.  This seemed a little sparse - so I picked up the two cushions you see in the photo from Canadian Tire.  They were for outdoor patio furniture and were 50% off at an end of season clearance.  They did the trick.  The curtains are blackout curtains and they are from Costco.  This room used to be a beautiful rich (and very not neutral) brown.  We repainted it in Mennonite Grey Tint 2 by Para Paints.  We also replaced old and raggedy carpet with engineered hardwood.

Living and family room

A different angle

We did not do much to our living and family room.  We had repainted it when we originally moved to the house.  The rug on the floor we had made from an roll-end at a carpet store.
MONEY SAVING TIP: I wanted to use lots of flowers to freshen up the photos.  Floral arrangements cost a fair amount of money if you are going to a florist.  I do not grow any of my own flowers.  The day before the photos, I went to a local grocery store and bought multiple packages of flowers.  These were used to make all the floral arrangements for our pictures.  They worked wonderfully and this resulted in significant savings.

Kitchen and Dining Area


To update our kitchen, we replaced a very ugly laminate (I have nothing against laminate, but this laminate was ugly) with a quartz countertop, we added a backsplash, and repainted the entire area.  It made a big difference.  For the photos, I removed all small appliances (and everything else) from our countertops - except for the Kitchen Aid Professional Stand Mixer - because you have to be able to imagine yourself whipping up something gourmet in the kitchen, right?  I placed a small bowl of lemons by the stove, and a small vase of tulips by the sink.

On a normal day, we also have an island on wheels in our kitchen.  It is just a cheap-o I refurbished that works perfectly for us but is not good for the resale photos.  It was shoved into our master bedroom during these photos.

Dining Area
This is our humble dining area.  The solid wood table and chairs I bought on Kijiji when we first moved back to Canada.  The curtains (both sets) are from Costco.  The tablecloth is from Simon's (one of my favourite stores).  The small bowl (I really should have done a closeup) was $4.00 at Dollorama and is filled with the most delicious apples.

Pretty flowers

Tulips are my favourite - this is a close up so you can see the backsplash.


Front entryway
This is a small glimpse of our front entryway and the second bedroom is through the doors.

Does your kitchen normally look like this?  Mine doesn't.  I am pretty sure only people who do not cook have a kitchen that looks like this.

Raised Garden Beds
Our two raised garden beds are surrounded by all the baby trees we planted a few years ago.  The vegetables had already been pulled for the season, but I left the Marigolds in so that the beds would not look completely bare in the photos.


We have a large patio area, but no substantive patio furniture.  Instead of putting this in the middle of the patio and having it look odd, I decided to make a little tea corner. 

Laundry Room (La buanderie)
Unfortunately, I did not take a before photo of the super small space that is our laundry room.  If I had, you would know that this shelf never would have fit on the wall before due to a large, unnecessary bulkhead that was taking up space and stopping us from opening our dryer.  Having it removed and the drywall repaired did not cost very much - but it has made an enormous difference to this room.  Not only can we now fully open our dryer, we can hang this pretty wood shelf and top it off with a picture of the Cannes harbour and some pottery posies.

Basement shelf

Basement shelf
I wrote about these shelves when I talked about the basement renovation.  They were completely empty - but I filled these jars from Ikea with candy (using a gift card I had to the Bulk Barn).  In the previous picture I used some greenery from Dollorama to fill a vase, and a tin from Simon's.  It is not much, but enough so the shelves are not completely bare.

Our guestroom.  The headboard is homemade.  The bedside table belonged to my Great-great grandmother.  The dresser on the left is something I refinished, but I have since decided to get rid of the dresser (it is a long story, but it is very old and the drawers are all coming off their tracks).  So this picture already seems out of date...

If I had to make one comment - the best thing to do for your pictures is just get rid of simply everything.  Stuff it away, give it away, hide it.  It is cheap and provides tremendous results.

These flowers wish you good day.


  1. I am visiting after reading your comment at Brandy's blog. Your photos are great. When do you plan on listing your house? What is your next move? I will look back at your blog for clues!

    I hope you come for a visit.

    1. We are probably going to list in the new year, depending on the market conditions. I can't say too much about our next move yet in case our employers ever come across my blog. Details will follow as available : ) Thank you for stopping by.

  2. Everything looks perfect. I agree with your statement to get rid of every possible thing. When house shopping, I always notice the family pictures, children's artwork, novels on the shelves, etc. I am distracted because I am more interested in people than than things.

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry