Before and After Photos and Lessons Learned From My First Show House

This past Saturday I participated in decorating a kitchen, Great Room, and Mud Room for a FALL Holiday Home Tour. Although exhausting, it was a great experience and I learned so much about the whole process. This tour was challenging because as I wrote about here, the homes on the tour were all occupied by families who only vacated minutes before the tour started. Two valuable lessons I learned were:

#1. No matter how small the decorating job seems, it will take WAY LONGER than anticipated. It took over 7 hours to set up, even though I thought it would take only a couple of hours.

#2. Things will not go as planned. We assumed our occupied home would be empty the few hours before the tour started but when we arrived with fresh flowers and last minute details to do, the Mom was cooking breakfast, Dad was vacuming and 3 young kids were under foot asking all sorts of questions. I had also planed to take good quality “After” photos but there was absolutely no time so the photos that follow are quick snap shots from my point and shoot camera.


Kitchen Before



Kitchen After


My color inspiration was a Lavender, Blue and Orange Pashmina used as a table runner. Three pieces of original art work by my friend  Susan Siefer of MadPatter Art Design  were hung above the table with the same colors.

Here are a few more views of the table.

Table Setting


I made the flowered pumpkins from a photo I had seen on Pinterest (it took 6 Mum plants to cover the two pumpkins). I found the bird’s nest in my back yard, and all the colorful vegetable dishes I own. (My challenge to myself was to spend under $100  on this  project). Although you can’t really see in the photo, the “eggs” in the bird’s nest are tiny pumpkins. I also painted some pumpkins in the same colors as the art work and you can just see a peak of  two of them on the window sill.



I also added a few natural elements to the chandelier.

Purple, and Orange Seed Pods with Bittersweat


The kitchen also had a bar area that needed a little something.

Bar Area Before



I added a pumpkin ice bucket…an idea I saw in Country Home and some more decorative plates and napkins.

Bar Area After


The Great Room Before.


Great Room Before


The home owners asked that I not touch the book shelves or candles on the mantel which are actually electric and wired in. I placed  a wicker tray and a few gourds and books on the Ottoman and used more of  Susan’s art work above the mantle and added a tall vase of fresh pumpkin flowers. I also added some sprigs of Red leaves in test tube vases under the TV.

Family Room After


During the tour there was a fire burning in the fireplace but of course I didn’t get a photo of that but the room really did feel cozy.


Change of View Art Work

The 4  paintings by  Susan are from her Change of View series. The paintings themselves peal right off the  canvases and can be changed out with any number of different colors or designs. I think it is brilliant and you should check out her Etsy Store if you want to see more.

The tour visitors exited through the Mud Room and this was the room that took the most time and work. Susan and I have started a side business of  hand painting furniture using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Our business is called Chalk It Up! and the mud room is where we displayed some of our pieces.

(We are in the process of setting up a Face Book Business page where we will be offering items for sale.)

Here is how the mud room looked before.

Mud Room


And this is how we styled it up for the tour.

Chalk It Up! hand Painted Pieces



Now that it is all over I have a whole new appreciation for how much work and time goes into organizing and participating in a show house.  I would love to hear your comments and feed back.



If you would like help with choosing Color, Staging or Interior decorating, please give me a call.

14 Responses to Before and After Photos and Lessons Learned From My First Show House
  1. Margot Reply

    I am SO impressed!! Congratulations, it is completely awesome under the best of conditions!!!!! And…………….. I love the furniture. I think there is a real market for it…

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks so much Margot!

  2. Sheila @SZInteriors Reply

    Nice work Linda! I think you did a really fantastic job… and congratulations on your side business! Your chalk painted furniture is just awesome… and I’m ‘still’ dying to try chalk paint.

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Sheila, and the chalk paint is very addicting once you try it. None of the unpainted furniture in my house is safe!

  3. Ron Ramsden Reply

    Linda, Awesome project. its all the little details which
    makes these rooms look great, attention to the little things. The furniture are small works of art. Great job

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Ron, you made my day! Thanks so much for the comment.

  4. Susan Siefer Reply

    This is great and your photos are awesome. I am so happy to be doing this with you. I know good things are about to happen!

  5. Susan Kanoff Reply

    WOW, Linda–the transformation is amazing! You are so talented! Love all of your fabulous creative touches! NICE job!!!!

  6. Kelly Reply

    What a great job you did Linda! Your table setting is beautiful! Love the flowers. The furniture pieces are so pretty. Our sister ideas again- I too thought of selling the ASCP pieces of furniture. Have a great time at the Tobi Farley design camp. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  7. kristie@thedecorologist Reply

    Congratulations! How fun! I love the mum-covered pumpkins and the way you spruced up the living room. You did a great job, Linda!

  8. Monique Johson Reply

    The fall decor that you did was fantastic! I do know what you mean about having enough time to pull everything off. The mum covered pumpkins and the birdsnest is wonderful. I have a real bird’s nest that I found a few years ago and put in my Christmas tree. It was such a nice touch of bringing the outside in. Wonderful work!

  9. Chez Reply

    Beautiful! I am drawn to the fireplace, as we are agonizing over the best way to approach our tall fireplace. Our brick fireplace has already been painted white, is 12′ tall and oddly off-center, and is in a very narrow FR (that has light gray walls, aqua accents, brown furniture, and a white cathedral ceiling with white beams). The fireplace can be seen from the kitchen and DR (both white). We want to reface the fireplace to modernize it. We are unsure whether to reface the whole thing or put drywall over the top half to minimize its presence and reface the lower half. Any suggestions on what to do or what materials to use for an updated and timeless but contemporary look? Can the new material just go right over the brick? Thanks for any ideas!

  10. Ruth C Taylor Reply

    I love the idea of a cushion on the fireplace hearth, the pillow make it another inviting place to sit. I’d have to move off my fireplace utensils etc when not in use. Assuming this is only done during months when you don’t light a fire?

  11. Jeannine Casey Reply

    I loved what you did on this project. I loved the colors you chose and all of the special items you used. The artwork is so cool – and I love the furniture you are painting. I can’t wait to see pictures of some of the pieces you and Susan are doing. Great Job!

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