old House Tour: Clara’s Room (before and after)

The great thing about selling a house is that at some point, it’s as decorated as it’s ever going to be….and you get to take pictures of the whole blasted thing in it’s “finished” state.
Yay!
Then of course, you try to sell it.
And cry about it all the day you move out!
(more on that here)

Seriously.  It’s hard to look back at these pics, even though I love our new adventure.
I just really loved this house, and the ways we transformed it.  We learned a lot in the process.

So here’s more of the virtual home tour.
You can see my first post about it in the The Sewing Room (before and after)

Today we’ll walk through Clara’s room.



And it’s funny that I would start with her room….because it was my least favorite room in the house (and the last to decorate).  It has the least amount of light, it’s the smallest, and it always felt kind of drab.  But one day I got the motivation.
And with just a few improvements, it’s a totally different room!

Here’s the BEFORE (when previous tenants lived here):

And AFTER:



So much more cheerful!
Cleaning up the space with white, gray, and bright yellow really made the room come to life (wall paint is SW 7647 Crushed Ice).
Here are the changes we made…..

First another BEFORE and AFTER.
This cute dresser was my own as a child.  And I think we inherited it from my older cousins.  So it’s been well loved for 30 years and is still in fantastic condition.  It’s good solid wood; I just keep painting it from child to child.  It started out pink when Lucy was a baby, then it was a hot chocolate brown for Owen.  And now it’s a pretty gray (the color is SW 7018 Dovetail–which is the same color we used in our new Master Bedroom)

Above the dresser and changing table is my favorite piece in the room….our family portrait:

I made this wooden canvas back in California, and could never decide what to paint on there till it was time to decorate the house and sell it.  So I finally went for it!….and was inspired by the blankets I made for Clara as baby.  I mean, who doesn’t need more hearts in their life??

These wooden canvases are a tutorial I’ve meaning to share and just never have—I’ll add it to the list.  Cause they’re so fun to make.  And an easy way to decorate a space:

I love the color it adds in the room.
And our little yellow heart at the end.


Okay here’s another BEFORE and AFTER.
And please don’t hate me for changing what was already a really cool chair.
Because I really loved it in the brown and black (I found it at a thrift store).    But there was nothing brown in our house and I knew it would look cute in Clara’s room….so I painted the wood white:

Then I made a coral heart pillow and printed some artwork for the walls from the Caravan Shoppe (I seriously LOVE them!)  And I know the scale of these pictures should be much larger (which you can totally do with their download prints)….but I was working with a quick timeframe and just needed the room to be finished.  BUT, fast forward to today….And I’ve already printed a large 24×36 that’s up in Clara’s room in the NEW house.

This little corner of the room was just the right amount of toys and books for Clara to have some Clara-time.


Next BEFORE and AFTER….the Jenny Lind Crib.

Oh I love this crib.  I bought it off Craigslist in West Hollywood before Lucy was born.
(And that’s an interesting story to tell you in-person one day).
I kept the original 1970s wood color for both Lucy and Owen.

Then one night….in a fit of blogging passion…..I went in the garage and painted the whole thing yellow, just so it would look right in these photos.
You know you’re a crazy blogger when….

Readers often ask me about the crib, and what color I used, and did I use a special type of paint?
The answer to that is: whatever was in my garage (which—all paints in my garage are safe for humans and babies…and often I have a can of yellow laying around).   So I sprayed it with a paint gun and did a really poor job.  It could definitely use another coat.  And over the years it’s started chipping in places (as you can see in the photo above).
But it still works and looks pretty good!

And it’s perfect for Jedi mind tricks.

What IS that??
How about this…

Okay, the last splash of color in the room is the faux mobile:

I took yellow, gray, and coral cardstock, punched 2-inch circles, sewed them together in random order, and the hung the circle strings from the ceiling (with basic transparent tape).
Simple. Easy.
It definitely completes the room.

There you go!
The room I once hated became one of my favorite spaces in the house….and mostly because it wasn’t overcluttered with design.  You only need a few pieces to make a room look decorated and happy.

And the best part is….it all transferred over to the new house!
So Clara’s room was the last to be decorated in the old house; and the first to be finished in the new one.
Have a great day!

  1. 1) Abby S

    Beautiful! I love the clean, FRESH feeling your decorating leaves me with. My big question….. How did Clara nap with no curtains??

    • 2) Dana

      Thanks Abby! And Haha. None of my kids have slept in a dark room (unless it’s night time of course). They just get used to it. And sometimes I think it helps them differentiate between naptime and nightime.

  2. 3) Brenda

    I just love your style, so I am eating up all these house decor posts you’ve been doing lately! Keep em coming – we just moved a few months ago and I’m enjoying the inspiration as we decorate our own space. I totally hear ya about the scale of pictures hanging on the walls, btw; that’s been one of the hardest parts about moving into a bigger home for us this time around. Our old decorations are dwarfed on our larger walls in the new place. Enter my love of beautifying a space, mix it with hubby’s hate of spending money unnecessarily (when there are perfectly good decor items from the last few years being tossed to the side), and we’ve had some minor clashes on budgeting. Needless to say, it’s been four months since we’ve moved and very little is up on the walls yet while we wait and save money for larger items to hang. Little by little things will make their way onto the walls, and before we know it our new house will feel more and more like our home 🙂

    • 4) Dana

      yes, the clashing opinions :).
      Well….there is something nice about bare walls too….so open and clean feeling! Just tell everyone you have a minimalist decor style 🙂

      • 5) Michelle

        Totally agree about bare walls. We painted our downstairs almost three years ago (that calming, peaceful shade of light blue that is almost everywhere in our house now) and re-hung almost nothing. I just love that color so much and the clean feeling of bare walls…I might never put anything on them 😉 .

  3. 6) Susan c

    I have that exact baby dresser! Dug it out of my parents basement when I was pregnant with baby 2 and painted a lovely green.

    • 7) Dana

      No way! That’s totally crazy!
      And green sounds gorgeous.

  4. 8) Sydney

    Got my Land of Nod catalog today, did I recognize some littles from your family on the cover?

    • 9) Dana

      Not as far as I know!….but now I’m super curious. I’ll have to find a copy 🙂

  5. ooh fun!! house pics are my fave, and yes you ARE a crazy blogger but that’s just one of the reasons I love ya!!! 😉

    • 11) Dana

      Thanks! Haha. I’m glad you see the good sides of it 🙂 And that’s why I love you too!

  6. Seriously!!!! This room is absolutely awesome. Right up my alley, as they say. It may be my fave room ever!!! Can we add a sewing machine?! haha!

  7. Love her room! I love your citrus-y palette. The crib is my fave. I have two Jenny Lind’s–one white and one “mahogany”. Such a classic. Can’t wait to see Clara’s room in the new house.

  8. 14) alexa

    I have a Clara too. 🙂 Lovely room. How did you make the Ahoy and I love you art pieces. Is it just chalk on black construction paper or on a chalk board painted surface?

  9. Fun “mobile”! Transparent tape has come to my decorating rescue on several occasions

  10. 16) Jess

    Dana, I love this post!! Her room is so simple and adorable, I especially love the family portrait:) and it gave me some fabulous ideas for my girls’ rooms in our new house!! Thanks for all your inspiration..keep em comin! 😉

  11. I love the room and your minimalist style. Sometimes I feel compelled decorate…more for the benefit of others, when I would prefer more minimalism. You inspire me…as always!

  12. I love everything about clara’s room.. The heart’s wall art is my favorite.

  13. 19) Michelle Lubbers

    I love the simplicity of this room! And I have to say, the mobile (quite possibly the least expensive most fun thing ever!) really makes me happy. Where did you find that gray basket on the dresser? I like the pattern of the weaving. What is it made of?

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  15. 21) Jacqueline phillips

    Hi Dana
    Could you please put your video tutorial for the first day dress on your website. I would like to purchase the pattern but can’t find the video for it.
    Many thanks
    Jacqui

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