Before and After Southern Fixer Upper

Before and After Southern Fixer Upper


disclosure:  This post was sponsored by Phantom Screens.

Southern Romance House Exterior

A long time ago in a land far away called Alabama (total aside:  don’t you love a story that starts like that) I met one of the most inspiring women on the planet.

And more importantly, I met her house.  You can read all about that here.  It’s been a journey of love and inspiration and joy and courage and now the house is finished (and I may have helped just the tiniest of bits along the way).

This is one of my favorite before and afters of all time.


Please grab coffee or the closest beverage and sit back for the tour.

Southern Romance Front Porch Before

This is what the porch looked like when I first met her.

I’ve copped a squat on those railings.

I’ve walked on those floors of history and stepped up those front steps.

And now?

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

She looks like this.

The house has been painted and the front door completely reconstructed and the porch refreshed and a porch swing added.

And that front porch light?

I know, right?

(total aside:  I’ve swung on that swing before, too)
Southern Romance House Hallway before

When you walk through the front door this is what it used to look like.

It’s a long central hallway that goes directly through to the back yard.

And now?

southern romance house front hall after

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

It looks like this.

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

And this.

Those floors.

That molding over the door which is original to the house.

This is what my hallway wants to look like when it grows up.

Southern Romance Living Room Before

When you walk in, directly to the left is the living room.

The fireplace was amazing (which stayed) and I did love the original light fixture (which also stayed).

And now?

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

I’m so glad the original fireplace stayed.

It’s a detail you can’t find any more.

And just to the right in this picture you can see the original sliding pocket doors that lead into the dining room.

Southern Romance House Dining Room Before

That used to look like this.

You can really see the giant over-sized pocket doors here and the glimpse back into the living room.

And now?

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

It looks like this.

So many of the original details lovingly restored back to their former glory.

Some of the furniture in the house even came from the original owners.

Southern Romance Kitchen Before

Right through the door in the dining room, you will enter into the kitchen.

This is what it used to look like.

At the risk of stating the obvious…..


This is one of the rooms we helped with just a little.

Because now it looks like this.

southern romance house kitchen2

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

I cannot tell you how beautiful this room is in person.

It’s my favorite of all the rooms in the house.  And the best part?  I helped to select fabrics for this room and my husband built that kitchen island out of some of the old cabinets from the house.

You can see the DIY for the island here.

Southern Romance House parlor before

Here’s another room I helped with the design for.

This is the front room directly to the right of the front door before any renovations were done.

And now?

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

It looks like this.

The original fireplace stayed and was painted a slightly darker color.

It’s warm and inviting and I love the curtains in the space.

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

If you leave the front room and turn down the hallway, you’ll pass this bookcase on the way to the master bedroom.

Or at least you think it’s a bookcase.

Look again. 🙂

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

It opens to reveal the laundry room behind it.

The bookcase is brilliant.

I’m trying to figure out how to install one in the farmhouse.

Southern Romance Before

Down the hallway from the hidden laundry roos is the master bedroom and bath.

I helped a little with the space planning and ideas for the master bedroom.

This is the before and now?

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

That bathroom.

I saw it from the very first tile and it’s come such a long way.

I love a tile that goes all old school and keeps it real.

back porch before

And my favorite room in the whole house?

The back porch.

I helped with design layout and fabrics for this room, too.

It started like this.

And now?

back porch after1

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

It looks like this.

The most amazing thing about it are the screens.  They are made by Phantom Screens and they are motorized to give you the choice of open air or with the push of a button, they come down to create a screened-in porch.

back screened porch after

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

Here’s a view from the inside.

I love the door table and the custom porch swing and the fireplace.

back porch after

photo credit:  Revival Arts Photography

Here’s a view of the retractable screens that disappear into the wall.

You can leave the doors open and have the breeze blowing without any bugs.

The whole Southern Romance project was amazing to watch from beginning to end.

You can read all about the house and the team and the transformation and the stories the house has to tell here.

Esther, you are an inspiration to us all.  I cannot tell you how incredible to watch someone follow their heart and dream their dream in the face of almost (at times) overwhelming obstacles.

Sweet tea has nothing on you. 🙂

Southern Romance House Exterior

And now, in super fun news.

Phantom Screens is hosting a sweepstakes right now.

They make those incredible screens that disappear and pull out from your door and disappear again.

You can enter here to win a door screen of your own.

Here’s to Phantom Screens and the house of dreams. 🙂

phantom screens logo

disclosure:  I was compensated by Phantom Screens for this post.

All opinions are my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Do you think they would mind if I moved in? Okay, I guess they would but do you think they would notice if I moved in anyway?!

  2. Wow, that house was really brought back to life! That entrance hallway is stunning and that kitchen…amazing! It makes me happy to see a home so beautifully restored! Thanks for the tour!

  3. My kind of house, large rooms galore. Although the hidden laundry room is a really cool idea, I know how often I go in and out of mine and that bookcase door would not be the most efficient…but it looks incredible.

    Would also like to know what kind of money was involved…and to have it to do this kind of reno with!

    Gorgeous home, everything about it is ‘my style’. Thanks for sharing it! Much inspiration.

  4. Absolutely stunning- every room! I really love the master bedroom, color, high ceiling and I can just see and feel a nice breeze coming in those windows blowing the sheer curtains:) Great job!

  5. Loved the tour.
    I think the next house for you to work on is mine, only 65 year old ranch so it may not be your vintage.
    Thank you so much for the inspiration!!!
    Every detail was beautifully done!!!

  6. Beautiful!

  7. Okay. That is beyond gorgeous.

  8. I’m pretty sure I broke my mouse scrolling back and forth between the before and afters.
    What a beautiful home!
    One question though….is the bed in front of the fireplace and the door was removed in the bedroom picture?

  9. This transformation brought me to tears…really. To take a house that was so mistreated and see its beauty under all the decay is inspiring. The hard work and loving attention to detail is so evident here. I love this post. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  10. WOW! Such an amazing place. This is the kind of home that dreams are made of. Great job on your part. Want to help me with my home? Love your blog. You are such a doll and a wonderful inspiration. You never cease to bring a smile to my morning or a tear to my eye. Love ya, girl!

  11. Oh wait…a question…what was that secret closet used for and how does it get opened and closed without the things on the bookcase flying off? Just wondering. 🙂

  12. Have been so looking forward to seeing this entire renovation! Kudos to you, your husband, and all!

    It is stunning.

  13. This house is amazing!!! I love the transit window above the door, the high ceilings, the lovely use of neutrals, the BIG front porch with the swing, the fact that they kept the fireplaces, the original furnishings, the ginormous glass front shower, the floor to ceiling kitchen cabinets plus the island made from the original cabinets…omg, I’m so in love. My dream (besides having moved back to Colorado) is to find an old house like this, invite The Property Brothers, Chip and Joanna Gaines and YOU to help me renovate and decorate.

  14. Absolutely amazing!!! Makes me feel so good on the inside – going back:) Love the whole house and atmosphere it brings:)

  15. Oh, my HEAVENS! Reminds me of my grandmother’s house in east Texas. Absolutely gorgeous!

  16. Oh my gracious i could just feel the breeze and see all the curtains gentle flutter when you opened the door on that remodel. Just beautiful.

  17. The tile work in the master shower? Perfection. I don’t remember ever seeing something like that before~ it reminds me of old wooden floors with a beautiful inlay of wood border…but done in an elegant, timeless, and classic tile shower! Brilliant.

  18. Awesome story. A beautiful “save.” So glad she decided to live in her beautiful southern home. ❤️

  19. It is absolutely breathtaking!

  20. Gorgeous throughout. What a remarkable transformation.

  21. This is the best kind of renovation, because it’s really a renewal, not some kind of extreme plastic surgery. It preserves the charm and bones of the original while modernizing in a sensitive, timeless style. And that bookcase/secret laundry room is brilliant.
    I love that style of American house, too. The big porch, the proportions, the windows. Comfortable but not so big as to be a McMansion.

  22. We have many of these beautiful old homes in Alabama – this one is lovely. I hope your Canadian friend loves our mountains, beaches, sultry summers, sweet tea, southern hospitality, and, most of all, our winters (that being from Canada, she will hardly notice or acknowledge as even being winter).

  23. Just … wow. Honestly, I would have turned around and left when I saw the original kitchen. But now? Simply stunning. I bet you had a blast helping your friend out.

  24. Gorgeous and breathtaking are an “Under-Statement” !!!! Perfection !!!! I am drooling over the baseboards, the floors, and even the handles on those windows.. (sighhhhhh ! ) The window behind the lamp with the red shade… Seriously?????? Now… swing… front porch.. good book and a glass of sweet iced tea!!!!!!!!!! YEP….. ( How amazing Karianne ; that you actually worked in this house … YOU had a part in making it what it is today !!! )

  25. Another reason I LOVE the south! The homes are classic and timeless. What a beautiful home.

  26. OMG I am drooling as I type this. I love the back to back fireplaces in the living room and dining room, I love the floors, I love the porch, I love the kitchen, I LOVE EVERYTHING. She has more guts than I will ever have. If you and your sailor ever need another project, come and visit me and my sailor anytime.

  27. How nice that you got to be a part of this, Karianne! And your husband is very talented (but probably not as much as you are). Would you or the homeowner possibly be willing to share the source of the cabinets, specifically the cabinet fronts? They are perfect for the house. In addition, I love the little shelf over the range and am wondering: does the “cabinet” over the range actually hide a vent fan? If so, do you know what fan they used? Maybe I just invented the idea myself, but I like it! Anyway, good job as usual, and thanks for sharing all of this. I look forward to reading anything you have to say.

  28. What a journey. Thank you so much for revealing these beautiful, meaningful photos of a great house and its wonderful parts.

  29. Beautiful! I love house saving stories.

  30. Terri Oostendorp :

    Wow. Just incredibly beautiful and gracious. You and your team and Esther are a force to be reckoned with! Love that master bath, that kitchen I covet intensely, and those porches with the screens are lovely! I’m in awe of a company that is so forward thinking! I didn’t even know there were such ideas for porches so thanks Karianne for showing us how it’s done!

  31. Jennifer Williams :

    Okay, this is THE MOST AMAZING house transformation I have ever seen! And the home is exactly my style! {sigh}

  32. What a wonderful restoration and update. I love seeing upper kitchen cabinets with craftsmanship and artistry to them. Such a welcome change from all tile and no uppers.

  33. Lanita Anderson :

    Oh my goodness….what a transformation! The rooms were absolutely breathtaking!! Thanks for sharing…..makes me want to look for a fixer upper! Blessings to you…..

  34. It had me at the front door. Absolutely beautiful,everything is to perfection. Going to be looking at this for weeks. Thank you Karianne for this wonderful post.

  35. Wow! Wow! Wow! Karianne, would you be able to tell us some of the paint colors on walls, trim, etc? I’m going through my house changing paint colors and I just painted my open living room/kitchen/entry hall area Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray after far too many sample pots of paint to get what I wanted. After renovating a lake cottage in upstate New York the last four years (a second home) and always changing my homes through the decades, I have a sample paint pot collection that is embarrassing. Getting whites and grays right is so difficult due to the subtle undertones. Thanks so much!

  36. I cried all the way through this tour…I am just soooooo happy for that old house…soooooo happy that some wonderful people gave her the chance she needed to shine while allowing her to stay true to herself…it’s just beyond beautiful! The changes are incredible…she was looking so drab and sad and oh m’gosh that poor kitchen…now she is soooooo proud and radiant…filled with light and colour and life! Thank you sooooooo very much for sharing the inspirational story of this glorious old home and for taking us with you and Esther from the very beginning…this is the happiest ending EVER! This house is Cinderella…you did good, KariAnne…and so did twinkling eyes! 🙂

  37. Amazing transformation! Those screens would be great. Can’t tell you how many flies make it into our home because I am trying to catch a breeze.

  38. This is an amazing transformation KariAnne! Love it! So enjoyed our “convo” last week!
    My head is still spinning! laura

  39. Rebecca Turner :

    What a beautiful transformation! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing, KariAnne! This house embodies my wish list for a dream house. It’s white, it has a large front porch gallery, (with Carribean style wooden railings-a fave!) a porch swing, and a back porch large enough for a dinner party. The house is a little larger and grander than the one that I grew up in, but otherwise, it echoes it in style. Can I just say that I pine for the sound of wood floors, and the gleam of beveled French doors, and crystal doorknobs in the morning? I guess I should just be thankful that I got to enjoy a portion of my life in a house with character, huh?! Still, I can’t help but feel misty. I am so thankful that there are people (with means) who appreciate architecture, character and history, and are willing to save a few gems.

  40. Absolutely Amazing! I love everything about this! So charming and great job highlighting the timeless character and great details! Do you mind sharing the paint colors?
    Sending lots of Love from Alabama!

  41. I cannot add anything more to what others have already shared about this magnificent remodel. I am breathless and speechless.

  42. Charming!! Bravo Esther and
    KariAnne!! Love, love!!! : )

  43. I am a New York girl but would move in a minute for a house like that! Gorgeous!

  44. Lovely house every room is gorgeous.


  45. Absolutely stunning!! Though I am without words to describe the gorgeous “after” photo’s, it won’t stop me from just saying “WOW” over and over again! That kitchen is an absolute dream! If you ever want a visitor, call me!! You’re living in my dream home! Congratulations!

  46. Love the dining room hanging light. Can you share the brand and where it can be purchased?

    Thank you

  47. You sneaky weasel! That is far too much fun a project to help with! I do love a great transformation. What an amazing project to be a part of. But …how’s your word count? Did you add moments from the reno to your book? Maybe talk about how the project changed you? Working on my sister’s house changed me in so many ways. I am still discovering things that shaped me, now that I’m a month farther into the future.

    Yay house! Yay screens! Yay you!
    The Other Marian

  48. The whole team has made the house come alive! I need those Phantom Screens in my dining room with the French doors. Sometimes the bugs just fly right in and plan their attack while you’re eating. The bookcase door is so cool. Don’t we all wish we had a place for one.

  49. What an incredible transformation! Great job! It’s stunning.

  50. This has to be one of the best transformations ever! It is fantastic – truly. The kitchen is my favorite with the porches coming in a strong second. And that secret bookcase door – genius. Thank you so much for a peek inside this beauty Karianne!

  51. Sigh——

  52. I JUST FELL IN HOUSE LOVE! WOW!!! So beautiful.

  53. Absolutely the BEST! Loved so many things about this house…the porches, kitchen, center hallway, and of course those screens are amazing. Thank you for the wonderful inspiration, friend. Gorgeous!

  54. What a beautiful transformation. I love the idea of the bookcase that turns into the laundry room but the whole house is just fabulous. There are so many wonderful ideas. And Phantom Screens are the best. I know because I have one on my front door.

  55. Thanks so much for posting this. I began following her videos a long time ago…probably via a link you shared with us…and then lost track of her. I loved every episode and hope so much it would end up on HGTV! So how divine to see the house completed and know Esther can’t part with it. (I wouldn’t be able to either after all of the love poured into the project.) It is absolutely stunning. Have a great weekend! Fall is in the air here with cooler temps. I may dig out fall decorations…after I mow the yard! lol

  56. Love restorations that build on original “house parts”…. Keeping old features and improving others saves the essence and history of the home. I am wondering about the cost , though. Well done, and thanks for sharing!

  57. THis is one of the most gorgeous transformations I’ve seen in a long time! The house looks so much larger inside especially in the after photos! The colors and decor are perfect! This is the type of home I’ve dreamt of owning my whole life. BRavo to the homeowners and the whole team involved in the renovations!

  58. Absolutely amazing transformation. So beautiful and charming. I love all the details that were kept with the home from the past, it’s modern but has so much history in it. You did an amazing job.

  59. So beautiful! I love Alabama homes- I love my home state! Thank you for sharing.
    I would love to know the color of the master bedroom and bath. And, I want that shower!!!

  60. Must be Eufalla Al. An entire town of beautiful old homes, from huge southern plantation to bungalow. Love what you and she did.

  61. Amazing makeover! Love, love, love how the house turned out. Just gorgeous. Good job!

  62. WOW – I love the house! It is truly a labor of love and you can see that all through the home.

    Many thanks for taking us along on this beautiful home tour.


  63. Wow!!!! May you enjoy this beautiful space for as long as it continues to bring you joy. It’s stunning and I’m so inspired. I hope to someday enjoy a home as such and your share has confirmed its possible thank you! Xo

  64. That house is a dream come true. It is so beautiful and feels like home. Thank you for sharing.

  65. In a word. Wow! I went to this site and started watching the videos. I have no idea how emotional I would become. From the uneasy relationship with her contractor (I grew up in the south and still live in Tennessee, why can Southern men be so condescending?) to her tears when she returned to the house after the walls had come down. I have been a mess watching them. But in a good way. These are excellent videos and I’ll be checking out her blog too. Thanks for this post! And before anyone gets upset about the southern men comment. I know folks from everywhere can be condescending, but southern men excell at it. I should know. I’ve married two of them. Although not the same time. ??

  66. Soooooo pretty! Love everything about it.