I have been waiting for 1,900,800 seconds to show you this before and after I worked on in conjunction with Sherwin-Williams National Painting Week.

That’s 31,680 minutes.

Or 528 hours.

Or a really, really, really long time.

It all started with a request.  We have a brand new cancer center going up in our town. My sister is a local artist and she was asked to create an mixed-media art installation with a group of cancer survivors.  It’s a giant tree with leaf after leaf after leaf created from the pages of each of the survivor’s journals.

Words transformed into art transformed into inspiration…

….with hope written in every line.

The challenge?

They needed a place to work on the pieces for the installation.

They needed a place to draw and sketch and paint and create.

They needed a place to tell their stories.

Enter this loft space in the second story of my sister’s storefront downtown.

It was large and incredible and historic with giant windows that let in natural light and it was perfect for the project.

It looked like it just might work.


Except it had walls that looked like this.

And floors that look like this.

It looked hopeless.

It looked overwhelming.

It looked like it would take the entire population of a small country to get the room ready.

But I knew what it could be.  I knew what the space could eventually look like.  So we scrubbed and mopped and patched and repaired and primed and painted gallons and gallons and gallons of amazing, wonderful, incredible Sherwin-Williams paint.

And now?

The room looks like this.

And this.

And this.


Can you do me a favor?  Will you go back and look at that before one more time?  Just once more.  Look at the before picture again and then come back and look at the after.

I’ll wait.

Now–can we clap and raise our hands and scream and shout together….


Here’s a vertical picture so you can see more of the space.

We patched the holes and caulked the cracks and painted the walls Alabaster SW 7008.

And then we striped the back wall with Mindful Gray SW 7016.

The doorway led to another space, so we up-cycled the existing door which was off its hinges into a barn door.

We primed it and painted Mariner SW 6766 to add a pop of color in the room.

Then the vintage door was hung on barn door hardware in the back of the room.

This table was donated for the project and I painted it SW 6766 Mariner, too.

I placed it against the wall and created another place for an artist’s workstation.

There are brushes and paint and canvases and a vintage easel just waiting to be used.

We added a giant over-sized work table and these vintage stools painted Daffodil SW 6901.

And now?

The space is ready.

It was finished just in time because the project has already started.

Here are the rough sketches used as inspiration for the art piece.

Each giant leaf created on a large wood canvas will visually represent a part of the survivor’s journey.

There’s faith.

And hope.

And support.

And education.

And strength.

And energy.

And the will to fight.

That amazing, incredible, awe-inspiring will to fight.

To fight on in the face of the journey ahead.

To fight on the face of adversity.

To fight on in the face of pain and despair and hopelessness and anger and sadness and to reach down and grab cancer with both fists and fight this terrible disease that has claimed so many…

…and to beat to the odds.

And to win.

Maybe that’s why I knew this room was perfect.

It’s a fighter, too.

It’s outlook was bleak.

It’s future looked dark and full of gray skies and storm clouds and the journey ahead to recovery looked overwhelming.

And now?

It’s transformed.

It’s come through the fire brighter and better and stronger.

It’s full of hope and color and strength and happiness and the promise of a brilliant tomorrow.

A tomorrow full of decades and weeks and days and hours and minutes and a zillion, trillion, billion seconds.

And I know it will embrace every one. 🙂

PS  Just in case you have a space that needs some paintspiration–here’s a coupon for 30% off paints and stains from Sherwin-Williams.

disclaimer:  A giant shout out to Sherwin-Williams for partnering with me and sponsoring this post.  

I cannot thank you enough for the honor of working for a company who truly puts others first.

My opinions are completely my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.


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  1. Image for Beverly Beverly

    My heart is full. Kijsa must be thrilled. And, I know you are, too. I hope it doesn't sound condescending, but I am so proud of both of you. You make our world a better place. And, that is what life is all about.♥♥♥

  2. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Astounding!!! Really. How many people worked on this project? I can't believe it is the same space. I hope it stays looking as wonderful as it does now. Blessings to you for your endless depth of caring for others. And thanks to Sherwin Williams...how generous you are!

  3. Image for Donna Donna

    Good Morning, I don't often take a moment to comment but I soooo love this idea. The symbol of the leaf, the growth & new life has great meaning. SW colors are fab-u-lous. The gray/white stripes and the door color/style are perfect. Two talented sisters, an important cause & this retired teacher is "all about art" for all ages. The decor is fine. I hope all who use this space feel better. Many of us seeing it in blogland do. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Image for gina gina

    Your high energy in this post is a reflection of everything this room represents: life! Love the visual representation of it all. And I even loved the loft in it's worn state. It's a great place to create. Good job, as always!

  5. Image for debi debi

    Good Morning Karianne, You've done it again~~ The room looks wonderful! And, as a cancer survivor I know what this will mean to all those who work in that bright sunny room!! Thank you!

  6. Image for Janette Deans Janette Deans

    What can I say.....I mean WOW......fabulously stunning end result, and a new life given to a sad and unloved space.....LOVE IT...!!!...x

  7. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Wonderful! Blank canvas to beautiful!! Love Sherwin Williams- we used "his" colors on and in our house:) What a great job, you talented sisters!

  8. Image for Ellen Ellen

    The transformation of this loft space is absolutely breathtaking!! A beautiful space for beautiful survivors to move forward with their lives through art - fantastic! Kudos to your sister, you and Sherwin-Williams for this gorgeous room. Thank-you for sharing this spectacular project.

  9. Image for Kathryn Kathryn

    Wow - Amazing! Knowing the cause, seeing this transformation has made me feel joyful. I can't imagine how it must make you and your sister feel. Bless you both!

  10. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Oh, WOW!! What an amazing transformation! Mindful gray -- I've heard that name before. You are such a dynamo!! And I don't think I knew that your sister was close by -- that is wonderful. You, my genius friend, should be called a magician, along with your sister. That room is truly a room for inspiration and courage. A humongous hug for you and your sister!

  11. Image for Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns

    Oh Karianne! The space looks amazing! As a cancer survivor whenever I see things like this it makes me happy. I just celebrated 5 years cancer free. My cousin just finished 5 long months of chemo and is moving on to a mastectomy in a few weeks. She is kicking cancer's butt! Where did you get the barn door hardware? I am going to do a barn door on my master closet and bath too. Both have doors that swing in a take up even more space in already tight quarters so they've got to go! Have a great day friend!

  12. Image for Deborah Deborah

    I am sitting here AMAZED! What a gorgeous transformation. You two sisters are the dynamic duo! Kudos for a job well done and admired by many of us! Such a worthy cause and the significant point of it all is that none of us know when the big "C" will strike! As healthy as one can try to be, it does not differentiate! Thank you for creating a calming and holistic environment for survivors to "escape and be mindless" in a beautiful setting.

  13. Image for Lori Lori

    The room looks marvelous and can continue to be used for many things in the future! Nothing like a plan and a can of paint to transform a room! Thanks to Sherwin-Williams for sponsoring this worthwhile project!!! Well done everyone!

  14. Image for Rowena Philbeck Rowena Philbeck

    That room doesn't even look the same. Great job and such a wonderful place and the artwork from your sister I know will be fantastic. Great job girls!!! I love trees and leaves too!!

  15. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Kudos to you and to Sherwin-Williams! What a transformation! What a great cause! I love that as busy as you are. you still find time to give of yourself.

  16. Image for Lisa Lisa

    THIS is SO ABSOLUTELY beautiful and awesome AND inspiring!!! The colors, the door, the yellow bar stools!!! As always you did a amazing job!!!!! Hugs from Michigan !!! Lisa

  17. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    The transformation of the room is amazing but the lives touched because of the space wow. Kudos to you, your sister, and a company that cares about others!

  18. Image for Rosalie McCreary Rosalie McCreary

    WOW! What a transformation! It's wonderful!!!! You are an amazing woman! The satisfaction of a job well done and knowing how many lives you will have touched by your kindness, skill and wonderful creativity must fill you with so much joy! You are a wonderful blessing to the world! Thank you and your sister and Sherwin Williams !

  19. Image for Beth Beth

    Its hard to know what part is the best. Your purpose for the space, the outcome of your work or the story you tell about the transformation! Kudos on a fabulous use of space.

  20. Image for Francis Moore Francis Moore

    Beautiful. I especially love the yellow. As a breast cancer survivor I can certainly appreciate you, your sister, and the room. Francis C. Moore

  21. Image for Bonnie Schulte Bonnie Schulte

    I would not believe what the room looked like "before" if You hadn't shared the photos. Wow, this is INCREDIBLE! What a great space to create...

  22. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Thank you and everyone involved for creating such a beautiful space. My mom is fighting cancer (2nd chemo treatment next week)and she is an artist. Will share what you have done with the space, she will appreciate it!

  23. Image for jae jae

    Incredible transformation! And thank you and your sister for your hard labor in creating the space. My mom had cancer surgery at 90 and 4 years .ater is going strong, and a lot of it is due to wonderful support and encouragement she received! Have used Sherwin Williams for years, as did my dad before me. Love love love their paint.

  24. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    You, my dear, are.... a dynamo, a force of nature, a miracle worker, a transformationalist, a bringer of light and beauty, and an all around inspiration!!!! I've painted many a room and a few house exteriors using Sherwin Williams paints. This company delivers consistency and beautiful colors. Good choice.

  25. Image for PJ PJ

    What a beautiful transformation! I love the color choices that you made. Clearly you and your sister make a fabulous team.

  26. Image for Marilyn Parigian Marilyn Parigian

    Magical makeover!!! The lighting is wonderful and I would be thrilled to paint in that fantastic room. GREAT JOB !!!

  27. Image for KAREN KAREN

    YOU are absolutely incredible! You make me smile! What a beautiful transformation. And isn't that what it's all about..... working on ourselves to be better and better all the time? You are SO talented and so caring! Hope blessings are yours in return for all you do for others!!

  28. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    How you find the time? but you do and you get 'er done!!! Beautiful job!!! My niece is fighting cancer right now and her motto is "ain't afraid." She is an artist and has her own studio so she can express her feelings. It is great you are providing a space for others. You are a jewel!!!

  29. Image for TwoPlusCute TwoPlusCute

    What a light bathed artistic loft! So calm, so stylish and so perfectly colored. Beautiful, beautiful after. Even I, that - in my good days - I have an overwhelmingly "can do" attitude, recoiled looking at the before. The after is not sort of a design (and home improvement) miracle.

  30. Image for Bonnie Bonnie

    Thank you for sharing and for all of the hard work that you and your sister put into making it such a special place. That room is now so beautiful!

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