Before and After Photos

Well, here we are on the last day of December 2012- happy New Year’s Eve!

We’ve made a few more updates in our sunroom (a.k.a- my office) over the past month, so I thought I’d share some more before-and-after photos here today. This first one isn’t really an “after” yet, but we’re having some friends over tonight, so I’m determined to get a bunch of our new (old) shutters up today:


The story behind them is a pretty neat one, and it started on Facebook, of all places.

Kev and I had been having a heck of a time trying to figure out how in the world we were going to cover all the windows in there with something other than temporary paper shades. We loved the shutters that Mary Kay Andrews used at Breeze Inn


…but we couldn’t find any that fit our (extra-tall) windows for less than a million dollars each. #Kidding #KindOf

One night, I decided to throw our dilemma out there on Facebook to see if anyone had any they were looking to get rid of. Why not, right? Here’s what I posted:


We were stoked to hear back from a whole bunch of folks, and in the end, a woman named Toney was the one who shipped us the shutters. She sent them (from South Carolina) for the price of shipping, which was so, so kind of her to do. (Thanks again, Toney! We are so grateful for what you did!)

We’ve got 12 sets total, so first we’re going to see what it looks like with shutters on both the bottom and top half of one of the windows (like Mary Kay did), and we’ll decide what we want to do from there. I do love the idea of using some cordless roman shades like these on the upper half of each window…


(Pottery Barn- Riviera Stripe Cordless Roman Shade)

…but those suckers are so pricey, and I can’t seem to find any that look (and function) exactly like them anywhere else on the web. #ToBeContinued

For Christmas, Kevin got me a big ol’ jute rug to use in there under our piano:


(Pottery Barn- Round Jute Rug)

He was able to take advantage of a 40% off sale when he bought it (yay!), and I love the contrast of color and texture it adds to the floor in there.

We also took advantage of a sale on my desk chair this month. It’s the Hayden dining chair (in Linen) from World Market:


Here’s a close up of the fabric:


Luh. Shuss. Ness!

If the chair had come with a spoon, I swear, I totally would’ve understood why. YUM.


When we have company, I’m going to slide my chair back into the corner, and close up my desk, like this:


I attached thick felt squares to the bottom of each leg, so it slides over there easy breezy, without scratching the floor.

Oh, and you can see in one of the other secretary photos above that I finally got around to painting the inside of it this month. I used Grain Sack-colored milk paint from Miss Mustard Seed, and lemme just tell ya- the winner of the Most Un-Fun Thing In The World To Paint With A Paint Brush is definitely the cubby and drawer section of a secretary. #WristWrecker

This is what it started out like…


…and here it is all coated in Grain Sack, with a new little drawer knob from Hobby Lobby:


I just took all our Christmas decor down, so it looks a little bare-ish inside the glass doors right now. I’m going to play around with some things in there today. I’m feeling most inspired by this little pot I got from my friend Shannan (Flowerpatch Farmgirl) a couple of weeks ago:


We were able to meet up with her (and her daughter Ruby) on the way back from Michigan, and our lunch together at Cracker Barrel was definitely a highlight of the trip!


(I’m such a Flowerhead- I get so excited when I see that’s she’s published a new post!)

My FAVORITE “before and after” photo of the year doesn’t have anything to do with our sunroom though…


2012 has been a truly Transformative year for me, and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to share these kinds of “makeover” photos here with you, too! #ThankYouForBeingSuchBrightLightsInMyLife #Happy2013!


PS- The winner of the True Value gift card giveaway is:


Congrats, Anjanette! I’ll be in touch with you shortly!

Our Adoption Timeline
Gift Card Giveaway #2

Have posts from The Lettered Cottage sent right to your INBOX!


  1. missy says

    I had never seen Flowerpatch Farmgirl. I just spent the last two hours reading her blog……Wow.

  2. Penny says

    AWESOME! Thanks so much for sharing the baptism pics, that is a makeover that will last forever!! So excited for you!

  3. Lisa says

    So happy for you both! My favorite pic you have ever posted is this “after” one. The heavens were smiling as I can imagine God saying, “That’s my girl Layla!” :)

  4. Pamela says

    Could I please ask where you noticed the 40% off from pottery barn (for the rug) at your time of purchase. Was it a rug sale, or special promo coupon? Thank you. Happy New Year!

  5. Shana says

    I think the roman shades on top are a wonderful idea. Have you thought about making them yourself? I made some for my house and they were not that difficult to make. Good luck!

  6. says

    You made me cry with that last photo! 😀 Nothing more beautiful than someone being baptized in Jesus’ name!
    Love you sweet lady :)

  7. says

    I have that 8′ round jute rug from Pottery Barn, Found it at the outlet for $75. Score! I get compliments on it all the time. Thanks for all you do. Such a great inspiration for the home and the heart. Happy New Year.

  8. Rachel says

    I’ve never seen a photo that instantly brought tears until just now. That just happened when I saw, not only you getting baptized, but Kevin standing beside you in the water. True love, a real marriage, commitment and GOD’s hand on a FAMILY. I love your blog! Thanks for sharing your journey with all of us! It inspires me every day!

  9. deborah says

    about the roman shades, why don’t you make your own? I bet you could find an easy pattern idea online. Then you could find the perfect material for them and voila new curtains…

    Happy New Year…

  10. says

    Love the shutters! I have them on the bottom in my, (tiny,) sunroom – with pleated cellular shades on top; I am a light seeker so love the fact that the cellular shades can basically disappear to allow more sunshine in, yet insulate me on a cold day. Still thinking about adding a valance that just skims the top of the window.

    I am a ‘flowerhead’ too and can hardly go to sleep if there isn’t a new post each night – cute pic of you three!

    Thanks for all the inspiration you bring. God bless you & Kev in 2013.

  11. says

    Hi there. I just landed on your blog a couple of weeks ago and now I’m hooked. I even added you to my Blog Loves. I love the shutter look in rooms with lots of tall windows the ones in your room ~ so you get my thumbs up on that. And congratulations on your spiritual progression. I’m sure those in heaven are smiling on you.

  12. Claire says

    I love it all but it all PALES in comparison to the last picture! Congratulations!!

  13. Rebecca says

    Thanks for sharing the last photo! How sweet and wonderful. Blessings on you and Kevin

  14. says

    RE the roman $hade challenge$… my mother-in-law made her own using a kit from Joanns or Michaels. Great way to do it inexpensively if you can find the material you like.

  15. Julie says

    How sweet are you?! Loved sharing in the JOY you found in the experience of being Baptised! Congrats on your Baptism!

  16. says

    Hi Layla! I wanted those same Pottery Barn cordless roman shades for forever (even on sale they were a budget-breaker for me). I settled for cordless bamboo shades from improvementscatalog dot com that I got for about $20 each. They don’t have the same style anymore– but I am sure you could do something awesome with their plain cotton ones. The look isn’t as clean as PB (Why are there practically NO flat front options and all seem to have the valance?!) but, they are much more budget friendly. JCP also has lovely cordless roman shades– just also rather pricey.

  17. says

    I so love your blog, and you and Kevin. Great ideas, great inspiration, and I love how your faith shines through your post. Thank you for sharing the most precious time of professing your faith in baptism. May God continue to bless you and Kevin, and your little one when he/she gets here! I am praying for all to go smoothly and quickly, as the Lord wills.
    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

  18. Tina K says

    Best makeover was the last picture. The rest don’t even matter compared to that! CONGRATS!

  19. says

    Beautiful makeover and congratulations on your baptism…..may God bless you in a new and mighty way this year!

    Also…..I did want to ask you where you got that swing lamp alongside the desk? I could use one just like that alongside my desk in my kitchen!!!

  20. says

    Love this post!! I get giddy when I see you have a new one up :)

    Love the baptism pic too.. such an awesome feeling isn’t it?!

    I am in need of tall and weird sized shutters for our sunroom too… if you hear of any, let me know… haha! I should probably measure the window first to know what I need. And my vote is the roman shade at the top!

  21. Janny A. says

    Nothing you do in this life is worth comparing to the wonderful news of salvation! Congratulations your baptism!!

  22. Patty Martin says


    Loved your post showing your baptism! It’s wonderful to see God working in the lives of young couples!

    I make custom window treatments and I’m sure you could make some stationary Roman shades. It would take some time for all those windows for but would save you tons of money..

  23. Sarah M. says

    I don’t know how much you want to spend on roman shades, but…the shade store does different kinds of roman shades. You could try there just to price them out. And they send free samples! I love samples!

  24. says

    So wonderfully fresh, Layla! I see loads of inspiration happening in that there office. :)
    And I TOTALLY agree about painting the cubbies in a secretary!! Just did mine last summer and what a CHORE. Good thing we’re results-oriented, right? 😉
    Blessings! xo Heidi

  25. says

    My favorite before and after is your baptism picture! I am excited to see what The Lord does in your lives this year and just love your blog. What an awesome platform to share your testimony and great design tips:-) God bless you!

  26. Katy Contreras says

    I feel so “in”. I have plantation shutters in all my bedrooms & roman shades. Put them up 15 years ago. Love them it’s so easy to keep up & I like the look. Love the FB idea also, just 10 minutes ago I took down the DR drapes, we’re having new windows put in & told my hub. Love to get shutters in here but so expensive. Now I’m going to measure and see what I can do;) Thanks for the inspiration !

  27. says

    Beautiful office, can’t wait to see it when you’re done! And you have gotten the best “makeover” you will ever get. :) Congratulations, new sister in Christ! I am excited for your journey learning what an amazing savior he is!

  28. Debbie says

    Loved the last makeover the best, your last day as a lost soul and the first day as a worker for the Lord. Praying for you to have a wonderful New Year and the best of luck with your adoption.

  29. Dana Foster says

    When I saw the picture of the baptism–before and after–I got chills and tears in my eyes. Congratulations on the most important choice of your life! Welcome!

  30. says

    I was channeling my inner Layla the last two days as I tackled painting our secretary desk. I was remembering what you wrote about painting the cubby section. I was super excited to find four little screws that I could remove to take the entire section out as one unit, making it easier to paint. I painted the desk black, then sanded and stained it. The cubby part, which also has two little drawers, I painted bayleaf green and stained it with espresso stain. Looks so good together. However, our office chair looks out of place with it. So, I’m back at your blog, seeing what the name is of the chair you bought. lol

  31. Barbara Gerland says

    You are the sweetest thing! I have been reading blogs for several years, including yours. I don’t blog myself but I am a diehard decorator (only for myself and helping my daughter) so I love seeing and reading blogs of people who love their homes. Your blog says so much about you without that being your intension. I just saw your baptism picture and it made me so happy to see your big smile! It made me even happier about the fact that you will bring a child into a Christian home. God bless you and Kevin. So looking forward to seeing the 3 of you.

  32. Jen G says

    I have enjoyed your blog for some time, you are truly a woman of good taste, and this post has inspired me to comment for the first time. I love the sun room, especially the desk. But seeing your courage and honesty, and your joy and faith in God is what is really beautiful! Even though I am not Christian , I love the picture just the same. Good luck to you and Kevin on your journey to parenthood!

  33. Angela says

    precious baptism! I love that Kevin was in there with you! Thanks for sharing that!

  34. says

    I love the last before and after – our family followed the Lord’s leading and were baptized in the Baptist church we are now members of! Our 12 year old son wanted to be baptized for the first time and since we had all been baptized in different churches, we were re-confirming our faith in the saving power of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and identifying with our local church body as a family – it was amazing!

    Those roman shades are too pricey – especially when you have 6 windows. My neighbour bought a cheap cordless roman shade at lowe for $18 for her window and I re-made it using the fabric she bought at Hobby Lobby – it took about an hour to do it! Also Country Curtains has a cute banded cordless roman shade that might work for $80. You really scored on the shutters, so perhaps you can splurge a bit on the shades?

  35. Kary Ross says

    So proud for your makeover’s! Especially your baptism! Praising your decision & God & his angels are singing!! May you have a blessed year in 2013!

    PS: if you have any suggestions for pine shutters for a log home such as where to shop etc, anything would be appreciated. We are covering bedroom & living area. They are NOT very affordable are they? Love your’s!.

  36. Marissa says

    Thank you for sharing your baptism photo! :) It made my eyes all misty. Enjoy your journey closer to God. :)

  37. ashlee c says

    that shade of blue/grey on the walls is beautiful! my living room furniture has the same fabric as your desk chair, and i’ve often wondered what the heck we can do with the room that will pair nicely with that ‘rustic’ material…it reminds me of rustic for some reason! the blue walls really soften up the look of it, as do the plates and your feminine desk. lovely!

  38. Anna says

    I love the baptism photo! Thank you for sharing that awesome moment! God’s richest blessings be upon you both!