Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Two Years Later: Before and After

Most of my readers who've been with me over the years know that in 2019 we made a major downsize, going from a large home and garden to living in a loft. I have no regrets, and am very happy with a downsized lifestyle. 

A couple weeks ago while walking in our old neighborhood, we ran into the wife of the couple who bought our former home. She invited us in to see what changes they've made to both the home and garden.  I thought you might like to see a few of the major changes they've made.

The Courtyard: Before and After

What the new owners did with the courtyard is tear out all the old brick pavers, plus lower the enclosing brick wall to open it to the adjoining landscaped yard. They put in a new bluestone patio, and added a pergola from the sunroom and family room French doors. They also took out the hot tub we had (not seen in the above photos).

Here's a photo of the wall and landscape as it looked before the brick wall was lowered, early May. The spirea had yet to bloom, and the bee balm was coming up along the wall, just to the right of the roses and iris. Black-eyed Susans surrounded my garden statue and were mid-summer blooms. All of those are now gone. I was happy to see the irises still remain, as do two of the three climbing roses.
Here's a couple photos of the courtyard while we were living there (below, in Fall). The brick wall not only provided some afternoon shade, but it also gave a lot of privacy.
The photo below shows the hot tub still in place.

These next photos are what really blew my mind. When we renovated the landscape back in 2004 we also had architectural plans drawn to renovate the unfinished basement, but that never happened. When we sold the house, we gave the architectural renderings to the new owners.

Basement: Before and After:
You could've used our basement as a skating rink, but instead I filled it up with storage for my Panoply antiquing and household goods. My picture below is after I emptied it, just before our move in 2019.
Here's what the new owners did with the space. First, they had the stairs finished in wood to match the first floor and stairs leading to the second level.
The photo collage below represents the basement space to the right of the stairs once you're on the lower level. It compares to the upper half of the unfinished collage photo above. They made a bedroom, and a full bath to the rear about where that window is in the unfinished space photo.
Next, coming down the stairs and turning left, this space is now finished as a family room. The fireplace was there before as you can see. They haven't decided on whether they'll install gas logs or not.


In gardening, before we moved, I dug up several of my plants to share with others. My daughter had moved into a home the year before, so her garden beds were ones that I helped add to. Here's one of her flower beds pictured just a couple weeks ago, when her transplanted irises were blooming. She also has love-in-a mist (nigella) growing and yet to bloom beside the irises. Transplanted lavender is doing well in pots in the front of her house (not pictured).

Wow! is what I say, what say you? We had a lot of projects on our list when we moved that needed checked off had we stayed. The new owners were in a great position to get those and their own started. One thing I always wanted was to take out all the carpet upstairs and have wood floors to match the downstairs installed. They did that, and they're beautiful. I also wanted to ditch the hot tub (and install a she shed). They disposed of the hot tub, but I'm not sure if they plan to replace it with anything.

They say you can never go back, but it really wasn't hard for us. The first thing Mr. P. said when we walked away was, "I don't miss it at all". I don't either. It's nice to see it's being loved.

Have you ever moved and gone back to be able to see what the new owners have done to the property? 

Rita C. at Panoply
(A special thank you to Debra of Common Ground's All About Home #91 for featuring this post!)


  1. Thank you for showing us the changes to your previous home, Rita. I’m sure that you are happy that the new owners are lovingly caring for it in beautiful ways. I’m happy that you and your hubby have no regrets. How can it be that it’s been two years already?

  2. Good Morning Rita,
    It's always so interesting to see how new owners put their "personal stamp" on our previous homes. It's such a beautiful property and I'm so happy for you that another family is caring for it so beautifully.

  3. What a treat that you got to visit your old house!

  4. Wow, how nice they let you see what they did. Plus, I'm glad you both are ok with it. My 1st thought was this is going to be hard to see.I am so glad the garden is being taken care of too, that would have been hard to look at for me! LOL

  5. I enjoyed seeing the changes that were made! It’s hard to believe it’s been two years already.

  6. We've driven by homes we've lived in but not stopped to see inside. In both cases, new owners cut down large trees we planted and carefully tended to provide shade. Sad.

  7. I totally missed the part about your move as 2019 was the year my Mom became ill and ultimately passed away. This is news to me!!!🙃 I am always excited to see Before and After photos. Everyone’s taste and living needs are so different! I’ve not been able to return to my parents’ home where I grew up and then lived for the majority of 2019 caring for Mom. I think it would devastate me. I’ve not even driven into the city to her general neighborhood. Maybe some years from now.... I’m glad the experience was a positive one for you guys. That’s the way it SHOULD be. You’ve moved on to something new you can live in and come to love just as much, and that’s definitely a good thing!!!!!! Congratulations on your new loving home, and best wishes for many years of enjoyment there!!!!!!

  8. It's interesting seeing the changes and kudos on the basement. But I really dislike tearing up the brick (I would have cried) and taking out some of your garden blooms (the ones you didn't remove yourself.) I would be SO not okay with that. They've done a lot in two years. But the back yard/patio -- apart from a pergola, that's a huge miss for me. And the garden. I'm so glad your daughter has some of your plants.

  9. I'm so glad you did this post Rita! We are getting to the point of downsizing ourselves and it makes me so happy to know there are no regrets for you. I don't know how I will feel but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will not miss the stairs! (Well, maybe just for a moment at Christmas with garland and lights.)

    Your home was beautiful then and it is beautiful now. Personally, I like the higher wall with a courtyard feel but it's pretty now too. I love that your daughter has plants from your garden too. So special. Thanks so much for sharing this. Take care.

  10. Thank you for sharing. Although I 'loved' your house (from all your detailed blogs), I'm so happy the new owners love it too. As for no regrets....that's very healthy. You loved and enjoyed it too and now on to your 'new' life. I'm happy for you. We are in our house/farm for 52 years now and I'd love to move to a condo....but 'he' is not ready....that will be a glorious day when he is! ha

  11. Rita, I am so glad you were able to go back and see what has been done to your former home. It looks like they are taking good care of their investment, they have obviously spent money finishing the basement and installing wood flooring upstairs. Your home was really large, bigger than I realized.

    I am most happy to read you have no regrets in selling. You made a wise choice with your loft home for this season of life.

  12. How nice that you were able to see the changes. I hear you with downsizing. We went from a bigger house with a huge lot to a ranch. We lived there 20 years. Everyone thought I would be so upset leaving after 20 years.

    When we go back to see friends we always leave saying we are so happy we don't have that much work anymore.

  13. Rita, I am glad you felt no regrets. They have been very busy and it is amazing they were able to get so much done. I have heard horror stories of not enough supplies and workers after the Covid shut downs.
    It is hard to believe it has been two years.
    As I struggled to trim a few bushes the last few days I thought it won't be long before I can not do all this. My azaleas are trees now and the azaleas are taller than me in places. I can't get my yard man to come because he lost all his help. They are getting too much money from the government and don't want to work.

  14. What a really interesting post Rita, thanks for sharing! Hubby and I just did some soul searching this weekend in regard to our home. What spurred it was the list (and expense) of a number of projects we want to have done to our 36 year plus home (which we had built). Landscaping needs a major refresh, adding a small covered front porch (and replacing the walkway), built ins around our fireplace (and modifying log burning to gas), etc. Other than some landscaping on a much smaller scale, nothing needs done to sell the house. So, now we're thinking, should we look at what's out there and think about moving?

  15. It's neat that you were able to see the new homeowners' changes to your former home. They seem to be loving it, and they're making it their own. :D

  16. It is always fun to see what new owners will do with a property. Projects do take time and sometimes they do not happen. It's nice you don't have any regrets. The new owners are simply making it their own. So glad you are happy with downsizing. Your condo looks fantastic and the views are so awesome. Thanks for sharing Rita.

  17. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years already. I was wondering if you had ‘cabin fever’ in your loft living as were all stuck at home the past year. So glad you don’t miss your former home and garden! I’ve returned before and felt poleaxed seeing beloved plantings and hardscape ripped out and decided I would never go home again. :)

  18. I can't believe it's been 2 years Rita! I'm so glad you had no regrets and are loving your loft life! Big houses and yards are a lot of work, maintenance and expense, so I know you have a lot more time to do other things now. It was so nice of the buyer to let you have a tour and see the changes that they've made!

  19. It looks like the new owners are making their new house into their home. We haven’t been in our old house but we heard they put in an above the ground pool next to where ours was (that we took out and sold) before selling the house. We also heard they remodeled the kitchen with all new cabinets and everything. We had our kitchen remodeled almost 30 years ago with light oak custom cabinets. After we moved into our condo and had made considerable changes, the owner and her daughter came to our door and asked if they could see it. I’m happy to report they said they loved everything we had done to it. One question I have for you is the bedroom in the basement. Does the basement have an egress window because otherwise their bedroom won’t really count as a bedroom.

  20. I really enjoyed your post Rita. I'm so pleased you and your husband had an opportunity to see the changes in your previous home. Your garden was always fabulous! Your patio area provided privacy. The changes open it up if you enjoy entertaining. Love the basement changes and wood floors. It's wonderful that you are not missing it as you have a beautiful loft. I dread death cleaning! Lol Seeing your pics from 2 years ago made me realize it has to be done! I know you're glad that's behind you. Have a happy Friday! Clara ❤️

  21. Rita, it's always a good feeling to know your previous home is loved and cared for. It sounds like they are putting their own touch on the home, and that's good as well. I would have left the patio as you had it, but I like to keep the original look of a home. I'm sure they will use the basement space.
    Glad you shared plants with your daughter and others. Pass Along plants are the best.

  22. When my mom's house sold, I traveled back a year later to the area for a wedding. The new owners have not been very good at keeping up the house or yard. Especially the front and backyards my day loved and tended to. Things were dead or dying. Really very sad :(
    I'm happy to hear your old home is being loved and taken care of. And it's nice to know that you are still happy with the move to a smaller place.
    I do miss your garden posts :)

  23. Good morning, Rita. Sorry I am late, this has been a week from &%&*% for us. Anyway, I am certain the new owners of your home are enjoying it. I must say, I rather liked it more under your guidance, but what they have done is nice. What is wonderful is that seeing it didn't make you or your hubby sad or sorry for your move. That is the best part. We have not been back to our home in VA since we left. Although, we have friends who have driven by and taken photos. It looks well loved and our six oaks that we planted from tiny saplings are large and going to the sky. That makes us happy.

  24. Hi Rita!! WOW, you guys were brave to go back through your home. I know that was hard, even though you weren't missing being there. I try not to go back to old neighborhoods and homes even though my hubby likes to check things out. It's just too hard for me. The basement was wonderful, and if they have kids they really need that space downstairs. I loved seeing those iris you had transplanted at your daughter's. I'm sure she loves that space. My mom had iris at our old farmhouse and they really tug at my heartstrings seeing those purple ones. I've just never been able to get them to do well where we've lived. So glad you came by and linked up. I'm sharing your post at AAH Monday evening. Hope you had a great Mother's Day, friend!