Before and After: We Can’t Get Over This Zero-Budget Makeover

You are currently gazing upon a floor that is not only old linoleum—it is the old linoleum floor of a fish-gutting room. Is there any hope for this room, or is it doomed to be forever haunted by dearly departed stinky fishies?

The old, fishy floor has been replaced with a watery blue dream; it’s like a river you can walk on. This stained plywood floor was created by Tanya of Dans le Lakehouse, and I’m in awe of her vision. Blue floors would be bold enough, but fascinating, watercolor floors is a step beyond. The juxtaposition of the blue stain and the pale wood is fascinating, and I love the deep range of blues on display here. The unique swirls and strokes on each board echo the unique whorls of the wood itself.

Here’s a full glimpse at the room in its fish-gutting glory, and a bit more information about how this makeover came about:

I live year round in what used to be a summer home on Lake Superior and in that context, this weird little room makes more sense. You can’t access it from inside my house, but it has two exterior doors, a sink, and a window with a lake view. It was a fish gutting room!

I don’t gut a lot of fish but I do run a DIY and craft blog, so I needed a spot to house craft supplies. My mom was downsizing and wanted a place to store some of her sewing supplies too. I offered up some space in my house and she offered up some Ikea furniture and an old pine cabinet in return. But I couldn’t put her pretty furniture into that horrible fish room, so I embarked on a fun, budget-friendly makeover.

This entire room is an absolute dream. It’s so calming and organized, yet quirky and unique, and it makes me want to start an elaborate craft project and immediately put my craft supplies neatly away immediately after. All of the pale blues, grays, and whites are peaceful and beautiful, and they all look perfect with the pale wood of the IKEA pieces. Tanya likes it too:

I love how clean and bright the space looks now! That DIY marbled floor still makes me so happy. It held up perfectly, even through a wet, messy winter. That is probably one of my favorite DIY projects ever! I also love that I could use stuff that was lying around. All of the paint was leftover from another room makeover, the former home owner left the shelf brackets behind and I painted them, the sink skirt fabric was actually an old shower curtain. I didn’t have any money for this space, and it forced me to really get creative and use what I had on hand.

That last sentence shocked me—I was certain that all of the elements had been purchased specifically for this transformation. I can’t believe that Tanya was able to cobble together such a coherent, elegant look without spending any money. So impressive!

The former fish-gutting room had one major thing going for it: that big bright window. Natural light is so helpful in a craft room, allowing one to accurately pick out colors and such. The cabinetry that was in place offered a lot of storage, but I have to assume it was full of fish; the storage that Tanya installed in its place is much more accessible and extensive.

It didn’t take long to transform this space—probably a few weekends in total. Painting the grimy walls, ceiling, and wood trim did wonders to brighten the space. The IKEA furniture was great as-is, but I painted an old pine cabinet to complement the IKEA cabinets and installed some shelves to create a more custom look around it. A cheap and simple utility sink replaced the hideous old one and an easy DIY sink skirt made it look more polished. The budget was kept small thanks to the hand-me-down furniture, re-using leftover supplies from other projects, and making the rest. The DIY plywood floor took the longest because I created a custom, watercolor finish using stain on plywood sheets, but then we needed to cut the sheets into boards, install and seal them. A labor of love, but super inexpensive and I LOVE how they turned out.

Even after reading—and writing—”plywood” earlier in this post, it didn’t occur to me that the floorboards were made by cutting plywood sheets into “boards.” that is damn clever. Also, having a sink in a craft room is a fantastic luxury, so kudos to Tanya for recognizing the potential of an old fishy sink.

Now we can see that there’s even more storage space available in this room, thanks to an IKEA dresser and two ample baskets; the thing about a craft room is that you always need more storage.

A major impact can be made in any room with just paint! If the cabinets hadn’t been falling apart at the seams, just painting them and the walls (even the floors!) would have made a world of difference. I did replace some of the worst offenders—like the sink, light fixture, and floor—but I ended up keeping things I had planned to throw away, like the window blinds. I thought they were brown but after a good scrub, they cleaned up so well and looked great!

Thank you, Tanya of Dans le Lakehouse!

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