But here, with a drumroll, is the AFTER:
Of course, it helps that I have new furniture in my living room as well, but I still can't get over how beautiful it all looks. And I haven't shown you the dining room (primrose yellow walls, same floor as the kitchen, white trim, periwinkle blue vertical blinds over the new french windows onto the deck), or the lovely cabinet on the wall facing into the kitchen, which is oak to blend with the floor and the living room, but has the same blue countertop as the kitchen, or my bedroom, wedgewood blue with white trim...
So now, finally, I can move all my books back upstairs. I'm not putting so many back into the living room, but have set up my study as more of a library and have a room lined with bookshelves in there (something else I've always wanted).
Some things that I particularly love: the little window between the kitchen and the dining room (my own idea) that adds more light to the kitchen and lets me look out onto the deck and the garden while doing dishes or preparing meals. Having enough counter space. That mirror over the fireplace, which is off an old dresser I inherited from my great aunt; the dresser was damaged beyond repair, but the mirror is beautiful and it's a link to my family past. The colours, that remind me of Venice. I have to admit, my new little dishwasher.
It's like about ten Christmasses and birthdays all rolled into one, and I feel like a little girl playing house. But I also feel like a grown-up, with my own house for the first time (in 54 years - it's about time!).