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See Our Old Townhouse, Decorated by the New Owners!

Townhouse tour

Last fall I was outside on the deck, making my evergreen wreath, when Hubby called me from work to excitedly tell me that our former townhouse was for sale.  It is the weirdest thing to see your former home lived in and decorated by someone else!  I have been waiting for this moment for two years, hoping the new owners would sell and that we’d get a chance to peek inside and see what they changed/what they kept.  Covered in sap, I eagerly dashed inside to my office to pour over the listing photos.

Of course, I immediately wanted to share with you, because so many of you were with me back when we were decorating the townhouse and you were there for the emotional (and disappointing) experience of selling it to buy our dream home.  But then I wondered if sharing photos would constitute some kind of invasion of privacy?  I waited months, mulling it over.  Finally I figured that because the listing photos could be accessed publicly – it’s not like I’m snagging them from a private Facebook page or something – that it’s okay.  It’s been staged and photographed for sale, and therefore public viewing, so I’m sure any embarrassing and extremely personal items have been removed.

To show a fair comparison, I’ve included photos I took of the townhouse, as a reminder of how we lived in it, and then I’ve shared a direct comparison of the real estate photos.  Listing photos don’t tend to be very flattering, so I thought that it’s only fair to compare listing photos to listing photos.  You can see the full townhouse tour by clicking here and to see the two sets of real estate photos taken when we sold the townhouse, check out this post!

Welcome back to the townhouse!  Here’s what the hallway and front entrance looked like when we lived there:

Townhouse decorating ideas

It looked a lot plainer for the real estate listing photos.  The new owners (bottom photo) added shelves where we had an occasional table (and later, a bar cart).

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now

Here’s our old powder room, which we painted right before listing.

Aqua powder room

Although I accidentally chose way too bold a hue, the new owners didn’t paint!

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now

I loved our living room because it had a wood burning fireplace and so much light!

Natural brick fireplace

How to decorate around a brick fireplace

The new owners didn’t paint the brick fireplace in the living room!  I would have been so disappointed if they had, because I’d wanted to do it but kept it natural for re-sale.  I am so jealous that they replaced the old, rickety sliding patio doors – something we wanted to do, but we’d already spent so much money updating this place.  The new white doors really brighten the space and make it look so much more modern.

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now

Here’s a different angle of the living room, this time their photo is the top one:

Top Photo: Now // Bottom Photo:When it Was Ours

Not much changed in the dining room, either.  Here’s a reminder of what it looked like when we lived there:

Small dining room

It’s kind of hilarious how similar our old dining room chairs were to theirs!  The new owners kept the light fixture we chose, as well as the layered sheer curtains.

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now

I am so thrilled to finally have turquoise kitchen cabinets, but I do miss things about the old kitchen, like our DIY houndstooth tile backsplash and brand spanking new fridge.  Ugh, our appliances in the lakehouse are all so old and rickety (please don’t tell them I said that – my appliances always fail after I’ve spoken ill of them).

Decorating around wood kitchen cabinets

MCM table with houndstooth upholstery

I thought the new owners might paint the kitchen cabinets, another project I wanted to tackle but didn’t because I was warned it would alienate some potential buyers (plus Hubby loved the wood).  The new owners didn’t paint, but they did replace the fabulous cantilevered light fixture we found for above the sink, where there was an off center junction box.  It took ages to find that and it made the off centered box look intentional.  I am so curious as to why they swapped it out…

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now
Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now

When we lived there, the townhouse master bedroom was used as our guest space because it had a handy powder room that gave guests some privacy.

White bedroom with pops of color

Mint green retro chair and table

We staged the room as a master for sale, which is how the new owners use it.  They invested in new blinds (unsurprisingly, because our DIY window coverings, here and here, were a budget-friendly quick fix).

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now

If I were them, I would have placed the tall boy dresser beside the long dresser on the same wall, but I’m weird.  (Our bed was a king size, that’s why it seems so much tighter with our furniture in there.)

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now

Our bedroom, which was technically a guest bedroom, saw the biggest change of all!  We kept it airy like the rest of the house, with white walls and sheers.  We chose this as our room largely because I loved the treed view and giant window.

White bedroom

Large DIY art

I think it’s the only room they painted and they swapped out our black curtain rod and sheers for a white rod and purple drapes, which is so perfect for a kid’s room.

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now

They used the smallest bedroom as a guest room/office combo, but we had used the space for two desks.

Home office with two desks

Silk drapes

The new owners had asked for some art that I hadn’t wanted to leave behind so it was removed from the contract.  In the end, I ended up leaving them the painting in the office as a peace offering.  It’s strange to see it in the exact same spot in the office!  They moved the bedroom sheers in here and got rid of my silk drapes.  I wish I’d known they’d chuck them, because that was a lot of silk and I really wanted to take the panels with me.

Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now

In the bathroom, not much changed but you know that I approve of their aqua towels 😉

Grey and white marble bathroom
Top Photo: When it Was Ours // Bottom Photo: Now

The basement, master powder room, and exterior didn’t change much.

It’s kind of neat to see our former townhome – our first house! – decorated and lived in by someone else.  We had some amazing years there and I think that because this was the first home we purchased, it will always have a special place in our hearts.  It looks like the new owners enjoyed their time there as well (at least I hope!) and I hope they’ve had a successful sale and moved on to their dream home!



  1. Haley
    February 4, 2016 / 2:38 pm

    This is so fun to see a comparison of how they've lived in it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      February 4, 2016 / 3:41 pm

      I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed the tour! Such a fun trip down memory lane…

  2. brikhouse2
    February 6, 2016 / 4:24 am

    Lol my only thought it yikes, how many kids do they have? 3 beds in the kids room and a crib in the master. And they all appear close in age. lol

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      February 6, 2016 / 3:38 pm

      If I remember correctly, they had two kids and were expecting a third? Or did they have three kids already? They were about the age we were when we bought the townhouse, but they were at such a different stage of their lives. It was such a funny feeling. I'm surprised the kids liked rooming together!

  3. cred
    February 8, 2016 / 3:28 pm

    That's pretty fun. I would love a peek at our old house as it is now.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      February 8, 2016 / 5:04 pm

      Can you rig a "flat tire" outside their house and ask to use the phone, lol? I don't know if you saw the posts from thr beautiful house we saw vacationed in when in Duluth MN? That house was majorly renoed and I'm so tempted to knock on the door one day and ask for a tour. It must look so stunning, it had major potential!

  4. Vin
    February 9, 2016 / 1:55 am

    This is such a fun post! I cant imagine your excitement seeing those photos. We live in an apartment complex with a few other apartments having the same exact layout. I'm always curious to see what others have done with the same space. Some of the friendly neighbours' places, I have visited, but I think I'm turning into a very creepy neighbour. Just today I caught a view of another apt, and told my husband " Did you see their couch is on that wall, not this"

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      February 9, 2016 / 4:32 pm

      Haha, I used to do that too! The other townhouses had the same layout and we were always trolling real estate listings (or taking late night walks) to see how our neighbours had decorated. I loved seeing how differently people used the small spaces!

  5. tracie
    November 22, 2016 / 5:30 am

    I love that seascape you left them!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 22, 2016 / 5:53 am

      That was a lucky thrift store score – I was happy to see they liked it enough to keep it up on the wall 🙂

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