The Victorian House

My ‘No Makeup Home Tour’

I straighten the house before taking photos. Clear surfaces, vacuum the rug, and gather the toys out of sight. I’ll run to Trader Joe’s for flowers, or to the florist if I really want something special.

On a daily basis though? Let’s just say there are not always floral arrangements. Welcome to my ‘No Makeup Home Tour.’

No Makeup Home Tour

This tour has no fresh flowers, no pre-photo tidying, and no tight vignettes. It’s my home with no makeup on, and I’m taking you on a tour of the first floor. This is the part of our house that if you were to visit, I would show you around and say “sorry, it doesn’t always look like this!” (Except that it has totally looked like this for the past two months.)

Welcome to our home! Mind the boxes.

Entryway with Boxes

Can I go with the excuse that we are renovating? The problem is though that we are almost always mid-project. Sometimes it’s the fun stuff, and I’m just decorating. Just as often, it’s the not-so-fun stuff, like rewiring or fixing a plumbing problem. Old houses are good for that. They keep you on your toes.

In this case, I’m working on both the laundry room and a bathroom. Some of the bigger things (cabinets, a pallet of tile) have been hanging out in the garage, but the rest? Oh, it’s all been in the entryway for far too long.

Entry and Library

There’s a toilet and sink in some of those boxes. Light fixtures, a tile saw, and a few faucets, too. I’m excited about the upcoming projects, but also looking forward to reclaiming our entryway. The crate, at least, is not usually there.


I ordered a new coffee table, and it arrived right as I was about to take my photos for this post. So not only were there boxes, there was also that big ol’ crate. I took it apart enough to get the table out and then set it in place. So pretty! Up it went on Instagram after a quick styling.

Noir Rena Coffee Table, Teal Sofa | Making it Lovely

It’s a photo I snapped and edited with my phone, so it’s not the best, but see the magic of a cropped photo and some handy fake peonies? Five minutes before, it looked like this. Zooming out reveals the old coffee table lurking on the lefthand side.

Living Room

I’ll need to list that other table for sale and get it out of here. Same with the velvet Eastlake bench. It has been useful as extra seating — I do want a chair in that spot — but I know that I don’t want that particular piece.

View from the kitchen! Cool 100-year-old stove. Messy fridge covered in random kid stuff and things that amuse us.


Over in the dining room, I did finally take the plastic tablecloth off the table a few days ago. It was pink, with llamas, and it said “PARTY ANIMAL” all over it. I apologize for not leaving it a little longer so that you too could enjoy it’s sophisticated beauty! I did however make sure to leave the gifts on the buffet that we still haven’t put away. There are also four silverware boxes sitting out because: organization. (I might not be doing that right?)

Dining Room

Let’s end with a look back at the library. Not bad! That box is a fort and rocket ship, and therefore a semi-permanent fixture that will stay until it falls apart or we trip on it too many times. The kids have been drawing all over it while I hold my breath in hopes that they will not get marker all over the light rug. So far so good.


Those walls are so bare though. Right? It’s on the list. I’ve ordered some naughty Tarot cards that I’d like to frame as art. They might do nicely if I don’t use them to create a grid wall in the living room instead. *Throws hands up like a shrug emoji*

It’s a work in progress. Always.

Want to see some more ‘no makeup’ home tours? Of course you do!

Kyla from House of Hipsters came up with the brilliant idea for these tours, and in addition to inviting me to participate, she has assembled a pretty rad cast of bloggers to do the same. Each tour is linked below!

The No Makeup Home Tour Participants, May 2018

• Anita Yokota • Anne Sage • Bigger Than the Three of Us • brittanyMakes • Centered by Design • copycatchic • Erica Reitman • Francois et Moi • House of Brinson • House of Hipsters • The Makerista • Making it Lovely • Megan Pflug Designs • Oleander + Palm • Room for Tuesday • Yellow Brick Home

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • Erica Reitman
    May 23, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Love this insider-y look at your gorge home!

  • Ashley@BiggerthantheThreeofUs
    May 23, 2018 at 9:01 am

    The magic of a tight-cropped photo! Can I just say that the new coffee table is amazing!

  • sarah
    May 23, 2018 at 10:15 am

    That coffee table though… I’m in love!! I can definitely relate to the packages and boxes piling up. Your cropped photos are stunning, but the realistic wide shots are just as gorgeous- even amongst the real life.

  • Kyla — House Of Hipsters
    May 23, 2018 at 10:30 am

    OMG, everyone needs naughty tarot cards and a pink llama tablecloth…just sayin’! Ha! Thank you sooooo much for the behind the scenes look and I’m dying over the coffee table! It’s gorgeous!

  • Alexa
    May 23, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Where do you sell your unwanted furniture pieces? My home is the about same age/layout as yours (and I live in the Chicago area). Thanks!

    • Making it Lovely
      May 23, 2018 at 10:59 am

      I usually list them on FB marketplace and the Oak Park garage sale group. I haven’t listed them yet, but send me an email ( if you’re interested in the coffee table or Eastlake seat!

  • Claire Staszak
    May 23, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Okay, you might win for opening photo! That renovation storage shot is great look at the reality of renovating. I love how you keep it real so much of the time, working on a older home is a challenge you execute so beautifully! XO

  • Elizabeth
    May 23, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! It’s a great comfort to see that other people’s homes are just as cluttered as my own even though I always have the best of intentions to organize and keep it that way. Bloggers: They’re just like us!

  • Sydni Abrahamsen
    May 23, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you for letting us see it like this!! I am always in awe of bloggers like you who have such beautiful homes (especially when they have young children). Seeing proof that it doesn’t always look perfectly spotless and gorgeously staged makes me feel better about my own clutter and cardboard box spaceships. :)

  • Sarah
    May 23, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Oh my goodness I LOVED this! Stacks of books and random things? Check. Box to be drawn on and used for imaginary adventures? Check. Rather than an extra coffee table or boxes related to a renovation, we have laundry baskets of clean clothes lying around, along with either a wooden train track snaking through our living space or any number of duplo creations. Lived-in rooms are beautiful too! And I love seeing photos of homes that look like mine :)

  • Lori
    May 23, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Thank you for this! It made me feel… less alone in my impossible to keep tidy homemaking.

  • Kathleen Sandy
    May 23, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Well, thank God for this idea! Inviting your followers to take a peek behind the curtain of reality is healthy. I don’t know how you young Moms can stand all the perfection! I don’t think I could have handled it at your age. ;) By the way…. I LOVE your new coffee table! Where can I get it?

  • S. Shaw
    May 23, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I love this ‘real’ look at your home. Such impossibly high standards in media, it’s refreshing to be reminded that there is often a bit of smoke & mirrors involved in creating that perfection. Thank you for sharing!

  • Katrin
    May 23, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Thank you! I loved this. My house looks a lot like this unless we are expecting guests, so this was a big relief!

  • Michele
    May 23, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Just beautiful! Maybe you already referenced it, but where is your beautiful ivory rug and new coffee table from?

  • Create/Enjoy
    May 24, 2018 at 4:54 am

    Still a beautiful home! I love those hanging globe light fixtures. I always have a hard time putting gifts away in a timely manner too!

  • A
    May 24, 2018 at 9:45 am

    This is very liberating! ❤️

  • Kara S.
    May 25, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    This is maybe one of the best posts you’ve ever posted. I like how yours is truly honest. Some designers taking part have a dog on their sofa and are like “look! the dog sleeps here!”, still tightly cropped and still very curated. I love this. Thank you.

  • elise
    May 27, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Thank you for this peek beyond the camera frame! This is great! I just took a break from rainy day cleaning, looked out in my garden and fantasized about what it would look like without the giant trampoline. In almost the same breath, I thought about how that would mean my kids have grown and moved on. No need to rush the spotless house — enjoying the clutter of play, creativity, and a life well lived!

  • Kayla Waters
    May 29, 2018 at 9:27 am

    I love this. That is all :-)

  • sonrie
    May 30, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    This is such a relief! I do love looking at perfectly styled homes for overall design inspiration, though this is really what I (and everyone I know) live with on a typical basis. Thanks so much for sharing these images :)

  • Liz
    May 31, 2018 at 9:25 am

    I love this. Some of the home tours I saw were still incredibly tidy, like, ‘Don’t mind the one post-it note/tousled drape/imperfectly thrown throw, etc. in my otherwise sparkling house.’ (I almost didn’t read your post because I didn’t want to see more of the same.) Our dining room furniture (a 7′ table, 8 Windsor chairs, a buffet, and an 8×10′ rug) lived in our family room for EIGHT WEEKS while I repaired and painted our plaster dining room walls; you either had to sidle past or barrel-roll under the table to get into the family room and we ate all our meals at the coffee table. Exciting times over here!

  • Aoife
    June 4, 2018 at 3:07 am

    Wow! I love the real life look at your beautiful home. I’ve found myself having a bit of a social media detox lately because I was being quite hard on myself over my inability to clear my kitchen counters of clutter and my mountains of clean laundry that never made it back into the drawers and wardrobes. I love the perfectly styled pretty pictures but without there being a balance of real life it makes me feel bad that I can’t juggle everything with ease! Thank you for the ‘big reveal’!

  • Furniture
    June 4, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Coffee table with those pink chairs looks too good. I am in love… ❤

  • ips in mpls
    June 6, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Thank you so much for this, Nicole. I’m just a regular person, with a regular “day job,” and a husband and three kids at home. It can feel defeating at times to see other people’s perfectly “done” homes, while we often struggle just to keep up with all the laundry and basic cleaning and lawn care. Right now there’s a Mylar “9” floating in my living room, from my son’s birthday three weeks ago, but we did finally get rid of the packaging from the gifts… I really appreciate this quick, honest look! Thank you! (Your house is so beautiful, with makeup or not!)

  • Kian Foster
    June 19, 2018 at 3:48 am

    Makeup or no makeup your home looks lovely! I love the staircase and the pink chairs – lovely accents.

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  • Marina Platzer
    December 4, 2019 at 1:17 am

    Recently some of my favorite design blogs have been doing No Make-up Home Tours , a real life look at what their houses look like on a daily basis. I m loving it so much I decided to do one myself. One of my favorites was from Brepurposed,  make sure to check her out! Even as a designer myself, knowing the set-up and styling that goes into a photo, sometimes it s easy to forget these people s houses don t look like this all the time. Living in a house that we are remodeling means unfinished projects, tools and paint laying around everywhere. We also don t have the budget to be able to decorate every room all at once. Not to mention we just aren t neat and tidy people to begin with and we are ok with that ?? So here is a peak into our house as it is right now, no cleaning or styling!