The Nifty Fifties - Portrait Of An Empty Nester

Are you about to become an empty nester? Perhaps you already are and like me, having a tough time adjusting to the echo bouncing off the walls. Today I'm sharing my journey into the much anticipated yet surprisingly difficult journey and how I started blogging in my fifties with A Portrait Of An Empty Nester.

I must add, however, that I've never felt more comfortable in my own skin. The term nifty fifty describes this major milestone perfectly, at least it has for me, and I'll be graduating next summer.

Portrait Of An Empty Nester

A Portrait Of An Empty Nester

I started blogging in my mid-50's after my youngest graduated from high school. Thank goodness, because when we became empty-nesters shortly thereafter, I would have been lost without this blog. To my surprise, the empty nest hit me hard…real hard. The pin-dropping silence permeating this house drove me crazy and the stereo became my constant companion.

That's when I decided to take advantage of the uninterrupted time and immerse myself into blogging, taking it from a hobby blog to a let's get down to business. Besides, Mama hung up her apron and semi-retired from kitchen duties and now needed a Dine Out Fund!

I also needed space to create my new found love of breathing new life into furniture and home décor, the content aspect of my blog. So I took over the man cave a.k.a. basement workshop. Slowly the shelves filled with chalk and craft paint and work tables were erected in the middle of the room. In fact, I wrote a blog post about it here at She Ain't Pretty But She's Functional.

Grandma's Basement Workshop

While in the workshop, this ole gal started reading the power tool manuals (insert Tim The Toolman Taylor grunt here). No longer HIS power tools, Mama's Christmas Wish List went from bath salts and perfume to scroll saws and bench planers.

Grandma Learns To Operate Power Tools

With an Interior Redesign/Home Staging certification under my belt, one of my first post-empty nest projects was converting a now empty bedroom into a guest room. A warm and inviting space that how could the kids resist coming home for the holidays, despite living only a ten-minute drive away.

Empty Nest Guest Room

The next big project on my To Do List was getting rid of the dark fingerprint/dirt-concealing cabinetry and painting them white. I started in the kitchen and worked my way towards the living room and dining room.

Kitchen Cabinets Painted White

Empty Nest White Painted Kitchen Cabinets

You can see how our kitchen used to look like the inside of a wooden box here in my post, Kitchen Makeover On A Budget.

Living Room Built-In Fireplace And Bookcases 

Would you believe these built-ins used to be an 80's wall unit? You can see how we repurposed it here at A Repurposed 80's Wall Unit and how I refreshed it with A Pop Of Lime In The Living Room.

Empty Nest DIY Fireplace And Bookcases

Dining Room Makeover

The dining room was a dark and dreary space that I couldn't wait to tackle. As with the kitchen, a can of paint completely transformed this space. You can see the before pictures here in my Dining Room Makeover post.

Empty Nest White Painted Dining Room

Changing The Furniture

After the rooms were lightened and brightened, so too needed the furniture. One of the perks with children leaving the nest is that you can send them off with the furniture you no longer want.

All the furniture in our dining room (pictured above) were thrift store finds that I refreshed with chalk paint and new upholstery. Because this thrifty gal did not want to dip into the Dine Out Budget for new furniture.

The armchairs in the living room were found online for a song and refreshed with white chalk paint and new upholstery with a Parisian flair. The round swan table in the center also received a makeover.

If you would like to see how they were refreshed you can catch those projects here at:

Empty Nest Gets White Chalk Painted Furniture

Then this happened
Empty Nesters Become Grandparents
…and life in our home came full circle.

That pretty guest room now looks like this for when he has sleepovers at Grandma & Papa's…

Nursery At Grandma's House

And the stereo that filled the void of silence now looks like this…

Baby Proofing Grandma's Stereo

Those fresh white painted cabinets now have these on each door…

Grandma's Cabinets Go On Lock Down

…and when the first grandparent proof child proof lock was installed (different style than pictured) we had to have our daughter come over because we locked ourselves out of the cabinet!

Our refinished Duncan Phyfe dining room chairs now have one that looks like this…

Grandma's Dining Room Gets A Highchair

When guests come and go they have to navigate their way through this...

Baby Gate At Grandma's

And every time after we send him home to Mommy and Daddy loaded with sugar, our living room looks like this…

Grandma's Living Room After A Visit

Even our cat is looking down from a chair scoping the mess (look closely at the reflection in the fireplace glass).

And we wouldn’t change it for anything in the world!
- Life is good -

Fifty and fabulous, we are a group of strong and talented bloggers in the 50+ age range who refuse to let the numbers on our birth certificate zap our joy or slow us down. I invite and encourage you to visit the other Fifty and Fabulous gals by pressing the links below...
The Fifty Plus Crowd Blogging Group
Press the links below to be taken to their blog posts. Be prepared to be touched, inspired, and encouraged with a sprinkle here and there of laughter. Enjoy!



  1. OMG this is such a great article. I'm here from Designthusiasm. At 56 I can totally relate to all of this! Same exact thing happened to me. Thanks for posting.

    1. Hi Suzanne! So glad to hear I'm not the only one. Since this article was written another child as gotten married, another grandchild has entered our world, and I've graduated to the next decade. And still, the yearning for those days of messes and chaos come in waves but they instantly leave when my grandbabies come through the door. Cheers to the next chapter in our lives Suzanne and thanks so much for stopping by! 😊

  2. Why have I never seen this post before? I loved reading your story and can't tell you how much I admire what you do, Marie. When the kids leave it does feel like so empty and waaaaay to quiet. And the feeling never seems to go away.

    1. Oh my goodness Michelle, I'd forgotten all about this post! Gosh, so much has changed since writing this, now in my 60s. Like the addition of three more grand babies to love. And every room in the house has had a makeover. I need to update this post! LOL But you are so right, that feeling never goes away and you cherish those memories of when the nest wasn't so quiet. Oh how time flies. If only, even for a brief moment, we could go back and relive some of those moments.


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