Andrea’s Parlor

Andrea wrote to me a few weeks ago:  “I need help making my house more attractive, but have almost no budget to do so.  I am sure you can relate.  I am terrible with colors.  My house is dark. So, I’d like to lighten things up.  It had all dark trim.  I am slowly painting it all white.  I have a rather small living room which comes off of a very large eat-in kitchen by a set of French doors.  So, I need the colors to flow, since it is visible from the kitchen.  I am more of a country girl than a modern girl.  My oldest is graduating this year and we are having a cookout here.  We were so blessed to be able to homeschool him for his entire schooling.  So, I am ready for a party! I really want to spruce things up, but don’t have too much time.  It is June 17th!”

Andrea’s home is large and airy and the French doors are really charming.  Her whole main floor is butter yellow and it’s such a bright sunny color, I decided to use the same thing in her parlor.

Here is her foyer

and her dining area with the butter walls.

Here is her parlor.  She’s in the midst of a big wallpaper removal project, so it doesn’t have any paint yet.

She has done a lot of things right with her space.  First her idea to paint all the trim white is perfect. It really does brighten up the space and make it feel fresh and crisp.  She also has a nice big rug and not too much clutter.

This view shows another window on the other side of the armoire! I love how much natural light is in this room.

When I’m working in a room the first thing I do is empty it completely, then give everything a fresh coat of paint.  I know designers think of the ceiling as the 5th wall, but when it comes to a space that I like living in long term, I’ve never found anything better than a bright white ceiling to bounce as much light as possible.

When a room is empty you can see things like: the armoire was blocking the light from the far window from reaching into the room, and it was taking up space that rightfully belongs to curtains.

I decided on a color scheme of butter yellow, pale aqua, and shades of pink.  I found a beautiful rug  that will bring in the pale aqua without drawing too much attention to itself.  Then I tried it on with some fun pink curtains with tassels.

It didn’t have the restful vibe that I thought she would want, so I traded them out for an aqua set with white pinstripes and mini pom pom trim. Texture from pom poms or tassles or a woven in stripe give a design more depth. Also, curtains look best when hung as high and wide as possible. They can be closed when necessary for privacy but when open shouldn’t block any of the glass.

Curtains too low, too short and too narrow.

Long curtains hung too low and too narrow.

Curtains hung high and wide.

Ahhh, that’s better.  Her furniture looks super comfy but a little worn, so I recommend she slip covers it in white or cream.  That sounds scary but slip covers wash very well and bleach in the sun.  For the best look, sew tailored covers that have separate covers for each cushion.

Furniture looks best when it isn’t pushed all the way back against the walls.  It also needs to have at least it’s front legs on the rug so everything looks cohesive. To give a place to add lamps on the windowless wall I slid a sofa table behind the sofa.  You’ll be able to see the cute X design from the doorway.  Free plans here.

I used a Hemnes dresser for a TV console, but she could use any lowboy style dresser painted white that fit in her space.  Unlike the Armoire, it’s low stature will allow light to travel through the space and it can be pulled forward far enough to allow the curtains to hang freely behind it.  (It’s on sale for $50 off through the end of May.)

Since everything in this room is square so far, I added a round coffee table (and round stump end table shown later.)  They are both easy builds for someone with a little wood experience.

Next up are some cozy throw pillows to bring in our pink accent color, aqua Glass lamps with mirror behind, and a basket under the table for texture (and to hold music stand pieces when they are collapsed.)

The room is still missing something… you know what it is?  PLANTS!  Whether real or faux, plants add greenery and LIFE to a space and no room will feel complete without them.

The window box is made from reclaimed wood and filled with chalk painted mason jars with jute trim and stuffed with faux roses and greenery. But Andrea could pot herbs in the jars in stead.  A small bowl filled with moss adds greenery where there might not be enough light for a houseplant. And aqua glass vases hold faux flower stems.

If she needs additional storage for sheet music or instruments, she can add a lateral file cabinet or console under the window.

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P.S.  After I showed her the pictures, she said, “But I’m tired of yellow.”  Bwa ha ha!  No worries.  I showed her what it would look like if the walls were painted Benjamin Moore White Heron.  You know what?  I like it even better.

Makeover Monday: Lindsey’s Bowling Alley Living Room

Lindsey recently moved into this home with gorgeous thick wood molding.  The living room is open to the dining room and kitchen with a wide cased opening.

She writes: “The only things that NEED to stay in the room are the couch, the curtains, and the white paint. Everything else is leftover from our old house and can be eventually replaced or moved elsewhere. (The rug is new but doesn’t have to stay in this room.)”

In addition to help with the awkward layout, she asked for assistance with lighting and how to cover so much blank wall space.  She had a really great floor lamp, but it wasn’t enough to light the 20′ long space without central light fixtures.  She requested more help with lamp placement since ceiling fixtures  seemed way too expensive.

The challenge is the living room’s 11×20 floorprint, making furniture arrangement difficult. It’s so tricky, I had to mull over it for several weeks before I came up with some options.

The door you see here, leads to the entry, and the previous owner had the cable hook up installed right by the door. That makes it feel like you have to have your TV right there, covering up part of the doorway trim, and  leaves the larger half of the room awkwardly wondering what it’s function should be. 

Moving Cable hookups is a fairly simple project (according to Pretty Handy Girl.)  So I slid her console further down the wall so she could center her seating area on the window.  Normally I wouldn’t put furniture blocking a window, but since these windows go all the way to the floor it’s the best option. The trick is to make sure the cords are hidden as much as possible to look ok from the outside.  I would attach them to the back of the console with matching yellow tape.

In our personal house projects, we have found that electricians will often work evenings on side jobs for extra money and charge around $30 an hour.  They can create hookups and install light fixtures in 2-3 hours, making them cost the same as buying a handful of table lamps.  So just in case I could persuaded her, I put a pair of matching flush shell chandeliers in the space.  Just because the ceilings are 8′ doesn’t mean you can’t have statement lighting.  These only have a 12 inch drop and each hold 4-60 watt bulbs, but she can go even brighter with LEDs if she needs it.

If she prefers, she can add accent tables (stump tables are my favorite when the budget it tight) and add lamps to them.

I added some built in shelving to surround the window.  This pulls the wall closer while giving her extra storage and a little bench under the window.  The wood frame of the bench, ends under the glass of the window, but the cushion is above.  A Roman shade hung from the ceiling adds softness to this end of the room and visible height.   It can be pulled down for privacy, but when raised up, doesn’t block any natural light.

On the entry side of the room, I built her a mudroom locker system with doors that close completely so you don’t see any clutter from the living room side.  I added a landscape print where her TV used to be with accents of blue in it to coordinate with her curtains.  A large mirror on the opposite wall gives you a space to check yourself before leaving the house, but even better it visibly widens the narrow room.  By reflecting the landscape print on the opposite side, subconsciously we register the mirror as a window.

I used a playful rug to ground the seating are.  It’s large enough (8×10) that all the legs of the furniture can rest on it.  This print is from RugsUsa and reminds me of a modern granny square afghan.  I love how it brjngs together the yellow and turquoise from her curtains and console while bringing in some of the mid-century modern feel from her design boards.  To added texture I brought in a pom pom accent throw and throw pillows. And a plush round storage ottoman to hold extra blankets and extra seating and no dangerous corners.

For additional art I used family pictures taken in outfits that compliment her color scheme.  When you hang your curtains high and wide, not only does the window look bigger and the ceilings taller, but you don’t need as much art, win-win-win.

Just for giggles, here are some side by side before and afters.


Yellow Smile

Teal Flower

Teal Medallion

Pink Fur Pillow

Pink Dot Pillow

Tall light gray chair

Tufted Accent Chair

Art (this is the source i got it from but I had trouble nailing it down after that.)

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Makeover Monday Nicci’s Living Room

When Nicci sent me the before photos of her living room I was blown away with the great bones of the space. 

It has a tall vaulted ceiling, a big centered fireplace, and is flanked on both sides with floor to ceiling windows.  So much light!

The semi-open floor plan looks into her kitchen and eating area to the left, and a work area with locker storage to the right that is right near the front door.  Stairs in the center lead to the bedrooms.

She already had the perfect furniture arrangement for the layout of the space.  The room could also support dueling full size sofas and accent chairs, but to keep the budget low, I reused her original pieces.  She said they’ve enjoyed their paint color but are are ready for something new.  She wasn’t sure if gray was too close to the end of it’s trend life to invest in  painting such a big area and wondered if she should dismantle and redo the fireplace completely.   She sent me her pinterest board of ideas and it was modern farmhouse style with planked walls and neutral colors.  Like these:

She was very interest in doing built ins on each side of the fireplace.  So I did one photo showing her how that would look if she took down the upper columns on the fireplace and planked the wall instead.  I put in custom built-ins and styled the shelves for her with color pops of salmony pink.  The TV would hide in the doored lower section on the right.

I also pulled out her fireplace insert and painted the inside with heat proof black paint. Then covered her hearth tile with Chalk Board Contact Paperas seen on The Nesting Place here and here.  She can leave it seasoned, or change the pattern to suit her fancy. There’s Marble Vinyl Paper on her hearth step. If she likes the look, she can make it more permanent later by looking for marble slab leftovers at Habitat Restore. I chose Benjamin Moore’s New Hope Gray for her paint color.  It’s gray with undertones of blue which keeps it from feeling too industrial.  It’s a medium color but pairs nicely with her gray/brown sectional and is lighter than her current paint.

Flower Arrangement


Paint Color: New Hope Gray


After looking at the picture for awhile, I started thinking about how much work it would be to demolish the fireplace.  To make the builtins work she’d also have to redo the whole mantle area and somehow scribe fill the gap between the built ins and the hearth.  It’s possible, but enough tricky and expensive that it might not ever happen.  So I made her a 2nd option, where she just filled the central panel of the upper fireplace with planks. And purchased matching cabinets for the lower area.  I hung her TV on the wall and then used art on both sides to make it look like part of an art installment.


Gather Art

Mountain Art

Here’s the deal about the gray trend.  Nothing is out of style if YOU like it.  Gray is a classic neutral and by itself isn’t on or off trend.  It’s what you put with it that might look outdated.  When gray was first all the rage it was paired with yellow or green, chevron stripes, or just lots of white and other cool neutrals.  The more current gray is warmed up with wood tones, greenery, and pops of color, but a well styled room is never “out” even if it’s using elements that were trendy 10 years ago.

P.S.  If you wish you were better at making decorating decisions for your own home, there’s something coming on Wednesday that is going to rock your world!  I’m so excited to tell you all about it.

Would you like your room photoshopped and featured on Makeover Monday?  Send a few photos from your space to and tell me your hopes and dreams for the room.  It’s free 🙂 


Makeover Monday Jenna’s Living Room

Happy Monday! I met Jenna in the Cozy Minimalist facebook support group and she offered to let me use her living room pictures for a post here.  They are getting new wood flooring installed soon and she was excited to get a different perspective for her space.

I love her fireplace and that the brick is already white! The window you see peeking on the left is a pass through to the kitchen.

You can see it more clearly here.

The opposite side has a beautiful glass slider to her outdoor living space.

There’s a nice blank wall to the back of the room.

Jenna didn’t give me much direction for the room, except that she wanted it to be light and bright.  That’s my favorite kind of room :). First off I gave everything a coat of fresh paint in Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White.  It is very light with a slight gray/green undertone.

To keep it from feeling too cold or plain, I added texture and warmth with wood pieces, linens, and colored sofas.  With a neutral sofa base and added color with fitted slip covers, she can enjoy the splash of color without committing long term on an expensive piece.

I moved her TV above the fireplace so she could add more seating. I recommend using a Pull-Down TV Wall Mountso it can still be viewed at eye level and pushed back and covered with the barn door sliders when company is over.  The sliders have magnolia wreaths for a touch of green.

I added a thicker mantle from distressed wood to better balance the size of her beautiful fireplace. Here’s a tutorial to do it on the cheap.  another similar tutorial And filled her fireplace with decorative birch logs.  If birch isn’t plentiful in her area, she can mimic the look by dry brushing white chalk paint onto regular logs.

I used curtains on the doors to add softness to the room.  Hanging them high and wide gives the illusion of taller ceilings.  It also covers blank  wall so Jenna won’t need as much art work.   Throw pillows turn the hearth into additional seating, perfect for gatherings with lots of kids.  And the ottoman can be used as a coffee table with the addition of a wooden tray to stabilize beverages or pulled to the side for even more seating.  I’ve seen ottomans this style with a lift up top for blanket storage inside.

Here you can see the impact of the curtains on the doors a little better.  They are hung all the way to the side, so they don’t interfere with door access.  I had trouble finding a blue sofa at just the right angle, but I recommend she pull it closer than she had her sofa before.  Just to the edge of the door area, for easier conversation and better TV viewing.

Since pulling the sofa closer will leave her blank wall with a gap (I’m guessing there will be 3-4 feet behind the sofa.)  She will have room to install bookcases floor to ceiling with classic crown molding. This explodes her storage potential while still giving room for someone to walk behind the sofa and select a book for reading.  Bookcase photo and tutorial from Centsational Girl.

Finding the right angle of sofa in the right colors was a big challenge. That’s why all the blues are a little different, but you get the idea.  I like having one in a lighter shade of blue than the other, to keep the space from feeling too matched.  With the curtains, sliders, and bookcase, there’s only one place for artwork left.  I think Jenna should make it ONE big piece that she loves.  I put this watercolor piece in for an example, but she could do anything, even paint something abstract herself.

I noticed Jenna had a nice bold green in her kitchen, so wanted to show her what it would look like if she decided to go with Green instead of blue.  (She’d have to pick out different curtains.)

Just for giggles, here are some side by side photos for you.

Additional Sources:

Would you like your room photoshopped and featured on Makeover Monday?  Send a few photos from your space to and tell me your hopes and dreams for the room.  It’s free 🙂 

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Makeover Monday: Grace’s Kitchen

Grace was a camper in my cabin many years ago when I was a counselor at Jr. High camp.  She has always been tender hearted and giving, a true beauty inside and out.  They recently expanded their family of 6 to a family of 8 with the addition of two foster children, and their 3 bedroom, 1 bath house felt a lot smaller.

The doorway to the left of the stove is where the old dining room door was.  Now that it’s walled off, her fridge can go there.

This winter they sold their home and moved to a fixer upper just a few streets over from me.  The whole family pitched in together to wall in the dining room to make another bedroom. They also added another bedroom to the one already finished in the basement.

The wall straight ahead needs to come down.  It’s a load bearing wall, with ductwork and electrical in it, so it’s not a simple job.

Grace hosted a youth activity at her home a few weeks ago and invited my kids to join in the fun.  When I dropped them off, I was super excited to peek at the new digs.  She had two living rooms side by side. They turned one into the new dining room since the existing dining room was now a bedroom.  She mentioned her dream of taking down the wall between that room and the kitchen and adding an island for a more open feel and more workspace, and I offered to show her what it might look like in photoshop.

For her kitchen I removed the scalloped window trim and painted her upper cabinets white and the lowers navy blue.  And gave her copper drawer pulls, faucet, and mixer to warm up the space. The navy runner is from Dash and Albert.  The new fridge is tucked next to the stove, giving her room to blow the wall out to the left.

Here’s a side by side view.

In the dining room, I rebuilt her built in cabinets to be symmetrical, then gave them the same navy/white combo as her cabinets to make it feel like one big room.  I used a chunky beam to support the house with the wall gone and moved her duct work to the east wall. The electrical outlet can go right on her island between the two rooms.  Her fireplace got an update with white paint and a chunkier mantle.  Her original dining room table is already the perfect style and size to pop right back into the room, and with the table in place, she can put in a signature light fixture over the table.

Her original ceiling is tile, but since the wall is coming down anyway, I suggested they put drywall up instead.  I replaced her mini blinds with bamboo shades and simple white Ikea curtains.  I love her original floors, but with the wall down and the kitchen floor not matching, I showed them what it would look like to use vinyl click floor instead.  It looks like wood but it’s 100% waterproof and less prone to scratches than wood floors.  That’s a good combination with a lot of young kids around.

Would you like your room photoshopped and featured on Makeover Monday?  Send a few photos from your space to and tell me your hopes and dreams for the room.  

Get a full service virtual makeover complete with 3D room layout plan, 2 photoshop views, step by step work list, and source list–all in your budget. Find out more.


Learn how to use Photoshop your own designs with the Room Makeover class.

Makeover Monday: Peggy’s House

Peggy has a nice open floor plan with a kitchen, hearth room, and dining room all connected.  It has beautiful built ins and lots of windows, but it still felt dark to her.

She asked for advice in the Cozy Minimalist community for the hearth room only, wishing she could paint the built in cabinets and fireplace white, but afraid it wouldn’t look right with the black cabinets.

We were all distracted by her upper kitchen cabinet blocking the line of sight.  She had made it a lot better by removing both sides of the doors to allow some light through. She stores bowls in it that she uses frequently and was not excited to give up the storage.  I made a little photo for her so she could envision what it might look like all opened up with the white she was craving.

I removed the hanging cabinet and painted her remaining upper cabinet white. Matching crown molding around it would tie it all together even better.  Then added a floor to ceiling built in cabinet, a simple box made from plywood with doors and crown moulding, where her shorter bookcase was before.  Build it with free plans here. This would give her back the storage she lost without taking up any more space.  Just for giggles I added matching doors on her existing bookcases with the white mantle and mirror.  I also switched out her light fixtures for a modern farmhouse look.   I used her existing mirror over the fireplace, but I think a big round mirror would look even better.   Here’s the before and after side by side.

Peggy was concerned about the expense of refinishing the ceiling under the cabinet, but her ceilings are perfectly smooth.  In this situation, the ceiling is usually finished underneath and all she would need to do is fill in the screw holes with some quick dry spackle and touch up the paint.  I didn’t change her paint color in the new picture, but all the white accents make it look darker than when it was by the black.

Would you like your room photoshopped and featured on Makeover Monday?  Send a few photos from your space to and tell me your hopes and dreams for the room.  

Get a full service virtual makeover complete with 3D room layout plan, 2 photoshop views, step by step work list, and within your budget source list. Find out more.


Learn how to use Photoshop for your own designs with the Room Makeover class.

House Updates

We’ve been working on this fixer upper of ours for 4 years! This is the year we might get it finished.

I pulled the red sculpted carpeting on the second floor last year even though we didn’t have money to replace flooring.  The carpet was 40 years old and the allergens were really built up in it. As soon as we figured out it was part of why I was sick all the time we pulled it out. I painted the subfloor with porch paint and even though it was rough, it was ok.   As soon as I could save up the money, I bought the same flooring (TrafficMASTER Handscraped Seratoga Hickory) we put down in Heather’s room. (I still need to paint the walls, add trim and wainscoting and art. And move the mattress, ha ha–but baby steps.)

It’s a little darker than the trend is going right now, but it matches our vintage doors perfectly and is only $.99 a square foot.  Their lighter colorway in Lakeshore Pecan is only $.79 a square foot!  It has been in Heather’s room for almost 4 years now and it has worn perfectly.  No scratches or chunks out of it.  It has held up better than the real hardwood we installed on the main floor.

Next step is to replace the paneling in the office.  I was going to paint it white, but it has water damage that caused the panels to warp and fail at the seams, which could mean mold issues above. As much as I’m afraid to look behind the paneling, I can’t risk leaving mold up there.  With fresh white paneling up, the office will become the temporary master bedroom.  I’ll miss my closet, but I won’t miss running past the glass front door wearing nothing but a towel as I head to the working bathroom while hoping the glare of the sun off the glass blinds the neighbors before the sight of me in a towel does.  I’m imagining this kind of cottage feel:


After that, we start removing the pine planked basement ceiling which is covered with 100 florescent lights.  I love the look of a painted pine ceiling, but the lights created 100 large holes that can’t be easily fixed.  The plan is to drywall the ceiling with a modest amount of LED recessed lights, and hope to leave the pine walls for painting.   Heidi and I have plans for the ruined pine planks.  We are hoping there will be long enough scraps to build some furniture.

The ceiling is coming down before we’re ready to finish the basement to give access to electrical and plumbing for the new master bedroom.  The master has been raw studs and exposed pipes and wires for 4 years.  I got tired of looking at it and thumbtacked twin flat sheets to the ceiling awhile ago.  It really did make waiting easier.

Under the plywood on the floor is a giant hole where the sunken bathtub with no surrounding walls used to live.  It was a big tripping hazard, so we had the tub hauled off by a metal recycler and plunked some plywood down so no one would fall to their death to the basement.  This is RIGHT in front of the entrance to the bedroom.  You could sit in the former bathtub in the master and watch the TV in the family room and hold a conversation with everyone, convenient :).   Plus, the kids liked using it as a slide.  They were pretty upset they day it left.

We are moving the door in the master bedroom from the family room to the foyer.  This will give us enough space to build an ensuite bathroom, and allow faster middle of the night access to the 2nd floor where the children sleep.  The doors are right on the other side of the staircase from each other.  The new door is to the left of the old one and makes good sense inside the bedroom also.  There’s just enough space for the new door to make it 36 inches wide with room for proper trim.

Here are the current plans for the ensuite:

Also on the list:  finish the basement, build organizers in the garage, replace the driveway, build a lower patio under the upper deck, cut a back door and add stairs to go to the yard, build a swing set and finish the landscaping.  We’re about $16,000 short on the budget for ALL of this, so some projects will have to wait while we save up money.   I’m also hoping that I over budgeted on some projects and we will find money as we go along.  Bwa ha ha!  Like that EVER happens in remodeling.

We refinanced our home in January.  My parents hold the mortgage to the house.  It’s a rare situation I know, but they are very frugal and built a nice savings that my mom was afraid to invest in the stock market.  It was sitting in the bank making %0.005 interest driving my Dad crazy.  He was interested in loaning it to us where it could safely grow.  We were getting a mortgage anyway and would have to pay the interest somewhere, and it feels really good paying it to them.  We have the mortgage on direct deposit, so every month they automatically get paid.  We’re never late and everyone has peace of mind.  That simple piece of organization keeps the family relationship good.  I know this is something that Dave Ramsey says to never do, but it works for us.  This January, my folks gave us back all the principal+interest that we had paid them over the last 4 years and started our loan over.  If we are super careful, it should be enough to finish the house modestly.


DIY Pompom Trim Blanket

We have a bonus room over our garage that I’m using for my office/craft room/guest room.  It has a high vaulted ceiling and the previous home owners used every inch of floor space by not putting in knee walls.  The wall shown here with the window in it, is the only wall in the room that you can put furniture against and even that contains the tall laundry chute.  (I’m tempted to rip this out and just have a hatch in the floor.) Also the thread cabinet on the wall and the sewing table are going to new homes.

The whole room is paneled in 1970’s press board. It would look darling painted white, except for where the roof leaked many years ago, and warped the boards. I’m not sure what to do about that….so I’ve left it natural while we worked on other rooms. I used to have bright blue and white chevron curtains on the rods but am ready for a change.  I’m living with nothing while I decide what will be next.  There are outlets everywhere in the room, on the ceiling and on the floor.  It’s a crafter’s dream and strange all at the same time.  It’s going to be tricky to lay the floor in here, which I hope will happen December 26th.

After subjecting our guests to sleeping on an air mattress with a lumpy hide-a-bed mattress thrown over the top, I decided to invest in a more substantial guest bed.  I found this bed frame for a queen bed that folds up into a small square, yet the reviews said it was sturdy enough to use as an every day bed frame.  When folded, the bed frame perfectly fits in a triangle shaped cubby hole in the corner of the room by the furnace utility closet and tucks out of the way when not in use.

The bed frame didn’t require a box spring. I went to Ikea and tried out all their mattresses and came home with this one.  I had first thought to get an all foam mattress, but this one was surprisingly more comfortable.  It came vacuum sealed and rolled up in a cylinder shape, which made getting it home really easy.  I could imagine it sliding into the cubby beside the bed frame when not in use.  When I cut the plastic and the mattress fully expanded in the room, it was clear it wasn’t tucking behind anything.  SOOOO, my brilliant idea left me with a folded up bed frame in the corner of my office and a mattress on the floor.   Then I saw this blog post from ZevyJoy.  She explains how she used a $50 Ektorp slip cover to turn a queen bed into a daybed for their family room.  Since queen daybed frames were running $300-$1200 online, I thought this was a fabulously frugal alternative.

I made one more trip to Ikea for an Ektorp slipcover, some pillow forms and pillow covers to make my own version at home. (The shopping trip that inspired this post.) The effect is limited with the paneled walls and bare plywood floor (except for the well loved rug I threw down for feet safety, but it still beats the mattress on the floor vibe.  I used as much of what I had as possible.  The ektorp cover is stuffed with my spare feather pillows that I had been collecting for a few dollars at a time at second hand and salvage shops.  The chenile bedspread was in a free bin at my neighbor’s garage sale, because her new puppy had chewed a few holes in it.  (After mending it’s hard to find the damaged spots in all the texture.)

I love the texture of a chunky pompom throw and wanted one to cozy up the guest bed, but they are crazy expensive. The thought of wrapping a thousand homemade pompoms to sew to a blanket wasn’t very appealing, and I’m not a fan of finding strings all over the house that fell out of said homemade pompoms.  Crocheted pomopms are FAST and cannot lose strings.  I started with an Ikea Polarvide throw for $3.99.

The scalloped edge is adorable, but not great for this application.  I just grabbed my good fabric scissors and cut them off, ending up with a pile of petal shapes that I saved in a baggie waiting for inspiration for another project.

I chose Lion Brand Homespun Thick and Quick in Dove for the poms.  I wanted a chunky boucle yarn, to make it go faster and give the poms a furry texture.   It took almost all of 2 skeins to get around the blanket. At $8.99 a skein that would have upped the price of the throw quite a bit, but you probably guessed I used a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby for each skein.  (The final project cost was $14.79.)

I used a P hook from this set, but you can use any size and any type of yarn you prefer.  Start by chaining long enough to go all the way around the blanket.  After I had a fairly long chain, I started pinning it to the blanket as I went so I’d know as soon as my chain was long enough.  It also kept that huge chain from twisting.  Join with a slip stitch to close and single crochet in each chain around.

To form the pom: chain 6 and form a 3 double crochet cluster in the 3rd chain from the hook.  *Chain 3, then form another 3 double crochet cluster in the 3rd chain from the hook.  Slip stitch to fold those two clusters in half and form a ball.  Then chain 3, skip the next 3 single crochet stitches from your foundation row and single crochet in the next stitch.* Continue from * around.  Finish off and weave in the ends.

When you get to the end, if you don’t have a exactly 3 chains to skip, it’s ok to skip 2 or 4 or whatever is left.  It won’t show in the final blanket.

Here’s a video from Bella Coco that gives a nice visual:

When the edging was all finished, I used a long zigzag stitch on my machine to attach it to the blanket, using cream thread on the top and gray in the bottom so the threads would blend away.  The only problem was the chunky boucle kept getting caught in my presser foot.  Several times I wondered if hand stitching would have been the better plan.

Makeover Monday: Hide the Cords

Shelley contacted me two weeks ago wanting to spruce up her living room before her 9 children and all their grandchildren descended for Thanksgiving.  If that sounds daunting, it gets even more so.  After their children grew up, Shelley and her husband downsized their 5400 square foot home into a 2 bedroom double wide trailer in the country.  Then her good friend became terminally ill with cancer. Shelley spent the last few months staying with her friend to care for her until she passed away.  When Shelley got home and saw how everything fared while she was away, she was overwhelmed.

After I heard her story, I couldn’t help but love her heart.  I offered her smaller design packages to save her money, and she wouldn’t dream of it.  “I want the whole package–all of it.  And I want to pay.”  She also agreed to let me share her before and after pictures, even though privacy (along with speed) is part of the privilege of being a paid client. Heart of gold.

This is a good opportunity for me to share the details of what comes in a full package.

1. 2 pictures showing the new design
2. Shopping List with prices and sources within your specified budget
3. Step by step work list
4. 3-D furniture placement plan (video)

5. A Shared Custom Pinterest Board
6. One revision

At first Shelley was sure she wanted to keep all her original furniture.  I worked with her on that and showed her some slip cover options etc.  After rearranging everything according to the furniture layout plan, her husband sat on their old love seat and said “no way am I sitting on that!” and he bought her a new full size sofa and started talking about chairs. I love this so much because they were sticking to tiny pieces of furniture thinking that their home was small and they needed to conserve space.  Compared to what they had before, it is small, BUT the living space is much bigger than an average home.

Shelley's living room private Pinterest

The first thing we did was set up a shared private Pinterest board where I could pin sources to all the things I was putting on her shopping list and get her feedback.  She started window shopping and pinning things that she would like me to include in the design, especially new paintings that I might take a color scheme from.  I searched her Pinterest and Houzz pages she had previously made to get a feel for her style and color preferences.

I discovered through her boards that she loved horses and farmhouse style.  I found this original art piece on etsy that was beautiful and affordable:


The painting helped me choose her colors: Benjamin Moore Simply White (for Trim and shelves); Edgecomb Gray (for walls); Wedgewood Gray (Curtains and Accessories); and Hale Navy (for bottom of the hutch and accessories.)

shelleys-paint-schemeI chose her neutrals specifically for their yellow undertones.  They had just laid new country pine wood floors and if she used neutrals with pink undertones, or even a true white, they might look orange.

Here’s her before:

Shelley before 1

The first thing I noticed was her little green chair on the right.  So cute! Imagine it with a slip cover to look like this, except with a floor length skirt.


via Slipcovers by Shelley

I also noticed that all the wood in her home was the same tone of pine.  While it seems logical to match woods for a cohesive look, it ends up making a space look flat.  I suggested she paint the pine on the walls Edgecomb gray and the pine trim and entry paneling Simply white.  Then to mix in darker tones of wood in picture frames, coffee table and other furniture pieces.

I made 2 different concept photos for her of this view, because I really wanted her to get an Ektorp sectional.  Sectionals seat the most people in the least amount of space and it fits perfectly in her corner. You’ll notice in this picture, the walls are a different shade of tan, one she requested because they already had the paint and I switched out the painting from the blue horses to one similar to one her husband found in their shed that she wanted to use.


I created a built in media center for her to house her giant TV, with tons of storage below for dvds and toys for the grandkids.  It’s all built affordably and easily from Ikea Billy bookcases, with the extensions and optional doors.  They also have a giant pull down movie screen that they use a lot and I hid it behind a cornice and crown molding.  It’s easy to reach up and grab when they want it but hides away invisibly when not in use. The main goal here was to hide all the cords.  They are such tiny things, but give a sense of visual stress. I gave her choices of coffee tables to use over the poufs, but none were in the right format for the photo without hiding the sectional.


Here’s another concept with the sofa they were considering.  They thought it would be more comfortable than the sectional, so they bought it in a dark navy similar to the hale navy we will use in their dining room.

Shelley before 4

Here’s a before view of the Ham Radio corner.  I used this photo to help with the 3D floor plan rendering.  At first, Shelley’s husband made me promise not to touch the radios, but I couldn’t help myself.  I sent her this photo, and asked her to show her husband and see what he said. I told him I would create this only classier in another room if he would let us move the tower of cords and electronics blocking the window:


He loved it and said, “Forget the living room.  Just build this in there instead.”  Bwa ha ha!  That whole thing really backfired.   In there?  Isn’t there another room?  I made her show me pictures of every other room, lol.  They were right, there wasn’t another room.   I wanted to chop the visual height of all the radios so the eye was sent to the beautiful windows and beyond.  In the process, I needed to set up an area so he could actually use them.  The way they were it was so inconvenient that he didn’t spend much time with them even though he loved them.


I found this picture, based on a sawhorse console table by Shanty-2-Chic.  I’ve built 3 of these in my home and they are very easy and affordable.  For this design, I replaced the pieced top with hollow core doors for more workspace.  This will give him 14 feet of workspace!  I recommend she uses clips to secure the cords to the wall behind the window curtains.  (Hide all the cords!)

Here’s a 3d layout of the room showing how the desk fits in.

Here’s a 2nd 3d view with a sectional

Shelley before 3


There are so many more details we talked about, like updating her dining room ceiling fan like this.

farmhouse ceiling fan

and building rustic shelves like these behind her sofa so hold her projector so it would not longer be hanging from the ceiling with cords everywhere.  It would be close enough to the window curtains that she could hide the cords behind them.


At first she was opposed to an area rug because of her pets, but as the room started to come together she could totally see how a rug would bring everything together.  These are two of my favorites:

4062b21828990b0f895a8fd1a0b6cddf 24588a01805f8496d031914eace77b64

Here’s a final side by side before and after.


Would you like your room photoshopped and featured on Makeover Monday?  Send a few photos from your space to and tell me your hopes and dreams for the room.

Get a full service virtual makeover complete with 3D room layout plan, 2 photoshop views, step by step work list, and within your budget source list. Find out more.


Learn how to use Photoshop for your own designs with the Room Makeover class (It’s half off today, Monday, November 28th only!)

Makeover Monday: Curtains Make all the Difference

Melinda didn’t like her sunroom.  She removed all the excess stuff she could and it was better, but still didn’t feel right.  I looked at her photo and saw her gorgeous floors and charming arched doorway.  She also has a lot of handmade SOLID wood furniture that she doesn’t want to paint.  The pieces were made by her father who passed away and they are real treasures.  She has a nice neutral wall color that looks fresh and bright.melindas-sunroom

I noticed her pillow on the sofa in the adjoining room.  It reminded me of these drapes from Target, so I popped them in.  The important step is hanging the drapes at the ceiling instead of just above the window and wide enough that they don’t actually block the glass. There should be enough fabric on the sides that it could actually cover the window even though you probably never will.  If the fabric is too narrow, it won’t look right.  Hanging drapes this way  makes everything feel taller and grander. Because the angle of the room wasn’t easy, I only did the curtains on the front window.  Can you imagine them continued onto the side?   I added woven bamboo shades to bring the warmth of her floor and furniture up. target-curtains-slip-covered-chair

Also, I popped a slipcover onto her chair, just to update it and neutralize it.  If you can sew along a line, you can make a slip cover.  Here’s my favorite video to show how.  If you can’t sew along a line but want to learn, take all the thread out of the machine and practice along the lines of notebook paper.  It won’t damage your machine to sew on paper, but you’ll want to use an old needle and then change to a fresh needle before sewing on fabric.   Melinda has a big heart and a lot of pets, so slip covers are ideal for her.  She should make 2, so she can wash one and use one and always have one at the ready.

To hang curtains at the ceiling, you need at least 95″ panels.  My favorite sources for 95+ panels are (not available in store); Homegoods; and Ikea.  BUT you don’t have to limit your selection to items labeled curtains.  Twin flat sheets are the perfect length and come in a huge variety of colors.  Walmart carries a basic flat sheet for just $4.97.  Also, tablecloths!  I wanted to get black buffalo check curtains for my dining room for the winter, but couldn’t find anything affordable.  Then my friend told me about these tablecloths.  All I have to do is sew a rod pocket across the top.   If you don’t sew, ring clips or fusible hem tape work just as well.


Here’s a photoshop idea.  I’m headed to Ikea today to get the brackets to hang them :).

You don’t have to spend a fortune on hanging hardware.  My favorite curtain rods are electrical conduit pipe from the hardware store.  They come in 5 ft or 10 ft lengths and in different thicknesses.  I can buy a 3/4″ 10 foot pipe for around $3, then spray paint it black.  They are easy to cut to length with a hacksaw, or to use threaded connectors to make a longer rod. I hang mine with these $1.49 brackets from Ikea. Since this is a really wide area, I’m going to use 3 for a center support.

Would you like your room photoshopped and featured on Makeover Monday?  Send a few photos from your space to and tell me your hopes and dreams for the room.

Get a full service virtual makeover complete with 3D room layout plan, 2 photoshop views, step by step work list, and within your budget source list. Find out more.


Learn how to use Photoshop for your own designs with the Room Makeover class