Makeover Monday: Angela’s Office

We hired help to hang the bead-board in my office last week. In preparation, I looked at several rooms on Pinterest which motivated me to turn the paneling the opposite direction it was hung before. If you’d like to see my pinboard for this room find it here.

Those inspiration pins also encouraged me to make the wood we need to use to hide the seams wider and thicker so it would look like structural beams. We had originally planned to make it all white and subdued, but the photos with contrasting wood beams really caught my eye.  To make sure that was what I wanted, I drew an inspiration photo in photoshop first, and tested out some lighting options too.

Using photoshop to test out wall covering options

Here’s what it looked like before:

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Makeover Monday: Jesse’s Sunroom

I did this makeover in the spring, but with only 18 summers to spend with each kiddo I decided to wait to show you until now.  As I’m writing this, it’s the first official day of school and the house is empty. I have a senior!  How is this possible? And a sophomore, 8th grader, 6th grader, 4th grader, and 1st grader.  Today I walked my 1st grader to school and he held my hand the whole way.  It’s such a  privilege to share that time with him. 

Jessica’s family is quite an inspiration.  They live close to me and her husband, Brian, taught my kids violin lessons for YEARS.  My son’s first lesson, he hid under Brian’s coffee table and refused to come out.  Then screamed, “I hate you,” when we left.  Good times.  I escorted my kids to the car and came back in alone and said, “If I keep paying, can we come back?”  Brian graciously agreed and my son now plays in the high school orchestra.

That kind of patience is worth admiring, but on top of that, Jesse and Brian are rock stars when it comes to debt free living.  They paid off their small starter home fairly early in their marriage, then on a modest single income, lived there through the birth of 3 children, saving all they could until they could pay cash for a larger home in a better neighborhood.  Can you imagine being a young family with no payments?  It’s awesome, that’s what it is.

This is the view of the room standing in the back door from the living room.  It has a beautiful view of the backyard and plentiful big windows. 

If you step into the room and look to the right, you see this.

Standing in the doorway to the backyard and looking back towards the house.

This is just a shot to show you her current door.  It’s a cute shape, but we weren’t a fan of the yellow glass.  Her screen door is real wood and a very cool vintage style, but it’s always in their way.  They keep it propped open.

Jesse didn’t like ALL of the colors going on in the room.  There are 3 different shades of paint on the wall, plus a 4th for the ceiling.  AND the black windows, gray/brown flooring and brown door add 3 more colors to the mix.  Her biggest concern was all the black above and below the window was vinyl and part of the window unit.  Brian didn’t want to paint it because it isn’t drywall, but my philosophy is to never live with something you hate if you can paint it :).   Showing him a photo of how it would look painted made a big difference.

Instead of pretending the black window frames weren’t there, I encouraged her to embrace them into a mint, black and white color scheme.  I painted out the vinyl header and footer on the windows to match the walls and took the color all the way to the ceiling. Breaking up the walls with stripes of contrasting paint, like the previous owner had, only makes a room look shorter.  That kind of thing should be saved for ceilings 10 foot or taller.  I painted the crown molding to match the ceiling, but it could also be painted to match the walls.

Taking the drapes all the way to the ceiling minimizes some of the black while making the room feel even taller.  I kept them pushed off the glass to let in as much light as possible.  These drapes are just to soften the room and give a feeling of height…not to block light or the view.  A rolling cart holds an herb garden that’s conveniently close to the kitchen.  This is a space where Jesse can enjoy an iced tea with a friend while watching their kiddoes color in the art corner.

Jessica’s kitchen window overlooks one side of the sunroom.  They use the room for homeschool projects, especially art and science experiments which needed storage. I used Ikea Trofast bins to create a corner bench area and added upholstered cushions on top for comfort.  She can customize the size of the bins to the things she wants to organize there.

These are her original chairs painted a shade of green that’s slightly darker than her walls. The table is a similar shape and size to the one she had, but the solid wood top (no hole for the umbrella) and the pedestal bottom really elevates the piece.  I recommend she search Craigslist and garage sales to find something this style and to use her original table until then.

The windowless side of the room is the perfect spot for a chalkboard and art storage.  Since her children are so young, I hung the chalkboard on the bottom half of the room, with bins below to hold chalk and erasers.  Above the chalkboard, I used clipboards for easy art display.

Since they prefer to leave the door open to this room, I recommended a Dutch door.  This allows them to keep their dog in a specific area, while still giving sight lines for Mama. That screen door was precious, and I think they should keep it for a bit to see if it has another purpose for their home, but remove it from this area for now.  What do you think?


Mineral Green Wall Paint

Trofast bench

Bench Fabric

Wool Ball Garland

Wicker Furniture

Rolling Herb Garden Cart (White is currently discontinued, but it can be spray painted.)

Stump Table

Pillow and here


Curtain Rod

Curtain Brackets

Chalk Bins


Magnolia Wreath here or here or here

Some are affiliate links 🙂

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.

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.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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.)

This post contains Amazon affiliate links :).

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 🙂 

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.

Post contains affiliate links.

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.

Makeover Monday: Bethany’s Kitchen

Bethany is a homeschool mom to 8!  Her dining room doubles as their homeschool room so needs amble storage. They also hosting family dinners for 20-30 people.  It’s great that they have an open floor plan so the crowds can spread into the kitchen and the living room and still feel connected.

She writes: ” The stained glass in the window was made by my uncle, and I really love the plum color in it. I also have a stained glass with aqua in it. And I  have a China cabinet that I want to repaint on the opposite wall (maybe white? Or a fun, bright color?)

Right now, I think the wall color is bringing me down. It’s just too blah. This room is in the north side of the house, so the light isn’t as bright. I don’t like white walls, but I need something light. I have thought about painting the chairs white, or all different colors of purple.”

Bethany!  Thanks for being a long time fan and for reaching out.  I think your wall color is charming and a good accent for your special window, but it’s pink undertone is fighting with the yellow undertones of the backsplash.  My first choice would be to replace the backsplash with a classic white subway tile.  This tile was first used in 1904 and it’s vintage charm insures it will never be “out.”

I love your light colored hardwood floors.  Lighter, more natural wood tones are at the front of the trend right now and your floors are perfect.  The cabinets and most of your furniture match them perfectly, which sounds like a great idea, but can make the room feel “flat.”

To break it up a little, I recommend painting your cabinets and island chairs white with gray seat cushions.  I also gave your island a little pop of plum color to say “Hiya” to your stained glass window. Inspiration here. I had trouble getting the color right, it’s too bright, but you get the idea. (If you don’t tile across the top of the window, add a bamboo blind.)  With the updates, I think your paint color works.

(The bright purple was bothering me, so here it is a little darker.  You can choose whatever shade coordinates with your stained glass the best.)

With the cabinets painted, the chairs could be left wood toned for more warmth if you prefer.

You already had the perfect curtain rod on the kitchen side and your curtains hung high and wide. I just gave you some beefier white curtains to fill up the wall space a little better. I think they would be amazing with plum colored pompom trim on the edges. Like these without the yellow embroidery:

 Here it is with Revere Pewter paint.  This paint is a little more friendly with your backsplash–a warm yellow toned gray.

I gave you a statement lighting piece in aged wood to add character and warmth to the space.

The depth of the wall on this side of the window looks narrower than the other side.  I would swap your homeschool storage with the mirror, so your curtain can hang freely on this side.  And I would swap your open storage with a vintage look armoire, so you can close the doors and quiet the space.  (Make sure it’s narrow enough to not block the window on either side.  If you can’t fine one on craigslist, you could consider building one out of Billy bookcases, covering the upper glass with gathered white cloth and leaving the very top clear glass.)

Like this one:

Or this one:

I love the dark color of your table and would keep it as is, but paint the dining chairs to match what you do with the Island seating.

Beef up the curtains to match what’s in the kitchen, and make sure they are all floor to ceiling. I’d be tempted to buy the thickest white Ikea curtains and crochet pompom trim edging to save money.

The last thing to cozy up the space is probably not practical at all for a family of 10, but a rug on hardwood grounds the space and brings in a cozy warmth.  If you go for it, get it big enough that all the chair legs will stay on it when people are sitting.  And choose one with plenty of pattern to hide stains.  Here are some ideas:

If you’d like to add some finishing touches, I’d do crown molding all around the room and swap out the dining room Chandelier with one that coordinates with the one over the island.

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.

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.


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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