Getting to Grand

You know how in junior high you were all about denim and chokers and flannel and oversized t-shirts, and you just knew that fashion could NOT POSSIBLY get any better? That was me. I remember specifically having that exact thought.

I wish I had a better example for you, but this was all I could dig up of me and some friends at what I think was an eighth grade dance:

junior high pic

I’m the one in the back who looks like she’s wearing one of her dad’s old shirts.  This was my ‘special event’ outfit, apparently. This, to me, was as good as it got, and ever could get.  I mean, what else could there be besides baggy t-shirts and wide-legged jeans and Doc Martens? Nothing, duh.

Thankfully time passes and styles change and our tastes evolve.

Same thing with Erin and her kitchen.  (Although her before kitchen was actually cute in it’s time.  Unlike … whatever I was attempting to do up there).  She loved her oak kitchen, and she loved it hard. Until one day, she just didn’t. She looked around, and it had become outdated.  It felt dark and cramped. The appliances were on their last leg.

Time for a change! And what a beautiful change she made. Knocking out the wall, peninsula, and soffit created so much room, it doesn’t even look like the same space.


tan and brown kitchen before

White kitchen - wood floor - makeover | Like an awkward duckling growing into a graceful and stylish swan. Lovely. So much more to see from Erin on her blog Just Grand.

just grand kitchen makeover before

White kitchen - wood floor - makeover |

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Looking for desk makeovers? You found em! I’ve got three for you to gaze upon today, each very different.  Which one will appeal to you the most?

Let’s take this quiz to find out.

#1) You are walking along a riverbank. You spy something interesting along the trail and pick it up. It is:

A. an old tin can

B. a bunch of wildflowers

C. a piece of driftwood (driftwood exists on the riverbank because I said so).


#2) Your favorite type of jewelry is:

A. I don’t wear much jewelry, but if I do, it’s something I’ve probably made myself, out of objects I found along the riverbank.

B. girly, frilly, blingy, and fabulous!

C. something timeless, but with a quirky kick


#3) You discover a long-forgotten table in your grandpa’s shed. You:

A. Do nothing to it. The weathered patina is perfection.

B. Sand that baby down and paint it something colorful.

C. Are torn between bringing it back to its glory days, or updating it for these here modern days.


If you answered mostly A’s, then you may enjoy this industrial school-house style desk that Beck rescued from beige oblivion. She covered the formica top with a coat of chalkboard paint, and it’s ready to roll straight into your heart on those cute little casters.  See it at Beckwith’s Treasures.

faded brown and metal desk before


blue - chalkboard top - desk - makeover |


If you answered mostly B’s, then nothing is too girlishly garnished for you. Get a load of this decoupaged desk that Shanna at Restoration Redoux covered with a unapologetically glamorous rose print. It belongs in your boudoir, dahling.


brown desk before


Floral - Desk - Decoupage - Makeover |


Mostly C’s? Then the appeal of MCM’s clean lines speak to you, although you aren’t a stickler for tradition either.  Maybe you’ll paint that sewing table, maybe you won’t.  Maybe you’ll be like Better After reader Lori and paint it because the former owner was a smoker and NOTHING else would get the smell out.  You know.  Whatevs.  You’re easy like that.  That’s why I like you.

mcm brown desk before


MCM Desk - white - aqua - makeover |



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Pipe Dream

We used to live in a house that had all kinds of plumbing issues a few years ago. We came to know our plumber very well.  His name was Boomer, and he was missing all but six or so teeth, and his gray wiry hair was always standing on end like he’d simultaneously survived a tornado and woken up from a nap. Boomer was a great plumber, but it never really occurred to me to ask him for style advice.How wrong I was! He could have directed me to the beauty and enchantment of copper pipes, and I could have been making beautiful makeovers with them all those years ago instead of just learning about it now.  Thanks for nothing Boomer.

I love what Katie at Upcycled Treasures did with about $28 worth of pipes and fittings on this dresser. Ultra fabulous against the navy paint.

faded brown dresser - before


dresser - copper pulls - makeover |

Here’s a tip if you want to try this yourself: Copper pipes get grimy and fingerprint-covered fast.  First use ketchup (yes, ketchup!) to polish them, then spray with a lacquer to maintain their shine.

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Stage Manager

Trying to sell a home?  Here’s one tip … probably your listing pictures should NOT include Christmas decor.  That just screams “This house has been sitting on the market for MONTHS!

Here’s another tip: Don’t underestimate the powerful power of staging.  It’s so powerful, it should be one of the elements.  They should have named the group Earth, Wind, and Fire and Staging.

You could hire an expert, like the staging-guru Robin at Madison Modern Home, who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to really set the scene.  I love how she updated this fireplace, makes a world of difference here.


glass wall - white living room before


modern living room - gray brick - makeover |

This dining area also benefited from her expertise. Notice how the large-scale table and chairs makes you think the room is much more spacious than the crowded little set before did? I like how she even pulled the chairs away from the table, emphasizing all that spaaaaaace. Heck, you could have a barn dance in here if you wanted to now.

plain dining room before


modern dining room - sleek- makeover |

But if hiring a pro isn’t in the cards for you, don’t fret.  There are lots of steps you can take to make your home staged to sell.  Clear the clutter and personal belongings, define each space clearly, use furniture and accessories to enhance your home’s best qualities and distract from its worst, and you’re already on your way!

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