Seeing Things in Black & White

Happy Labor Day! It should really be called Day Off of Labor Day.  Except I am planning to use it to do a few projects around the house, and I suspect many of you might do the same, so Labor Day it is!

However, my daughter Mia, who is five, declared that she is throwing a pool party at the neighborhood pool; and has spent the entire weekend making posters and inviting strangers, so we might end up at the pool too.

So here is something to tickle your eyeballs before you head off to the pool or BBQ or hardware store.  Judy and Jess transformed this awkward space into a showroom-worthy dining room. I mean, it is stunning. Makes me want to do my entire house in black and white. And my wardrobe. Everything. Outside of my car. Inside of my fridge. Whatever.

Head on over to their site Verandah House to see all the delicious details!


veranda dining room before |


Verandah House dining room makeover |


PS: One more day to enter the HomeGoods giftcard giveaway!  Winner announced tomorrow.

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HomeGoods Happy Living Room Makeover and GIVEAWAY!

HomeGoods recently challenged me to spread some happiness to someone else as part of their ‘Happiness Happens’ campaign.   I love happiness.  And I love HomeGoods.  Challenge accepted!

I was given a $250 giftcard  and a limited amount of time to spread some cheer, so I called up my friend Charity and asked if my giftcard and I could come jazzify a space in her home.  She said, “Gee, let me thi…SURE!”

Charity claimed that living room was in desperate need of color, so I went over there to take a look.

homegoods living room makeover before

Diagnoses: correct.  Lots of tan. (To be fair, we didn’t attempt to straighten up before taking these pics. In fact, I think I kicked a sleeping person off the couch seconds prior to shooting this one.  Unadulterated before pics, gotta love ‘em).

Since I had to stretch such a limited budget in a short time frame, I knew I would need to work with all that tan, not against it.  I couldn’t just go throw a bunch of zany colors in there and hope it would cancel out the brown.

So I thought I’d go for a ‘beachy’ kind of feel, using the tan as a neutral backdrop to bring in a few gentle blues and greens.


home goods pillowsThis cute little pillow reminded me of seashells.


A pretty throw for some color and softness, a rug to anchor the space and break up all that tile, some curtains too bring in some pattern.  HomeGoods always has a great selection of curtains, but can I humbly beg for curtain manufacturers to PLEASE start offering them in sizes longer than 84″?  That is the standard length, and it’s just not long enough.  I had to take out the hem to give these a few more inches, and it still didn’t quite touch the floor.


So here’s the full view:

homegoods living room makeover before

homegoods living room makeover after

I would have loved to find a rug with more color, but I was at the mercy of what HomeGoods had in stock that day, so white it is. I love white, and I think it really brightened up the room, so I’m not too worried about it, even if a white rug is not ideal for everyone. Charity has teenage girls, who are slightly different than say, toddler boys, so I think it will be ok, and it’s so nice and fluffy compared to lounging on the tile before.

And speaking of the slippery tile, the sofa used to slide around and smoosh up against the vertical blinds on it before, but the rug keeps it firmly in place now.

homegoods before

homegoods living room makeover after2

Budget Breakdown:

  • Rug: $99
  • Pillows: $35 (I made the ikat ones myself)
  • Mirror: $39
  • Throw: $15
  • Curtains: $40
  • Accessories: (vase, picture frame) $22

When it came down to it, I came within 69 cents of my budget!  Woohoo! Not a bad change for an afternoon of work, and Charity is super happy with it, so I’m happy too!


And now HomeGoods wants to spread some happiness to you! Simply leave a comment here, and you’re entered to win a $100 gift card to HomeGoods!

That’s it!

You can also use the hashtag #homegoodshappy to share your finds on social media, or see how others have styled their HomeGoods items in their own spaces.  Fun!

Thanks HomeGoods! Have a good weekend friends.  Winner will be announced on Monday.




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The Adorable Outdoors

How cute is this deck makeover from Gina? Answer: Way cute.  That is a lot of style and color packed into one small space, and it looks fantastic!

It reminds me ever so slightly of a deck ‘makeover’ we did at our first apartment when we were newlyweds approximately 100 years ago.  Spoiler alert: it was nothing like this.  I’m pretty sure it included a resin bunny sculpture and some dollar store windchimes. I am also 100% sure that took a plastic milk crate, sewed a cover for it out of an old shower curtain and called it a ‘table.’ That’s probably where I set the bunny sculpture. I think I was aiming for ‘outdoorsy.’ Wow.

Go scrub the mental image of that out of your brain by visiting Gina’s lovely blog What Gina Says.

Deck makeover full of color |

Deck makeover full of color |

PS: I get asked this question a lot, and it always surprises me that so many people don’t know, so I thought I’d answer it here.   Question: I have a before and after to share, do you take submissions?  Answer: YES!  Absolutely! Send them my way at betterafter(at) No need to have a blog or a link, just some nice clear pictures is all I need!

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Time Release

This dresser had some good things going for it, and a few things that should be boxed up in a time machine and sent back to whatever era they came from. Unfortunately, Jen doesn’t have a functioning time machine, but she does have a handy husband, (which is even better, in my book!) who helped her turn it into the stunner it is today.

They freed it from the funky fake plastic inserts that were confining it to the ’70s, and achieved that gray stain with the ol’ vinegar and steel wool trick. I have tried that trick too, but I never get that lovely gray stain! Mine turns everything like, beet red.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I opened a carton of eggs upside down today, so obviously I’m having trouble winning at life lately.

See this lovely dresser and more from Jen at All Things New.

70s to rustic chic dresser makeover |

70s to rustic chic dresser makeover |

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