From Stakeout to Standout

I’m just going to assume that the previous owners of Tasha’s home were some kind of elite armed-forces unit secretly stationed in unsuspecting suburbia. Because who else is going to paint a room army green with beige trim? NO ONE ELSE.

But the call of duty obviously called them somewhere else, so they moved on and Tasha moved in.

The wall color was one of the first things to go, along with the beige carpet and the monstrous stone fireplace. But don’t worry!

Blue Contemporary Living Room Before

Blue Contemporary Living Room

She didn’t rip it out, she just gave it a cement makeover for  … you’ll never guess.  Ok, try to guess.

$3000? No, even though that’s what she was quoted by a few companies she researched.

$1000? HA! You are still way off.

$100? Surely that’s not possible. Is it?

YES. It really truly cost her $100 to turn that heavy stone fireplace into the sleek contemporary cement version you see before you.  Read all about it on her blog Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body.

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From Whoville to Ooohville!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Specifically, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  (If you are looking for a holiday movie to base your home decor around, that’s not the one. Home Alone is a good one, but that’s not the point). Here’s the point: Nancy’s before living room was dark, dated, and looked a bit like the Grinch himself had shimmied down the chimney and stolen every last crumb of cheer.

Nancy was not having it.  Let’s see how she worked her magic:

Toshiba Exif JPEG

White Fireplace copy

Hello cheer explosion! It’s like a perennial springtime in here now. So fresh, airy and light. Nancy says one of the most helpful changes was mounting the TV over the fireplace, which freed up tons of room and allowed furniture placement to flow.


yellow and white living room makeover

yellow and white living room after

And wouldn’t you say that it’s true … that this room seemed to grow three sizes too? I would.

High five Nancy! Much more to see on her blog Artsy Chicks Rule.

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Blue Your Mind

Remember how yesterday I was all “Oh, blue and white! It’s the BEST! It will never go out of style!!”

Well I bite my tongue, because Malorie’s mom had a very blue and white living room and she was ready for a change. Malorie, being the fantastic daughter she is, came over and spent two days transforming it into …

White/Light Blue Living Room Before 2

blue cape cod living room

A blue and white living room! HaHA! I was never biting my tongue to begin with! I was right all along! Blue and white forevaaaaaa!!!!

Ahem.  Excuse me.  Anyway, as you can see, the reign of this coastal color combo will never fail. However, Malorie chose a much softer blue and anchored it with touches of gray, which give the room a decidedly more upscale look.

Then she paid some attention to the fireplace, which used to look a little bit like a fire hazard.

mantle makeover before

mantle makeover after

Her husband Vito worked some carpentry and masonry magic and now if fits the feel of the home perfectly.  I’ll admit, I’m kind of jealous of anyone with a handy spouse and the perks that come along with it.  I didn’t happen to marry a handyman. My husband is a high school principal. Perks include free pens.

One last thing Malorie wanted to give her mom was more storage, since this room is not super huge.  Vito utilized this empty space under the stairs by adding floating shelves.

stair makeover before

Light Living Room

Aren’t they stupid? Just kidding! That’s the jealousy talking. Of course they look great. Almost as great as a big ol’ cup of pens. Almost.

Much more to see on Malorie’s blog HomeWork Design Co.

Happy weekend!

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Formerly Forlorn to Fantastically Formal

Do you like to go to model homes? I do. They’re a great place to pick up fun ideas and inspiration for home design. However, they come with a downside. You know that feeling you get when you go to a model home, and everything is so well put-together and dazzling, and each room beautifully compliments the next, and you leave feeling slightly depressed and tempted to burn your own pathetic house to the ground? That’s how I feel when I go to Denise’s house.

Denise is a dear friend of mine, and one of those people who makes everything look effortlessly perfect.  She’s thrown baby showers nicer than my wedding reception. She’s the worst. Just kidding, she’s the best, she’s everything I want to be. Love you Denise!

She moved into a new home not long ago, and has been busy making it Denise-worthy, so let’s take a look!

This was her formal dining room before. You would think a room with a sweeping staircase and a chandelier hung from the vaulted ceiling would be pretty impressive on its own merits, right?

Not so much. That’s exactly what this before room had, but it wasn’t about to knock anyone’s socks off. Some of the problems were that the the wall color was a squeamish flesh-tone, the furniture was way too small for the room (although to be fair, it does look like the previous owners were in the process of moving, so perhaps they just had the tiny furniture in there temporarily … it’s possible), the curtains were limp and the carpet washed everything else out.

White Hutch with Formal Dining Room Before2

White Hutch with Formal Dining Room

But look what a beautiful difference some small (ok, mostly big) changes made! For starters, she replaced the carpet with hardwood, the paint was toned down into a light neutral ‘flesh-free’ zone, and she added plantation shutters and a new chandelier.

Of course that’s going to make any room look better. But I think the real key here is SCALE. The new hutch takes up nearly the entire wall, vs. the itty bitty buffet in the before picture.  The eight-seater dining table is substantial enough to anchor the entire room, the curtains are voluminous, and the even the curtain rod has been upgraded.

You might think that this room cost tons of money, but it might surprise you that beautiful doesn’t have to mean expensive.  Or, it probably doesn’t surprise you at all, if you’ve been a reader here long enough.  Check out how that hutch started out:


White Hutch with Formal Dining Room Before

Yep, total Craigslist find. Denise ain’t no fool.


Now, let’s head across the hall to the former formal living room. Same story as before. My socks are still firmly attached.

Formal Living Room Before


Formal Living Room

Oh but not anymore! This room officially knocks my socks off.  Let’s talk about that new mantle. And the wainscoting. I’ll wait while you do a little scroll-up scroll-down, if your eyeballz can handle it. SO MUCH BETTER.

And again with the scale. Floor to ceiling drapes, furniture pulled away from the walls, and another grand chandelier to dazzle the eye and make me want to come home and punch my own light fixtures in the face.


Formal Living Room 1

And she does it all with two boys and a toddler girl. Once I find out her secret, I’ll let you know.

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