eDesign Reveal: A Fresh Start & Our Biggest Reveal Yet

Hello, sweet friends! This is a special reveal and one that’s been close to my heart for quite some time. Last April during my kids’ Spring Break I read through Chip Gaines’ book, Capital Gaines. It’s an all-around motivating, get-it-done read, but the thing that stuck with me the most was the encouragement to bet on yourself. And it got me thinking that one person betting on their own selves can’t possibly have the same power as people betting on one another. I started mulling over the idea of looking for a design job to do for peanuts for someone in need. I wanted to give someone that oomph to keep on keeping on, even if just through the simple act of improving the way they feel at home. One month later in May, we were contacted by an amazing woman who was at a point of reinvesting in her life. Gods timing astounds me.

I think most all of us can attest that life doesn’t always, (or usually!), go as expected, and this woman had just been pitched a curve ball. With two young children in toe she was starting fresh with a new home, an old sofa, and a very happy fiddle leaf fig tree. The thing that just overwhelmed me with emotion while speaking with her was the fact that she wanted to make the most of this next chapter. It was apparent that there hadn’t been joy in her home for quite some time, and that’s what she wanted to bring back. ‘Happy’ was a frequent word that came up when discussing the vision and design of her home.

So with a strict $5,000 budget, I waved more than half of my design fee and cracked down on tackling her Family Room, Dining Room, Kitchen and Living Room. And this reveal may be one of our happiest yet! :)




The first order of business was rotating that sofa and pushing it against the wall! This family room space is shared with the children in a big way, and the original placement of the sectional floating in the middle of the floor just made it too chopped up and separated. Also, PSA: With $40 and an 8 minute YouTube video, you, too, can update your overhead lighting.


So. Much. Beige. With an emphasis on creating an environment that feels happy, color was top priority. The catch, however, was that because this is a rental, the wall color and carpet could not be updated. And because the client requested to use her sofa, (a smart move that allowed her to put her budget in SO MANY other places), that was another shade of beige to overcome.


Picking pillows and accent pieces for this space was an absolute blast. With a bland canvas to work with the sky really was the limit, so I had to uncover what palette spoke to my client best. She is extremely inspired and rejuvenated by the coast, but I didn’t want to do anything too literal. Creating a relaxing vibe with pops of vibrant color was the way to go. Blue is a favorite color of hers so I peppered it around subtly.


Ah, yes - the wall mounted Ikea IVAR cabinets. This is the third design since last Spring that we used wall mounted IKEA cabinets to create a custom, clean-lined storage option, (see here and here). You can always add hardware, legs, etc to these to blend them into your own space, but my favorite way to use them is to mount them over the floor 6-8” and give them a fresh coat of paint, (they come in wood). And at just $80 per set of cabinets, that means this massive custom media storage unit cost just $240 + cheap paint.


There wasn’t much to do in the kitchen but change out the pendants and add some stools - leather for the win!


More beige! For the particular vision and feel this client wanted, I knew the dark matching dining set had to go. A new mix of pieces pieced together from various retailers creates a one-of-a-kind dining set for the family. The first item we decided on was that rug - even prettier in person if you can believe it!


This cheery space feels special to me - the colors echo the rest of the home but there’s something about it that makes it feel set apart. It’s grown up but fun, simple but interesting, stunning but functional, (the cabinet is packed with board games)! I have never ever used a sofa in that color before but my gut was pulling for it and I was excited to fill in around it with some contrasting tones - even moodier rich and earth colors!


I think the vibrancy of the sofa just adds some sophisticated drama here when surrounded by earthier tones and textures.


Anchoring one whole side of the room by itself is one of my favorite go-tos; an oversized black framed mirror. Not right for every home, but right for this one in this place. It’s a beast in person, and emphasizes the drama of this room.


Well that’s a wrap! The first thing this sweet client told me when I sent her a sample of these photos was that she can’t believe this is her home and can’t wait to start on her bedroom together in the new year. I can’t wait, either!!!

You all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! It’s a treat every time I have an opportunity to jump on here and share something with you. You make this landing place so much fun and it brings me joy to get to bring finished projects here to show you. So thank you for taking the time out of your day to stop by - it really touches our hearts!


Shelly's Surprise Makeover: A Community Collaboration

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

It is such a pleasure today to introduce you guys to Shelly and her husband Geoff, (and their totally normal not weird at all kids, Katie, Brenham and Austin, in youngest to oldest order. I kid. They're awesome, as you can clearly see).

Four-ish months ago Shelly was diagnosed with brain cancer after having a tumor removed. Glioblastoma, to be specific, (in her own words, don't Google it - the stats aren't pretty). This family's new 'normal' is nothing that we could ever imagine; We're not trying to exploit their life or plaster their journey over the great world wide web, (and Shelly is graciously open to us sharing all this). We tell you because it's important for you to know that without the Lord it would be impossible for them to have the immense joy and peace that they have at this time.

Matt and I have the pleasure of attending Christ Community Church with Shelly and her family, and she has been blowing our minds with her outspoken peace and pure delight in the Lord. Her entire perspective has been made new. As Shelly has expressed, cancer sucks, (!!!), but she wouldn't change a thing and. She speaks from experience when she says that something as scary as brain cancer doesn't have to defeat or define a person. Knowing someone going through this otherwise disparaging journey who knows deep, deep contentment in Jesus, is like having a backstage pass, or access, to the remarkable gifts from Him. Because of Shelly and the Truth she's spoken through her testament, I've felt a shifting in my focus that I think the Lord has been working on for a while.

So, despite her world getting turned upside down, Shelly had a unique and awesome request a couple months ago: A living room makeover!!! And better yet, we share a mutual design friend with Shelly who we got to work alongside with for this project - Kate from Olive and Ford Designs, (Instagram, @oliveandford)! So let's recap: That's one makeover, for a friend, with a friend. Yes, yes and yes!!! Ultimate dream.

Shelly's living room actually had really good bones before we got to work - floor to vaulted ceiling windows, distressed leather sofas, a gorgeous new-ish entertainment center, plenty of light, and neutral walls, carpet, etc. Really, not bad! But our dear friend desired a refresh and with all she's got going on can you blame her?!

And After!

And After!

At this point in our reveal we must stop to acknowledge those who stepped up and helped this makeover happen. The first thing we did was reach out to some of our incredibly talented friends in the design community that we knew shared a similar aesthetic to the style we were running with and asked if they'd be interested in being a part of this makeover with donated goods. Upon hearing even a tiny bit about Shelly and the incredibly positive outlook she has, the generous responses were immediate. We'll include sources under photos with donated items - these folks didn't ask to be tagged, but their work is just so incredible and we do hope you'll consider supporting them next time you need a thing!

Denim Pillow with Fringe,  INDIEbungalow

Denim Pillow with Fringe, INDIEbungalow

The gorgeous mint and leather bike was also donated - by Katie; Shelly's teenage daughter! She agreed never to ride it again, ever. Hah! Seriously though, isn't it errr-thang?!

Baskets, Books, and Blue Glass,  Harper and Arrow Market   Abstract Art, (this piece is a smaller version of one this artistis custom painting for this space insimilar colors),  Christie Adelle

Baskets, Books, and Blue Glass, Harper and Arrow Market

Abstract Art, (this piece is a smaller version of one this artistis custom painting for this space insimilar colors), Christie Adelle

Striped Indigo Pillow,  The Woven Home

Striped Indigo Pillow, The Woven Home

Shelly, loving the beach as she does, already had plenty of aqua and teal-y green in her home, (she painted those kitchen chairs and you'll see the color a bit more saturated on the accent wall in the mudroom). The addition of blues and peachy pinks and coral just brought the look home like a sunset.

Beach Print,  The Woven Home

Beach Print, The Woven Home

Blue Pillows,  Sweet Clover Barn

Blue Pillows, Sweet Clover Barn

There you have it! This makeover was such a delight for so many reasons. Joining with other creatives to put this together was a humbling experience, as was getting to collaborate with the amazing Kate - please, please follower her at Olive and Ford, (Instagram, @oliveandford); her work is amazing. She literally does. it. all. And mostly, the opportunity to do this makeover for Shelly was such a gift; she's an amazing woman full of grace, grit and one of THE best senses of humor ever - working on her home was such a natural response of our admiration of her.

If you'd like to stay updated with Shelly you can follow her journey at www.caringbridge.org/visit/shellyhoward, Site Name: shellyhoward

Thank you all for stopping by!

Modern or Coastal ||Flip List Item No.2||

So I'm trolling craigslist [like I've been known to do] and I found a modern dresser in need of some TLC.  Now normally, I would pass right by a laminate dresser but this piece was... special.

It's hard to tell in this pic, but this "white monster" as I've affectionately nicknamed it, had a weird cream/white two tone thing going on.  But it was still a modern dresser with glossy-fronted drawers that slide like butter.  It the perfect candidate for Furniture Flip Bucket List item No.2: wrap a piece in a wood shim treatment.  

wood shims taper off to one end so that you can wedge them in to help level something.  I could have used flat wood and gotten more of a butcher-block look, but I wanted to use shims to recreate this uneven affect in my inspiration photo:

So I went about covering the bright-white yucky laminate portions of the dresser with the wood shims: the top, sides, and toe-kick.  I started out with the intention of creating a polished modern look like the photo above but as I worked on it, it began to steer me in a different direction.

I liked how raw and rustic the cedar shims looked untreated (and not to mention the cedar smelled AH-MAH-ZING).  So I just went with it and ended up with a piece that's both modern and coastal:

To play off the unfinished wood's beachy vibes, I styled it with some tropical leaves [that I may or may not have harvested from a decorative potted plant in a parking lot.  I kinda felt like Chelsea did when "smuggling" home some paint sticks for this DIY project].

I then added a couple seaside touches like this piece of coral.

To play up the dresser's more modern side, I added vintage candle sticks with clean lines.  Despite the uneven surface, the shims are narrow enough that items large and small can find a flat surface to rest on anywhere across the top.

Photo Oct 31, 11 45 44 AM-001.jpg

And modern satin nickel knobs on the glossy drawer fronts make a nice modern finishing touch.

All together the piece sings a modern-coastal song:

Photo Oct 31, 11 43 38 AM (1)-002.jpg

Modern Coastal Dresser


As for the progress on my 2015 flip bucket list, that means I've got 6 down and 1 to go before the end of the year.  Woot Woot!

Want to catch up?  Since January, I've crossed off items:
and now No.2: wood shim treatment

Here's to hoping that I can squeeze in item No.1: Build my Own Bakers Rack before 2016!