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, Site Name: shellyhoward

Thank you all for stopping by!

Reader Design: Shima's Clever Re-design

Hi friends! As promised, we're serving up another hot Reader Design on this long-awaited Friday! Last week Cate mentioned we'd be cutting Reader Designs down to one a week - a fun Friday Special to kick off the weekend! This gives these special posts some breathing room and allows readers, (and us), to thoroughly enjoy and be jealous of each one. :) 

You can find all our Reader Designs on our SPACES page - as you can tell, we've got quite a range of styles already! Thinkin about sharing your own? Mull no more! Reader Designs are an open invitation to share your unique design and creativity.  There are no requirements to be a professional decorator or even a fellow blogger. The purpose of Reader Designs is simply to share incredible rooms with fresh ideas and document these features in our SPACES section to use as a reference of inspiration.


This Reader Design is certainly near to our hearts as Shima is from our neck of the woods! She's an interior designer serving the DC/MD/VA metropolitan area, and worked her magic on this gorgeous living room update! 

From Shima:

"My client wanted to update her living room as her existing furniture was not comfortable. She desired new sofas and chairs (especially a grey colored sofa), and wanted to keep her existing mirror, side tables, coffee table, and beautiful rug."

What a fantastic Before shot! Usually Befores are so utterly detestable that you imagine even the slightest bit of work would be a huge improvement! This room has great bones already! But we can't stop here. :)

Before: 0 After: 923,497,190

"The first thing we did was find a sofa that she liked, and we found this great sofa from Macy's that was comfortable and firm to sit on. Then we had a fun shopping trip to Home Goods where we picked out the arm chair, 2 high back chairs, and other decor items. She liked the color turquoise so I made that the accent color."

"The entire house was painted in this beige color, so what I did next was simply add vertical stripes.  Since the wall was very long and bare, this helped to dress it up.  I used Behr Paint, Marquee line, and the color is "varnished ivory" . Once the walls were painted, we had used the leftover paint for the lamp bases, bowl, and plant vases. These were also coated with a sealer. The main reason for painting these items was that they were dark brown and I thought the room had too much brown in it; I really wanted to lighten the look of the room. "

A personal favorite here at StyleMutt Home, too!

"Even though the main accent color is turquoise, I think it's nice to have the pops of fuchsia in there so that the eye does not get tired with the colors. I found this perfect artwork from Home Goods that had turquoise in it, along with a cute candle and fuchsia flowers.  I found vase fillers that had turqoise in them. I used the vase fillers to decorate the coffee tray (3 green moss colored balls) as well as fill a bowl for the side table."

"Since we had a grey sofa with a very strong shape to it, I wanted to soften it up with a chenille faux fur throw over one of the arms-- this also provided a nice texture and tied in the brown color of the throw with other browns (such as in the rug) so it tied it all together. "

That spot. Right there.

"Lastly, we bought the patterned curtains from Home Goods and worked on the ottomans.  My client already had two unused ottomans (also dark brown!). I went to the fabric store and found left over fabric marked down 75% and used that to reupholster the ottomans. I used only scissors and a staple gun. It was a fun project! The ottomans can be stowed under the coffee table when not used and they add a fun pattern that coordinates with the other grey colors in the room. 

All of these DIY updates to the existing items saved my client a lot of money (which was one of her objectives!) and gave these items new life and purpose."

Talk about upgrade! This makeover is nothing short of impressive, but it's especially inspiring given the number of items that were kept and reused! We often talk about working within budget here and it's amazing to see how others creatively stretch theirs. 

What a blessing this was to your client, Shima! Way to work it out, girl! You can follow Shima's brilliant work @house_of_shima on Instagram!

Have a wonderful weekend friends and thank you for stopping by!

Don't forget to share your own unique space with us by tagging #stylemuttspaces on Instagram or share photos directly to our Facebook wall!