ORC week 5: The final sprint

AHHHHHH! It is week five of The One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. Now it’s serious crunch time, pedal to the metal and no time for indecision, or last minute second guessing. My photographer comes on Monday so I have just 3 days to completely finish my family room makeover. The good news is that things are arriving and the room is slowly falling into place. My new Kravet sofa and reupholstered chairs are now in the room. I don’t want to give too much away until the reveal but here is a little sneak peak.

I just LOVE the new sofa. It is the Pelham sofa from Kravet covered with a very durable Kravet fabric. I decided on a bench cushion simply for practical reasons. Saturday night is often movie night for my husband and I, along with wine, cheese and crackers. I am tired of continually cleaning out stray crumbs (and dog hair) from between the seat cushions so the single cushion will take care of that.


Kravet Pelham sofa

upholstred chairsI am very happy with how my Indonesian chairs chairs turned out, as well as this super comfy 40 year old club chair that belonged to my mom. For this I chose a J.F. Fabric.upholstered chair2Tomorrow I pick up the drapery and pillows and hopefully my custom drapery hardware will be ready on Friday. The coffee table is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow so what is left is installing the window treatments, accessorizing, hanging art work and styling for Monday’s photo shoot.

Speaking of hanging art work. My prints have not yet arrived for my gallery wall and I knew I was cutting it close when I placed the order. Once they do arrive though I am ready to hang. I made a template for all the frames and plates and after tweaking the placement dozens of times I think I am finally set on this arrangement. I have my fingers crossed you won’t see blank paper taped to the wall next Thursday at my room reveal.

wall art planning

My decorating style is that I prefer a well edited room. I can’t stand random clutter and I believe we should only live with those things that bring us joy, are beautiful or serve a function. When it comes to accessorizing my family room here are a few items that are very special to me as well as beautiful that will also be going into the room.

Pamela Copeman

Pamela Copeman

This painting by Boston designer and artist Pamela Copeman.  Even though Pamela and I are both from the Boston area, we didn’t meet and become friends until we went on BlogTour Vegas with Veronika Miller and Modenus. The subject matter of this painting is the interior of a French Hotel and has a very special meaning to me. I was so touched when she gifted this to me.

A second painting from artist Laurie leavitt. Laurie is one of my oldest and best friends as we lived across the street from one another growing up. I was so thrilled when she offered me this painting of birch trees to use in my room. Not only do the colors work beautifully but the birch tree is my favorite tree.

Laurie Leavitt

Laurie Leavitt

This gorgeous hand made trivet given to me by my good friend Susan Siefer (ironically also an artist). She brought this back for me from her recent trip to Morocco. She so thoughtfully chose the color after she saw a sneak peak of my blue lacquered campaign chest that will be in the room.

Trivet from Morocco

Trivet from Morocco

The talented design duo of Lance Jackson and David Ecton (AKA Parker Kennedy) or as I lovingly call them the PK Boys, surprised me with this spectacular antique canton ware covered dish. They too saw a sneak peak of the campaign chest and also my collection of blue and white china. Spectacular yes? How lucky am I to have such special items that are so beautiful and special. Each item will bring me joy everyday I look at them.

PK boys gift

So, be sure to check back next Thursday and see where I place everything and for the full reveal.

Side note: Now that this challenge is close to the end, I have moments when I feel completely in control and then other moments of anxiety when I think about all that is still left to do. Why I chose to take on this challenge right in the middle of treatment for breast cancer is beyond me. I think I was looking for a diversion from all that my body is going through and If nothing else, worrying about the room getting finished is a lot better than worrying about chemo and radiation…right??

You can catch up on the past four weeks of my six week challenge here:

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Also,  follow along with the progress of the other link up participants Here.




ORC: Family Room makeover week one

It’s go time! Today is day one, week one, of the now famous One Room Challenge. Hosted by Linda of the popular blog Calling It Home, participants have six weeks to transform a room from start to finish. The twenty invited bloggers started yesterday and the link up participants start today.

ORC Guest Gold

I have chosen to makeover our family room. Since I turned our living room into my studio/office last Winter, the family room is now the only room in the house to sit, read, watch TV and entertain guests. It’s a big room and a crazy tight deadline but I think baring it all might be the only way I will ever get this room decorated. Accountability baby!

As I had mentioned in my last blog we gave most of the original furniture in the room to my son when he moved into his new apartment with ambitious plans to completely redo the room. Then life got in the way. I was busy with client projects and then was diagnosed with breast cancer (that’s a story for another day). It’s now been over a year and we haven’t done a single thing except drag some old furniture up from the basement so we at least have a place to sit.


yes, I know, I know it’s a hot mess!

view out to deck

Look at the pathetic table we have been using for a coffee table. It basically holds the TV remotes and that’s about it. Not that long ago we also had a rug. Sadly, an elderly dog and then an incident involving a large platter of bright red sweet and sour chicken took care of eliminating that.

antique corner cabinet is staying

I cringe every time I look at that French country pine bench shoved up next to the early American corner cabinet. It’s only there because we needed extra seating one night and I was too lazy to move it back to the basement.

Since I plan to put a big part of my budget toward custom drapery and a high quality sofa, some of the furniture you see must stay. I plan to reupholster a comfy green chair and two Indonesian wood chairs. An antique Korean chest and cherry corner cabinet will also remain as they are sentimental pieces from my husband’s family. I inherited a ton of blue and white china (seriously, over a hundred pieces!) that will need to tie in color wise along with the 90’s forest green serpentine fireplace surround.


Everything that is staying in the room

Definitely a mishmash of items but here is my design board to tie everything together and create a functional and comfortable family room.

ORC inspiration board

ORC inspiration board

OH! I forgot to mention that I have a lovable although crazy rescue dog who loves to dig holes, roll in smelly dead things and thinks of the sofa as his own personal dog bed. I have to design with him in mind as well. Don’t let his cute face deceive you, he is like the character Pigpen in Charlie Brown. Everywhere he goes he leaves a trail of dirt and dog hair.

Mr. T. Nevers… AKA Boo

The clock is ticking so off I go. Be sure to come back next Thursday to see my progress and updates. Also, be sure to check out the twenty designers who started yesterday as well and the link up participants who started today. It’s inspiration to the max!

For sneak peaks during the week be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook too.






More Money Saving Tips From My NECN Room Makeover

I had planned to follow up my NECN Room Makeover Post  part one a lot sooner but after the loss of our dog and then 7 days of travel I am just now getting back on track. I did want to share a few more tips on how we made over the room for under $500.

1. Think outside the box when it comes to window treatments. As we all know window treatments can eat up a BIG part of any budget. Even if you decide to make your own drapes, fabric plus lining plus labor can be pricey. In our room makeover we used inexpensive painter’s drop cloths. The cost was $9.99 a panel and the beauty was that they came hemmed on all 4 sides. We simply sewed a straight line pocket and they were done. The drop cloth is actually thick and looks a lot like much more expensive linen.

painters drop cloth curtains

painters drop cloth curtains

Here is a close up of the top.

drop cloth curtains

detail drop cloth curtains

2. Shop your house.By simply looking around we found lots of wonderful items stored away that we pulled out to accessorize both the bookcases and the tables. Go through those boxes in the attic or basement, you might be surprised at what you find. Our homeowner found those red stars, picture frames, and even a pumpkin candle that she had bought ages ago and never used.

3. Don’t be afraid to use things in different ways. Our homeowner had a large chest that was used to stored Christmas decorations. We needed a side table and did not have the funds in our $500 budget to buy one. The top of the chest was not in the best shape and there was no time to refinish it so we simply covered the chest with a quilt the home owner had and used it as our side table.

4. Bring your personality into the room. No matter what budget you are working with find ways to personalize your rooms. Decorate with items that speak to you; this costs nothing. Our makeover room was filled with items that had special meaning to the homeowner. Her children’s art work became an art wall, her wedding quilt became a focal point above the sofa and family photos were used to style the book cases. No matter what your budget make the room your own and surround yourself with things you love. It’s your home and your life so embrace what speaks to you.

A huge thank you to this wonderful family who allowed their lives to be disrupted (and stressed) and pitched in with hours and hours of  labor to transform their once dark and uninspiring living room into a bright and happy room for everyone to enjoy….all for under $500!

If you have a room you would like to transform..on any budget..give me a call!

If you would like to watch the NECN Room Makeover episode just click on this link.

As always, I would love to hear from you…What are your favorite money saving tips?


NECN Room Makeover: How We Transformed The Room (part 1)

My NECN room makeover segment aired this morning so now I can show you all the behind the scenes and the process as it unfolded. This is what the room looked like on my first visit. (click on any photo to enlarge it)

room before

room before

Besides the clutter, the major problem with the room was that it was really dark, the furniture placement wasn’t working and the room did not reflect the personality of the awesome young family that lives there which is made up of Mom and Dad, 3 young kids, 2 big dogs and 2 cats!

My design plan for the room was challenging given we only had a budget of  $500.00:  Rearrange the furniture to get a better floor plan (free), lighten up the room with paint, get some art work up on the bare walls and replace the Taupe and Brown colored window treatments that were not working with the decor. I also needed to find seating to replace the over sized checked chair and ottoman that were the only 2 things not staying in the room.

The homeowners biggest complaint was that the room was too dark. The two windows in the room face into dark green trees so almost no natural light enters the room. The dark and dated brick wall flanked by the dark stained bookcases made the room even darker. I suggested we paint the brick a soft white as well as the dark stained built in book cases to lighten up that end of the room.


By pure chance, the husband is a carpenter so he chose to box out the brick with wood but painting it White would have the same “lightening” effect. Look at the difference in the after photo of this same wall.

bookcase wall after

bookcase wall after

After the book cases were painted I “shopped” the homeowner’s house to find accessories, collectibles and photos that I then used to style the bookcases (no more over stuffed and sagging shelves). We added inexpensive baskets from Homegoods to store Legos and small toys out of view.

The walls were originally painted White but as I blogged about in an earlier post that you can read HERE, the color White only comes to life in a room with lot’s of natural light. Since this room receives almost no light, the White only made the walls look gray and dingy. Instead, I chose an on trend soft neutral that added some depth and color and really livened up the room.

Since the Red sofa was staying, as was the Red, Brown and Orange area rug.  I chose to use Red as our accent color throughout the room. I  painted an old dresser that was being used as a TV stand Red to match the sofa.

Here is a photo of the dresser before:

 TV stand before

TV stand before

and here it is after after a couple coats of Annie Sloan Chalk paint…much happier don’t you think?

TV stand after

TV stand after

The walls were completely bare of art work so to add more color and a little personality I enlisted the homeowners children to create colorful art for an art wall. Each child now proudly points out their contribution to the room. The frames (originally Brown)were found at a yard sale for $4.00 and I painted them the same color Red as the dresser.

Here is a photo of that side of the room before:



and here is the wall after:

art wall after

What turned out to be another focal point of the room was the homeowners wedding quilt.It had been rolled up in a bag for over 10 years and it was especially emotional for them to finally see it displayed. She made the quilt herself and all the guests signed it. Here is the wall we hung the quilt on before:



and here it is after. As you can see I put the sofa on this wall so that it is now directly across from the TV. The wedding quilt hangs prominently between the windows.


Lastly, since I posted all these “before” and “after” photos, I thought it only fitting to show a “during” image….just a small hint of how much work went into this $500.00 makeover.


In my next post I will share a few more low cost tricks we used in this makeover.

Would love to hear what you think? Do you like the transformation?

If you would like a makeover of your room give me a call!



Sneak Peak of My Room Makeover for NECN

Recently I was challenged by producer Leslie Gaydos of NECN (New England Cable News) to do a room makeover on a budget for her weekly segment called Money Saving Mondays. Well I love a challenge and I had all sorts of ideas for the room. The room was dark and cluttered and in desperate need of help for the wonderful young family who lives there. We taped the “before” segment a few weeks ago and the “after” segment is being filmed today. I will post a link to the segment on this blog once it airs.

I can’t give too much away until the show airs but I can give you a little sneak peak of one of the things I did.

bookcase before

bookcase before

Above is the dark, and over stocked bookcase before and below if the “after”.

The finished room looks amazing…now I just hope I am a little less nervous today filming the “after” than I was when filming the “before”.

Don’t you just love room makeovers?

If you would like help with your own room makeover give me a call.


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