Monday, July 12, 2010

Makeover Mondays

Well, it's the first in our Makeover Monday weekly series and one I can't wait to share! Here are some great "Before and After" photos of my apartment that I hope will inspire you to embrace your spaces and make them your own. When you live in a small home and can't make structural changes, getting creative is essential.

These first two photos are the "Before" shots. A room isn't cozy unless it has a fireplace and when we moved into this particular apartment that favorite feature was I built one! Made from leftover wood, MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), architectural pieces from an old headboard and tile from Home Depot, it anchored the rest of the room and provided architecture to a plain "box." The only problem was everything seemed to gravitate to the right side of the room throwing things out of balance.

To the right of the room you'll see windows...actually one window and a french door. To give a unified appearance, they were treated as one large window using sheers to blend the two together. The curtain rod over the windows was made from PVC pipe, wood brackets and finials for the total cost of $9...and that included the wooden drapery rings. If you were to buy these chunky curtain rods in the store, you'd be shelling out at least $40.

Now to the other side of the apartment. Even with my favorite blue on the walls, it still looks bland. The kitchen, living and dining room are all open to each other...I love an open concept, but "small living" can easily feel like "one room living." Dividing the space up visually can make a huge difference and tricks the eye to give the appearance of more square footage.

The sad slipcover on the sofa was the right color, but lacked a tailored quality. The dining room table could seat eight, but the leaf and six chairs made things feel cramped and uninviting.

This is what the apartment looks like now after a few tweaks...please forgive the puppies snuggled on their pillows underneath their cream blankets in front of the's "their spot" and I didn't have the heart to move them to take a photo (:

The fireplace was centered on the wall, a stand for the TV was built so the components could be stored underneath, the fireplace was flanked with bookcases (built with leftover MDF) and baskets from Target were added for storage. You'd be surprised how much stuff those little guys can hold!!

Each bookcase supports 2 windows purchased from Kirkland's that sit edge to edge to mimic a large window. They were originally a horrid burgundy, but for $15 each I couldn't pass them up. Sale+coupon = happy frugal gal (: A couple coats of white spray paint freshened them right up! I also mounted iron elements above the mirrors (purchased from Pier 1 for $8) to top things off and switched out the lampshades.

After my old sofa gave up the ghost, a slipcovered Vintage Vogue Sofa and storage ottoman were purchased from Ballard Designs (on sale, yes!). The ottoman is perfect for storing another set of slipcovers, blankets and extra pup pillow covers. The pedestal table between the club chairs will be replaced with a shorter set of white, square nesting tables once I build them (: They'll offer an expanding surface when more is needed, especially when company comes over.

I built the white bookcase unit several years ago for display space in my shop, but it looks as if it were made for the living room. It holds cherished momentos collected over the years and gives a nice balance to the fireplace on the opposite wall. The 8x11 ft rug was found at a Rooms to Go Outlet for $99, and yes, rugs can be used on top of carpet (: It helps to define the living area and gives a splash of color to otherwise drab, neutral flooring. It's all about the layers (:

(Now, the blue in these photos seems to be much brighter than it actually's more of a soft, Tiffany Box blue) The dining room table was turned, the leaf taken out and 2 chairs removed to give the illusion of more space. The old lanterns were taken down and replaced with 4 mini chandeliers draped in crystals, each in a different style for an eclectic feel. I used $1.50 iron plant hangers purchased from WalMart and spray painted them in silver to match the chandeliers. Looks like they were bought together as a set!

The window in the dining room is actually a barn window I found years ago. Mirror paint was sprayed on the back of each glass pane to give it an antiqued mirror affect and then a design made with liquid lead Gallery Glass was added to create a stained glass look. So easy, yet people are always shocked when I tell them it's not the real thing (:

The architectural piece above the mirror was part of a headboard destroyed in a move. It was the exact size of the window and filled in the spot nicely. I couldn't resist decoupaging on a French olive oil label found in a magazine when I saw it was teal! Simply used the computer to increase the size and printed it out! The rest of the pieces from the headboard were used to frame the opening of the fireplace. Can't let anything go to waste (:

This is our lovely TINY kitchen. It's a galley style, but oh, so small (: That brown thing on the left side of the bar is a column that isn't quite finished yet. It, along with the kitchen backsplash that cost me $0, will be in the upcoming makeover for next Monday. For a better look at the kitchen see the post Adding Space to Your Small Kitchen.

So that's the makeover for this week. Because the apartment is so small, it's hard to take the best photos, but hope you were able to get some ideas for your own spaces. Don't be afraid to go bold! Allow your home to communicate your spirit. Have a favorite color? Add a splash of it on the walls! Afraid it might be too much? Then go neutral and have pops of color in pillows, drapes, wall hangings, rugs or flowers.

Not sure where to start? Flip through some of your favorite design/decor magazines and begin collecting layouts that speak to your soul. You'll begin to see a pattern emerge. The common elements in each space are the things that reflect your true style...the rest will fall into place (:

Be sure to join me next week for another Makeover Monday!

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