What do you get when you take a 3-person design team, 2 days, about 3K in funds, a living room with a ton of potential, and homeowners that have good style? A pretty satisfying weekend living and dining room makeover. This one even impressed us. When we started the project, I actually wasn’t sure how well it was going to turn out – we were on both a time and budget crunch. But it truly turned out to be one of my favorite makeovers to date. It mainly just involved using what they already had, adding some Craigslist and thrift store pieces and supplementing with Target furniture and accessories.
A lot of people can be unsure how to incorporate new things into their own home with what they already have, and many people are skeptical about buying home goods from major retailers. Back in the day, big box stores sold cheap, generic looking garbage, but these days, this stuff is really, really good. Especially from Target, if I do say so myself.
So click on through to see the whole makeover, but when you have a second, watch the whole makeover on this video. At one point in the video I do a headstand and Charlie Henderson has a pretty adorable cameo in it.
I typically write more about the process, but that video kinda sums up how it went down (so sorry about that totally weird thumbnail of the video, something is up with YouTube and we can’t change it right now. So annoying …)
Click on through to get the breakdown, resources, links and all the before/after photos.
This lovely couple, Erin and Carson, were clients of Brian’s and Erin and I were friends from high school, so when we pitched the idea to Target I had them in mind. We knew the house had a lot of makeover potential and they were normal/cool/stylish people to work with.
The problems were as follows:
1 The furniture was oversized. That leather sofa actually has a lot of potential, but the beige overstuffed sofa was the stuff of nightmares – and both of them together were the culprits in the space inhibiting all chance of coherence and good flow. We thought about keeping that leather sofa because the color of it is actually pretty and in the right look/space/design it could look kinda 70’s cabin or something. But she wanted something more modern, and more seating. Besides trying to find club chairs that fit in our budget and that were the right scale to work with that massive sofa was really hard. Those chairs would need to be big, but that space wasn’t big enough so adding huge club chairs would be just adding to our problems.
2. No consistent color palette or design plan. They wanted blues, grays, blacks, whites and hits of pink – I promise I wasn’t forcing it on her. I promise.
3. A lot of random accessories that was making it feel cluttered. She had good chachkies but no place to display them properly.
4. They had this great white brick wall, but there were a few issues – their fireplace looked small on it without a mantle, the buffalo skull was hung too high (and it was bolted into the brick so we couldn’t really move it), and the TV wasn’t exactly looking like poetry in motion over there. It needed to be mounted and that media piece needed to be replaced.
5. The dining room had a table that we liked, but the base had been faux-aged with black paint that was kinda coming off. It was actually an antique, so whoever decided to faux-age it was really doing it a disservice. It would be like painting crows feet on Meryl Streep – she already has the most perfect crows feet on any 65-year-old in the world. The chairs were fine but were two different seat heights and combined with the table it did feel a bit granny. They had that big mirror that was hung with a serious cleat so it wasn’t moving, and a pretty adorable little window that was begging for some plants.
But there was a lot of good news:
1. The walls were freshly painted Benjamin Moore Gray Owl – one of my favorite grays (Erin is an avid reader of the blog and had seen me use it in a few projects).
2. They had a really pretty blue rug (from CL but I think it’s originally from Room and Board).
3. They had a TON of good art – from thrifting, their families and Carson is a pretty incredible artist, himself.
4. The house had a really easy lay out to work with, with simple/pretty mid-century architecture including a really nice white brick wall and really good windows/light.
So we came in on a friday, solved the problems and left on Sunday with it looking like this:
Here’s how it went down – Erin and Carson were very open to everything. They had just bought and renovated the house so we were on a serious budget. Basically we just wanted to get a new sectional, use what they already had, add some Target pieces and whatever we could find thrifting around to make the space. We met with them a few weeks before to see the space and have time to order any furniture we needed (the dining chairs, console and media unit took about 2 weeks to arrive).
Here is what ISN’T Target:
1. The sectional, which we found on Craigslist for $800 (originally I put $600 which I now remember was what we offered, but we ended up paying $800 – selective memory, I guess).
2. The coffee table, from a thrift store for $25 then painted white and gold.
2. The side table (thrift store $35),
4. The lamp, which they already had and we painted the old shade with watered down house paint – which is the simplest most genius upgrade to a fabric lampshade that you can do.
5. All that awesome art – It was a combination of thrift store pieces they already had, serious paintings by Carson’s grandfather, and paintings by Carson himself.
That seascape is ridiculous. It was painted by his grandfather (as was the Plein Air over the piano). I really need to go back in time and convince my grandparents to become painters because man, I could use some beautiful paintings like that.
In 2 days that room felt IMMEDIATELY so much bigger and happier, and yet we added way more seating.
About the mantel …. we debated for a long time what to do. I didn’t want to do something that looked ‘contemporary’ because it was a mid-century style house, but it was kinda begging for a mantel. So I found these pictures as inspiration:
Yes. Something simple, streamlined, off-center and floating would do. So we had Carson whip it up. Also I offered Carson a full-time job to hang out with us and just build cool stuff for us on our whim, but he’s all, ‘I’m too busy animating the next ‘Frozen”. Whatever.
He made that by hand, from scratch. Well, technically they bought $80 worth of Walnut from a lumber yard, then he cut it, mitered it, faced it out, and after putting in huge bolts into the brick, shoved the wood (with blocks with pre-drilled holes) on the bolts. It took him 1/2 a day and only cost him the $80.
That thing looks GOOOOOOD. So pretty and simple and now we can engage the whole wall with some more leaning art and a few books. Remember how hight that buffalo skull looked before? Well, all of a sudden its the perfect height, thanks to the mantel. And then we painted the hearth that dark gray (we didn’t paint it white because it’s a wood burning stove and would have gotten filthy, dark and ash-y immediately.
That white and gold accent table is pretty darn adorable. Technically its an outdoor table/stool (it even has a hole on the top for water drainage) but I don’t see why you can’t use it anywhere inside (by a bathtub?).
The TV got mounted – which they did before and YES, mounting on brick is not awesome. It took Carson a couple of days and he actually had to dig out a few bricks to put the cords behind the wall, etc. But it looks so much cleaner. We replaced the media unit with this adorable one from Target. When we first installed it, I was super nervous that it was too small since it was practically the size of the TV, but I forgot we had to deal with their speakers that can’t be in a piece of furniture anyway (unless it’s completely open and therefore would look messy). So once we put the right sub-woofer flux capacitor thing and the right/left speakers next to it, it actually was the perfect size. And yes, it was a real decision to leave them in the ‘after’ shots. Obviously my inner beauty addict wanted to remove them from the shot, or hell, remove the TV with photoshop, too, but we are really trying to show more realistic spaces these days. We thought about putting an image on the TV, but I couldn’t figure out what wouldn’t actually look ridiculous. Ugh, of course now I think of it: a picture of my Best Friend Forever, Kristen Bell, cuddling with a sloth (I may be rewatching the Vmars movie right now as I write this).
After we installed the media unit, we realized we had a bit of space there in the corner and they really didn’t have very many places to put any books or smalls, so we ran back to the studio and grabbed that leaning shelf (leftover from another Target shoot) and it fit perfectly.
This Ceramic hanging planter is one of those things that I saw randomly in the outdoor section in Target and was like ‘WHO HAS BEEN KEEPING THIS THING A SECRET!!!!!’ Its cement, dipped in gold and totally wonderful. Plus it hangs!!!!!
There seemed to be some space behind the sectional that could be utilized, but putting a side table there would have been really low, or kinda awkward. So that is when you go for the old ‘sofa table’ – which is basically just a table the height of a sofa that goes behind the sofa. We found this one on Target’s website in espresso, which is something I like in my mouth but not on my furniture. But it was $70 and it was so simple and the PERFECT dimensions. So we bought it with the intention of painting it a color that worked well in the space.
We had some extra ‘Hague blue’ which is a navy that has a decent amount of green in it, so we slapped a few coats on it. We did have to sand first, then sand between coats and let it dry for a full day before putting anything on it.
I love how it turned out. We popped those two benches under there to help it not feel so dark
1. Sectional | 2. Rug | 3. Ceramic tray | 4. Coffee table | 5. Super white | 6. Patterned pillow | 7. Cream pillow | 8. Emerald side chairs | 9. Ceramic lamp | 10. Wood and metal tray | 11. White lamp | 12. Brass planter | 13. Blue wave throw | 14. Hague Blue | 15. Console | 16. Blue tufted bench
The window was the perfect place for some pretty plants and a few organic shapes. We kept it mostly succulents since it gets a lot of light and most anything else would have been burned to death.
We were surprised/happy to find almost all of those vessels from Target, in the outdoor department. I’m sure they are going to sell out, but grab some of those white or gray concrete planters next time you pop in (also how cute is that modernist bird?).
We threw in some pretty manzanita and antlers to break up all the vessels – she had been hoarding them for a while so it was the perfect play to display them.
1. Mirror | 2. Chandelier | 3. Antlers | 4. Dining chairs | 5 . Dipped planter | 6. Copper tumbler | 7. White canister | 8. Dining table | 9. Trout gray | 10. Concrete bird | 11. Ceramic hanging planter | 12. White planter | 13. Grey canister
Let’s recap, shall we? Probably my most favorite thing to do besides a makeover is stare at some before and afters. Get to it:
Here are some logistical questions: We went in on friday with Brady (Ginny was out that day) and another dude Francis and removed all the old furniture and brought in all the new pieces. We had an idea of where everything was going but it wasn’t definitive. After we got a first coat of paint on everything, we ran to shop where we bought all the supplementary pieces (including those green chairs which weren’t in the original plan). On Saturday we finished painting, hung the gallery wall, and styled the whole room. There were 4 of us helping, in addition to Erin and Carson. I think they ended up spending around $800 of their own money and used the $2k from Target. So the whole makeover cost $2800 which isn’t too shabby. Its a wildly different space that is so layered without being messy and so pulled together without feeling perfect.
I typically write more about the process, but this time we decided to shoot a whole video about it above, instead.
Well, folks, what do you think? Are you into this concept? Would you like to see more of these weekend makeovers? If yes, tell me in the comments (and feel free to, you know, share it around, too). And obviously ask any questions that I may not have covered … Happy Monday.