an ivy league makeover

this is karen's dining room when i started.  very beautiful but it just needed a few things to help tie it into the rest of the house.

this is a shot from midway up the stairs to show the relationship between the entry, living room and dining room.

this was the dining room on thanksgiving.
you can see the small changes that were made.
a seagrass rug, new chandelier and i had a print framed that they purchased while visiting their sons on the east coast.

coral and blue and white

i set the table using karen's french countryside dinnerware, linen napkins and fresh magnolia leaves scattered.  the candlesticks were hers, i just painted them all black.

standing in the entry - looking left

the view from the dining room.

working on this house has been such a joy to me.
karen is an amazing woman and so fun to work with.
this was not a big decorating job, really just clearing clutter and moving things around.

this is the family room.
again, a beautiful room that just need decluttering and a few extra touches.
the large sofa sectional is from crate and barrel.

all i did was organize the bookcase and switch things around a little.

i created this little reading corner for karen with things she already had.
all i purchased was the lamp, throw and had a large mat cut for the frame she already had to fit any 8x10 photo she wanted.
she chose a darling christmas photo of her sons when they were little boys.
she can easily switch the photo out seasonally or whenever she feels like it.

and finally her bedroom.
this bedroom had so much potential because the view of the golf course and mountains is just spectacular.
we squeaked out a makeover of the room with barely any money left in the budget.
but i just love the results.

the duvet cover was found at an estate sale for $20.
the lamps are from target and i believe they were $50 or $60 each.
the pillow shams were on clearance at pottery barn.
the nightstands were found at an estate sale.

the nightstands had been in a fire but they were made really well so def worth saving.
they cleaned up just fine so i painted the outsides white and the insides a deep marine blue.
the mirror is from marshalls.

this is the little sitting area off the bedroom

karen's husband bruce painted all the walls to match the blue that karen loves.
an ikea loveseat, throw and yardsale table and basket tray make the room useable.
the floorlamp is from target.

i also helped pull 2 guest rooms together but lost the before pictures when i lost my hardrive.
in those rooms i used what she had and just fluffed them up with new shams and lamps.

so that is it.  karen's house is done.
i hope you all have enjoyed seeing the progress as much as i had making it.

like i said it was a joy.

thank you all for your amazing comments regarding the sequins and chambray shirt.
i promise to wear it every which way you suggested!
thanks so much, i am truly blessed to have the best commenters in the world!



  1. I think you should a professional stager. With very few items and very little money, you've really made this place shine. I think it's perfect.

  2. Great job Janet! You really captured the "coastal" vibe. She is lucky to have you as a friend. Not only are you a great bargain hunter, but you know how to put it all together. And you accomplished it in such a short amount of time. :)


  3. I am simply in awe of you.
    Enough said.

  4. Love the simplicity! Great transformations.

  5. It looks great. Can you come do my house next?.....

  6. You really have a great eye and have helped make a house a home! One question-has your friend had any problem with the sectional moving around on hardwood floors? I really love the idea of a sectional, but had heard that's an issue. Maybe it is on an area rug and I just can't tell. Would an area rug be enough to keep it from shifting around?
    Thanks! Kathy

  7. Eleanor is right; I, too, am in awe. It is amazing how YOU are all over that house--the orchid in a basket on the coffee table, the night stands with the lamps off to one side balanced by one simple piece, all the blue and white, the unique bedroom coffee table in front of the love seat, the dried hydrangeas, and most of all, the top of the family room book shelf that has NO decorations--what was it that Chanel use to say, "Before going out, be sure to take OFF one accessory?" Elegance! Your friend is truly lucky to have the honor of your touch!
    -Suzanne in Illinois

  8. The Janet are very talented! You really pulled it all together, it's beautiful, you managed to use a lot of her things and work on a budget. I may need your help in about 6 months!

  9. Marvelous transformation!
    You've got a great eye for detail and what works in the spaces.

    Not only are you a snappy, savvy dresser you've got the decorating gene!

  10. Wow, it looks fabulous. Love the shot showing the dining room and living room. What I love the most is the sparseness of it...if that is a word...It really really works for this house.

  11. Beautiful makeover! It's amazing the difference a little paint and rearranging can make!

  12. Yes, what Steve and Chania said. Anytime you want to go on a little jaunt this way, you are welcome to have at my place. You would have a decluttering field day.

  13. Janet, you have done an absolutely marvelous job with your friend Karen's home. I am sure she is so thrilled - just amazing transformations. I should be not at all surprised because I love everything bout your own home. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  14. I just love it all! Job well done!

  15. This is all GORGEOUS. Well done J.

    Meanwhile I am so sad- getting decent affordable child care in this country is CRAZY!!!

    I'm doing a blog comp.

    Go look.

    Wish you lived here xxxx

  16. Magical! What a fabulous fresh eye you have shown herein! Absolutely love the transformation! Oh, Yeah! Come on down! I'd be glad to pay for your 'eye'!

  17. Your little touches have made such a difference, the house is more more interesting now but in a refined subtle way.

  18. Dear Janet,

    You made the house come to life! It looks simply lovely!!

    Happy new week,

    Madelief x

  19. Dear decorator janet, what is your opinion on curtains? I used to think they were uncool, until I installed the first curtains in my apartment and loved them ever since. They make such a soft light, compared to shutters.

    Having visited lots of US blogs, I noticed, shutters (inside, not on the outside) are the norm?!

    Is there another redecoration in the pipeline? A very nice new facet to "simplicity, vegan cooking, gardening, style" :-)

  20. I love everything you have done...especially in the bedroom and sitting area. Kudos for salvaging and reusing those wonderful end tables. ~~Bliss

  21. That was a lot of work there Missy.

    Painting, hanging, sourcing.

    You can truly rest on your laurels.

    It all look spectacular and very liveable.

    xo jane

  22. Absolutely wonderful, so elegant but with homely touches so it never feels "staged". I love the grouping of the stairs pictures and the old bicycle. x

  23. I wish you'd come to my house and work your magic!

    Those pillow shams from Pottery Barn: they have the best clearance bins for pillow covers. I have a found a few by digging through the bins, all for about $14, lovely linen fabrics.

    I love your style Janet!

  24. Janet, have you ever read the book Use What you Have Decorating? ? Not that you really could learn anything new, but it might confirm some of the instinctive things you are already doing in your decorating.
    The author has a consulting firm

    I think you could do so much for people by offering your skill and talent.

    Have you thought about it?


  25. Beautiful! An inspiration for when I re-enter my house after getting rid of a bunch of mold-contaminated stuff.....

  26. kathy - that sectional is really quite heavy so it does not slide around a lot. there is a small rug anchoring the front feet though so maybe that helps.

    paula - i love drapes! and i love unadorned windows too. i'm quite fickle. shutters are v popular here in california, i think b/c of the strong sunlight.

  27. You could make a business of this, Janet. I mean it. I bet this sprucing up was a ton of fun and wow, what a difference the little details make.

    Love the round mirror over the bed. What is it about round mirrors?

  28. christina and camille - i've never read that book. and yes, i'd love to do this for a living! but i have no idea how to trick people into hiring me!

  29. Oh, wish you could pop over and do your magic at my apartment. You have such great style. Your friend is so lucky!! :)

  30. wow spectacular, you are good at this. I would love you to come and live with me here in outback OZ and help me declutter and decorate, except it may take several years to plough through it all, and I think you might like your life!!

  31. Such fun to see this all come together- you did a fabulous job!!!

  32. One word, FANTASTIC!
    You most definitely have an eye and I love what you can do on a budget. So telling. Rock on.


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