Hello, lovely readers… if there’s anyone left out there! You may have noticed I haven’t posted for awhile. I intentionally took a break from this blog after experiencing a sudden tragedy in our family shortly after my last post. During the week of Thanksgiving, my mother suffered an accident that took her life. I was very, very close with my mom, and she lived a mere 0.8 miles from our home (yes, we actually measured it on the odometer once :) ). We talked every day and saw each other most days, even if it was just a quick visit.

My mom was my BIGGEST supporter in my design endeavors, wanting to get updates on all of the projects I was working on and going antiquing with me every chance she could. She was likely the only person who regularly read this blog too :) . Because that’s what mothers do, they support their children no matter what!

We had recently been working closely together on a makeover for her guest room which she was really excited about. We were almost finished making an upholsterd headboard for her bed and were heading out to buy an armoire off Craigslist for her new room when she suffered a mild fall that would suddenly take her life a few hours later.

She was healthy and active and it was a shock to all who knew her. She was a two-time breast cancer survivor, and yet a small accident took her life. It doesn’t seem to make sense! But in the midst of my sadness, shock and regret, I hold onto the hope I have from knowing that she was a Christian with a strong faith in God which means she is in heaven. She is now filled with peace, joy and healing, and my heart can rest in that assurance!

Since her passing, my time has been busy trying to help my dad learn how to live on his own after losing his partner of 45 years! I have also been hesitant to move forward with my design projects since I was right in the middle of working on one with my mom at the time of her accident. For awhile, every time I thought about it I was filled with sadness over the reminder that she is no longer here to discuss it with me.

But I am grateful that I’m now ready to pick up where I left off with my design plans! I had been planning a redo of my closet right before my mom’s accident, and I finally finished it last week. Here are the before photos…




And here’s my new closet…


First, my apologies for how long it has been since my last post! My schedule has been OVERWHELMED the last few weeks with not only planning and projects, but also regular responsibilities as the school year and all its activities are in full motion now.

I was able to spend most of this past Saturday touring some AIA (American Institute of Architects) award winning homes in our area with a dear friend of mine. It was so fun and inspiring, and I had hoped to share some photos with you readers but unfortunately photography was not allowed inside most homes :( . If you enjoy interior design and have any home tours like this in your area then I highly recommend you attend. I discovered some inspiring ideas and innovative products, plus it’s great to see what’s happening in your own community!

I also had my ottoman makeover featured at Better After this week. If you’ve never been to her site go check it out! It’s full of great before and after photos, and who doesn’t love scrolling through before and after photos?

Okay, onto my dining room…

When I sat down to redesign my dining room it became apparent pretty quickly that a dining room is a rather simple room compared to most rooms. My office, for instance, had many elements and pieces in it where I could infuse design, but the typical dining room is actually pretty basic. It usually contains a table with seating, lighting and often a storage piece. And that’s it! Unless you have a dining room with some amazing architectural elements there’s not a lot happening in there.

So I faced the challenge of how to bring engaging interesting design into an otherwise boring and somewhat empty room. After spending some time considering my options, I decided the best place to make an impact in my particular dining room was to create a feature wall on the large prominent wall.

Here’s a before photo:


I painted all of the walls in the room white and decided to give the feature wall a special treatment. My main strategy for creating interest and design was to add unique molding to the wall. An interesting wall paper or the ever popular pallet wall were options I considered, but I had started a molding theme in this room and it made sense to continue it.

The molding theme began with my baseboards. I have the shorter size baseboards throughout my house and have considered replacing them with taller ones for awhile, but that involves a lot of time and a lot of money!

We’ve already removed a little of the existing baseboards for the built-in in our office and it was not easy. The baseboards appear to be glued to the wall and it caused a lot of damage when we removed them. So yeah, that’s not something I want to do ALL over the house!

I saw the idea of adding trim above the existing baseboards while browsing Pinterest and realized this is a much better alternative. It’s cheaper, easier and would take less time! Here’s the pin I found:


I decided the best place to try this idea and see if it looked good was in my dining room.


So in my home office makeover post I promised to tell a little more detail about my built-in bookcases and how I styled them. To be honest, after I finished my office makeover I needed a break from writing about my office (and you guys probably needed a break from hearing about it :) ), and I also needed to get started on my dining room. So I’ve avoided writing this post for awhile. But I had a question about the built-ins come up recently, and I realized it’s time to finally write this post and give a little more information about the built-ins, focusing on how I styled them and how I use them.

As I mentioned before, our home office is at the front of our house and is basically the first thing people see when they walk in. So I wanted it to look pretty and presentable all the time, yet it still needed to be functional.

This is what people used to see when they walked in:


The shelves were hard to keep neat and there were too many boxes to dig through to try to find what I was looking for, not to mention there was no real style to the arrangement of items on the bookshelves. Having all of our stuff sitting out in the open was simply not working. What I needed was a way to hide all of our stuff and still make it easily accessible. And that is why I chose to create a built-in storage system with drawers.

I love, love, LOVE the drawers! Back when I was planning out the design I considered skipping the drawers because it would’ve made the whole process of constructing this thing cheaper and quicker. But I am SO GLAD I stuck with the idea of having drawers along the bottom. It was worth the extra money and time!

After we finished building the built-in bookcases I added some Ikea gray boxes along the bottom. This gave me added storage while also creating a visual base for the entire built-in. It looked like this with empty shelves, drawers and boxes:


Then I brought in all of the items we had sitting in our office before except for the books, and this is what I had:



It’s been almost a year since I started planning a makeover for our home office and two and a half months since I started the install, and I am happy to say that I am finally done!!

I have redone dozens of rooms over the years, but I’ve got to admit that I have NEVER encountered as many setbacks as I did with this room. It was surprising and frustrating!!! But I believe in doing whatever it takes to get the job done correctly, so I spent a lot of time changing parts of the design and redoing projects until they met my standard of quality. I am glad I did because I am happy with how the room turned out!

So let’s get to the photos!

Here are the BEFORE photos…




Can we talk about how dated this room is for a second? From the beige and red color scheme to the silver accents to the damask print to the overabundance of light colored wood, can you tell that the last time I decorated this room was circa 2008? It makes me kind of nauseous.

So let’s look at the AFTER photos then…





Looks much better in my opinion.

Here’s a breakdown of the changes I made…

the walls

I kept the walls simple because I didn’t feel they needed any special treatment since there was going to be so many other elements happening in the room. My only change was to repaint them a pale cool gray color in order to lighten up the room. Benjamin Moore’s Stonington Gray ended up being the perfect color.

the floor


The hardwood floors—despite not being my current favorite color— certainly worked in the room so they were staying. I knew I wanted to add an area rug in here though, and decided that a round rug would be perfect to highlight the furniture in the middle of the room. I wanted a simple gray and white modern pattern and found this wool rug on Overstock for a good price… and my dog loves it!

the built-in storage


The built-in bookcases that my husband and I created were a major part of this makeover (see more about that here). Not only did they take us a lot of time to install (that sucker is 135 inches long by 9 feet tall!), but they also ended up being the focal point of the room as I had hoped.

This room needed to function for us similar to a commercial office supply room, yet we certainly didn’t want it to look like one! The built-in—and the way I styled it— was the key solution to giving us storage while making it appear more like a beautiful display cabinet rather than a messy supply room.

the furniture


With the built-in as the main piece of furniture, I really only needed to add a desk and desk chair to the room.

I really liked the clean lines of the old desk we had in the room, but I wasn’t a fan of the color. So I painted it white and changed out the hardware to match the built-in, and it was good to go.

The desk chair is an old dining room chair that I gave a makeover (see more about that here).


I decided to keep the two small ottomans that were sitting in front of the desk because I noticed over the years that they really were functional since my kids sat on them regularly, but I also liked the aesthetic advantage they gave me. They allowed me to bring a much needed pop of pattern and color to the middle of the room. You can learn more about my ottoman makeover here.


The corner opposite the desk was empty and needed something there to balance the whole room out. I decided to add a swoop chair and small accent table to fill it out.

the accessories


I tried to limit the accessories on the desk so there would be plenty of clear space to work. I only added a lamp, a decorative storage tray and a pencil cup.


Another reason I didn’t want to over clutter the desk was because I knew there would be a lot of decor on the built-in bookcases nearby. Trying to figure out an arrangement plus a purchase list for all of the accessories in the bookcases was a lot to keep track of in my head, so I planned it all out on the computer. You can learn more about how I styled my built-in here.

the wall decor


I decided to bring a personal touch to the room by highlighting some of our travel photos over the piano which you can learn more about here.


I also wanted to add some wall art in the corner of the room next to the swoop chair. I called on one of my hobbies, graphic design, to create some framed quotes. I designed these and printed them myself (on my mom’s photo printer). My skills and talent as a graphic designer are limited, but I enjoy taking on projects. I highlighted some of my favorite Bible verses that mean a lot to me. I try to remember them every day so it made sense to stick them up on the wall of my office.

the source list
  • WALL COLOR  |  Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray
  • WOOL RUG  |  Overstock
  • ACCENT TABLE  |  At Home
  • DESK LAMP  |  HomeGoods
  • PENCIL CUP  |  Bed Bath & Beyond
  • METAL STORAGE TRAY  |  HomeGoods
  • GRAY STORAGE BOXES  |  Kvarnvik from Ikea
  • DECOR ON BUILT-IN BOOKCASES  |  HomeGoods, At Home, Target, Ikea
  • WALL FRAMES  |  Target and

So that’s it! Let me know what you think of my new home office in the comments!

SHARING AT THE FOLLOWING: Thrifty Decor Chick Before and After, Tatertots & Jello Link Party Palooza