Monday, October 3, 2011

What It's All About

Every once in a while a client comes along that just needs you.   It's not really a good financial decision to take them on, but somehow, you just know you should take it on.

Such is the project we're working on.  Mrs. E is recently widowed and has moved to town to be close to her children.  She left everything behind in No. California (that's another story!), and bought a small house close to her daughter.  She had nothing.....NOTHING!  And her budget was what I usually require for a single room, not a whole house!

But I'd already fallen in love with Ellen, and there was no turning back, so Lynsey and I have been through every thrift store and consignment shop in the metroplex looking for pieces to use within her budget.

I've always said that it's pretty easy to design and decorate with a great big budget.  You just pull beautiful things off the showroom floor, call the workroom and make magic.  But when you are challenged with a very small budget, that's when the creativity comes out.  We have had a blast on this project, but it's been a ton of work to pull things together. 

I'm going to show you Mrs. E's bedroom.  There's still a couple of things we need to complete, but she has been able to move in and start making a home.

Here's what we started with.

Yep....carpet and walls!  There was no budget to paint and she liked the blue, so that was our starting point.  She did tell us that purple was her favorite color and that she'd love to see some in the room.  

Our plan for the house was to create a cottage/modern country feel throughout because that style would lend itself to repurposing furniture pieces.

Our favorite antique/junk-y store, Alston's Antiques, had the French dresser and the Empire table as well as the headboard.  Richard, the owner, had already painted the dresser and the table was in good enough shape, so all we had to do was paint the headboard.

We found the dust ruffle and matching pillow on sale at Home Goods which combined the blue from the room and purple which is Ellen's favorite color.  Just saying....there's not much in the market place that marries blue and purple unless you are under 12.  The Matelesse coverlet and sheets from Tuesday Morning and the deep plum neckroll was scored on sale at Pier One.  

These lamps were also a Home Goods find....but the color was all wrong, so with the magic of spray paint, we had two deep plum lamps for the side tables.  We covered the lampshades  and a bench we found in the garage (and painted black)  with fabric we found in one of our local discount fabric houses for $3 a yard!!

We still lack something over the bed....any ideas out there?  Here's the almost completed bedroom.  

The reveal was a special moment for us all.  We didn't let Ellen see any of the components until they were in place, and there were tears all around when she saw it all together.  It was just like on TV!!

We made a major score of furniture at the local Salvation Army which is undergoing transformation as we speak, so we'll be adding in a black dresser on the other side of the room.  

I must admit, that I've missed this DIY aspect of interior design.  I've always loved being knee-deep in the transformation process, and buying off the showroom floor all the time had made me feel more like a furniture salesman than a designer.  I think my artist-self has missed turning a "sow's ear into a silk purse"!  I've had paint on my hands and the sewing machine and glue gun have had a long overdue workout, and I'm happy again.  

Perhaps taking on this project was more about me than my client.  I don't know, but we're both going to be better for it in the end. 


  1. I can't wait to see the rest of the house. I love that you were challenged with a small budget.

  2. Great post. It's always interesting to see how a room grows together.

  3. Wonderful job. I've always said that real talent is shown when you don't have a big budget. It's much easier when the sky is the limit.

  4. As a designer it is always fun to get down and dirty again and you did a lovely job. I would opt for a pretty floral painting above the bed to bring in her colors and continue the feminine feel.

  5. The room is so cozy - you did such a good job! I think that a stenciled or (freely) hand-painted word or phrase would work nicely over the bed. Maybe even something as simple as "Dream".

  6. The room is beautiful and how wonderful for you to help her to make her new house into a home! Janell

  7. Wonderful story, wonderful blog.

    Soooo, where is your "Followers" thingie? Not fair that I can't follow you.

  8. I just love your
    sweet heart and it
    shines through in
    this post. Congrats
    on a wonderful job;
    it looks GREAT!
    xx Suzanne

  9. The important thing with a client is not the budget but the relationship. It must comes first before anything else.

  10. you did a great job and I am sure she is one happy client
    Viera VT Interiors

  11. What a fabulous room - a perfect start to making her new house a home! I love it that thrift stores were scoured to help in the transformation (thrift stores are my favorite!).

    Have a wonderful day! (found you via pinterest)


  12. Lucky Mrs. E - you are not only a wonderful designer but a generous spirit as well.

  13. rocked that budget!!! I am with you...I love when I have to think out side the box......and I do know that Dallas is NOT full of designers who have taste like Donna.......:)


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