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.