Winter White–A Budget Makeover


When it comes to interior design, most people think of me as a colorist.  Fact is, I think of myself that way.  But recently we needed to replace the flooring in our guest room, which is on the lower level of our home.  After consulting with my good friend, interior designer Jamie Devlin, who works for CFM, we chose Mannington laminated flooring in a warm cherry color.  The installers Jamie recommended were wonderful, and in a few days we had a beautiful, shiny floor instead of the black carpeting that had been there since we moved in 8 years ago.  Trouble was, all our furniture was old and brown, so I was faced with the dilemma of too much brown wood, which forced me into DIY mode.  I decided to paint my furniture.  I can hear the gasps now–“Oh, NO!  You can’t paint those antiques!”  But, as you can see from the “BEFORE” shot, below, something needed to change.


BEFORE: View of Fireplace Wall

So I painted the fireplace wall, and the armoire with the mirrored doors.  The mantel had fallen off the wall a few years before, and my husband had moved out his old desk (where the Christmas tree sat).  The loveseat and draperies stayed the same, but we moved the armoire to sit in front of the doorway to a storage room, since we can access it another way and never used the door.  A new mirror (from Pier One) and a pair of chairs moved from the living room makes a great conversation area in front of the fireplace.  Doesn’t the room look fresher now?

Guest Room AFTER, View of Fireplace

AFTER: View of Fireplace Wall

I haven’t been a DIY-er since the ’70s, so painting the armoire and the dresser took me days and days!  I then decided to refresh the bed linens so I’d have an all white room.  Here’s how the bed looked BEFORE:

BEFORE:  Headboard Wall

BEFORE: Headboard Wall

You can see the brown dresser to the left of the bed, and while this room had its charm, I was really ready to lighten everything up.  Also, the brass headboard had fallen out of style, so it got a coat of flat black paint.  The old lamp went away, and a pair of vintage alabaster lamps from a local design shop were added to the mix since we often have a couple staying in our guest room, and I think each person deserves a reading lamp.  New linens from Tuesday Morning and Macy’s completed this budget makeover:

AFTER:  Headboard Wall

AFTER: Headboard Wall

Probably the best response I’ve gotten after this makeover is from my son, Tony, who said “Wow, Mom!  This looks great!  It reminds me of Anthropologie.”  He then asked  “What do you call this style?”  I hadn’t thought about it, but decided that perhaps “Paris Flea Market” might describe the look.  What do you think?  I’d love your feedback in the “comments” space, below.Guest Rm Cross Bed




There are 15 Comments to "Winter White–A Budget Makeover"

  • Laura Erickson says:

    Terrific, Kathia! I love the fresh look and also your descriptive title. I think you’re also spot on regarding painting some furniture. Not everything old is going to be a real antique that people want to collect! I also totally agree with your feeling that each guest deserves a light. As for painting a fireplace wall, that’s one of the first things we did when we moved to this house. Naturally, we love the refacing that was done in the meantime.

  • Mimi Epstein says:

    Nice DIY-ing, Kathia. There is nothing like white to make a dark space bright. But the dark floor keeps it warm. It is just lovely!

  • Beth Warner says:

    I love it, Kathia. Can I move in? It’s fresh and lovely and a wonderful retreat for guests.

  • Dinah Adkins says:

    Phooie, Kathia, I was just going to ask to move in but Beth beat me to it. I love what you’ve done. The new floor looks terrific, as does the bright white of the painted furniture and new bed linens. And I love the black and white checks. I should show you pictures of my house in Ohio that used both large and small b&w checks. I LOVE checks and stripes. This room doesn’t look like a basement room at all!

  • Corliss Rogers says:

    Gosh, Kathia – it’s so inviting! I’ve always loved that look and find I always seem to replicate the same theme, particularly in bedrooms, and in spite of intending to do something different. I just can’t give it up. Congratulations on another great transformation!

  • Margaret Retz says:

    Wow! What a transformation especially with the fireplace wall. I had to look twice to see that it was the same room. The room is light and has a romantic feel. I would feel very welcome and cozy staying here.
    I have been thinking about painting my antique drop leaf table lately and you have given me the courage to do so or even perhaps look for a replacement! Thanks, Kathia.

  • Bonnie Messinger says:

    A lovely transformation, Kathia! Lucky guests!
    After years of having refinished antiques, the idea of painting them is so much more appealing to me. Carpet be gone–yes! That wood is great.
    I would want to change the bed pillow covers for some that pick up a bit of color, or with a bolder/darker b & w check pattern.

  • Judi says:

    Fantastic design, once again! I have had the good fortune of staying in “both” rooms, and this new look is crisp, hip, and welcoming. Kathia, you always pay attentionto details that others might overlook, like lamps on both sides, and a beautifully stocked bathroom. It’s like a spa experience. But the best part is you and Jim right up the stairs…oh, and Emma, of course.

  • Barbara Shettler says:

    When I saw the new bedroom I was ready to move right in and hop into bed. Your clean, fresh look is so inviting with the darker texture of the floor contrasted to the white bedding and furniture. You’ve done it again!

  • Shari House says:

    Brava on this one Kathia..bright and so welcoming. I think a colorist should always be let loose with black and white! Somehow for me the alabaster lamps emphasize the airyness of the whole room.

  • Amazing Kathia! I never saw the before look until these photos, but I loved seeing this new look in person at your bbq a few months back….so beautiful and inviting and I love your resourcefulness. Can I be a guest…:)

  • Jerri-Jo Idarius says:

    Seems like I’ll have to stand in line to stay in your new digs when I come to town again. I felt like a queen last time I was in town and stayed with you, but I this is sooo much nicer. I paid $170 a night in Washington DC at the Hyatt, which was not nearly as nice. Great work. So happy to see that you are doing what you love. You, me and Barb have the blessing of being happy in our work and being self-directed. Kudos to us all.

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