Makeovers are my fave: home edition

February 24, 2009


So, guess what is the best thing ever? Nope not chocolate. No, not that either (wow, you guys have dirty minds!) The best thing ever is when you complete a home improvement project. Because it’s annoying to have 20-minute convos about metal finishes for door hardware, or having to cook everything in a microwave b/c you don’t have a kitchen, but the end product is PURE BLISS.

I’m an interior designer in ‘real life’ (I’m a Veronica-Mars-obsessed, Facebook-stalking, final-sale-shopper in my virtual life, if you’re taking notes) and recently a friend came to me asking about product recommendations for a bathroom renovation. The bathroom is going to keep an accessible, traditional look for re-sale value. They have money saved for this project, but are naturally thrifty. So let’s use this example to chat about home makeovers! (Sans the megaphones or moving buses.)

Here’s the thing, you guys: who doesn’t drool over $10,000 fixtures?! It’s easy to make a fab vanity for that price tag. But Lowe’s is the perfect resource for certain items! A toilet is a toilet, especially if you have a budget. If you’re looking to cut corners on your bathroom renovation, and have ugly 1950’s tile on your walls, consider installing some fresh wallpaper above it. What was gag-inducing suddenly looks retro kitsch with the right pattern. See this example?

If you are installing new wall tile, you can’t go wrong with white subway tile. It’s the epitome of vintage modern, and available at your local Home Depot! This is also true for kitchen backsplashes, in fact, subway tile is all-around perfect.

On the flipside, there are certain elements that are worth splurging on. I would put the faucet set at the top of this list. This is a detail people will notice if it is something special. And they will admire it, and tell you that you have good taste. Also, light fixtures are really important; light can make your guests feel like Daniel Craig from Bond, or Tom Hanks from Joe Vs. the Volcano.


One last tip: take Kenny Roger’s advice, and know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. Some tasks are super DIY friendly (painting, making your own roman shades). Others are best left to professionals (installing tile, especially on imperfect subfloors/walls). Honestly assess your skill level and dedication to craft before tackling projects.

If you, too, are looking to freshen up your bathroom in a classic way, here are some of my faves:
A designer vanity – from Home Depot(?!!!!) Perfect with a Corian top.
A to-die-for faucet set from Restoration Hardware
A typical medicine cabinet gets dressed up with caning! (On sale, holla)
Sleek but classic wall sconces are a must…
Make your own Roman shade for that your bathroom window

Happy makeovers, kids!

Editors note: I’d just like to tell Karen that she is my hero. She’s everything I would like to be. Read more words of wisdom from Karen here.

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