Where it all started

By: Chelsea

You’ve heard it before.  You’ve been a grown adult for years now, and yet your mom is still prone to throwing around phrases like, “Well, you’ll always be my baby.”  And it’s true.  You will always be her baby.  Like it. Or not. This home project is sort of like that, but in a not-so-serious, mother-to-child way.  That’s right. This project became my “baby.” I loved it and coddled it and will always look back on it with fondness:) It was, after all, my first chance to get creative in someone else’s house.  In fact, I suppose you could say this is the project that actually launched this little business.  When a friend got word that I enjoyed dabbling in the design world, she did something no one before had ever done.

 She hired me.

What!?! “You want to pay ME to design your space for you?”  

And so it began.  A months-long learn-as-you-go design experience.  And what a great one it was.  My clients were so gracious and helpful along the way.  In the end, I believe we ended up with a lovely space that fits their family well. And what’s more, this client-friend encouraged me so much along the way that Made New Design was born.  Allyn and I partnered for one project at this house (see below), decided we loved working together and thought it might be fun to try this business out as a team.  So here you go–the before and after pictures of…wait for it…my baby. 🙂

 Nothing about this house was in bad shape before. It was simply in need of some more personality.  After all, the family that lives here is anything but dull.  Rather, they possess warm and vibrant personalities.  I wanted their space to reflect that, so we opted for inviting colors that popped when paired with a warm, cozy, neutral backdrop. Our goal was to create a new, inviting space without spending an exorbitant amount of money. Mission accomplished!

First up, the entryway. I love this area primarily because of the large subway art that we hung.  My client’s husband actually created this!  This not only added a personal touch, but saved several dollars too!  And it looks great! 

Entryway Before and After:




Since this home has an open floor plan, we wanted to be mindful of how the colors flowed from one space to the next. The entry opens right into this next area: the living room.

Living Room Before and After:




And here’s how we improved it:


The biggest investment in this space was a new couch/loveseat. My clients often host guests, so we wanted to make sure that the furniture and the furniture configuration was cozy for conversation. 



A key piece in this room is the upholstered ottoman (above). Not only is it aesthetically a win, but it is ideal for a family with two small children.  No dangerous coffee table corners here!  And what a fun place to enjoy a board game together!


We dressed up their windows with some pretty, neutral Ikat curtains. I think these are easily one of the most transformative pieces in the room. It’s amazing what a little fabric can do!  As for the chairs, my clients already owned one leather club chair, so we decided to simply purchase another in order to complete this nice sitting area. 

The fireplace mantel is dressed with temporary decor (an old window frame and pretty wreath) for now.  Plans for a new mirror are under way.  We’ll post pics on down the road when that project is complete. 

The living room opens up into a nice, spacious kitchen and eat-in area. 

Kitchen/Eat-In Before and After:

(The “befores” are less than ideal–I took them after we were mid-renovation…but you get the idea). 



I think the kitchen/eat-in is my favorite part of this whole renovation.  One of my favorite elements of making over a space is working with what’s already there.  There’s just something about taking what’s old and worn and giving it new life.  That’s exactly what we did with my clients’ kitchen table and chairs and a hutch. The table and chairs had great bones, but a somewhat outdated golden oak stain. We simply painted the legs and chairs in white (Alabaster by Sherwin Williams) and re-stained the top in a darker finish (English Chestnut by Minwax). The outcome was great!  It now has a laid-back, modern-farmhouse feel to it and fits their new space perfectly.  The hutch before was a dark burgundy, and like the table and chairs, just needed some new life.  We once again went with Alabaster (one of my favorite “whites”), and it was once again a winner!  To add another pop of color, we simply painted the inside of the hutch a light blue (Ocean Spray by Benjamin Moore). Voila!



There were a couple of additional DIY projects in this room: the curtain panels and the table runner. When I found the curtain material I knew right away that Allyn would be a huge help in getting them sewn.  Love that girl’s skills!  Aside from the poor photo quality, don’t they look lovely? 


And then there’s the table runner.  I love how the chevron pattern plays with the large floral pattern in the curtains. 


The one other space we changed in this area was the counter/peninsula area.  Previously it included two stools and three brushed nickel overhead lights:


We replaced the stools with upholstered counter-height chairs to add comfort and color.  We replaced the brushed nickel mini-pendants with some industrial-looking oil-rubbed bronze lights (that complement the other new oil-rubbed bronze lights throughout the home).  Now it looks something like this:



The final space I worked on for my clients was their formal dining room.  It was already a lovely space, with crisp, white wainscoting and a fun, blue (Caribbean Teal by Benjamin Moore) accent wall.  This room didn’t need much.  We simply added some curtains that had a nice Suzani pattern and a punch of color, hung some art on the walls, and replaced the overhead chandelier.  The room is particularly hard to photograph (I don’t even have a decent “before” shot) because of the large window–looks like I need to learn some Photoshop magic!  Here are a couple of “after” shots for you:

The Dining Room (After)

I was thrilled to find these curtains (Suzani by World Market).  They are high-style at a bargain price!  And they complement the rug my clients already owned so well!



  And there you have it!  I hope you enjoy reading about this space as much as I enjoyed making it over!  





Bathroom Bliss

This is our little 1/2 bath that lives in the hallway between our kitchen and living room.  When we moved in it was covered in wallpaper and had some window treatments we didn’t much care for.  As is the tradition in my house, when Chip goes away for a few days, I get busy making over a room.  He just loves it when I do this:)  I had been really drawn to striped walls for some time and was wanting to try it out in our house.  This bathroom seemed like the perfect candidate for said job. Here are a few shots during the taping process to apply the wall treatment.

photo 1   photo 2

I simple used a little leftover paint from our kitchen cabinets (Alabaster by Sherwin Williams) and entryway (Rice Paddy by Sherwin Williams), taped off the walls, and applied on the paint.  To complete the room I added a window shelf and sewed up some little cafe curtains.  Decor includes Ribba frames from Ikea that display vintage floral postcards. We still need to change out some wall sconces to complete the space, but it’s a vast improvement from what it was!

photo 4   photo 1

Kitchen Makeover

This kitchen renovation was a long, drawn-out DIY project.  In fact, it’s the first real project Chelsea took on in her own home.  The cabinets were originally the same cherry-stain color as the floor.  This made it really dark and dreary in there.  When we moved in, the counter tops were an outdated white laminate, and the appliances were old and dingy.  What’s more, the walls were covered in wallpaper that was simply not our style.

IMG_7426  IMG_7424

Our solution?  Paint the cabinets (Sherwin Williams Alabaster), remove wallpaper and paint the walls (Sherwin Williams Hearts of Palm), order new counter tops (Corian from Lowes), and add a classy subway tile backsplash with contrasting grout.  After replacing the light fixtures and DIY-ing a roman shade, the kitchen is one of my favorite places in the house…which is a good thing, since I’m in there all. the. time.  🙂

photo 3    photo 4    photo 1   photo 5

Down home fun on the farm

We had a client come to us asking for a boys room on a thrifty budget.  We were excited to jump on that train…or should we say tractor? She knew she wanted a John Deere theme, and was excited to get her hands dirty in the renovation process.

Her requests?

  • a room that was appealing to a 3 year old boy and would grow with him for the next several years
  • a room that incorporates the old furniture they had on hand
  • some kind of wall treatment
  • a place to park the tractor (or rather toy tractors)

Here is where we started:

And here is the big finish!


To save money, we gave the dresser a facelift, by simply painting the drawers a striking shade of John Deere green and spray painting the hardware a classic black. A family member provided the custom made pillows and bed linens. The wall treatment was a stream-lined green and black stripe that would grow with any young farmhand. The lamps provide much needed extra lighting while giving the appearance of a true tractor tread. The shelving crate houses special tractor toys and family treasures.


From this angle you can see the art gallery wall, which any mom knows is necessary to house all the masterpieces children create in their early years. The corn picture and tractor picture are RE design originals and further elaborate on the John Deere theme. The repurposed side table is given a new home and a new color, providing much needed storage for our client’s active son. A few well placed accents complete the space and provide a young future farmer with a place to let his imagination run wild.