11 March 2009

Redo in Tanglewood

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Of all the questions I get from people about my blog, the most asked is – do you make money from it? The answer is always the same – No! Then comes the lengthy discussion of why not: because it’s hard to make money on blogs. You first must have a huge readership to get advertisers willing to pay you more than $25 a year for the privilege of turning your site into a cluttered billboard. And then there is this reason: I started this blog as a labor of my love for interior design with absolutely no expectations of making any money. That hasn’t changed these past two years. Why would I want to turn my labor of love into a advertising free-for-all for Google ads or Amazon books or the latest green cleaning agent? And still – I don’t want to have to keep up a posting schedule that an advertiser might impose on me either. Nope. I’m ad-free now and hopefully forever, thank you very much!

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There is this other oft asked question: does your blog help your interior design business? Do you get clients from it? Oh boy, yessiree I get clients! I have many, many readers who send me pictures of their house with questions on furniture arrangements or curtains or questions about seagrass (a lot of those) and slipcovers (even more!) or how about this one: how can I get my musty antiques to quit stinking up my house? Yes, I get clients. The problem with these kinds of clients though, is they aren’t paying ones. Usually their request for help can be answered in one or two emails, which is no real bother. In fact, I actually like those emails – it’s fun to look at readers’ houses and give my advice, though why they would want it is beyond me. As the blog has grown, so have the email requests and sometimes it does take a toll on my time. Have I ever gotten a true client from my blog – a paying client that actually lives in H0uston proper? While I’ve gotten a fair share of inquiries for true design work - most never go further than the initial email. They either live too far away from me as Houston is a very large, spread-out city. Or, they get a severe case of sticker shock when we start to discuss budgets. But, I have had a few clients that came to me from the blog, where everything worked out and the job was actually started and completed. This is a story about one such reader, who sent me an email asking for design help. As usual it came accompanied with pictures. And as we talked, she revealed that she was the reader who once left me a Kenneth Turner candle on my porch after I had blogged about them. Could any designer want for a sweeter client?

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It started slowly. She and her husband and sons live in Tanglewood – one of Houston’s finer neighborhoods. Her house is an older two story, about which they were debating whether to tear it down and rebuild, or remodel, or just move. Their final decision was this: they would do a small remodeling job, wait until the boys went off to college in a few years, and then they would tear it down and rebuild. Maybe. The main issue was the problem of their master bathroom. They wanted to gut it and turn it into a smaller, but more efficient bathroom and add a separate powder room. Could I help her pick out marble and tiles? Hmm. I guess. Truthfully, picking out tile didn’t sound too promising or really worth my time. It sounded like another wild goose chase where the potential blog client is at first all excited, then gets cold feet, never to be heard from again. But this one was a little different and she actually had architectural plans for the bathrooms, and hey, I wasn’t too busy.

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We worked on the two bathrooms and had the numerous and typical set backs and issues with contractors and stone tiles that turned mysteriously pink when installed. Try picking a paint color for that!! While work was being done on the bathroom gut jobs, my client confessed that she had recently purchased a sofa for her family room. Could I help her with fabric choices? Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I can. The two bathrooms are finished now. The master bedroom is still being worked on. Today, we finished the family room. So you see, in the end, it was worth my time. I gained a friend, and a client who turned out to be exceedingly nice and polite and very fun to work with. You know – that perfect combination. And I am learning something important. The BEST part about getting clients from my blog is that they already know my style. They’ve seen my work and obviously like my taste or they wouldn’t be hiring me. Without me even realizing it, much less planning it, my blog has become a portfolio for potential customers to peruse. After years and years of working with people whose style is so vastly different than mine, it’s refreshing and extremely exciting to work with a client who knows my look and wants it for herself! Here’s the story of her family room redo:

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BEFORE: She had decorated it with some help a long while ago. The room was nice enough - cozy, and warm, just outdated for the 21st century. The walls were green, though it doesn’t look like it here. There were two groups of matching chairs, a dated brick fireplace and mantel, 60s type paneling and layers of nick naks built up from years of married life. And, there were no window treatments at all. What she wanted: the same cozy, warm room, just updated. The client actually had architectural plans for a major remodeling of this area of the house, but in the end they opted for redecorating instead.

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BEFORE: The room is long and narrow with French doors on each side.

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BEFORE: At the back of the room there is a table and chairs. With two teenaged boys, internet surfing is allowed downstairs only – in plain view of their parents. This became the main issue of the redo. The boys’ computers and gaming equipment (cleaned up for this picture) had overtaken the room. Clearly, something had to be done to provide them with a place to work, yet it needed to be somewhat hidden. A computer armoire? There are two boys, two computers, but two armoires in one room? Not a viable solution.

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BEFORE: It was decided that a cabinet would be built in the back of the room along these two walls. There would be two computer stations hidden behind doors. With a plan in hand, fabrics were chosen, paneling was painted, the dated mantel was removed, doors were replaced, and everything was purchased new in the room, save for a coffee table and a gate leg table.

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AFTER: In the entry hall, we painted the walls a cool toned, greenish taupe. The stair handrail was painted black to pop it. Two black lanterns were hung – one by the door and one in the stairwell. I found her an antique gate leg table and a new lamp was ordered from Aidan Grey. Seagrass will probably be going on the stair treads – if the bid will ever come in!

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The dated shutters were replaced with bi-fold paneled doors. In fact all the doors in the house were replaced and then painted black. I like to do this when a house needs some extra architectural detail. Plus, I think the black paint gives the hollow core doors of today some much needed richness. The client was instructed to stay away all day and finally at 4:00 she was allowed home for the big reveal.

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AFTER: The family room is now painted a rattan color, slightly yellow, slightly green, slightly creamy. The floor is covered with custom cut seagrass which extends to 5 inches away from the walls. There is an Os-de Mouton French sofa, slipcovered in a rattan colored linen, held in placed with long ties. There are two French styled wing chairs on swivels for easy TV watching along with a tufted top ottoman. For extra seating there is a French styled chair, in a Chelsea Editions check. The pillows are velvet and the curtains are a F. Schumacher print, which my client chose as the inspiration fabric. You can see the L-shaped built-in with the two hidden computer desks behind the sofa.

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Another view. Since space and cluttering were concerns, we opted for two floor lamps next to the sofa instead of side tables. The coffee table will be used for drinks.

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Looking towards the fireplace, we removed the mantel and placed a convex mirror there. Next to each chair is a vine table for drinks which was bought at the new Mecox store in Houston. In the existing bookcases, we added thickness to the shelves to update their appearance. In this picture, on the right, you can get a clear view of just how close the seagrass rug is cut to the wall, perfection!

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Close up of the curtain treatment. This is actually one French door with two side windows. In order to hide the wall space between the doors and the windows, I used four panels instead of the usual two. Each panel is two widths of fabric for extra fullness. If space allows, three widths is even better! To fool the eye that the ceiling is higher, I placed the curtains right under the crown molding and the deep brown shades were brought up to that height also – thus eliminating the visible wall space between the French doors and the ceiling. The F. Schumacher fabric is a linen that resembles a Bennison but without the price! At a quarter of the cost, my client was able to get the look of a fine fabric and not break the bank. At our initial design meeting, my client was presented an edited array of fabrics and this was her first choice. The entire color scheme was built around it. The rattan linen fabric on the upholstery is a Dogwood, also very cost friendly. The linen is actually a blend, therefore the slips will be laundered when necessary, not washed. And last, outside the window is a courtyard in the middle of being landscaped.

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Close up of the sofa. The seams are a 1/4” flange. The back cushions are cut in the same shape as the back of the sofa.

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And looking towards the right side of the room.

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Behind the sofa, we placed the client’s large gate-leg barley twist table along with the two desk chairs for the boys to use at the computer desk. Instead of typical bulky office chairs which would totally ruin the look, we chose these tufted red leather ones.

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The bookcases are actually not completed yet. The center unit behind the doors houses the computer desks, complete with keyboard trays. These doors are getting chicken wire and will then be lined with fabric which will hide the computers when the doors are closed. The carpenter also has to finish the trim work below the center cabinet. Notice how the seagrass has been cut around the curves of the shelving unit. This is such an important aspect of getting your seagrass custom cut – these details around curves and fireplace hearths add so much!

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The second side of the built in. Hi Mimi!!! You can see the chicken wire was attached on the right door. The boys are so anxious for their desks to be finished already. Some of the shelves’ accessories we ordered hasn’t arrived yet, and some of the books are still packed away.

Behind the scenes:

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My main girl! Monica Hancock of Custom Creations by Monica. Monica and I have been partners since my very first job! She does all my measuring and is the liaison between the workroom and my clients. Every drapery panel, pillow, duvet, and skirted table goes through Monica. I’m not sure I could be in business without her. She refused to pose for the camera because she hadn’t checked her hair or makeup first. Come on Monica, smile, you look great!!!!!!!!

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Drapery installer extraordinaire: Mr. Bennie Davis. Back on the job after open heart surgery last year, Bennie is an artist, though he said he hasn’t started up again painting since the surgery. Bennie has installed every single curtain I’ve had made, except for the jobs when he was recuperating. Always smiling, always in a good mood, and always humming!!!!!!!!!!!! He agreed to pose without looking in the mirror first, what a team player.

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Custom cut seagrass. Yes, it CAN be seamed – and I dare you to find the seam later. The seagrass was cut and the binding was glued, all on the job, causing the day to be extra, extra long. OY.

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And finally: BEFORE

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and AFTER.

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BEFORE.

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And AFTER.

The master bedroom should be completed in a few weeks. I’ll take pictures of it, along with the two new bathrooms!

166 comments:

  1. Wow, gorgeous!!!! I wish you were in CA. I could use a lot of help decorating our house.

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  2. Joni, I have been looking forward to this post for weeks! You really did a marvelous job, and thank you for pointing out all of the details that made the room so special. I spent half of the time going from the 'after' up to the top of the post to the 'before' - I should have known that you would have done that for us at the end!

    There are quite a few tips that I am going to file away for later. I really liked the suggestion to take the curtains to the top of the ceiling, AND take the shades up there too. I also like the tip about using floor lamps on either side of a sofa if trying not to clutter up a room. Where do you plug in the floor lamps? Do you cut a little notch in the seagrass?

    Beautiful job - your client is lucky to have a designer like you, and you are very lucky to have a client who is such a kindred spirit! This post shows the power of interior design in transforming a house.

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  3. Gorgeous makeover! Take THAT folks who think brick fireplaces shouldn't be painted! HAH!

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  4. Joni - it's terrific - I bet the whole family is thrilled. Glad you pick up a little work from this labor of love.

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  5. The home is gorgeous! I bet they're thinking that can't believe they waited so long. Nice work!

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  6. Beautiful! You have fabulous taste (as everyone here knows!). The room is transformed. I also enjoyed your story about bloggers and clients. Also, thank you for not selling out and putting ads on your blog. I realize everyone needs to make a living, but hate seeing ads on blogs shilling tooth whiteners and wrinkle cream. It ruins the experience. You are very generous to share your time, insight and talent with us!

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  7. Truly remarkable. I am in awe! Thank you for sharing...lots of inspiration here!

    Layla
    The Lettered Cottage

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  8. LOVE IT!! Thank you so much for sharing the behind the scenes photos too. I'm sure the client never wants to leave that room now. Lovin' those red leather chairs - so hip and fresh. I can't wait to see what you do with the other spaces.

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  9. Joni, I have been following your blog for a while now and I love it. This makeover was fantastic. Would you share what black paint you used for the doors and stairs? Thanks! Sher

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  10. Fabulous! Thank you for sharing! Cant wait to see the rest.~Cindy~

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  11. Beautiful!
    Great job

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  12. What a wonderful makeover! That first after photo was a shock to the system. The more I see seagrass the more I like it. Do you have a certain type/pattern you recommend or use consistantly. I confess to thinking of doing wall to wall in our den. The wood floors in that room have been repaired by a previous owner(and not too well I might add) so going wall to wall with the seagrass and layering an large inherited Kermin might be a solution rather than new floors.

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  13. Beautiful! Makes me think I should paint my brick fireplace.

    It's funny you blogged about people emailing you questions, because I've been wanting to ask you the paint color of this room: http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/2008/02/my-design-library.html. I would love to know the color of the paint in the Tanglewood home as well, if you share that info. : )

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  14. Hello from your neighbor over here in Dallas*! I am loving your blog. So glad to be finding so many fun and creative ladies in blogland. Thanks for allowing me to hang out and hopefully learn from all your beautiful pictures.

    _Ashley*

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  15. Wow, Joni! Really beautiful work. Love the red. Please post photos of the finished built-ins if you can - I'd like to see how the desks open and unfold to accomodate working at them. Look forward to seeing the rest...

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  16. Joni, this is just beautiful. A fabulous job done by you and your contacts and client. Can't wait to see the rest of this house, it truly is inspiring.
    I sure wish I had the money for you to do my house. Maybe if you ever come to PA you can do a consult.
    As for the ads, I am glad they aren't there it, truly makes a huge difference in the feel and look of the blog. Just like your designs, beautiful.
    xoxo, MB

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  17. Brilliant! What a lovely room. I think that the desks for the boys are a stroke of genius!

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  18. Oh, so beautiful, Joni! Wish I could see it in person (yours too).
    Thank you for all the tips, they're so very helpful.

    I want the chairs, the sofa, the tables.... It's just beautiful!

    Kerry

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  19. The redo is really terrific Joni. The paneling desk design works really well and the room hasn't lost all the history of itself, just looks better. Also just noticed you made the 2008 Washington Post blog list, so congratulations on that too. I love that your blog isn't cluttered up with ads, although how you find the time to be such a great correspondent, and blogger and run a business amazes me.

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  20. Joni, I'm speechless! It's a stunning transformation! You did a MAGNIFICENT job! You are so, so, SO talented!

    Mr. Magpie just walked in, and he thinks it's great, too!

    Love your work...

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  21. Such a lovely, warm and fabulous family room! You definitely had a great space to work with - but you worked magic on it nonetheless!
    Victoria from EdinDesigns @ DesignTies

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  22. wow! You definitely brought the home into this
    century. Love love love the hidden desks in the bookshelves... and all of the textures, the red leather chairs, the seagrass rug, the brick, the shades... just love it!

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  23. Just perfect! Crazy how discreet the computer built-ins worked out! Quick question: (I apologize for 1. my naivete, and 2. if you've already addressed this) BUT...If one has lovely hardwoods, why is it perfect to cover them near-completely?
    Don't get me wrong - the seagrass is to die for! Just curious...

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  24. What a great post, this was like a mini design class. Love what you did to the room, the transformation is just wonderful. Thanks for sharing and all the advice. Hugs, Marty

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  25. Joni
    I was in the business for 20 years and am still intensely interested. I must say you did a great job! Lovely and pragmatic at the same time. I will share with my daughter who has a drapery and slipcover business.
    Marion from KY

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  26. Wow Joni!

    You did such a lovely job, I love the use of all neutrals with punches of red. I love the built-ins although my favourite is the scrumptous tufted ottoman with the lovely skirt. I love the details in the sofa, the high back with a bit lower loose pillowback. I LOVE IT!!! Très bien, merci for sharing!

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  27. Swoon worthy! I adore the red with the natural.

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  28. Hi - the black paint is just plain, black paint by Pratt and Lambert. not glossy.

    thanks everyone for your kind messages!!!!!!

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  29. A beautiful room that looks like it wants to be lived in...great job! Funny you mention the seagrass e-mails...once I actually tried to search your blog for all the seagrass advice and my PC nearly froze. I use your blog as a resource often. Thank you again for sharing your work with us.

    Liz in Upstate NY

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  30. A beautiful room that looks like it wants to be lived in...great job! Funny you mention the seagrass e-mails...once I actually tried to search your blog for all the seagrass advice and my PC nearly froze. I use your blog as a resource often. Thank you again for sharing your work with us.

    Liz in Upstate NY

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  31. Hi Joni! Now I know you could probably make money with your blog, but so appreciate you being a true blogger! I love coming to your blog and seeing what you're up to!
    Now this remodel is just beautiful. Your clients family room looks so much like mine, except the french doors on each end. The fireplace wall with the builtins on each side is almost just like ours. I love the draperies and that red checked chair! The builtin cabinets on the back wall is fantastic! Oh, this was fun.
    Thanks for being a real blogger although you are the most prestigious one!
    You are a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  32. Joni you take something good and turn it into superior. You take something busy and turn it into serene.

    Beautiful. And thanks for your candid opening words about blogging.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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  33. Joni,
    What a beautiful room. I love the way you combine freshness with the plumpiest comfort. This room reminds me a bit of the library you did many months ago. That one had the beautiful Bennison drapes. I thought these drapes were Bennison as well.

    I, too, really appreciate the design lessons you give. I always learn something. Mrs. Blandings is my design philosopher; you are my design professor. Love you both.

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  34. Beautiful, as usual, Joni! Just want to lie down on that couch and take a nap - so serene!

    As an aside, could you tell us who makes the brass floor lamps? Just what I've been looking for.
    Thanks and keep doing what you do!

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  35. Beautiful! What an awesome change. I know the homeowners are thrilled!

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  36. The room came out great!! I really like the way you treated the french doors to make them look larger. The red tufted desk chairs are really nice :-) The bookcases/work stations are a great addition to the room.

    You definitely created a warm, cozy, welcoming, and functional room :-)

    Kelly @ DesignTies

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  37. I can just imagine how thrilled your client must be. What a lovely transformation - so peaceful and inviting. You've given me some real inspiration because I have an almost identical (to the BEFORE) fireplace, built-ins, and mantle.

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  38. Well done ... . quite the transformation! Proof that you can never go wrong by simplifying and unifying ... . Jjjjj

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  39. You did such a great job!! I bet your client is thrilled!!! I wish you could come do my bedroom. I'm stumped on how to deal with the low slanted ceiling.

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  40. Joni, you did a breathtakingly beautiful job!

    I am so sorry that I am too far far away to ever become a client lol!

    I learn so much from all your posts and are very inspired by your work, Thank you!

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  41. Love it,love it,love it!!!!!!!!

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  42. Love it! These are my colors.....neutral with touches of red. Paneling seems to be a thing of the past but it is also seemingly making a comeback and I love it. I enjoyed the behind the scenes look. This room looks livable and not "fixed up" if you know what I mean. I do hope you will share the paint color. It's marvelous!

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  43. I recently painted an old brick fireplace white and it was a night and day difference in the room. I couldn't believe how great it looks.

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  44. I always come in too late!! The last to see these fabulous posts!


    Joni, what a wonderful transformation! Love it!! Love the sofa - is it custom designed?

    I agree with everyone above - great idea with the desks.

    One comment - the new Apple has the hard drive built right into the monitor so no need to design a place for hard drive anymore. Keyboards and mouses can be wireless so no cords needed. And, printers can be found at 20 inches wide and easily fit in a 24" cabinet base. I learned this all doing my pantry- Just some tips for others! But of course I am sure you know all this!!
    xx-
    Gina

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  45. Beautifying the world one room at a time! Go, Joni, go! It looks great! I love the behind the scenes, photos, too. The built-ins are wonderful -- it's ALL wonderful!
    xo Isa

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  46. I'm in Houston!! West Memorial in fact. Love your blog!! I love hearing about all the shops in Houston and vow to get to them when I have some time away from my two small children.

    The room looks great! I'm obsessed with getting a seagrass or jute rug for my dining room. I think I need an 8 x11 size rug which I'm having a hard time finding. Any suggestions where I can find that in Houston on a budget?

    Thank you so much for all your blogs!

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  47. Joni, You have a signature style. I'm pretty sure I could spot your work in a line-up. Perfect I say. Perfect.

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  48. Joni, Your great blog is always the perfect ending to my day. And thank you for staying true to your mission and labor of love. I do not miss the ads at all! It's quite refreshing and one reason I save your blog for the end of the day, even though I may return to it many times the next day. The room is a breath of fresh air after your extraordinary work on it. It just seems to breathe with new life now from the after photos. It was fun to see your team and know how much you depend on a good team to put everything together. That makes your work even more special to me. And I hope you garner many more good, respectful and wonderful clients in the near future.

    ~~ Victoria in Texas

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  49. What a beautiful job you did on a real house where real people with a real budget live! You have such a talent and it is such fun to see how you update a house while still making it livable and comfortable. I think I have told you before, I love black doors - great post!!

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  50. Well THANK YOU very much for throwing me under the bus in public, Just because I asked you a few hundred questions and sent you my pictures! At least I am not the only one. Next time I promise to Paypal you a retainer first!

    Great transformation and loved seeing the seagrass get instlled. Glad to hear you can't tell where the seam is. Of course, here in East Armpit, Texas, I am sure my installers will be able to find a seam!

    That fireplace is great. It looks like Samantha Stephens could pop in any moment! You unified everything. Great job as usual. More behind the scenes. Did you photoshop yourself out of those convex mirrors?

    Thanks for the public humiliation, doll.

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  51. It went from a "nice" room to a really beautiful, liveable, updated, classic, calming room. You're a champ!

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  52. A wonderfully soothing transformation, Joni.
    I must say that the window treatment is my favorite.
    I battle with windows on every project. The floral pattern you chose warms up the entire space.
    I also love the small splashes of red and the rich wood finishes on the tables. Just perfect.
    Congratulations!

    xo
    Brooke

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  53. What a beautiful transformation! I especially LOVE the new coffee table - any information about it?

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  54. Thank you for sharing this project with us and your experience with blogging/decorating. I think blogs have made designers more approachable which is a good thing. Instead of a web page with pictures you can get to know a person by reading their posts. It is funny that you said people email you lots of questions about sea grass and slipcovers. I would love it if you did a Q&A post about them as I am sure I have all the same questions. Just a thought. I love your blog. Keep up the good work.

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  55. Hi Joni,
    (This is breathing and dreaming in NY)
    S T U N N I N G makeover! Thanks for sharing the before and after photos...I loved reading about your experiences also. You did such a beautiful job, very impressive.

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  56. So lovely, Joni, and your clients must be thrilled! Perhaps in response to so many questions, (paint, sea grass, sofa, etc.) you might consider (hint, hint) doing a follow-up and help us inquiring minds out.

    LOVE your blog. So glad to be a part of it.

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  57. Hi from Sydney Joni! A really masterful makeover! The client must be absolutely thrilled.Only one very minor quibble: the cushion cover on the plain fabric armchair by the fire that is in the same material as the curtains, I keep imagining a slightly darker pattern or tone to anchor the room a bit more (although within the same spectrum range). Nit-picking really because it's a brilliant job! Well done!!

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  58. WOW! Wow! wow!!!!!! Joni you are fantastic! Love,love,love. The window treatments really helped to soften and tie everything together. And it all looks so cozy...I just want to curl up! Bravo!

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  59. Outstanding job! So smart and beautiful and comfortable. Loved it. Great work!

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  60. Beautiful work Joni! That couch looks really gorgeous as do the built-ins - so practical! Tracey xx

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  61. J

    BRAVO !!!!

    funny thing,
    we both have used that same pattern ( the drapery and pillow fabric )

    i have used it in 2 of the colorways.
    the aqua & blues & greens is great as well.

    what a difference
    you made on their home !!

    xxxx

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  62. Great post and fascinating to read the before and after!

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  63. I loved this post Joni -before and afters are always the best. Your style is beautiful and the rooms you create are warm and relaxed, totally livable and reflect your clients needs. They must be super happy, xv.

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  64. Oh Joni,

    It is so beautiful, warm and inviting! Love it! Nice work!

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  65. This is simply stunning! I was so sad that my beloved Cottage Living and Domino closed their doors, but it's comforting to know I have your wonderful blog as a design resource. Please continue the wonderful posts!

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  66. Oh such fun to see your work again.
    Did they blanch at all to see the fireplace painted...or trust ya implicitly??

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  67. what a beautiful, yet cozy room! and thanks for reading my mind about panel widths--i was debating about whether to do 1 1/2 widths or 2 widths--i'm going for the latter!

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  68. Nice work Joni!

    Joy and Janet
    xoxo

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  69. Joni,

    This redo is beautiful. I love every aspect of it. I have to say my favorite is the built-in cabinetry behind the couch. I just want to go and sit on the couch and check out everything.

    I am going with deeper cool tones on the walls in the new house. Dark stained floors with stained moldings and baseboards. I hope I don't regret it after seeing this tone on tone room. Oh well I can always paint the walls lighter if I need to later. uuugh

    Deb

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  70. Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing details that others can glean from. This is very generous of you and your client. Blessings!

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  71. What an inspiring transformation!! Thank you for this fabulous post with dreamy photos and practical advice. You are helping to beautify the world one post at a time. Your readers are so grateful.

    xoxo

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  72. HOLY COW - 72 comments! No wonder blogging "takes a toll on your time" - not only do you post the best posts out there but I am always amazed at how personally respond to everyone! You are a Blog Queen!

    One thing in this post caught my attention... You said... "And as we talked, she revealed that she was the reader who once left me a Kenneth Turner candle on my porch after I had blogged about them."

    Did it freak you out (at all) at the time? I think it might have me! Do you ever wonder, "Have I revealed too much of myself on my blog?" I've had readers show up in the small Dutch village where I use to live on the town square(pre-Berlin) asking the store keepers (who all knew me as the token American in town) which apartment was mine... when this has happened, it always felt a little "too close for comfort!" for my liking.

    You Rock, by the way!
    Cheers.
    Toma

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  73. Brilliant is truly defined here!

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  74. OMG joni it's fantastic!! I hope they don't move out afterall now! But you don't HAVE to go the hollow-core door route at all unless cost is an issue (then painting them black is a good idea!). We never use hollow core doors or any vinyl windows here at work -WOOD WOOD WOOD! They're still available, just not at the super cheap prices (but should these important elements in a home really be so cheap? I say loose 1000 sf off your house and get REAL windows and doors! sorry...I just had to add my 2 cents! This home is so fantastic!

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  75. I have been impressed from the gitgo with your kindness, generosity and passion. I think you should have been a teacher of design—you are now, but you could have been paid more regularly! I also admire your integrity about why you blog, what it means to you to keep your own your own. Thanks for mentioning the other people who help you make the magic. That's a sign of professionalism and maturity. The redo is lovely and so in tuned with real famiy living. I hope more friends with cash call for your design services.

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  76. What is that wonderfully warm greenish taupe color on the hall walls?

    Many thanks for your blog -- I am always delighted to find your inspiring photos and ideas in my mailbox. It's like having a new friend!

    Mary

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  77. A beautiful home, and a great job on your part to bring out it's true beauty. Love it all, but especially finding myself drawn to that wall color. Do you know what the brand/name is? I need something new in my bathroom ... I think this might be great.

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  78. Thanks Joni!
    I love the befores / and afters!
    If you have not answered this, where do you go for the seagrass connection?
    I have always ordered rugs but am interested in ordering some for a room or two as carpeting.
    Thanks in advance,
    Leslie
    lamaisonfou blog

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  79. I could definitely move right in and live quite happily in that space!

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  80. Just beautiful! I absolutely love the drapes and the new built in bookcases. What color are they painted?

    I love reading your blog and totally understand why you have such a devoted audience!

    Nancy

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  81. Joni, you outdo yourself. The client must be beside herself happy. What a wonderful transformation. I love to see the behind the scenes stuff also. My friend operates a one-woman workroom and it's crazy interesting to see the window treatments that she creates!

    I love the seagrass but I kinda cringed when I saw them laying it down over those gorgeous floors.

    What a terrific transformation and how much fun is your job....to bring your vision to life! And, with the wonderful client. What a dream.

    - Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

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  82. Joni, this is a fabulous example of updating a home! Some things can be done inexpensively and then spluge on must haves! Bravo!

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  83. Great transformation! I have to say, I'm thinking back to the other showhomes you recently posted, and while beautiful, this room exudes such warmth that the showhomes don't. I love it!

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  84. Joni,
    I wish you'd publish your blog in a magazine format ( maybe annually of the past year's posts?) then we could keep and refer to our favorites.
    -Linda, NY

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  85. Wow! I love it!!!

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  86. Wow Joni, so beautiful the job you did. And I loved your story in the beginning! I loved the tip about hanging the shades from the ceiling as well! And the wall colour is gorgeous! You are so talented!

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  87. Loved it!
    So bold and assured.
    That space was totally transformed, in the
    best possible way.

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  88. Joni-

    What a GLORIOUS job you have done for them!!!! The room is relaxed, livable and GORGEOUS!!!!! I could not agree more that this particular client couldn't be more deserving of such a beautiful space. She was such a delight when we met on our impromptu carpetpickingouting, and I thought that you two were a PERFECT match.

    I'll bet she wept a little when she saw the big reveal. So happy for both of you..... it's truly, truly beautiful!!!

    xoxo,

    Andrea

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  89. Oh I am practically hyperventalating with the beauty of it all. I literally have been scrolling back and forth on the pictures for over 30 minutes.
    Do I dare tell you that I should be studying for midterms? :)

    Wonderful!

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  90. Absolutely beautiful, Joni! I love the redo and like that the new room has some color to it but with a neutral background. I want you to redo my house!

    Your client must be so excited.

    Amy

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  91. Love the redo!
    I want to scout it; I will email you separately about that. Great idea on the bookcases in back. Nicely done!! cheers, -susan

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  92. Karen at Junking in Georgia 2009March 12, 2009 at 12:29 PM

    well thank you for your blog i've learned a lot from reading it

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  93. Joni - It looks beautiful! You are such a doll to help everyone out. I am currently obsessed with Out of Africa since that post and then I had to see the movie again. So I ordered some Hickory chairs with cane and bamboo-looking frame.

    But I would never, ever for instance HYPOTHETICALLY post on my blog asking for free advice about my bathroom. Never.

    Well, maybe just this once. Again. :-)

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  94. Joni, this makeover is wonderful! I'd love to do something like this.

    Now I need to sit back, close my eyes and daydream!

    Your blog philosophy is the same as mine. I've been approached about doing ads and declined. I like the way the Back Porch looks sans ads. Ads on my blog didn't enter my mind until I heard from advertisers.
    I like the "peacefulness" on the Back Porch, as it is.

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  95. Let me just say...Thank You!! Loved the room and your blog in general. I got to your site from the flipping out blog. My husband and I now live in San Antonio but miss our "high style" Houston. Thank you for giving me a piece of it everytime I see your blog.

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  96. How fine is this transformation. Love it, love it, love it. Wonderful job, Joni. I love that you put in pictures of "behind the scene", showing some of the people that help to make it all happen.

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  97. Wow, wow, & wow, Joni! You are SO good...you put my little redos to shame, but I sure enjoying seeing what you have done. What a tranformation. Your client must be over the moon about this room now.

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  98. Oh Joni....Good Lord! How i wish you were here in Ohio. I could use your eye and would love to hire you to tell me what to do! Hmmm...did that sound funny? *laugh* Okay, you COULD tell me what to do and THEN you could tell me what to do to make my house look better. I know! Blow it up and start over! *grin*

    Your work is just pure perfection. You are the Queen of Decor and that is the truth!

    Now, just how DO you get that musty smell out of antiques?? *laugh*

    Love,
    Sue

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  99. Joni, this is a wonderful transformation. No wonder your client is happy! I love that you painted over the brick on the fireplace and the doors black. I would NEVER have thought of that (watch out hubby, we may be getting black doors soon).

    On a side note, you've become quite a legend. Lately when blogs have come up in conversation, they usually include somewhere, "do you read Cote?" Not Cote de Texas, but just Cote. Some of the girls even mentioned that at our last Houston blogging brunch (we missed you!) and now it's happening to me too.

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  100. ha ha - I just had to explain to my work friends about why I was laughing so hard...it was your comment about not making money from what you love... Yeah - it is that way with the farm & horses too!

    Your blog is like a vacation to me. I hereby give you a special star for your crown because of that - cause if anyone needs a vacation ..honey it is me!

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  101. Absolutely stunning. Wow!! Wow!! WOW!! *sigh*

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  102. from dark and dingy, to light and livable- great job, joni! i so agree with linda about painting out that brick, and who couldn't like seagrass- it's the best! really, really lovely- i know your clients are thrilled.

    and i love what you say about making money and getting clients off our blogs- i get lots and lots of client inquiries, but very few paying clients, just like you. when they do understand that it takes some money to transform a home and actually have the budget to hire me, i've found the relationship is really good from the get go- they kind of already know me in a way, and know what to expect from reading my blog. as for the emails asking for advice- when i have time i answer them, but i have to admit, sometimes i just can't squeeze the free advice in. if i typed better, it might be another story, because i love to help people make their lives a little prettier.

    as for ads, i haven't excepted an offer yet- i post what i want, and when i want, but of course we all know i have the adsense since i posted about it, and i have amazon books too. the adsense doesn't bring in any money really, but hey- a hundred bucks a year is better than a poke in the eye, and as for amazon, well, people gotta buy their design books somewhere. so far i've made 7 dollars off *that*, so i'm not exactly raking in the dough...

    again, congrats on a job well done- looking forward to the master!

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  103. What an inviting room. I have enjoyed seeing the before and after...I keep rolling my mouse wheel up and down!
    Mr. Davis has a nice smile. Doesn't having the right person to help with the details make life easier.

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  104. Beautiful, Joni! I love the bookcases and the drapes. The coffee table and the one by the stairs are antiques, right? It's all so homey but updated. Fantastic!

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  105. This is an amazing transformation! GREAT ideas to use in just about any space - painting the brick, thickening the shelves, the way you hung the drapes - simple ideas that have a huge impact. I have to admit that when I saw the before pictures I didn't think it looked that bad. Maybe some color changes, clean up the knick knacks - but I was wrong! I need to take some notes!

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  106. OMG!!!! everyone - y'all are just TOOOOO sweet! seriously - I was really nervous about posting the pictures because I am so insecure and I worry about what you think, not write - because you are too sweet to be anything but nice.

    BUT, I think you like it! I really think you like it! (Sally Fields getting the Oscar for all the 20 and 30 yo olds out there!)

    On a cute side note: my client just told me her husband called her from work and he was looking at his family room on the blog - isn't that adorable?!!

    Thank you - all of you (no nasty anons yet!) SOOOO very much!!!!! You are the best readers a blogger could have!!!!!

    Joni

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  107. CLASS ACT you are my dear, what a transformation, you should be very proud of your talent!!!

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  108. Joni - Terrific job! I kept thinking how fresh & peaceful the room was, & how much your client must be enjoying living in such a pretty space!

    When people ask me about doing design work for them, or how to go about hiring a designer, I always say it's like finding the right doctor - someone you are going to be intimate with, so don't be shy in making sure it's a match. That's easier said than done, but when you match with a great client, it makes all the other worthwhile!

    Great inspiration - keep sharing!

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  109. What a beautiful re-do. Thanks for all the inspiring details. It looks so fresh and lively in all the 'after' photos. just gorgeous!

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  110. Beautiful, informative and inspirational, as always. The posts of your own work are always among my favorites. I too wish you would host a Q&A. Inspired by you, I want to use seagrass in my master, but like a previous poster wonder, "should I really cover all but a few inches of my lovely reclaimed hardwoods?"

    Now I'm just wandering around my house wondering where I can introduce some chicken wire... :)

    Love it! Thanks!

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  111. Oh my gosh that is absolutely beautiful! I love everything you did here!! This is awesome!!

    {{Big Hugs}}

    Cathy

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  112. Late to the party! 112 comments!
    What else can I say, except I love Mr. Bennie!
    Seriously, so nice to see you have a job ha ha. And you do it so very very well.
    Love you!
    xo xo
    PS Thanks as ever for the mention in your daily read!!!

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  113. As I have owned an advertising agency for 33 years which now includes designing web sites, you DO NOT want to enter the matrix world of having ads on your blog. Avoid it at all cost! It will rock your world away from your true format and focus.

    I am addicted to your blog as it is purity of substance from your heart unleashed with a true love of what you are doing.

    Bravo, Joni!

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  114. Joni,
    I start my day with your blog every morning. I can't wait to get a cup of coffee and wake up being inspired by your post. I would love so much to know the whys and why-not of what you choose for a room. The actual color of the paint you use. Why one chair or table works over another one. Thank you so much for sharing...I just can't get enough!

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  115. Joni - As soon as I could find the time I was going to search your blog to pour over the redesign of your own kitchen...once again...because that type of personal topic is my favorite. Then you post this! How interesting to read...not only the design details but your feelings about your blog and its intent. Thanks for sharing...both your creativity and your thoughts.

    Jane

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  116. When you were describing the owners of this beautiful home... I thought it was VERY familiar... then I recognized Mimi!!! I walk by this house everyday... and there have been construction trucks in front for months. Little did I know it was you!!! These are my darling neighbors!!! Your amazing update truly reflects the gracious style of owners!!! How fun to see your work perfectly fit this family. I love the elegant lines of the built in best and the repetition in the sofa pillows. Everything is elegant, peaceful, organized and detailed. Thank you for sharing.

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  117. Joni,

    It is beautiful! You updated, incorporated a WOW factor, kept it's coziness and solved her problems beautifully! Thank you!

    Has your client thought about painting her brick wall outside her patio? That was my first thought when I saw it, and then I scrolled down to the conservatory house and saw how it would look, brick wall painted and the floor left natural brick. My other thought was whitewashing the brick, lovely house on my street that is whitewashed, not sure if that is "in" these days.

    Just a thought, thanks for the lovely blog!

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  118. i love it, joni! every inch of it.

    great job!

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  119. Absolutely beautiful, Joni! You have
    inspired me to lighten and brighten
    my dated family room. Could you tell
    me where I can purchase the convex mirror?
    Luv, luv, luv your blog!!

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  120. Love this makeover !!! J'adore your style.
    I think everyboday who has not a blog ask this type of questions, it is the same with me. Blogging is a new world ,a new way to communicate , it is more than money and business

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  121. Wow - Great job, Joni!

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  122. What a LOVELY LOVELY redo! BIG difference... I would love to hang out in that new room!

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  123. You are amazing! LOVE IT!

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  124. I'm late to the party but LOVE the re-do! You are so gifted! Good for you! Is that sunburst mirror in the new built-in book shelf an antique or available elsewhere? I love the size of it and am looking for one.

    Sublime!
    Vickie

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  125. Vickie - the sunburst was hers. I think it's newish. She's out of town so I can't ask her where she got it, but I really like it too!

    Jonio

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  126. Even later to the par---tay, 126 comments! What can I say that already hasn't been said? Ditto...dItTo...DiTTO...DiTto...
    DittO...DiTTO...! You get the message.
    HAVE A BEAUTIFUL WEEKNED Joni!

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  127. Hi Joni! I'm a huge fan of your blog and have been for awhile. I'm a Dallas girl who now lives in Kansas City and I have to say you don't see as much of the seagrass and slip covers up here in the midwest. This post made me realize how much I need it in my house again! I'm constantly showing my fiance pictures from your blog and saying, "Now honey, THIS is what I like." My mom and I pretty much live for your next posts. Thanks for all of your hard work. I'm new to blogging and I have to say it is definitely hard work. I'd love for you to check out my blog sometime (maybe after I get used to posting a bit more ;) ). Thanks again!

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  128. OK Miss Joni...I adore what you have done. I was on the phone with my client in DC today and had her pull up your blog to go over all the fab details of what you did. We are in the middle of her transformation. Interestingly she just purchased 2 Martha Washington chairs and we are doing them in a yellow buffalo check (great minds think alike, your client has the two MW's and you did them in red check). I love love love the built in's, I covet the gateleg tables, I want one (or two) so badly, the tufted ottomon is beautiful, the seagrass, perfect (I love it, want it in my house :>)), you slipped the leather chairs? Curious, did you buy all the accessories or "shop" her house? I like the painted fireplace, definitely cleans it up and creates a lovely blended look. How long have you been working on this? Fabulous...I know you are pleased.

    I appreciate too your staying away from the ads, I made that decision as well. I would rather promote other talented bloggers. Good deeds do not go unnoticed and you do many good deeds. Thanks so much for your inspiration. (Sorry for the long response!)

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  129. One more thing...this is so much more warm and inviting than the Conservatory or Provence homes! More intimate.

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  130. Beautiful work Joni! Love all the changes you made.

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  131. Hi Joni! Love the before and afters. Beautiful Fabric for the Curtains.
    Just wanted to let you know that You and one of your earlier blogs inspired my solution to a small problem I had with a treasured item. I have given you credit in my blog (and a link). I hope you don't mind.
    My treasured Grandmothers Glory Box now has a custom made slip cover to protect it.
    Wonderful idea!!
    Thank you so much for your blog :)
    Irene

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  132. Joni--I've been following your blog and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this room. Would you mind sharing the paint color for the entry? The cool tone greenish taupe? It's such a nice, soothing color.

    Thanks! Debbie

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  133. Debbie - the paint color in the front hall really is a beautiful color = it is a Pratt and Lambert, Silver Blonde. AND I don't know the paint color in the main room yet. We tested big samples and it was between three and I just handed the winner to the painter. My client is going to tell me the color = but she's gone for awhile. so it will be a few days for that one!

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  134. If you had a dollar for every comment, you'd be one rich lady. I like your spunk and that you do it out of love. Hey, if I were there, I'd deliver the starbucks to your door or better yet, be your barista to make you delightful beverages and serve them to you on a tray with linens and white porcelain with a big smile, and say, "Will you be needing anything further, Sug"
    pve

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  135. Great job Joni. I like how you filled up the back corner with bookshelves to create some added interest and drama.

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  136. I just wanted to say that Joni is a friend of mine, and I hope no one took my comments about "throwing me under the bus" seriously. I have asked her to comment on a photo I sent her, and I have a very "out there" sense of humor and I think Joni knows that, but just in case, I want to make sure everyone knows that I was joking. So all of you who have been outside my door with hoes and rakes (and I don't mean the kind from Downtown Houston) will go away. I was KIDDING. She knows that. I love her!

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  137. Perfection ! I would love to work with you... Thanks for sharing.

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  138. Bravo, Joni! Lovely, restful room.

    And I love the hurricane on the TV screen in the before photo!!

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  139. Oh how I wish we could see the owner's faces when they saw this transformation (like they do on HGTV!) I can just imagine how excited they must have been to see this wonderful room! You rock! laurie

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  140. Hello from one of those who "ooohs" and "aaahs" but never writes. Those Barbados photos really made my day.

    Just wanted you to know that one of your links is broken. It's at the top of the page on the left under Material Girls.

    Cheers!

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  141. What I liked was the way that painting the fireplace wall and getting rid of the mantle changed that whole side of the room with very little work or expense; amazing. And how generous of you to point out the craftspeople who make it all happen!

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  142. It was so much warmer and cozier before!

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  143. What a beautiful transformation! I especially love the furniture arrangement and plan to use swivel chairs in front of my entertainment wall also.

    One question - can you tell me where to find the coffee table? I love the barley twist legs.

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  144. About the Coffee Table - if anyone is interested - (Teresa included:)

    here is the info:


    libbyhaynes@mac.com

    Armoires & More
    5120 W. Lovers Ln
    Dallas, TX 75209
    214-357-8200
    www.armoires-more.com

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  145. THANK YOU EVERYBODY = WOW = SO MANY COMMENTS!!! And I think all were positive, except for one and even that one wasn't that bad! Thank you = I am overwhelmed by your support and love. This has been the best weekend reading them all. I am trying to answer them, if you left an email address. If not - please know that I appreciate your kind thoughts! Thank you !!!!!!!!!!!!

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  146. What did you do w/ the throw rug?

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  147. The reward in design is when your client comes in after final installation and is thrilled with the transformation. And you hold your breath until that moment! Great job Joni - taking out the clutter, and making the room feel bright, clean, updated and warm. Hope you are very proud of yourself!

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  148. Wow- looks amazing Joni!!! So impressed. My favorite posts of yours are the ones when you reveal some of the design work you've been working on! I'm sure your client loves the new transformation! Great job! :)

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  149. What a lovely makeover. Taking us through the before to after process with photos is invaluable. Painting the brick and lightening up that whole wall warmed up the room so much... I love the chicken wire in the cabinet doors as well.

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  150. Beautiful redo! I know what you mean about "free" decorating advice. When I was decorating, I never minded giving the free ideas, because creating a smile by making a beautiful moment in someone's life was worth it. But it does not pay the bills and some clients understand that, some do not. Thank you for not advertising, I think it is a distraction.

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  151. This is an incredible transformation. Love the selection of earth tones and carpet.

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  152. Like you, I love looking at other people's houses and rooms, so OF COURSE I love seeing your designs!! You are talented, woman!!! Nervous?? Whatever.... ;-)
    I love painted fireplaces. I didn't realize that they were so controversial (evidently).
    The room turned out great! Warm, cozy, and up-to-date!

    Oh, and for the guy out of East Armpit TX (as opposed to West Armpit... which shall go nameless so as to not offend my in-laws...) the good workrooms can seam up sisal and seagrass and ship it to you! And if you have cut-outs or shapes in it, just cut a template first for them to follow.
    And you're so right, Joni - the seams are pretty much invisible!

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  153. Thanks for sharing. The place is truly remarkable.

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  154. I love it that you show such great before and after photos. Even of your post of the Empel showroom. This family room looks wonderful, so updated and pared down. That is truly a challenge. Great job! I wanted to read all the comments but there are SO MANY! ;-)

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  155. Thanks so much for the information on the coffee table. I'm off to shop!

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  156. Just gorgeous. I would love it if you would have a link on your site that would have pictures of all your work together in one place. I think you did an amazing job and are a true inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your time, talent and hard work with everyone!!
    Katie

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  157. It looks beautiful!!! And I took the weekend off & look how much I missed!!! What a wonderful client too. I will need to ask you more about your custom deagrass rug!!!

    (I just had my first blogger client & she was great!)

    xoxo

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  158. This is gorgeous. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this room. Only wish you lived in Greenville, SC so you could come do my house.

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  159. Thanks for sharing this! Your work is amazing! I can only imagine the amount of exposure you get from blogging. Congratulations and good luck on your thriving business!

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  160. This post tops all you have done. You are the best, you are so inspiring, you are wonderful to read.
    Thank you so much Joni.

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  161. Wonderful job Joni, I LOVE it....in our basement we have a brick fireplace that I have wanted to do this to...would it be okay if I copied the pic to show to my husband ??

    Looking forward to the MB & baths...

    You are one talented lady...Bennie looks great by the way !!!

    Thanks....
    Kathy :)
    jokaj@comcast.net

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  162. what a story! my favorites were the outdoor terrace and the back pool. great spaces, really!

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  163. One can make best use of bi fold doors and can improve home interior design.

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  164. One can make best use of bi fold doors and can improve home interior design.

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