House of Lori: From Point A to Point B on a budget

As a professional Home Staging & Interior Redesign Expert since 1999, I am convinced that absolutely every house in absolutely any condition has potential.  While getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ can certainly be a time consuming and often expensive process, it doesn’t have to be if you take what you already have into consideration, then build on your design from there.  It’s simply a matter of understanding what it is you personally want from your space, taking into account what it is your space is capable of offering in return, then combining the two to come up with a solution that suits you both.

A to B - Start

This 1950’s rambler was easily transformed with paint, several key furnishings the new owner already had, a few new accessories, and a heck of a lot of elbow grease and serves as a testament to what can be achieved with a little bit of imagination on a budget.  Previously utilized as a rental property, the home was purchased with the idea of ripping out the carpeting to reveal the wood floors beneath.  But the unexpected realization that the flooring was stained beyond repair and could not be salvaged made us re-think our original plan.  Rather than giving up on the idea of wood flooring altogether, we came up with a compromise that proved cost effective, yet gave a fresh new twist to the original design of the home.

Rather than replacing what was there or hiding it under new carpeting, we decided to paint the floors instead. Once the wood was sanded and bleached, the floors were sealed with a primer, then given two coats of latex porch paint in a warm, neutral tone, allowing the flooring to dry completely between applications.  Once the paint was on, we repeated the process with several thinner coats of a glossy, water-based polyurethane, sanding then vacuuming between coats.  After allowing the poly to dry completely over several days to ensure a hard finish, we moved on to the trim, doors, and walls.

A to B Painted

To tackle the trim and doors, we used a creamy shade of white using Benjamin Moore’s ‘Impervo’ oil-based paint to ensure a quality and long-lasting luster. The ceiling was then painted the same color but in a flat finish.  To give the room the architectural detail it was lacking, the corners and break between the ceiling and wall were also painted about 3-inches around the perimeter using the same creamy shade of white.  Once complete, we taped off the perimeters using 2-inch painters tape, then painted over the entire wall including the tape in a deep, khaki sage with a flat finish for contrast.  After the paint was completely dry, the tape was slowly peeled away at an angle, leaving us with the illusion of faux trim framing the walls.

Using the owner’s existing furnishings, we anchored the space with a wool area rug found on clearance for $249, then created a family-friendly layout ideal for conversation and entertaining.  By using one of two matching chairs in what seemed an oddly placed entry nook, we were able expand the livability of the entire room, incorporating it into the rest of the space.  Teamed with the owner’s wrought iron and glass sofa table, a hand-painted mirror purchased on sale was positioned over the entire setting for a dramatic effect.  By accessorizing the table top with an inexpensive lamp, we were able to cast additional lighting around a room that had no overhead lights.

With the lighting issue in mind, we opted for simple sheer window treatments to cast a warm glow while still masking the view from the outside in.  Sheers are a great way to allow as much light as possible into your home while still creating a finished look on a budget.  Additional table lamps and a larger floor lamp with a shade in the same dramatic color as the mirror were brought into the setting and placed on a triangular layout to ensure the entire space was equally bright.  By balancing the lighting and repeating the same pops of color throughout the room, the overall feeling is cohesive and well-proportioned.

A to B Complete

While every home usually comes with its own set of quirks, thinking outside the box as we did here can often prove a unique opportunity to create a personalized design that is perfect for both you and your home.  As in this case, while not exactly what the new owner had in mind to begin with, the space turned out to be a nice combination of what the owner wanted, the capabilities of the actual structure, and a little ingenuity.  The same is true of any space.  By using a creative approach to take you from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’, anything is possible.

Note: Lori Matzke is the owner of and  She has been staging and redesigning homes professionally since 1999, conducts classes and seminars throughout the US and Canada, and is an author and contributor to many publications on the home staging and interior redesign process.  She may be reached at [email protected] or (952) 412-0566.