Gilbert Gal Goes Green for Spring
Some say ‘The grass is always greener on the other side’. And how true this was when we met long-time Gilbert resident and fitness instructor, Melissa Richards… After countless years spent staring at spaces that didn’t reflect her personality or style, she was tired of day-dreaming and ready to start doing! Yet, like many homeowners that feel stuck in their space, she didn’t know where to begin. Lucky for her, she clicked on a before/after picture from the Facebook page that felt both do-able and affordable. Being a spunky, outspoken, strong woman, Melissa just needed a second opinion and another set of eyes to confirm her contemporary convictions. After all, high-style doesn’t need to feel like standing at the edge of the high-dive!
“Five years ago, I tried to decorate my house on my own. But the end result was a hodge-podge of ‘really good deals’ and a look that resembled every house on my block, but didn’t resemble ME!” After our first meeting, it didn’t take long to identify Melissa’s style as much more contemporary than the furnishings and accessories she had accumulated over the years. She hates clutter and knew she had too much stuff and too many styles vying for center stage. So, the Tuscan and traditional pieces prepared to exit stage left as we presented her with a design board detailing an entire new look for her main spaces.
The theme: green. The style: hotel chic. The client: ready for change. Melissa admits, “I like things that are clean and fresh, light and welcoming. Ever since I was a child, I always had the neatest room in the house. It’s just easier for me to think clearly when things are in order.” So our plan included clean lines, minimal accessories, simple window treatments, and trendy lighting all anchored in a pallet of fresh greens, bright whites, and a yummy buttery yellow. We also wanted to leverage some of her great pieces of furniture that echoed the more modern style she craved. True, a few key lighting fixtures needed to be swapped out, but these were pieces that the homeowner had been admiring in magazines for months.
All of these ideas meant nothing to Melissa, however, until we could assign costs to each and then back into her budget. Keep in mind: she needed some green in order to ‘go green’! Even in this challenging economy, she had scrupulously saved and set aside monies from her own personal business venture: Total Body Fitness Bootcamps. With that number in mind, we were ready to start shopping and our workroom was ready to start sewing! Before the new paint was even dry, we scheduled our ‘Restyle Day’.
First, Melissa removed all of her accessories, art, and greenery and set them in one room. She tagged anything that had to stay and told us the other rooms we could ‘shop’ from. Because of her budget, we also provided her with a shopping list of items from curtain rods to crystal lamps. She also got busy with the spray paint and transformed countless pieces of Tuscan iron into modern metal prior to our arrival. What she saved in designer hours kept her budget in check and made her feel part of the design process.
Reusing pieces that Melissa already had was another budget-friendly way to transform her spaces without breaking the bank. Unused frames, repurposed pictures from other rooms, recovered pillows, and repainted accessories topped the list. We even took ready-made curtain panels and added grosgrain trim to the edge rather than creating an expensive custom window treatment. Talk about bang for your buck and befitting the contemporary vibe! The classic curtain rods were also off-the-shelf and hung close to the ceiling for an elongated (and also very custom) effect. A neighborly neighbor even welded one of the rods to fit an awkward angled window. Melissa paid him with a dozen chocolate chip cookies and his work paid off when the delicious white and chocolate panels were hung!
And don’t forget the eco-friendly backsplash and low VOC paint. The glass/travertine tiles were laid in a running bond pattern and they brought the oh-so-typical Arizona floor tile and the generic granite to a whole new level. The sparkling backsplash even qualifies for LEED credits! The paint was not only kind to the environment, but fixed the mistake that many homeowners make: sticking with the paint they inherit with the home. Instead of working the style around the existing paint, we started with a fresh canvas. We chose a brighter hue to contrast the heavy furniture items and a creamy yellow in the darker rooms at the front of the house.
With the wave of a wand, some pixie dust, and… No really: with the pound of a hammer, the hanging of draperies, the fluffing of pillows, the moving of accessories, and the squeaky cleaning of glass, our job was finally complete: on time and on budget. But at the end of any Restyle Day, the clients’ reaction to the ‘reveal’ is what we wait for. (Okay, sometimes we even cross our fingers). But we didn’t have to hold our breath for very long… Melissa walked in and exclaimed, “This is so me! This is the kind of space I WANT to live in. Why did I ever go in a direction that wasn’t what I loved?”
At the end of the day, there was simply no need to ‘scrap it all’ and start over in this home. Yet with a big picture plan and a little nudge in the right direction, Melissa (and her family) are enjoying the other side of winter in their newly restyled space. Yes, the grass is really greener on the other side!
Fresh and bright as a crisp dollar bill, the look for spring in any home can be both eco-friendly and budget-friendly. Just ask Melissa.
Secrets to Save You Some Green… but still splurge on style
RE-duce. Sometimes it’s not what you add, it’s what you take away. Edit your accessories and you’ll be keeping with the trend of ‘less is best’. Think ‘hotel style’ not ‘Hoarders’!
Re-use. Do you like the shape but not the finish? Harness the power of spray paint to transform a tired piece from blah to voila!
Re-vive. Light up your life with hip lighting in key spaces! Like in this home, drum shades, polished pewter, and clean lines can help you migrate from Tuscan to Transitional.
Published in the 202 Magazine April 2010
Photos by Oh Snap by Carlee www.ohsnapbycarlee.com