A FREE Weekend Makeover!

How to refresh, restyle, and redecorate without spending a CENT -
  by using what you already have!

Last week, my brother and his wife & daughters headed out of town on vacation.
I house-sat and pet-sat for them. Oh, and I also gave their house a total makeover!
[Hello, I am Deb. And I am a Decorato-holic.
After 35+ years as a retail display stylist, I should be!]

This project is a perfect example of my HOMEWARDfound decorating philosophy:
Re-think what you already have on hand to make your home look terrific!
And even as I was decorating their home,
I was thinking about sharing the process with you in this WEEK LONG SERIES

Let's start OUTDOORS, shall we? 
Here's the front deck,  
which is the first thing you see when you enter the yard. 
[I have no 'before' photos of this deck, because I was in HYPERdecorator mode and FORGOT -but I can tell you that there was just a firepit, and four chairs with four pillows sitting here.]

The 'found' items that I added here are the umbrella and the table.

The beach umbrella was shoved in the garage, so I just hauled it out and set it up.
[there are two tan umbrellas over on a nearby patio, and this perfectly echoes them]
The wood table was on the side of the house. Unused. Beige. And kinda' dirty.
So I painted the table with the white exterior trim paint on the house (can was in the garage).

The succulent plants in 3 pots had been placed at the front edge of the deck,
where you literally walked past them without seeing them.
By moving the two small pots onto the table, and the large pot next to the chair,
the plants add softness and life to this exterior 'room' and bring it to life.

The pillows were already here, and they work perfectly to connect the color scheme to the home's interior.

Next Up: the patio
It sits closer to the house, located in the front and side yard.

continue reading to see what else I did!

Freshening up this patio area - used daily - was simple:
I gathered up all of the plastic & resin picnic ware from various places in the kitchen,
along with some jars of seashells party decor from the garage,
and a tablecloth that had been hiding in a drawer.
Then I stuffed some candles into some clear glass wine bottles (recycled!) for mood lighting.

After I took these photos, I put all of the picnic ware into the white enamel tub,
and sat it on top of the fridge in the kitchen.
Now it will be a SNAP for the family to grab that tub and haul everything they need out here
when they want to have lunch or dinner on the patio!

 It took me only about an hour to do everything shown above,
...and I didn't spend a single cent.
Now, I bet you've looked at your rooms and thought to yourself
 'I'd love to redecorate, but I just can't afford it'.
Yes, you CAN! Let me show you how...

 Right now, you're going on a 'search and recover' mission!

Look in EVERY drawer, cupboard, cabinet, and closet in your home. 
Dig through EVERY bin, box, shelf, and bag in the garage, attic, basement, and in storage.
 Pull out all of those wonderful items you bought to use in your decor.
The art that your kids made in school. The gifts people have given you.

You need to know EXACTLY what you have on hand 
before you start decorating.

And like my sister in law, I bet you have purchased things you loved and wanted to put in your house.
And then you shoved them into drawers and closets and bins in the garage
and promptly forgot all about them.

So, let's 'Shop Your House' and FIND all of that stuff!
As you unearth it,  put what you find on a table in the garage, or a non-busy area in your home.
You'll be creating a motherlode of supplies and elements here
that you will work with when you get to the decorating phase.
[don't use a box - you need to be able to SEE what you're gathering up]

 As you go through your house searching, you'll be amazed at what you find...
your favorite colors and themes will become apparent as you go along.

Here are a few photos of the goods I unearthed in my brother's house,
piled on the dining room table
(no one was there but me so I could do that).
It's clear evidence that his wife has EXQUISITE taste and knows EXACTLY what she likes
[and better yet, she loves a good bargain as much as I do!]

The color palette of these 'found' items [ I live the HOMEWARDfound philosophy!]
is consistent with some of the items already visible in the rooms, as well as the existing wall color. 
[That wall color is Glidden 'Gentle Tide', btw]

From brown and tan to sand, robins egg blue to aqua, and pure crisp white,
this palette is evocative of the sea - a place my brother and his family love to spend time -
 and is comprised of my sis in law's fave colors.

This is a great example of something that I see happen ALL THE TIME:
We buy items that speak to our hearts and souls, and evoke memories of places we love.
We all do this, whether we shop at Neimans or a thrift store.
We're just not sure what to do with it once we get it HOME.  
I can help you with that!

We love what we love.  
And that is what we should be decorating with, and living with.

So, my friends, get busy! Start hauling out the things you love,
and you'll start seeing just how amazing your home can be.
 And don't think literally about objects you find...
a tablecloth doesn't have to be USED as a tablecloth - it can be fabric.
Trust me. Just add it to your pile of elements to be used.

In my next three blog posts, 
I'll share more of the process
and AMAZING Before & After interior photos!

Is there ANYTHING better?!
LOL... I guess my sister in law would say  
"YES! Having Deb come over to do it FOR you while you are on vacation!"

See Part 2 of this Makeover HERE

shared online:

Many Thanks to sweet Janet Coon 
for featuring this post on her lovely design blog, ShabbyFuFu!

Best of the Weekend Party at
Little Miss Celebration
A Little Claireification

Before & After Contest and Link Party at
Fox Hollow Cottage


  1. Any chance you could come house sit for me in South Carolina? You have wonderful ideas and a very lucky family!

    1. LOL! Gretchen, I have had several similar offers from friends... now all I have to do is figure out the logistics and costs, and maybe I can actually do it! ;) I'll keep you posted!

  2. Everything looks beautiful Deb! What you said about buying things we love and then not knowing what to do with them? That is sooooo me!!

    Wish you were here...I have a plethora of things you could work with!

    You can house sit for me anytime!

    1. Holly, I have several people up in the PNW who want me to come up and decorate for them... I am trying to figure out if it's something I can do! I'll keep you in the loop - if I have several clients booked for the same week, it could help keep the costs reasonable. SO we'll see!

  3. I am a constant "home" shopper. My palette is primary colors and everything seems to work in every room, even our garden room so furniture is moved all about all the time.

    I am also a believer in using what we have and not putting it away for a "special" occasion. LIFE is a special occasion. If it breaks, oh, well. It was meant to be used.

    I LOVE what I have seen so far so I will be back to see the rest of your project. How fun!

    1. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm! I could not agree more with your philosophy - Life IS a special occasion, and we should celebrate every day and surround ourselves with things we love!

  4. How fun to have you as a house sitter! I'd love to come home after you've been here:)

    I think playing with other peoples things would be fun!


    1. It really IS fun!

      I always amazed my Holiday decor clients when I hauled out the silver and china and crystal that was boxed up and in their buffets... I'd arrange it on TOP of the buffet and then load it all up with ornaments and flowers and greens. "I never even remember I HAVE that stuff, let alone think of things like THAT to do with it!" was something I heard often. It's the same with 'everyday decor' - we gotta' use what we have! :)

  5. That is so fun. What did they say when they got home? C'mon-we need the rest of the story-xo Diana

    1. Hang in there, Diana, that's coming in a future post! ;)

  6. If you would like to house-sit and pet-sit for me in Iowa I will provide all of the food! :) What an amazing transformation. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Best of the Weekend. Have a fabulous week!