Born and raised in Arkansas, southern living is part of my family heritage. It’s about simplicity. It’s about living small while feeling like you have it all. It’s about family. Just because you don’t live in the South doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a slice of this great style of living!
My name is Mindy and I have a wonderful husband, two comical daughters, and a little shih tzu that thinks she is just as much a part of the family as the rest of us (and we’re kind of fond of her too!) I love DIY remodeling and decorating (on the cheap, of course!). You will be able to find a ton of ideas and instructions here! I’ll share other insights and ideas as I find them as well.
Okay, so let me introduce you to my home! We are your “normal” family (okay so maybe we aren’t completely normal) living in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath stock house. Let me just say upfront that I hate stock houses. You know, the kind that are built for the sole purpose of a quick sale? They’re all the same. So, this is my just to transform the ordinary into something unique and extraordinary. Here’s the catch: like many people, we are on an extreme budget. My husband is a high school math teacher and I am a stay-at-home-mom. If you’re looking for budget-friendly ways to make your house your home, you’ve come to great place!
Let’s start with pictures! (All before pictures are immediately after moving into our home in December 2009.)
The living area is very small. We hope to add about 3 feet to the entire length of the room, but that’s a topic for a future post. I loved the combination of color of the mango and soft blue pillows, so it has become the inspiration for the room. The chair was a bargain find at Target for half price. Since we have no way to install a real fireplace, we decided an electric fireplace was the next best thing. We’ve been really happy with it! This is our living area as a work in progress (I’ll try to have a better picture soon!):
UPDATE: About a year ago, we decided to enclose our garage (which was of no use to us at all) into an area we could use as a large living area. This past week, we were finally able to move in some furniture! Yea! The room isn’t nearly finished, but you can have a peek into our new room. The room is in need of some major color change. Our new ivory slipcover, some light blue walls, a picture frame collage, and a few colorful accessories will probably do the trick. You can find out more about the brown paper flooring we tried in the post “Floored”. Check in later to see how this room is coming along!
This is the kitchen before:
I really wanted new cabinets but when you are on a budget, you have to work with what you’ve got.We painted the cabinets and added new hardware. I went with a light cream for the upper cabinets because I wanted an airy feel. The lower cabinets were painted a darker color to ground the room and prevent the room from being overrun by white (since the appliances are white as well). Hopefully, we will be replacing the appliances with stainless-steel in the future. Coordinating pendant lighting was a super easy way to give the room a more high-end feel on an extremely scarce budget. Here is our current kitchen:
I wanted a table that would match the rest of the house. I found an Ikea table on Craigslist that was love at first site. The cushions on the chairs were an old, worn orange but with just a couple hours of my time and $30, I was able to recover them to fit the color scheme. (You can read about this in the post “Dining Chair Transformation: Let’s Add Color”) The room was painted a neutral tan to give the room a peaceful feel that would allow the table to be the main source of attention. This is our current dining nook:
UPDATE: Remember the original small living room from before? We have transformed that area into a “large” dining area for our cute shabby chic table. It’s now the first thing you see when you walk in our front door. Notice the picture frame collage-in-progress? You can read about that in the post “Mural, Mural On The Wall”. I hope to put a neat capiz shell chandelier over the table in the near future.
It wasn’t bad but it was so dark that it was hard for me to get up in the mornings. I want something fresh that makes me feel like jumping out of bed! We traded our king sized bed and $14 each nightstands for a queen sized 4 post bed, 2 nightstands, large mirror, and large dresser (I got all of this plus $125 out of the deal. The furniture is currently in he process of being refinished. The nightstands are already done, so you can get a general idea of how the bed will look when it is finished. You can read about refinishing the nightstands in the post “Nightstands: Big on style, short on cash”) Not Bad… The comforter is one that I fell for while shopping around in target. Here is the current master bedroom:
Again, it was very dark and not at all relaxing. The bath should be something that begs you to stay and soak your worries away. We lightened the color scheme and added wainscotting for some texture. The waterfall shower curtain was purchased from Amazon for $29. These types of shower curtains are outrageously expensive! The next best price I was able to find was in the $80 range. Here is the current master bathroom:
The second bedroom belongs to our 2 daughters. This room is still a work in progress. This room sees its fair share of hardship, so it also sees the least attention. However, we’ve recently started to journey of making this into a room that stirs imagination. This is our daughters’ room before:
The third room was used as a office/storage area until we decided that the girls needed a room specifically to use for play. So we transformed a plain, dark brown room into a whimsical yet functional play area. Here is the room in progress:
Our laundry closet has recently had its partial makeover as well. There are still a couple of items to finish, but the small closet looks much more presentable.
As you’ve noticed, we plan to do a lot of remodeling in the next few months. We have enclosed the garage and are currently in the process of turning this room into a larger living area.
Well, there is an introduction to our home. I hope you enjoy cruising the site and pick up some great ideas. I would absolutely love to hear your ideas as well! If you ever have a question, just leave a comment and I’ll get back with you. Thanks guys!