Ever seen those models that appear to be wearing nothing but chapstick? It actually takes hours to make them look that way. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve never been a model. I know, I know; I’m just as surprised as you.

The same goes for design. Creating a room that is chic-but-comfortable and pulled-together-but-not-too-matchy-matchy is like trying not to choke a model who says sh%$ like I just love to hike or I eat fried chicken at every meal and I can’t seem to gain a pound!  It’s an effort, you know?

So when I was tasked with taking my friend and design colleague’s space to the next level, I naively thought it would be a breeze. I mean, I had a lot going for me: Chris is in the industry. He has a great house. He has fantastic taste in both design and designers (ahem). And he was out of town. Even better? His fantastic girlfriend wanted to surprise him with this re-do. She also has great taste. And I can prove it because she, like me, feels a decent meal consists of kid fruit snacks and champagne. We were clearly meant to be.

Alas, this one almost did me in. I spent days scouring local shops for the right pieces, working under a tight timeline to create the gigantic custom Cole Porter quote (a sweet nod to Chris’s one and only son Cole), working within a budget that was non-negotiable, and dealing with a shaky moment that involved a rickety ladder, a kind-hearted contractor and an exorbitant amount of swearing.

Still, a little bit of love goes a long way. I made this job harder than it needed to because I have deep, dark issues that even an orange dachshund can’t fix.

But here’s the deal: We all get stuck in the it’s too much work so I’ll skip the whole thing. This is how I feel about exercise. Meal prep. Flossing. I’m so tiiiirrrred. But just start. Really. Add a few new pieces. Eat some fruit snacks. Swear alot. It totally works. Here’s proof:

The TV room before – fine but flat

the bookshelves before

the bookshelves after

(hint- orange dachshunds basically fix anything):

the living room before

the living room after

the wall of shame before

the wall of, dare I say, fame

entryway before

 entryway after

(hint: giraffes and llamas, like orange dachshunds, basically fix anything)master bedroom wall before

master bedroom wall after

Little things can make a huge impact. Just ask someone with a newborn. Or someone in a tiny apartment. Hey, ask the couple living in the tiny apartment with the newborn.

See you next time at The Neighbor’s House!