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A Surprise Home Makeover: The Power of Paint

It all started with a text. "Dani, I have a great idea. My parents are headed out of town on Sunday (today was Wednesday!) and my sister and I want to makeover their living room and kitchen while they're gone. What do you think?"

Ummm...(counting the days between now and then on my fingers)...What do I think?!


I loved this idea. If you don't know be by now, you should know this...I view things in life as either FUN or NOT FUN and this was definitely FUN!

Pulling off any makeover, surprise or not, will be most successful with a plan in place. If I would have shown up on Sunday to have a chit chat about what they should do in the space it would have been too late. We would have wasted precious time. Not only that, but the girls were looking for guidance. They wanted a clear direction of how to update the space and make it a little more modern. So, what did I do? I did a Room Edit.

A Room Edit starts with an interview with the clients - asking lots of questions about the space so I can gauge where we are and where we're going. Often times the clients can't see past what's in front of them (and that's OK) to know which way to steer their home-ship. Having a few questions answered helps me navigate in areas they can't. They can see the problem, but not necessarily the solution. Not yet. I also ask for pictures. It usually doesn't take many, and in this case it only took three. Three pictures from different angles.

Once I receive the answers to the interview questions and the pictures, it's time for me to set my clients free doing whatever it is they do while I get to work. My job is to formulate and communicate a plan from what I see, what I've heard and the ideas that are swirling around inside my brain begging to be set free. Communicating that plan back to the clients isn't as easy as a verbal explanation. Having visuals help, even if it's visuals of the same room they just sent me (BUT...having a visual of what's'll find that plan here).

My Edit generally takes shape in the form of a video presentation, where I'm explaining what I see and action steps that will move them forward into achieving that look. Then it's up to them to make it happen cap'n. In THIS case, though, I hopped in my cute 'little' car, rolled up my sleeves and got to work helping with the transformation. And I may have done a little shopping for them too. (Side note and pro-tip: if you hire a designer...let THEM do the shopping! Even though you may be paying them to spend your money, trust end up SAVING!).

The next couple days went like this. Paint, paint, clean, paint. Paint some more and finish off with a little paint. We used Alabaster White from Sherwin Williams.

The goal of this transformation was to bring the outside in and to beckon them to the outside. Their backyard literally opens up to a beautiful lake and their gardens are GORGEOUS, but were hidden behind the darkness that was inside. Brightening the room with a fresh coat of paint and painting the open concept rooms and hallways all one color unified the spaces and encouraged cohesiveness all while creating a visual sight line to what awaits them beyond the doors. And bonus, it turns out the leather chairs that I recommended we replace because they were too dark, didn't need to be replaced once we painted the walls.

Now it's time to play that fun kiddo game Spot the Differences. Can you spot all the changes? All the things that are new in the space?

I'm waiting...

If I'm being honest, I ended up returning more than we kept. We were able to use most of what was already in the space. Here's a breakdown of what we kept and what is new.

Kept: New:

Couch Curtains

Chairs Curtain rod

Bench Rug

Some pillows Some pillows

Throw Basket with plant

Coffee table Side table



Some baskets

Artwork: fish, clocks, oar, etc.


We weren't able to completely finish the kitchen and hallway in that short of time (we had three days) though we did make considerable progress.

How did the parents like it?! They LOVED it!

Curious what a Room Edit sounds like and want the secret to creating a cohesive look within your own home? Listen here:

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