Decorist Guest Bedroom Makeover!

Happy Friday my friends!  Today I’m super excited to introduce you to Decorist, an online decorating service that’s the cat’s pajamas!  I get a fair amount of reader emails with decorating questions, and have had conversations with enough friends who feel interior design challenged to know that there are a lot of people who find decorating to be a daunting task, or don’t have the desire or time to tackle it.  But I’m a firm believer that the spaces we inhabit can bring us joy- and that having them decorated in a style that brings us happiness is a highly worthwhile endeavor!  Which is why I’m so happy that Decorist exists!  For an affordable price (starting at $199) Decorist will pair you with a designer that matches your style for personalized design services, of if you prefer you can select your own.  They’ll tackle projects large or small, work with your budget, provide two design plans AND a revision.  And as a major bonus, you can purchase all of the items in one place- through Decorist- and trade discounts are offered from over 100 retailers!  So good, right?!  Read below for the process I went through working with elite designer Jennifer Stewart to design a guest bedroom for our house!  {Get your own Decorist Makeover here. Enter code AHouseintheHills20 for $20 off your makeover!}


The first step after purchasing my makeover was to create my design profile by selecting my favorite items out of a variety of styles so that I would be paired with a designer whose style matched mine.  I was so happy to see my virtual room come together (above) and was deemed a “modernist at heart” by Decorist.  Sounds about right- the description fit my style to a tee!

Next up I filled out a short questionnaire about the project and uploaded a photo of the drawing I made of the room with all of the measurements.  It was a pretty rough sketch but the measurements were accurate and I knew it would be enough for her to get the idea since it’s such a simple room.  But if the room were more complicated I would’ve uploaded photos of it as well.  I also sent along this Pinterest board to share my design aesthetic (uploading specific inspiration photos is also an option!)


After that it was all in Jennifer’s hands and I was SO excited to see what she would do with our room!  A few days later she sent along these design boards, shopping lists and her thoughts about each of the rooms!  Aren’t they both so great?!


I went back and forth between the two boards so many times and finally decided that I preferred the second board.  But I wanted the room to have just a bit more, and since we have so many circle mirrors in my house I wanted to see another option for above the bed.  I responded to Jennifer and gave her my feedback about the room for her to incorporate into the plan.  You can see the final design below, I love it!  The room design fits perfectly with what we have going in the house already and would be such a cozy and inviting spot for our guests.  Pretty brilliant right?!  Hope you love as much as I do!  xx- Sarah

final board design-design- finalshopping list

Kitchen Refresh with True Value Part 2!

Hello my friends!  I’m so happy you liked the last kitchen update post!  In the last of my 4 part series with True Value I decided to share how we transformed this corner of the kitchen in a separate post since it involved removing cabinets, tile and doing some pretty major patching. This part of the kitchen was extra exciting for me because I was able to see at least some of what I don’t love (the tile) not just transformed, but GONE!  And removing it myself was so, so satisfying.  I’d consider becoming a professional kitchen demo-er after this project!  HA!  Taking out the cabinets was also exciting, and it did just what we hoped it would!  It opened up the space, created a place to display some of our favorite things and made the kitchen feel much larger and brighter.  I’m a huge proponent of making small updates that have a big impact, and love that we’re  learning how to do these projects ourselves.  This update should hold us over and keep us happy until we tear down walls and completely reimagine the space!  Hope you love!  Click through for instructions on removing cabinets/tile, repairing a wall and hanging open shelves!  Happy DIY’ing!  xx- Sarah


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Kitchen Refresh With True Value Part 1


Hello my friends, happy Thursday!  I’m beyond excited to share our kitchen refresh with you today in partnership with True Value- can you even believe what a difference new paint job, cabinet hardware and a few other small alterations made to our space?!  You may remember from our empty home tour that the kitchen is the room in the house I’m least in love with, which is a big deal for me since I love to cook!  The room was dark and felt tiny and cramped in spite of it’s decent size.  We’re planning on knocking down the wall that separates it from the dining room and opening it up to the strange little room beside it someday down the road.  That project will be a full-on renovation where we completely reconfigure the space- and something we’ll be saving our pennies for!!!  In the meantime I was desperate for a way to make it a little more our style- and wasn’t afraid of a little bit (or a lot as it turned out) of labor to get it there!  Below I’m sharing all the steps we took to transform our worn and dated cabinets into a more modern incarnation of themselves- and the other changes we made to update the space.  I’ll share the other side of the kitchen and the updates we made there soon!  I hope this inspires your own DIY adventures!!!  xx- Sarah


{More after the jump}

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Happy day my friends!  Today is gonna be all about bathrooms- the ins and outs of determining whether you need a full reno or just some cosmetic updates, as well as what I’ve been dreaming about for our two bathrooms!  {A big thank you to Kohler for their support and sponsorship of this post!}


First up: the green Jack and Jill bathroom.  I totally understand the vision of the owner who previously remodeled this bathroom. Our house is Spanish, built in 1926, their design makes sense in keeping with that theme in a very literal (but moderately updated) way.  But my design loving heart yearns to make this bathroom into something special- a showpiece rather than something that just simply makes sense.  Here’s the great thing about it though- we can make cosmetic updates and make this room SING!  Here are a few images I pulled for inspiration.


{Images via:  1 / 2 / 3 /4 / 56 /7}

I’ve never tackled a bathroom remodel before- so when I started thinking about the design process and all of the elements- it became a little daunting.  It’s not like I’m familiar with a million places to get sinks and faucets the way I am with rugs and pillows.  So I started shopping around on the major bathroom brands sites and became even more overwhelmed. But then I discovered Kohler- and realized that they really stock almost EVERYTHING I need to make both our bathrooms the dream bathrooms that my design obsessed brain can’t stop envisioning- and the site design makes it almost effortless instead of completely daunting.  And if coming up with inspiration and ideas is a challenge for you, they have an IDEAS section of their website that has inspiration ideas and mood boards as well as a planning resources section that is invaluable.

So here’s how I planned the bathroom- I took my laptop into the room, a measuring tape and I sat on the floor and went through Kohler’s website.  Literally.  On the floor, in the space, letting my imagination and the space speak to me.  The site also has an amazing feature that lets you create folders- so I created a folder for the room and just added pieces that I loved to it as I went- this was huge because it really helped me visualize it all together.  And then I measured to make sure the pieces I loved and envisioned would fit.

I thought about things like replacing the shower  with something modern and realized that I didn’t want to take away from some of the original charm- that the coved entrance to the shower was more important to me than my love of modern glass shower doors, but that installing this overhead shower and these faucets would turn it into a space I’d be happy to shower in.  Once I’d picked out all of the fixtures I started thinking about some other design elements.  I love the original tile that’s in there but it’s in rough shape.  And I crave a little more drama in a bathroom, so I started the hunt for some black and white tiles that would pay homage to the Spanish style of the home but also give the modern clean fixtures I’d picked something to stand out against!  I also want to make it more spacious- installing a more streamlined sink, replacing the light fixtures with something with less visual weight and taking out those built-in cabinets and installing open shelves will do just that!


{Sources: b+w tile, shower head, floating shelf, towel bars, medicine cabinet mirror, shower valve, faucet, sconces, towel hooks, soap holder, vanity shelf, towel ring, sink, white tile, toilet}

Above is my design inspiration board for the room featuring the Kohler products I picked as well as tile and a few other design elements I’d love to add.  It gives me chill bumps to see it- I know that the day we manage to transform this bathroom will be a VERY exciting one!!!


Next up:  the master bath.  I think sometimes you have to live in a space to truly understand what can be improved upon.  I know some of you are fans of this room as is- and I get that, I can see the charm too.  But it’s totally not our style (also I promise it looks significantly prettier in the photos than in person).  And functionally, there’s just a few things that don’t make sense.  For instance- most of the light in the room comes from windows that are IN the shower.  Which means that if the shower curtain is open and drying out, the room is relatively dark (these photos were all taken pre-curtain, so it’s effectively much darker in there now that it’s a functional shower.  It also has really extra tiny sinks- which I actually really love BUT not in a master bedroom.

The third quirky thing I realized is that there are two doors to get into the bathroom- one at the end of the extremely long hallway, and one from our bedroom.  The one from our bedroom makes sense- it’s a master suite bathroom.  But the hallway entrance is unnecessary- we already have a guest bathroom and that door makes an already small-ish bathroom even smaller!  It also prevents us from hanging art at the end of the long beautiful hallway.  These old houses tend to have a lot of doors, but they’re not always the most functional!


Sources: 1 / 2 / 3  / 4 / 5 / 67

So with these quirks in mind I once again sat on the bathroom floor with my measuring tape, the inspiration board above, the Kohler website and started playing around with ideas.  My first was to remove the door and move the bath/shower to the other side of the room.  This will allow us to install a big, bright window where the two tiny ones are that are currently hidden behind a shower curtain.  This means the toilet will move to the opposite side as well.  The other perk of doing this is that it gives us extra space to install a longer vanity- to truly take advantage of every square inch of the space.  It will also make the space feel bigger.

Since we’re already pretty much going to have to gut the bathroom, it gives me the perfect excuse to replace the ALL of the tiles with something that’s a more modern interpretation of Spanish.  Below you’ll see the moodboard I created with all of the items I’d pull together to make this our dream bathroom.  I love that like the other bathroom it’s modern, but honors the Spanish style of the house with the tile.  And I really love that there’s some cohesion between the master bath and the guest bath.  They’d both have their own distinct feel, but they go together and make sense living under the same roof.


{SOURCES: tub, bath & faucet trim, spout and handle,  black/white tilesubway tilemirror, sink faucets, vanity, drawer pulls, sinks, towel bars, toilet, toilet tissue holderhanging planters}

OK, so I’m a bathroom reno newbie- I still have yet to actually dip my toes into the part I imagine to be the most challenging (contractors!) but as far as design is concerned- I feel like I’ve got this.  And that it’s FAR less intimidating than I expected it to be.  Honestly, I think that if I had to source everything from a half dozen stores I might go bonkers trying to pick out pieces!  I hope this helps you all with any upcoming projects you have (we have a kitchen on the horizon which is full-on: walls to be knocked down and complete rearrangement of just about every single inch- and I’m thinking I’ll start the design process just about the same way I did with these- a mood board and then tackling it one step at a time!)  Good luck my fellow home reno-ers!  Please please please chime in below if you have any tips or experience to offer up to a newbie like myself!  xx- Sarah

DIY Dining Room Makeover With True Value


Hello my friends!  I’m back with another house update in partnership with True Value!  Today I’m sharing our dining room before and after.  I couldn’t wait to get this space updated- it felt so drab, small and dated when we moved in.  But a coat of white paint and a new chandelier changes EVERYTHING, doesn’t it?!!  Now the space feels bright, airy and inviting!  And truly, the amount of work it takes to paint a space in just so minimal for the impact it can have.  Details on what we did after the jump!  And don’t forget to follow True Value on Instagram for inspiration!  And share your own #DIYaDay projects for a chance to win- they’re giving out prizes throughout June!   Happy DIY’ing!  xx- Sarah

Decor Sources:  Table, Chandelier, Rug, Chairs, Otomi artwork, Sanna Annukka print, basket

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DIY Fireplace Makeover with True Value


I’m so excited to be partnering* with True Value to share some DIY projects that we’ve been tackling around this old house to make it our own!  I’m sharing  how we dove right into the project of transforming the bright red (oddly faux-finished) fireplace in our living room!  This post is the first of four, so there’s a lot to look forward to and I hope they’re helpful and inspiring for your own home projects!  And if you’re looking for more DIY inspiration – check out True Value’s #DIYaDay Instagram challenge starting Monday! They’ll be sharing simple DIY ideas and giving out great prizes all month!  All you have to do is follow and tag @TrueValue in a photo or video of your DIY project (there will be different themes each day) and use #DIYaDay.  I’ll be participating in a few of the challenges so you can see more of my smaller projects on my Instagram too!

I’m a firm believer that paint is the easiest, most affordable way to make HUGE changes to a space.  It’s my go-to if there’s need for improvement in a room.  So, spoiler alert: these DIY’s will all involve paint!  Ok, let’s dive right into it- this red fireplace with what appear to be faux bullet holes covering it from top to bottom- NOT our jam.  Not our jam at all (see more of the empty room and red fireplace here).  I was thrilled to discover that the previous owners had painted the rest of the room a creamy white.   Meaning that at one point THE ENTIRE ROOM INCLUDING THE CEILING WAS THAT COLOR RED.  {insert wide-eyed emoji face}  Even though it was an easy project to complete, the impact on the space was HUGE.  It felt like a whole new living room.  That’s my favorite kind of DIY!   See photos below for more of the transformation and then click through for instructions on how to tackle a project like this!  xx- Sarah

Decor Sources: Chairs, Pillows, Pouf, Tripod PlanterFireplace Screen, Candle Holders  (all other items are vintage, were picked up in our travels or are unavailable for retail sale that I’m aware of)


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