Have you seen the new issue of Country Living? The living room makeover featured on the cover is actually a project of mine!


Last summer, when I agreed to help our good friends Jackie and Chris turn their 1960s ranch into a cute, cozy Hamptons beach house, we definitely had our work cut out for us. Or at least we thought we did. You would too if you opened the door and stepped into this.


More Brady Bunch than beach house, no? But as it turns out, all this room needed was a a good coat of paint, simple upgrades, and smart shopping. After all, just because you're decorating a room on a budget doesn't mean it can't be beautiful. Check it out! (Click twice to enlarge.)


And can you believe the price tag on that fantastic vintage bird toile sofa and chair? $225 from a thrift store, right here in town! The pieces were in great condition, just a bit dusty. All it took was a good steam cleaning, and they came right back to life.


Getting back to the Before, more dated than anything in that room had to have been the window above the sofa. Nothing screams Marcia, Marcia, Marcia more than a triangular window on a ranch!    


Sheetrock on the inside; cedar planks on the exterior, and presto chango! An inexpensive, totally transformative new look. Thank you, by the way, to Sarah Gray Miller and her talented team of editors for including me in the issue!


So often, I come across budget makeovers that end up looking…well…budget. My advice? Three things: (1) Paint is your best friend. And if you screw up, who cares? Paint it again. It's still the biggest bang for your buck. (2) Shop smart. IKEA, Target, and Homegoods are all great resources. Then add character with one-of-a-kind finds from tag sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. (3) Finally, have fun! Decorating on a budget definitely takes more thought, but in the end, it's so much for rewarding when you know it's money well spent. Good luck with your makeovers, everyone! And don't forget to send me pics! I'd love to see what you're up to.