6.27.2009

Sunny side up: A sunroom makeover on a budget

Recently, on the fabulous internet radio show, The Skirted Roundtable (here) Linda, Megan, and Joni discussed the true cost of decorating, and whether it's possible to achieve a high-end look on a budget. And the short answer is a qualified "yes." The qualification is because in decorating, as in life, there is no free lunch. You can get the look, but what you save in money will be made up in time spent. My friend Leah was able to achieve a very polished look for her sunroom on a small budget by doing all the work herself, from sewing a custom window seat cushion to sanding and painting the porch itself. It took her months, but the results were well worth it. d Below is a view of my friend Leah's gorgeous sunporch which opens off the living room of her 1930s bungalow.
Here is the room before.


The assets included the built in window seat, the vintage spanish style table, and the weathered antique wicker table (Katrina floodwaters added a gorgeous weathered patina to this piece that I could never replicate), tons of natural light, and the original terracotta tiles that she painstakingly stripped, resealed, and polished herself .


Here is another shot of the entrance, showcasing the crisp graphic lines of the original french doors against the fresh green living room walls. Leah loves citrus hues, crisp whites, dreamy creams, and watery blues, and used them throughout her home for a unified feel.
Here is a shot of the co-ordinating lime paint on the original grooved ceiling. *note-a key to achieving a highend look is through great architectural features--this room would not have the same impact with sheetrocked walls and without the french doors.
A view of the sunroom, including the window seat, now dressed with a plump cushion in cream canvas and co-ordinating pillows. Leah added a distressed white finish to her vintage coffee table. The wicker side table has been topped with a piece of glass. The faux bamboo frames hanging against the windows are a thrift store find, and the lamp shade is actually a woven hat from the Vietnamese market. Leah's green thumb is evident in the luxuriant foliage.

Here is a closer look at the windowseat. Leah made the cushion and pillows herself. She transformed 3 free sofa cushions into one large bench cushion.
To give the window seat a more polished look, she applied a box pleated skirt to the window seat.
We searched high and low to find an affordable accent chair for the space. Luckily, we found an incredible faux bamboo (do you sense a theme) chair at a local hotel liquidator's.
Here is the same chair before:
An after shot. Leah stripped the upholstery, applied a faux bamboo finish over the dark stain, and reupholstered the chair herself. Since she had leftover fabric from the window seat cushion and leftover paint, the only money spent was on the chair. And at $35, it was a major bargain.
To sum up: a space can be beautiful and budget friendly, but if that's what you want, you need to be prepared to follow the advice of Rupaul, "You better work!"

15 comments:

Gay Riggs Baytown TX said...

This is a spectacular space! I'm so envious. And it truly proves that with a little/lot of hard work, gorgeous results can be achieved. Thanks for sharing this makeover.

Dianne said...

Wow! Just found you. This make over is wonderful. I especially love the chair re-do. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

lucky Leah! color scheme is fab

and YOU, Mr Design Junkie, deserve a smack-down for all those curb finds!

your blog is hilarious, and please don't gold leaf the dog

xo from Joodie in San Antonio

Teacats said...

Brillant transformation! Truly inspired -- LOVE the green ceiling! And the bench cushion is gorgeous! Many thanks for sharing!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Cote de Texas said...

this is gorgeous!!!!!!!! i love the colors, the window seat, the ceiling, the chair. I'm going to put this on the left side of my blog - ok???? just wonderful!!!

Virginia said...

Found you thru "Cote" - GREAT room! LOVE the window seat and bamboo chair. The colors: yum!

Anonymous said...

Also here by way of Cote de Texas. Your blog is wonderful and inspirational. So cheerful and colorful! I love your "can-do"/"WILL-do" attitude. Fun to read!

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

This is awesome! Just found you via Joni's. Love this transformation. Now I'm eyeing my porch ceiling...and thinking green! :-) Susan
P.S. I can't wait to see you gold-leaf the dog. :-)

Susan S. said...

Hi there....just found you and Love, love, love your blog. Your friend's sun room is awesome and what a great job pulling all those lovely pieces together. I, too, can't wait to see your gold leafed dog. My profiles says I like to paint EVERYthing....but I haven't yet painted my dog. Maybe a little blue hair dye would look good on him!
Hugs from Houston!!

puck said...

gorgeous! found you thru Joni. Does Leah have a blog?

Lisa D. said...

Your friend Leah did a wonderful job!!!! I'm in the process of redoing my own sunroom - on a tight budget of course! Loved everything! Just found you through Joni.

Design Junkie said...

Puck, Leah doesn't have a blog. I am planning to photograph and post her entire cottage, however.

Tracy @ comfortandluxury said...

What a beautiful room. I completely agree that you can get a high-end look for less... with careful shopping, a little bit of talent and a lot of elbow grease. Your friend's "bamboo" chair makeover is especially impressive. (and I realize THAT took a LOT of talent!) Don't you just love hotel liquidators. There's a fantastic one about 40 miles away from me... good that it's that far because, if it were closer, they'd have all my money by now.
Can't wait to see the rest of Leah's home.

Tracy @ comfortandluxury said...

What a beautiful room. I completely agree that you can get a high-end look for less... with careful shopping, a little bit of talent and a lot of elbow grease. Your friend's "bamboo" chair makeover is especially impressive. (and I realize THAT took a LOT of talent!) Don't you just love hotel liquidators. There's a fantastic one about 40 miles away from me... good that it's that far because, if it were closer, they'd have all my money by now.
Can't wait to see the rest of Leah's home.

Between you, me and the Fencepost said...

Beautiful job! I love it, wow this should be in a magazine!