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Before and Afters

Introducing…Julie’s Bedroom Makeover Takeover

image sources: top left | middle top | top left | bottom right | bottom middle | bottom right

Hey all, Julie here to start off the new year with everyone’s favorite series…Makeover Takeover! In case you are new around here and don’t know what that means, it’s when someone on the team gets to show you their personal style and reveal a space in their home to Emily’s loyal readers (YOU)…no pressure. There is definitely no added pressure when you are Emily’s lead designer on the team and haven’t truly decorated your own space since the time you were going through a huge purple phase at the age of sixteen. To be honest I am still a fan of the right shade of purple and think that it is finally having its moment. Let’s just say that there might be a very fun custom purple velvet bed for this project we intro’d awhile back coming soon, but more on that another time!

About six months into working at EHD the topic of personal style came up during a brainstorm. I remember Emily directly asking me what mine was and I honestly couldn’t tell her. To be 100% transparent, I still can’t really tell you. I think this partly has to do with the fact that I am a Libra which makes it difficult for me to make any decision for myself and the other part is because I went to school for Interior Architecture, so I fell in love with all of the styles. I wish there was a “select all” option because I truly love them all, even the crazy ones. Yes, I am looking at you postmodernism.

But, I didn’t want the fact that I hadn’t honed in on my personal style yet to keep me from starting my own space because design paralysis is real, especially when it will eventually be shared with an audience as big as Emily’s. Again, no pressure.

So, when I finally started to work on my MOTO almost a year ago I decided to treat myself as the client. I created a pinboard and added anything to it that caught my eye (rooms, art, furniture, etc). I made a list of the items I already had and decided what to keep, what to donate based on how I wanted the space to feel. The design came quickly and that was great until I found out that one of my roommates would be moving out in a couple of months and I could take over her room which had its own bathroom, aaaaaahhhhhhh! Being 30, living with roommates AND sharing a bath…ya, I did not mind starting the design process over if it meant I could also pretend that I was living on my own (for the same rent). My old room also had shoji sliding doors that directly faced the dining/kitchen area so I was ready to say goodbye old room and HELLO privacy.

Let me show you the new space I am referring too…

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She isn’t much to look at coming in at 116 sq. ft. but the trim is cute and the windows weren’t slatted glass like the other room. I was very happy about that since that meant I could get a window AC unit for the hot LA summers. There is also a little hallway that has a cute cupboard moment with shelves below for some storage and cute decor. Then on the opposite wall, I knew I wanted to come up with something creative & low cost (cause I’m frugal) for that coveted doorway shot. Oh, do you see that other door? The one by the window? Where does that lead to you ask? Answer: My old room… it’s one of those doors you’re just like, hmmm alright what to do with you? Well, I figured something out that was easy and impactful for the space that you will get to see tomorrow in the reveal! Stay tuned.

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Last February, Emily Bowser and I were deep into designing, DIY-ing and vintage hunting for “adventure” items (does the kid’s mountain house bedroom ring a bell?) and while we were at the Long Beach Flea (an EHD favorite), I came across the ‘jumping-off point’ for my room. This guy was selling these amazing vintage nature photographs for $7 each. Bowser convinced me to buy 7 of them because they were “so on-brand” for me which was a bargain for only 50 bucks. She wasn’t wrong (see sweatshirt above). I am kinda known as the ‘outdoorsy’ one in the office which is ironic since I design interiors for a living. Hence the title of my memoir, The Interior Designer Who Lived Outdoors🙂

After that day I started to jokingly/lovingly refer to my style as ‘old man library’ and I don’t think it’s too far off. It’s like an old fashioned with a twist (and that twist is a 31-year-old woman living in the year 2020).

Here are some inspiration photos to get us all on the same page…

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photo and design by helen cathcart | via remodelista

The first time I saw this photo in Arlyn’s 2019 Paint Color Trends, I approximately stared at it for 10 whole minutes. I just loved the subtle details of the space designed by Helen Cathcart and the way it made me feel…calm. That’s how we all want our bedrooms, dining areas or actually our whole house to feel, right? The painted trim also really spoke to me and I knew I wanted to do something similar in my space. Wink, Wink.

A carefully curated collection (say that five times fast, I’ll wait)…okay, you done? Like I was saying, a good ‘CCC’ has a special place in my design heart. Over the years people (mainly my momma) have given me objects that hold such meaning to me that I wanted to put on display for myself and about a thousand of my close friends (again, that’s you). Side Note: I’ve decided that we are all best friends now and this is no longer an intimidating thing to do.

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image sources: top left | top right | bottom left | bottom right

Those top two photos represent what I wanted my ‘CCC’ to look like: 1. that it was developed over time (because it was) 2. that I simply put it up on my wall wherever I wanted (because I did) and 3. that there might be a missing piece (because there is…mom I’ve been meaning to ask you, can I have that piece of art sitting in your office??)

I am one of those people that is ready to get off of the all-white wall and neutral train. But, since I live in an apartment for who-knows-how-long, painting all of my walls just to paint them right back didn’t seem like the smartest option. Then I saw the Hotel Sanders in Copenhagen (bottom left) and was convinced color was the impact that was missing from the space. I also love the subtly of I Spy DIY’s blue/grey door (bottom right) and that light just makes the shot.

Now, onto some furniture figuring out…

There were a couple of reasons why I needed/wanted a new dresser. It had been nearly a decade that I had mine, it was low profile so it would take up the majority of the space in the new room, and a friend of mine had recently moved to LA with no furniture of their own so I wanted to give them mine.

I knew that I wanted a darker wood and for it to be kind of multifunctional so I went on Chairish and decided to find my dream dresser regardless of the price point. And here they are, our three contestants. Aren’t they beautiful??

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Then reality kicked me in the butt and told me not to spend that much money since I knew I was saving up for a more practical item like a car. Okay reality, I hear ya. To Craigslist I went and not kidding the third listing I looked at was the perfect $80 dresser for me. SOLD.

Now, I know my room is on the smaller side (11′ x 10’6″) but I love a beautiful chair and especially one that is comfortable enough to sit and read a book for a while. This is, after all, my pretend studio apartment and that chair is my living room.

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These were the three chairs that I had been staring at for over a year. It was a pretty serious relationship until I had to break it off with two of them and fully commit. Let’s just say I am very happy with my decision and you can see which one I chose in tomorrow’s reveal post.

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Ok, there is more to discuss so I will see you tomorrow best friends when we will talk more about design, art, an Ikea hack and some friendly renter ideas in my ‘old man library’. And here is a super sneak peek:)

Want some more Makeover Takeover action? Head to our projects page for all the goods.

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4 years ago


I love all of your inspiration photos. At the moment I’m in love with green, too!
Greetings from Germany!

4 years ago

Ha! I think “old man library” is a great description for my style, too! Looking forward to the reveal.

After a sea of white walls, black accents, and minimalism, I am so, so, so ready in 2020 to see more color and a more diverse mix of design styles — and some carefully curated clutter.

4 years ago

Adventure inspired, family heirlooms and green… I’m in. And also, I’m you sister so I’m already a big fan!

4 years ago

In your very last sneak peek photo, the B+W, to the very left hanging on the wall in foreground, that item that is tall, with white background and black numerical print… what is that called/used for? I found one exactly like it washed up on a beach in Maryland after a storm and have kept it with me for over 12 years, but didn’t know how to display it. Interested to see a good shot of the “measurements” wall tomorrow!

4 years ago
Reply to  Amy

It looks like a surveyor’s measuring stick (aka grade rod or leveling rod). That one could be vintage but they are still sold and used today.

4 years ago
Reply to  Amy

I think that’s called staff gage and it’s for water level measurements. I have seen those in streams and rivers just sitting stuck in the river bed so you can easily see the water level. But i am not a surface water engineer so maybe somebody will know for sure.

4 years ago
Reply to  Julie Rose

Excellent, thanks to all for the info. I just read your reveal post and the bedroom looks great, so full of interesting and meaningful things to look at. Great job!!

4 years ago

Excited to see the reveal from these inspiration photos!

4 years ago

Who are you and how did you get all my dad’s folding rulers and drafting equipment? Are you secretly a retired civil engineer?
Dying to see the full reveal tomorrow.

4 years ago

This is fantastic! I love the idea of treating yourself like a client. Can’t wait to see tmrw’s reveal!

Zach Mitchell
4 years ago

I am OBSESSED with that Hotel Sanders photo in the bottom left of the grid! I’ve been revamping my own apartment and I’ve switched to a mostly neutral palette because I don’t have a ton of natural light, but I’ve got some vintage pieces in olive tones. I’ve really been wanting to introduce more of that color into my space and I’m REALLY vibing on that room, so I think this post just gave me the final push I needed to make some real decisions about my apartment. I can’t wait for the reveal!

4 years ago

Yayayay!! Can’t wait for tomorrow it’s we the final reveal! :*

4 years ago

Excited for the reveal, and was very happy to see in the doorway shot that you chose the comfortable chair;).

4 years ago

Do you guys no longer do afternoon posts?

4 years ago
Reply to  Elinor

I’m wondering what happened to the afternoon posts too. They were fun, but fleeting!

4 years ago
Reply to  K

Hey guys! we plan on picking them up as soon as the sites redesign is finished. currently the blog posts are getting buried too fast because we only have room for 5 posts on our blog roll page before you have to press ‘older’. so a lot of people are actually not seeing the posts because they disappear too fast. so as soon as it gets redesigned (six week, dear god its been a year and a half) we’ll publish them again. xx

Roberta Davis
4 years ago

Fun! I can definitely identify with being in love with all the styles! I have 2 design degrees and worked for several architects and contract furniture dealerships. When I was a kid, I told my mom that I wanted to do each room of my (future) house in a different style. She told me no. But I still want to and in fact, part of my house is scandi/modern and part is traditional. I see that I correctly guessed which chair you chose! 🙂

4 years ago

Looking forward to the reveal tomorrow! Where did you source all of those amazing chairs? I’m in the market for chairs exactly like those (funky, cool and with wood base/leather seat) and I’m having a hard time finding anything I love that’s not a million dollars. Going to the Long Beach Flea this month… I love it there!

4 years ago

I, too, am a fan of darker painted trim…eagerly awaiting your reveal tomorrow!

4 years ago

Seriously cannot wait to see! Love your style!

4 years ago

Love it already! Old man library (which an emphasis on the books) is pretty much me. Can I say how MUCH I craved color on my walls when I got my own place? It’s amazingly transformative.

Navajo White just makes me sob.

Zoe P
4 years ago

This is actually feeling very colonial Africa to me! LOVE THIS VIBE. Think: Disneyland Jungle Cruise

Mary Beth
4 years ago

I love your inspiration photos! I can’t wait to see the room!

4 years ago

Just wondering what happened to the “afternoon snack” post? Weren’t you going to do two posts a day, Monday-Friday? I keep coming back to look for them, but only see one.

Ryder Richards
4 years ago

beautiful style love the carefully selected items and the colors! Looking forward to tommorow! Hey where did you get that sweet one peice your wearing in the pic?/Love it!!

4 years ago

And I thought CCC stood for Chocolate Chip Cookies! Can’t wait for tomorrow.

4 years ago

These MOTO posts are my favorite on your blog!! And this one is closest to my own style so I’m very excited for tomorrow!!

Paige Cassandra Flamm
4 years ago

I’m so excited to see the reveal!


4 years ago

What a cliffhanger!!

4 years ago

Beautiful! Can’t wait to read the reveal. And yeah for the chair you choose that i spy in the sneak peak!