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Emily Henderson

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by Velinda Hellen
Velinda Diy Lores 7

It’s day three of this wild party and it’s been a ride! We’re practically “Burners” by now (which I initially referred to as Burnie Bros, so now you know how many times I’ve actually been to Burning Man). If you’re now just strolling in, you can check out Days 1 (living room and dining room) and 2 (kitchen)…but you’re so late, this party’s for sure down to Bud Light and there’s no way it’s still cold.

A quick glib-kill: this series was a scary one to write because this “budget” space matters so much to me and it’s been really amazing having you guys share your own, similar ventures as well as your ideas and kind words. THANK you. “Good enough” is feeling good enough. In fact, when I put my mind on starting my own Makeover Takeover projects (a huge perk that comes with my job, thanks to an incredibly generous boss), I’m split. On one hand, I’m filled with new ideas (and I’m honestly not sure how much longer the springs in our couch are going to hold up). On the other hand, I think, “but my mom painted that door. It shall never be anything-ever-again but blue.” As piece-meal as this 980-square-feet may be, I’m not sure there’s more to want…though it’s fun to think about.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…THANK YOU, Burnie Bros, for reading and commenting this week. We’ve really entered a new phase in our relationship. And on that note, please join me in the…


Ehd For Blog Velinda's Reno Bedroom Before 1 1

First Impression: “Cracked walls and cat pee? We’ll take it!”

Wall-to-wall carpeting was stained by urine and the yellowed walls were cracked in a way I worried meant foundation issues (inspection cleared suspicions). The closet is quite small. So is the room (10’x12′). Upon lifting a corner of the carpet, we discovered (circa 1970s) vinyl linoleum and started praying for more hardwood below. Our prayers were answered…we just had to walk through hell first. The ENTIRE two weeks we had prior to moving in (weeks we thought would be enough time to scrape all popcorn, paint all walls and see all floors refinished) were spent melting and scraping through TWO layers of glued linoleum—Inch. By. Inch.

Ehd For Blog Velinda's Reno Bedroom Progress 1

Flash Forward:

Velinda Diy Lores 1

We sleep (very snuggly) here now. Someone gave me the bed when I was 24 finally broke recently and we found a quick replacement on Craigslist for $75. It’s a full like our last one, but is somehow shorter, so a bit cramped for two women 5’8″ and 5’9″ (Katie would deem it amiss if I didn’t mention she’s an inch taller). 

Velinda Diy Lores 2

That watercolor is a gift from my artist friend, Ramlah Yavar, as a thank you for posing for her series when I was 23. It’s one of her concept/mini pieces. I love it so much.

The dresser, rug, bedside tables, tension pole lamp and burlwood mirror (not photographed) were Craigslist finds from many years ago and I’m still into them. The bedding, wardrobe rack, cosmos tapestry and ’60s curtains were updates when Katie moved in a few years ago (and the pretty black and white abstract on the dresser is by MaryAnn Puls…a holiday gift from Emily). Prior to that, the room was painted a grassy-green to the same line. Due to curved ceilings (which we love), we’re forced to either paint every surface or color block/create our own paint end-line. Being frugal, we used the new window we discovered in the dining upon moving in (but didn’t need due to new french doors) to replace the janky one and added a sill in attempt to make it slightly more interesting. 

Velinda Diy Lores 5 Velinda Diy Lores 4

Looking Back:

  • I wish we had at least priced out having someone else handle the floor restoration in this room, doing it ourselves delayed EVERYTHING else and lead to a quick burn out. I’m sure it would’ve shot the budget up $10K… but how would I know? Too gung-ho…we didn’t even call. DIYers, do the research, have the numbers and then decide what to take on yourself.
  • When the bed broke, we stuck to the same size (full) because we didn’t want to buy a new mattress. Cheapskates!! It’s time for a queen. It’ll mean having to get creative with bedside tables as the closet door opens toward the bed, very much limiting the width of that 10-foot wall. But there are worse things than a narrow side table.
  • Reusing the dining room’s window in this room saved a few hundred dollars, but it secured the style-decision for several other windows. I wish I had just gone with mullion-free windows across the board. But I’m annoyed by it only .02% of the year, so there’s no chance that’s changing anytime soon.

Bedroom Two

Just kidding. That room’s hiding because there’s nothing in there but an elliptical runner. We’re currently trying to dream up a multi-functional office-guest bed-gym space. Elliptical runners are giant eye bullies! HELP?! (Side note: we’re very happy with our $1,250 Nordictrak that folds down and is easy to lift up and out of the way. We just need to figure out the best way to hide it.) 


Ehd For Blog Velinda's Reno Bathroom Before 1

First Impression:Prison cell with just a dash of rat maze.” 

The footprint of this all-beige-tiled, lightless room was 5’x5′ and yet for some reason, had two entrances…meaning two doors that both opened INWARD. If both were open fully, the toilet would be trapped in the corner. There was zero storage. OH, and someone had shoved a towel down the toilet, which we discovered when we flushed for the first time and soiled water poured down the hallway and into the kitchen (thanks, double entrance!). So, this only bathroom was tight, drab AND unusable. Yay! I’ll take two!

Ehd For Blog Velinda's Reno Bathroom Progress2 1

Flash Forward:

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First thing: We fixed the layout, closing off the door from the kitchen/utility room and rehanging the remaining door so that it opened outward (not conventional, but you no longer have to dodge doors within the tiny space). We placed the sink between the toilet and tub, collecting all free floor space into one “walkway.” Keeping in mind the house was built in the ’20s, I wanted to make sure the overall design vibe was still classic. A clawfoot tub (the staple of a “classic” bath) and vintage chest-turned-vanity provide visual space beneath surfaces…anything to help fool the eye a bit (though a tad more annoying to keep clean). Our contractor actually gave us that tub after it was left over from another project. He gave us the antique chandelier, too. We just had to refinish both.

Velinda Diy Lores 8

A much larger window brightens this sad room…and look, a functioning toilet! We added horizontal beadboard, DIY shelves (made from leftover material from our living room unit), a vanity light (which I’m pretty “meh” about) and a vintage mirror found on Etsy. The custom vanity ended up enduring a candle-explosion and had to be painted/stained due to deformation. It was once a very pretty solid wood. A vessel sink maximizes drawer space…but may be a past trend? Once again, you’ll spot cheap faucets from China. The splurge in this room was the hand-poured, cement tile.

I give kudos to Young Velinda for figuring out it was possible to add a built-in cabinet/shelf between wall studs. It’s needed storage and is easy to reach from the tub, so the soaking area remains free of cluttering bath products.

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Here’s what cabinet “drawings” looked like in these pre-designer days:

Ehd For Blog Velinda's Reno Bathroom Progress1 1

Looking Back:

  • Guys, clawfoot tubs are NOT fun for showering. My original shower solution failed! I had an affordable “carousel curtain ring” enclosure (that luckily, Signature Hardware doesn’t sell anymore) because I wanted to have a single curtain instead of multiple trying to avoid water leaking. Multiple curtains are usually necessary for clawfoot shower enclosure designs due to the way they are mounted. You wouldn’t know it since every gorgeous clawfoot you see on Pinterest is photographed either without a curtain or w/ a “sliver of curtain” that would actually result in minor flooding. The track/sliding design of the enclosure I chose was a great solution, in theory…but it rusted! AND the corners were angled vs. rounded, so it was not easy to slide the curtain. Good concept. Bad design. Too cheap. There was once a simple mount on the wall for the handheld piece of my shower to attach, but the gap in the shower curtain and that “showerhead” solution created water leaking onto the wall, which meant a full wipe down after each shower (and begging my roommates to please do the same). As an extra treat, the shower curtain closed in on us from all sides while we rinsed. So for now, as we prep the next solution. WE ONLY BATHE! Not okay.
  • If I repurposed a piece of furniture as a vanity again, I’d probably choose something other than a wood top/surface. And while I love mid-century lines, the style isn’t really this house.
  • I’m not sure I would’ve chosen a different stone/material or color, but I didn’t realize my “splurge” tile would yellow (er, “patina”) overtime/with every reseal (done every couple of years. High maintenance.)
  • Once again, cheap faucets from China failed me. The tub faucet shows a lot of corrosion and the sink faucet, horrible water spots. I get that at that time, I couldn’t spend $500-2K per faucet…but at what price point do these things start working/looking good without looking completely basic? Any better experiences out there?
Velinda Diy Lores 6

That’s all 980 square feet! So, now what? As mentioned, a perk of working here at Emily Henderson Design is creative fulfillment that comes from doing Makeover Takeover projects (as examples, here are Jess’, Arlyn’s, Sara’s). But I couldn’t progress to the next chapter of this house without documenting this one, because this is the home the women in my family built! And THAT, I’m proud of…and incredibly content with as is. Any changes from here would just be cherries and ice cream. But what flavor?

Here’s what I’m craving. I don’t need to replace every old street-find with something new. I still like so many of the pieces I was drawn to years ago. But if I did a Makeover Takeover, I’d lean, overall, a bit more into what this house is at its core; an Art Deco-era Mediterranean bungalow. 

Ehd For Blog Velinda's Reno Green 1

There’s also a sudden appetite for color… evidence collected from hidden surfaces (in particular the dearly-departed, original plaster fireplace) has revealed there was an outright bloodbath of varying greens in the original design. It’s what inspired the current exterior color (which we so gracefully settled on…real pros!) But I wonder if we’ve “fixated on this verdigris” enough in the current design? I’m having doubts.

Ehd For Blog Velinda's Reno Process5

What if we kept a lot of what’s here, but leaned a bit more this way…these are the vibes I’m loving, that hint a bit more toward Art Deco and Spanish… with a dose (or more) of green:

5 1
image via wescover | design by salt + bones
Arent Pyke Pymblehouse Gallery Image Half Width 20 @2x 1 1
image and design via arent & pyke
Collect Antique Burlington Gate 1547669759 1
image via house beautiful | design by studio ashby
Modern Built In Banquette Dining 310519 1006 06 1
image via est living | design by smart design studio

I’m not saying we end up looking exactly like any of these, but maybe pull in some elements/feels…AND A SHOWER!!? Okay, just a few more:

Thomas Geerlingss Canal House 02 810x1080 1
image via ana degenaar | design by framework studio
image via residence | design by artilleriet studio
S1 The Working Capitol Singapore By Takenouchi Webb Photo Jovian Lim Yatzer
image via yatzer | design by takenouchi webb
1 Riddaren Livingroom
image and design via bang interiors helsinki

That’s it. We made it, team. Would love to hear what you think still works and what you think should stay moving forward. Drop your good ideas (considerately) in the comments! And now as promised, for better or worse, here are the final numbers…alllllll combined as we look back, we’re standing at just under $55K (holding breath the walls don’t fall down):

Emily Henderson Velinda Diy Reno Cost Graphic Updated

Thanks again for joining me for a recap of this journey… really could’ve used your extra hands a few years ago. But, all forgiven. 😉 Cheers!

***photography by Veronica Crawford

  1. Ooh, we have a similar (though cheaper, hahaha) elliptical that takes up space in our kids’ playroom (sorry kids!). If you come up with a good solution to hide it, I would LOVE to know.

    Beautiful job, as always

    1. Thanks, Becca! Will do:)

  2. These 3 posts are my favorites EVER, by anyone.
    I have enjoyed every cleverly written sentence, every photo, and every well crafted thought, before and after.

    Your home is beautiful and you and Katie.

    Well done

    1. Agreed!

    2. Jane, that’s so sweet. Thank you so much.

    3. Agreed too! Loved every bit of this series! Thank you for the entertaining writing, the scrupulous budget reveals, and the fantastic honesty.

      Maybe I relate so much because your house reminds me of the myriad apartments we’ve lived in and how I try to use what I have to make it feel like a home each time (hi ikea couch and hand me down coffee table that somehow *work*). I just felt really at home reading this and was dying for more.

      For example: Please a pic of your bedroom from the dresser angle so we can see where the plant hangs and how the closet doors are. I’ve changed closet doors out for opaque beautiful curtains in a few apts and it was a huge space upgrade. Your queen would fit no problemo that way.

      Pics of the second bedroom! Scary for you, yes. But so handy for us to see where you’re starting from and how you handle real world problems ie needing a multi functional space and your initial ideas for how to design it.

      Lastly, in our tiny beach house Reno last year, we splurged (for us) on these Delta Trinsic faucets for the kitchen and bathroom that I found least expensively on amazon. They feel high end, work great and don’t hold any water spots. I also wanted the most minimally designed faucet with a sprayer (for the kitchen) so they were easy to clean. Bingo!


      Again, thank you for welcoming us into your home (and your wedding and family and your amazing basement apt!). I’ve read each and every post thinking, wow, these ladies have style, saaviness, and panache.

      1. I second your recommendation for curtains for the closet. I can’t believe how much space they’re freed up. Plus you can access ALL of your closet. I used to hate trying to pretzel myself around the sliding doors that were there originally to get to the spots that the doors blocked you from.

      2. Sara, thanks so VERY much for the link. I’ll check it out. And hopefully we can have a second bedroom post soon. I really appreciate your thoughtful words.

  3. Though it wouldn’t necessarily fit the MOTO theme, you could see if sponsors would be willing to give you a new couch, curtains, bed and fixtures (or whatever you want/need!). It would jive with your thrifty side and Emily’s desire to be more eco-friendly (less waste). Plus it would be a very honest assessment of how to choose an upgraded piece of furniture that goes with existing decor that isn’t custom or high end. I feel it would be very relatable and so much fun to read!
    I loved this whole series! I’m in the home stretch of a bathroom renovation which means I’m currently at the end of my budget too. I can relate to everything you’re writing. Years off my life to install a floor. Leaking toilets. Shut off water to the house when you go to sleep. It’s all coming together now! Thanks for writing something that is so relatable and refreshing. I sometimes feel bad when I can’t afford 1400$ fixtures, but then I read other people can’t either and I feel better! We can still have lovely homes!

    1. I like this idea a lot! I really enjoyed this series of posts and the transformation of your house is beautiful and amazing, especially given the budget. Nothing looks like it needs a full re-do, so it sounds like it would be perfect if your MOTO was more fixing the things that don’t work but not throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    2. Mara, great ideas… Good luck with the rest of your bathroom renovation!

  4. Velinda, thank you for sharing your space! I also have a claw foot tub shower situation and we made it work by doing the following: 1. I had a totally separate shower line installed with a wall lever so the shower operates without the tub faucet. 2. We installed a D-ring shower curtain bar that is attached to the wall on one side and the ceiling on the other. 3. The shower head has an extra long bar so it goes over the curtain holder bar thing and shoots into the tub. 4. I ordered 2 extra wide clear shower curtains on amazon and hung them so they open up when you walk in the tub not by the head/foot of the tub 5. The shower curtain for the shower side of the tub goes inside the tub and the other goes outside of the tub and kind of crammed into the tub wall crack when we shower so you don’t feel like a transforming moth. It’s not the most beautiful solution but it was like a total of $400 bucks including the plumber to run both the tub and shower lines and it works without flooding the bathroom.

    1. Noelle would you please post a pix? Thx so much!
      Velinda AMAAAAAZING home! Thx so much for sharing!

    2. Noelle, thank you so much for all the detail of how you made it work. I’m realizing some plumbing adjustments may be in store. $400 isn’t too bad, especially considering it included a plumber.

    3. This sounds much like the solution I used, too. I will also add that shower liners with magnets that stick to the inside of the tub work great to keep the liner from billowing in and sticking to you. I actually ended up gorilla gluing extra magnets to the bottom so it stays completely out of the way.

  5. Velinda, I have loved the blog posts on your wonderful home! You are funny and stylish…all the money in the world cannot buy that! I have definitely been changed for good!

  6. I’ve had great luck with Danze bath faucets purchased from Amazon. Only $150-$200. On year nine currently with no problems.

    Love the tension pole light. Seems highly desirable in particular for limited space situations. While the vintage vibe is sublime, I’d also love to see some designers do an updated version featuring contemporary materials and shapes.

    I’m intrigued by the bath mirror placement extending so low as I envision daily wipedowns from incidental splashing, but maybe that’s not an issue for you.

  7. Have loved these posts!
    As far as faucets, I’ve always been a fan of Moen (and I live in Wisconsin, so Kohler may be tracking me down to silence me as we speak). I’ve installed a few by myself and they make it very easy. Well made and will replace anything that breaks for free. You MUST keep the original box. I know, total pain, but when a kitchen faucet had a problem (only issue I’ve ever had), because I had all the info off of the original box, all of the replacement parts were free. And they sent me a video of how to repair. Super easy.

    PS I will be laughing at ‘rat maze’ all day 🙂

    1. I came here to comment that I also have found Moen to be great! I have a Moen kitchen faucet that’s pretty heavily used and more than 10 years old still in perfect condition.

  8. Velinda– I loved this post, as I did the previous two in the series! I love your home as is but I am also so excited for the inspiration images for the MOTO.
    Green is my fave color and I love seeing designers use it in their homes. Please please please do more posts — your home is very charming!

    Also legit swooning over that tension rod lamp…

  9. We’ve recently tried a few of the IKEA faucets and don’t have any complaints so far. We did have a plumber install them though so I don’t know how they are for DIYers.

  10. I love your house! It so reminds me of mine. Eclectic, and very one of a kind. We are always on a budget (we have no money) and craigslist is a god send! I would love to do something more high end, but we live on a farm, so the collected,used furniture look works, and I have five kids, so it’s just practical!
    You could buy a screen, room divider to hide the elliptical. Kinda cheesy maybe, but it could feel 1920’s, or get a bed and put risers under it so you could slide the elliptical under it when you had guest. If it was me. I would do a office slash, workout room, and find a bed solution that can be packed up, like a blow up mattress, so it’s not eating all your space all the time. Or do a sleeper sofa in the living room.

    1. THIS. Bed risers are THE BEST because you can hide EVERYTHING under there.

      Blowup beds are awesome for space saving, but they don’t last that long before they develop leaks, so you end up spending more money replacing them than if you had used a regular bed but with some ingenious solution. MURPHY BED?? They’re usually hella expensive, but if EmHenderson Design could get you a free Murphy Bed, that would be probably the best option.

      Since it sounds like you’re going to get a new couch anyway, I’d definitely also go for a pull-out couch in the living room no matter what. That leaves you the flexibility in the guest bedroom to consider murphy bed vs. blowup bed vs. bed on risers. We went with a Joybird pull-out couch (Hughes Twin Sleeper) and the bed is really comfortable (if a little tiny – it is only a Twin, but that’s all we had room for). I have slept in it several times, and it’s pretty great. I need a firm mattress and Joybird’s memory foam mattress is a little too soft for my taste so I couldn’t sleep in it every night, but it’s really great for the guest who only stays 1-2 nights.

  11. “We’re currently trying to dream up a multi-functional office-guest bed-gym space.”

    I’m struggling with this too right now! Please share what you come up with!

  12. I have the exact same sized bedroom. Your’s looks so light and spacious! I love everything. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Love seeing the budget transformations!

    Here is a great solution for a shower curtain situation: Ceiling mounted track over claw tub! Nothing in the way and it should slide smooth. They do custom sizes too. The website is a bit old school but the concept is brilliant.


    1. Hi Marni! Thanks so much for the resource. Really brilliant design… will keep this in mind for sure!

  14. I’m struck by how your inspirational images look so much like your current place, just more elegant, intentional, and mature. Kind of like the good parts of getting older.

    1. I hadn’t really noted that, Lisa, but you’re right. Glad to know I’m still staying somewhat true to my younger heart 😉 Thanks for the comment.

  15. Adorable. Every house has it’s challenges. I think your solutions are delightful.

  16. I’m really happy that your bedroom is EXACTLY the same size as mine – 10×12 – and I can’t wait to see what you do with your bedroom if you decide to switch to a Queen! We’re quite happy now with a Full – I value the extra floor space too much to want to get a bigger bed.

    I really liked how real & doable this reno felt! It would feel somehow more fake if you did a huge Makeover Takeover and ditched everything that you worked so hard to put together (but then again, I haven’t been living in this space for 5 years, so for me, it’s all fresh and new!).

    1. Jenms… we were happy enough in our last full too. For some reason this one is super short! And I agree, I definitely don’t plan to ditch everything. Thanks so much for the feedback.

  17. Velinda, thank you so much for sharing these posts. They are incredibly useful and inspiring and relateable. Seriously.

    Here’s my question for you — can you talk about living in a small space? Where do you keep all your stuff? Do you constantly feel like things don’t fit, rooms are cramped, you can’t have lots of guests over? I ask this not because I get that impression — but because we’ve been house hunting and this is something I worry about so much with a first home. What if it’s too small and we outgrow it too quickly? You know?

    1. Christine… great idea for a post, thank you! I’ll say it’s just the two of us (and pups) and we love to do closet clean-outs to make sure we’re only keeping what we use or love, so we don’t have an abundance of stuff to store… but there are definitely ways to add storage that would be fun to address. We Would be a fun post!

  18. This is a great series, you should be very proud of what you’ve accomplished. But, I must say, I am most impressed that you have receipts and have tracked costs for everything. HOW DID YOU DO THAT AMONG THE CHAOS OF A RENOVATION?? That shows some real skillz…

  19. I understant the need/want for a better shower situation, a comfier sofa and maybe a larger bed, but I don’t see the reason for upgrading the rest of it. You did a great job. Sure, being able to do a MOTO can be enough to decide to do it, but this house dosn’t really need it. It has character and style.
    Oh and over there in the US you must have very pricy faucets!! I think I went for the most expensive I found (because obviously which ones I like the most? dang!) and they were still way way less than 500€ in the bathroom. Maybe 300? 400 for the grohe one in the kitchen, that I love with all my heart.

  20. From all the glimpses out to your patio, looks like you should do a post on that, too. I love that wood wall I see!

    1. I agree! I seem to remember they built a deck out there from Velinda’s wedding post? And with LA’s climate, I bet the outdoor areas really make the house feel bigger because any patios, etc, are useable pretty much all of the year.

  21. Your house looks so great, thanks for sharing! I’m always intrigued by how folks handle smaller spaces, most houses aren’t really ginormous as blogs/instagram seem to appear.

    What color did you paint your bedroom walls? I love it.


  22. I have absolutely loved this series, and am sad for it to end. Thanks, Velinda, for opening your home. You’ve made me more excited/confident to undertake some projects in my home (very similar) home.

  23. I’ve recently taken to the idea of putting a stationary bike in our (slightly oversized) dining room. I was thinking I’d hide it behind a room divider/screen. My husband thinks it’s weird, but I’d rather see an unexpected room divider than the bike 🤷🏻‍♀️

  24. Ceiling mounted track is the way to go with a claw foot tub. We mounted ours a bit wider than the tub which allows more arm and torso space inside the tub and discourages the curtain from drifting inward while you’re taking a shower. Another trick that helps, wet the outside bottom of the shower liner and stick it to the inside of the tub when showering to prevent it from closing in on you.

  25. Terrific piece! Love your writing style!

  26. So much love in these posts! Incredible to read and wonderful of you to share. You have a beautiful home 🙂

  27. Your house is stunning and gorgeous… I’m so impressed by Young Velinda’s creativity and style. It looks so welcoming and light-filled. Plus all the memories of working with your family… those are precious contributions to your home’s history and soul.

    But please, if you ever sand down another door that it surely covered in layers of lead paint… for the love of God, wear a respirator (or better yet, use a safe chemical stripper so lead dust doesn’t get absolutely everywhere). As a fellow old home owner/renovator, those picture of you sanding paint make me break out in hives!

    Otherwise, WELL DONE! I can’t wait to see what you do with it next (although it’s perfectly charming the way it is)

    1. Velinda! Thank you for sharing your beautiful, inspiring home – it has been a joy to see and read about the past few days. Each morning I’ve looked so forward to your writing and home-owning adventures!

      In other news, I do second the lead paint comment. One of the last photos shared, with the layers of paint (maybe on a door frame?) shows an ‘alligator pattern’ of peeling paint/crackling. That is usually a sure sign of lead. If you haven’t already, buy some cheap swabs and check! Best case scenario, peace of mind.

      Happy home tinkering and congrats on the gorgeous outcome of all your hard work!

      1. Rachelle, thanks for the advice! Will do… glad to know about the affordable swabs.

  28. These have been some of my favorite posts on the blog. Your house is beautiful and I’m so inspired by your thrifty designs! Thank you for your transparency. Also, your writing made me laugh out loud more than a few times.

  29. Velinda, I have absolutely loved this series. Your home is beautiful and warm and real, and as someone who just moved into a very charming, very old LA apartment and is struggling with space/budget constraints (and a landlord who hasn’t exactly kept everything well maintained), this is providing me with so much inspiration!

    One suggestion for the desire-to-upgrade-the-bed-but-the-closet-door-is-in-the-way conundrum: can you remove the closet door ? This is what my husband and I are doing in our new place (with our 10×12 bedroom and king size bed); we upgraded from a full bed last year to a king and now, having experienced the true luxury that is having enough room to sleep and turn over at night, we can never go back. Removing the closet door gives us enough room to each walk around the bed, keep a narrow nightstand, and include a dresser. If we had a queen I think it would work even better in the space. Just a suggestion!

  30. Your rooms are so cute and have so much personality that it’s hard to remember it’s only 980 square feet! I do HATE the bathroom fixture on the vanity…it looks way oversized for the space and like it was run over by a truck. All else is lovely. Great job Velinda and Katie!

  31. What type of paint did you use to paint the outside of the bathtub? I’m about to undertake the same project and I’ve read that oil based paints are recommended for cast iron clawfoot tubs. Which type did you go with and how has it held up? thanks!


  32. Maybe put the elliptical behind some kind of decorative folding screen?

  33. Velinda, This is so inspiring, and so glad to see your ‘behind-the-scenes’ shots, as well as the before and after. It’s really good to know more of the true metamorphosis as it happens, and a bit of the angst that goes on while you’re in the thick of it. I’m in the thick of it now, and it’s so grounding to be reminded this is what happens when you renovate, but that it will turn out well, and to stay focussed and hang in there. I would be interested to know from the team at EHD about some of the things you’ve done during your long renovations to stay balanced and live through it without going prematurely gray. I feel as if I’ve fallen into a hole (the hole of the first floor of my home being renovated!) and have been so bad about continuing to go to the gym, or even socialize with friends because I’m putting so much of my energy into this – and the house is torn up! Your tips on staying sane would be welcomed so very much!

  34. OMG, I love your house so much. I think this series might be my favorite ever on here! Your bedroom is so dreamy and cozy and feels like home, and I actually love the divided windows as they are & think it fits the age of your house.

    I also gasped when I saw your bathroom– it’s exactly the kind of vibe I’ve been picturing for when I redo my tiny bathroom with a similar floorplan and roughly the same dimensions, except a different kind of tile on the floor. I even bought a clawfoot tub, but rethought installing it for the reasons you mentioned. I also love that you went for a big window in there– nothing makes a room feel bigger and I love not having to turn on lights during the day if I want to do my makeup or whatever, and it doesn’t bother me to put a shade down or pull a curtain when I shower if privacy’s an issue. Let there be light!

    Thank you so much for sharing your place, it’s beautiful and I love how comfortable and light and homey it feels! And you are speaking my language with the Craigslist finds, DIY, and a tiny budget!

  35. I loved seeing your house! Could you change your air conditioning unit for one of these? https://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/products/indoor-units/wall-mounted-heating-and-cooling
    It might allow for art above the couch or flip the room and have the shelves underneath the air unit disguising it and distracting from it.

  36. This series has been so enjoyable. Great job you!

    A couple of thoughts – as NSL said, I would take those doors right off the bedroom closet. You could go with bifold doors (though I tend to hate them, and I hate sliding doors too as it sucks to only be able to access 1/2 a closet at any given time). Or, what I’ve done in the past is put up a sturdy curtain rod on the outside or inside of the frame and hang curtains. Easy to move, can be very pretty, easy to access your stuff, and nothing intrudes into the room.

    Secondly, and this is based off of living in San Diego for 6 years and then visiting every year for the last 20 years – the water there sucks. Yes, you may have ‘cheap’ faucets, but it’s really the water running through them that is corroding everything. You need a filtration system. It isn’t sexy and you never see them and it’s the kind of thing I HATE spending money on. But your plumbing and faucets (regardless of how much you spend on them) will last so much longer and look so much better! And you will have better tasting water! It is worth it.

    Thanks for the work in writing up this whole thing, especially the budgets. If I’d planned and stuck to a budget the way you have I wouldn’t be sooooooo in debt. Don’t apologize for being responsible!

  37. Hi Velinda,
    Thank you for opening your home to us. It’s so refreshing to read this series — the real-life budget, time and work/life commitments — and how you incorporated the pieces you already had and the styles you both have developed over time. Enjoy your house, live in it, and sure enough you’ll get those 3am brilliant ideas of what to do next.
    In the meantime…I too have a window in my bathroom — in the shower! — and do not want to remove the window, make it smaller or whatnot. 99% of the time the window allows the sun to stream in and I love it. But when the shower is in use, it’s um, a bit exposed. The window is textured, which helps. Do you, or fab EH readers, have experience with bahama shutters? Would this type of shutter provide exterior privacy?
    Anyways…Congrats and I hope you take some time to relax and enjoy your work.

  38. Next up Velinda needs to give us a curly hair tutorial. 🙂

  39. This makeover is stunning! Gorgeous pieces and an excellent eye for budget –

    However the use of “prison cell” in the title was off putting and felt out of place in today’s climate – where in the end all abilities to decorate, my own included, are privileges and there are people and families currently in cells that shouldn’t be there.

    In my opinion: perfect, beautiful content; poorly titled

    1. Agreed on all counts, and very nicely stated. Thank you.

  40. Velinda, I was late to this party and gladly enjoying the warm Bud Light. Your home is stunning!!! I absolutely love everything. I thought the dining room was supposed to look the way it does, I love how the different chairs and the glass table coexist so happily – it’s all in the mix!

  41. We also have clawfoot tub and as you mentioned above, it’s a pain. We are *very* lucky and have another bathroom and my partner and child use that – they refuse to use the clawfoot tub. With two curtains and liners, I’m constantly trying to not get caught in them/making sure there aren’t leaks. I’ve also slipped in it three times because of the angle (actually, last weekend, still have the bruise). They are cold! They are overrated! They are small!

  42. I love your home. I especially like seeing a home done really well on a very tight budget. So impressed by the bathroom shelf you made with the space between the walls! You have to be very proud. 🙂

  43. Beautifully done!!! I’ve tried finding the bedding on both target and UO but haven’t had any luck. Do you mind sharing a link?

  44. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful home!! I relate to so much of this!!

  45. Love love love this series, your home is lovely! Regarding faucets, I used Moen for my kitchen (around $130) and Ikea for the bathrooms (around $60) and have really liked both of them!

    1. Thank you so much for the recommendations! Interesting people are having such good experience with Ikea fixtures! Good to know.

  46. What are the paint colors in the bathroom and bedrooms? Thanks! So nice!

  47. We finally just replaced our crappy clawfoot with a tiled-in tub/shower and I could not be happier! 18 years of daily showers with a plastic curtain touching me on all sides – the worst! I’m still figuring out how to properly clean tile and grout, but every day I shower with no curtain stuck to me and smile.

    1. Hahaha. It is the worst… Andrea, you feel my pain 🙂

    2. Tilex.

  48. I like the look of cement tiles, but they seem to need SO much maintenance. I think I’d probably go with the porcelain look-alikes. But yours look great. I also like the “antique” brass over shiny brass — fits your aesthetic much better.

    Do you have close neighbors (I think you do). I don’t think a bamboo blind would provide much privacy???

    I love the vanity. I also have an small antique dresser as my vanity, but it already had water damage to the top, so I had a statuary marble top put on (I scored because my gc got a remnant). And the best thing is I’d only paid $150 for it. Buying a vintage-looking piece costs the moon. I’d rather get vintage solid wood over new, veneered particle board for $1000!

    1. Paula, you make a great point about veneered particle board, especially when considering the water element! Appreciate your thoughts.

    2. I have cement tiles in my bathroom and they don’t need any maintenance. The grout had sealer on it but that was it. I just mop them with stone/tile cleaner. I love them, not sure what maintenance your referring to.

  49. I have enjoyed this feature more than ANY OTHER that I have read on “Style by Emily Henderson!” Your home is charming and I am impressed with what you accomplished for $55k.
    Your feature reminded me of my newlywed days when my husband and I bought a post-WW2 bungalow. We did everything on a shoestring. For example, we replaced our bathroom sink with a sink that we found on the trash pile of a dental office renovation.
    I wish you and your wife many years of happiness in your lovely home.

    1. Cynthia… glad you have fond memories of your own budget-adventure. Thank you so much for the kind words.

  50. Just gorgeous. You can be very proud! I gasped when I saw that bedside lamp; is it linked above? I can’t remember. This is very inspiring. Love it! Kudos!

    1. Hi Tina. Thanks so much. That was actually a vintage find, but search Craigslist/Etsy for ‘tension pole lamp’ and I’m sure you can find a similar style.

  51. Love it! It’s a really soulful renovation of the house. I can understand your mixed feelings about redoing it in a MOTO. I was blown away by the inspiration at the end of the post! And even more so since today on My Scandinavian Home, a moss green inspired home decor was also featured (you might want to check it out). I’ve always loved green, but never really figured out how to use it in a fresh, modern way. I’m ready to try! Luckily everthing else in my house is white, wood and black so I think it will work. These last three posts were really impressive – thank you!

  52. Velinda, thank you for letting us into your home and for sharing your hilarious words and stories with us. I am incredibly impressed with everything you’ve done and I love your style – classic, timeless, collected and sentimental. It’s been such a fun read and I can’t wait until your next appearance here on the blog with more inspiration.

  53. So impressed with your results! Yes, it is probably time to do some upgrades, especially the things that aren’t working for you. Since all of your inspiration pics are beautiful, you can’t go wrong. You (and your family/friends) showed such persistence. And even with the things that still need to be improved, the house is charming & homey. You did a great job!!!

  54. Like many other readers and commentators here, I read every single word of this series about your $55K DIY house rennovation (and the great January story about your basement kitchen) and just want to say: what a fantastic series. I love this blog and Emily’s storytelling, don’t begrudge anyone success and admit it’s fun to see all the cool and expensive things out there. However, most of us don’t live in that world–and maybe don’t even aspire to. That doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate great design and beautiful living spaces. The median family income in the US for a family of four is $63,000. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2019/income-poverty.html That means most of us don’t have the luxury of following every trend or buying all of our furnishings brand-new. Most of us do own a mish-mash of furniture, art and decor. You showed how, with grit, the support of your incredible family, a kind contractor, and a million other blessings from the universe, someone can create not only a beautiful space, but one full of memories (my mom painted that door! my friend gave me that watercolor!) that you not only enjoy, but are sharing with others, like your mother-in-law, and in another way, with all of us. Thank you for these inspiring stories and go Velinda!!!! To many more. (And I hope you get that central HVAC once you get a book deal!).

  55. WOW! Velinda, I am so impressed by your house and DIY skills. I really liked these posts (especially the tip about the yellowing of your tiles – I hope Emily’s book has lots of info like that!). So inspirational! Whatever changes you end up making as you and your tastes evolve, I’m sure they will be beautiful – and we can’t wait to see them!

    1. Thanks so much, Julie!

  56. I love your whole home but the bedroom is my favorite. That gray duvet with the retro drapes in soft gold… heavenly. I’d steal that look in a hot second. Well done. And my husband and I have also renovated our home over the past 30 years so I know about all the years of life lost but the end product of having a deeply individual home is so worth it!

    1. Thank you Hana! How amazing you’ve been in your home for so long. It must be really special.

      1. Yes. It really is. We have modern cottage with a scandi vibe in the redwoods in Northern CA. We bought it for 49,500 on a double city lot with mature redwoods. wouldn’t dream of moving now but it was a killer reno. We went from 950 sq. ft. to 2100. If I could add a photo I would. We did everything but the foundation work and taught ourselves everything as we needed. It’s been quite a ride!

        1. That’s SO amazing!

  57. I like your windows! I think you have great style, and you did an awesome job on this place. Your story was also fun to read. As a chronic DIY-er, I am impressed. The bathroom is lovely, but I get the need for a shower.

    1. Thanks, fellow-DIYer! And yes, in terms of function, points must be docked for not having a shower. Haha.

  58. I’m back on this blog specifically to read these posts. For all the reasons that you criticize yourself, that is why I am here. I think that this blog has become to aspirational for me. The mountain house (though so stunning) is just so extra.

    What you consider a small budget is what most people decorate on. I think maybe the perspective is skewed since you are all designers and live and breath this every day. I started reading design blogs BECAUSE I am on a budget and want to figure out how to design things myself. I read these blogs precisely because I don’t have an unlimited budget and a team of designers to do my space for me.

    Anyway, I would have liked these posts MORE if you didn’t apologize first or talk about how “little” you spent. You still spent a ton of money and sweat equity. It takes TIME to source craigslist things. Also, it was still a lot of money. Think about how much people make in a year.

    I am so glad to see something down to earth and realistic for those people like me on budgets–I like to have some savings and not blow everything on gutting my spaces for the fun of it.

  59. All of your posts always have GREAT greenery. Is it always real?

    If not, any tips on where to get good look faux greenery?

    1. Hi Ali. We cut from the garden for styling and often pull greenery in from there (though we have to watch for ants). We only keep really easy indoor plants potted (snake grass, Succulents, and devil’s ivy) because we have a knack for killing anything that isn’t mostly self-sufficient. Thanks so much for chiming in!

  60. 😇😇😇Absolutel gorgeousness love. About the only thing I’d do differently is the claw foot (fantastic prezzie from your contracter) and chadelier: maybe copperleaf with verdigris?
    Much love to you guys, as well as your photographer, who I think had an easy time with such a lovely home.
    Many hugs

    1. Thanks, Fran. Really appreciate the kind feedback.

  61. The house I grew up in had only a clawfoot tub in the one bathroom. Technically there was a random shower in the unfinished basement (literally, just a shower in a random cement room), but I grew up taking baths every day!

  62. Velinda, you are amazing and totally my new crush. But what we really need to know is how two adults can fit in a double bed!

  63. I’ve had a proverbial day from hell, it’s nearly midnight here in Western Australia and a killer headache is pounding…BUT I HAAAD TO COME AND READ YOUR POST! 🙂 They’ve been THAT GOOD.

    I’ve been glued to each chapter and have loved your brutally honest sharing, warts and all approach. It’s do refreshing to see real life living that people can relate to…and your spirit shines through your writing. 🙂

    My advice from lessons learned? Ditch the claw foot tub.
    Check out Jungalow’s ensuite design for some house era appropriate spanish influence inspiration, within yhe green hues.
    I have complete faith that you could pull off a budget friendly version of that style. The key would be to source affordable tiles, but, hey…..you have the knack, girl!
    Beautiful work! Made my shitty day so much better! Thank you 🙂

    1. Rusty, your post made MY day… and losing the tub isn’t a bad idea, though we sure do love bathing… definitely worth considering a different tub/shower solution (if the $$$ permits). Will check out Jungalow’s ensuite now. Thanks!

  64. Oh man what a cliffhanger. I really need to know your bath solution. We have a beautiful clawfoot tub and I’m researching curtains and what to do and was really hoping you were about to have some magical fix! Ha. Good luck and please report back when you figure it out.

  65. Loved this – -your writing is great, makes me want to be friends. I hear you sister on THE JOB that removing vinyl tiles is…. had them in three rooms of our house and it almost killed us getting them up. And I have a scar from the heat gun when I got a little too lazy. On the third floor we did there was only a sub-floor underneath, big pine planks, and everyone said to paint them but I said no and had them refinished and it was all so worth it. Sounds like you have less attachment to the furniture in your bedroom, and, if I may, some of the 70s vibe there doesn’t jive as well with the house, so I’d MOTO there! Whatever you chose, can’t wait to see it.

    1. Sharon, thanks so much for your feedback… those heat guns are no JOKE! Especially when it’s summer and their’s no A/C. You’ve got a hard-earned battle wound 😉

  66. Such a fun space and really lovely to see a more budget make it work space on the blog. As for the shower curtain dilemma, we have a tub that is open on 2 sides and used an IKEA ceiling mounted curtain rod, with curved corner pieces. I’m not sure what a solution might be for hanging the hand faucet but if you’re determined to find a different curtain solution, that could get you to the next shower stage.

  67. It looks great. What an unbelievable amount of work! Daunting, to say the least. Do you think how innocent you were before all this and laugh?

    1. Hahaha. So youthfully naive! 🙂

  68. Velinda- I did a similar project that felt very akin to your bedroom floor situation. Man, it sucked!

    So, congratulations on all the hard work I hope you’re loving the results. It looks great and I’m sure that it was so worth the effort for how much you and Katie enjoy your space.

  69. This is the first time I have ever felt like I can’t wait for tomorrow’s post! I am so excited for you for what you did on a budget! My home is currently down to the studs and getting new guts. I have been hoarding, err saving, stuff for this renovation for years. Like a free standing tub from Habitat Restore in Riverside, CA. (it was a $1200 Costco modern tub that had a scratch on the side and I got it for $400 in 2016, embarrassed to admit that I’ve had it that long), IKEA cabinets purchased during their kitchen sale, Semihandmade also purchased during sale, Hansgrohe faucets from Costco purchased years ago, Craigslist supa dope $7k custom leather sofa purchased for $500 from a very nice man in Beverly Hills, I could on with the stuff I have hoarded over the years in anticipation of doing this reno. What you accomplished on a budget is so inspiring and I can’t wait for mine to be done. Thanks for taking the plunge, it looks amazing!

    1. Jennifer, looks like you found some serious steals… that sofa?! Amazing. Thanks so much for sharing.

  70. I love seeing what colour old houses used to be painted, through the decades. Little pieces of history in our own homes. You have done a wonderful job on your house!!

  71. Oh, one suggestion: If you have a good spot outside, if you get rid of the clawfoot inside, could I suggest putting it outside? I bought a clawfoot for my bathroom and decided against installing it, but kept it and put it in my garden and it’s sooooo relaxing to chill out out there in fresh cool water with a glass of wine in the summer. I have another friend who had a hot water line run out to her outdoor clawfoot so she could soak outside in the winter, and to me, that’s #LifeGoals. 😀

    1. Lori, that sounds soooo relaxing! Magical idea.

  72. Thank you very much

  73. Honest question – What makes the vinyl mullions in the windows so bad? Is it the fact that they’re “simulated” divided lites (with mullions on the inside of the window) that seem… cheapish? Are vinyl windows in general no good? If you can’t afford all-wood windows, is there another option?

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