'F' for Freebies

Social Space Makeover Contest

I’ve been able to work with some amazing sponsors here on Making it Lovely. Last year, I partnered with American Express and used their Membership Rewards points program to redo our bedroom. This summer, I was offered the chance to redo another space with 150,000 points, but I’ve been very fortunate lately, and I thought that you might like the opportunity instead. So I’m working with them to give it away!

(That’s enough to win that settee above and then some!)

You could redeem points for gift cards to stores like Pottery Barn, west elm, or Crate & Barrel (I love using my points that way, though I’ve been eying the camera equipment lately.) Or go for something fun like a Wii or a barbecue. There are a million things from which to choose.

Winning 150,000 American Express Membership Rewards points would go pretty far in redoing a room. Given a shopping spree like that, what would you get? I’ll tell you what you should get. Wait, that sounds like I should be shaking my fist at you. What I mean is that the winner will also receive a custom design plan from me with advice and suggestions for the makeover!

A little before & after inspiration…

Brandon and I did this backyard patio makeover on our own (manual labor and all), but every post about makeovers should include a little inspiration! The contest winner will receive a custom design plan like the one I created for our patio to help guide them (though you’d be free to use the points however you wish).

So, how do you enter?

American Express and I want to help you makeover your social space. It could be the living room where everyone hangs out and chats, your kitchen (everyone always ends up in the kitchen at parties, right?), or maybe a it’s a patio or back deck. Where do you spend time with family and friends? We want to help you spruce it up!

Leave a comment with the following to enter:

  • Tell me what space you want to make over, and why. Be brief (a few sentences is fine). I’ll be including your words in the voting round if you’re a finalist!
  • I need photo(s) and/or video of the space. This will also help determine the finalists, and your images are part of what people will be voting on, so make ’em good! You can host your photos and videos on free sites like flickr or YouTube, or you could post them to your blog if you have one. Please don’t post photos or video here — simply include a link to them in your comment.
  • You can enter as many separate spaces as you’d like, but only one entry per person will be selected in the finals.
  • Make sure you enter a valid email address when leaving your comment. It won’t be published publicly, but I’ll need it to contact you if you’re a finalist.

Entries will be accepted through Saturday, June 11, at 11:59 PM CST, and only US residents are eligible. I’ll select the top ten finalists and post them on Monday, the 13th. The winner of the 150,000 Membership Rewards points and custom design plan will then be chosen by readers of Making it Lovely! The runner-up will also receive a prize: a $100 gift card to The Home Depot. Good luck to all of you!

* June 12: Comments are now closed. The ten finalists will be announced Monday, June 13.

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • Jessika
    June 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Hi Nicole! My husband and I just bought our first home early last month. It’s in a great location, but the upstairs… the upstairs needs love. Industrial carpeting, old paneling (poorly installed), and unsafe guard rails. It could be a GREAT social space for us and our friends, particularly during the rainy months– we live in Oregon, and the rainy months are MANY. But right now? We’ll leave the door upstairs closed.

    We discovered WOOD FLOORS under the industrial carpet, so now we just need to put the funds together to sand, stain, and refinish the floors (and some pieces of furniture)! We’d have a GREAT space. There also is the possibility of having some exposed beams from the roof. So exciting!

    Here’s our video of us, one of our pups, and: the UPSTAIRS!

    (and as you can tell from our blog, oregonkaisers.blogspot.com, we’re not afraid of a lot of projects and elbow grease!)

  • Elizabeth Villacorta
    June 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    To: Making it Lovely
    From: A space that dreams of being social one day.

    While I may only be a mere 16 x 20 feet in size and the only things that tend to hang around are weeds, ladders, and the occasional trash bag waiting to be thrown out- I’m hoping this letter will be my chance to change things around for the better! I would give all the fertile soil in the world to become THE social hangout spot for the summer! Please turn my bbq and smore dreams into a reality!

    Awaiting transformation always,

    Bucktown Beaut


  • amy
    June 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    We live in a Luston home, which is made entirely of metal from the 50’s so my design options are always tricky. I would love to make our living room space feel cozier and more accommodating for friends and guests. New flooring would definitely need to be in the mix, the carpet HAS to go! I would be so thrilled to see what you would do with our tiny little space. Thanks Nicole!


    • brooke
      June 8, 2011 at 11:40 am

      There’s a Luston home near my daughter’s school. I love those houses!

  • Gabie
    June 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    What an amazing giveaway! We bought our first home in Jackson, MS last year and are slowly but surely fixing it up and loving it! The main two eye sores are the back yard and the office so I’ve included photos of both! Thank you!


  • Bmerry
    June 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I have all the enthusiasm and energy this neglected half lot backyard can handle, however, I am low on resources. My daughter and I have our first lawn (house included) ever! It would be great to have the resources to amke it lovely. Thank you!

  • Bmerry
    June 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Oops, I meant “make”.

  • Kim
    June 7, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Hi Nicole,

    Oh how amazing this opportunity would be! I am dying to transform my new apartment into something sophisticated and glamorous. At the rate I can save for furniture and accessories, it will be YEARS! Darn those student loans. This would be an amazing way to furnish my place–with your expertise, I can only imagine how great it would look!

  • Claire
    June 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Oh my gosh, please please please let us be chosen!!

    Our family (myself, my husband and our two young children) have just moved here from Switzerland and will be moving into a beautiful new home, in New Jersey, next month.

    We don’t have a lot of furniture, having come from a wee flat at the foot of the Alps – to put it into perspective, none of us actually have a bed of our own once we get out of this hotel and into the house! I’m panicking a little!

    I’m a huge fan of your style and would be floored to have this opportunity!

  • Sara
    June 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    My husband and I are closing on our very first home here in Chicago in 10 days! We are working with a completely blank slate in our master bedroom. All of our current furniture are hand-me-downs from family and friends when we graduated from college 4 years ago. We’d love the opportunity to start fresh and really make the space our own.


  • Amanda
    June 7, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Hello from the Northwest ‘burbs!

    Oh my gosh, winning this contest would make what once was a frustrating situation turn out so wonderful! We’ve been planning to refinish our basement into a space with a spare bedroom, game room/second living room, and a man cave. A couple weeks ago, we had some flooding and had to spend an unplanned pretty penny to put in a pump and drainage system. We also had to rip out all the existing walls and drywall. Now I would so love to win this contest for us to turn this currently concrete-entrenched subterrain into our getaway haven. As you will see, we have a very blank canvas to work with. Pictures can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/63805722@N02/

  • Chris
    June 7, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I’m a fellow Oak Parker and if chosen as the lucky winner, I’d jump at the chance to re-do our living room/sunroom. My husband and I are new parents, and with the little guy becoming more mobile every day, we’re not only in need of a stylish makeover, but one that is child friendly. While we have a few really great pieces in the room, a few are “well loved” and in need of replacement (the sofa, the sunroom rug). And I can’t tell you how amazing it would be to be the recipient of a custom design plan. It would be wonderful to see the room through fresh eyes! We’re starting to think ahead to September when we’ll celebrate our son’s first birthday. Wouldn’t it be great to show off the newly styled space to our friends and family? Of course, you’re welcome to join us for the festivities. I make a mean carrot cake.


  • Nicoletta
    June 8, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Our kitchen was the first thing we wanted to change when we bought our home 2.5 years ago, in fact we started taking the cupboard doors off while our boxes were laying all over the house still packed! Silly! We’ve made a dent refinishing some of the cupboards but there is so much more to be done! Counters, extending our new bamboo floors into the space and finishing those darn cupboards… perhaps even my dream island! Our kitchen is basically an extension of the living room and is such a focal point in our living space, we’d love to make it a little more lovely!


  • camille
    June 8, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Great giveaway!!!

    My husband and I just bought out first house (closed 5 weeks ago). The house is decent, only 9 years old, and had one owner… a single older man, who never did anything to it. White walls, standard carpet, no window trim, etc. We have 3 kids (5 and under) and 6 months pregnant with #4. My 3 and 2 year old daughters are sharing a room, and I’d love help with their room.
    Just tonight we started expanding the room (knocking down a wall, to expand it into an open office area, and build a new bigger closet on another wall). The room is very small, so they have a bunk bed, and NO other furniture. No window coverings, no dressers, etc. So I’m starting to plan their room, but the costs add up!
    The pictures were taken when we did the inspection, so this is not our furniture, but you can see the room, as well as the office space we’re expanding it to.
    My girls love pink, butterflies, and jewelry. I plan to paint it pail pink, do some bright curtains (I’m 5 seconds away from hitting buy on some fabric, but gotta check with the hubby first!)
    I will take more photos tomorrow in the light…

  • Camille
    June 8, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Ha! Pale pink not pail pink :)

  • Katie
    June 8, 2011 at 7:10 am

    My husband and I are leaving the city (and apartment) that we know and love in New York City– for a house in Georgia so I can pursue my dreams of midwifery.

    The catch? We don’t have a house yet! Either way, this would be a great way to start decorating our new home– and our first time having a living room as a couple.

  • Maria
    June 8, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Hi Nicole,

    This is such a cool contest. My husband and I bought a house we liked in a spot we LOVED on a lake back in November of 2009. Since then we’ve been updating room by room creating the most out of every dollar. Since it’s summer we’ve recently turned our attention to our yard. It could defiantly be the “money spot”, but right now it’s looking a bit like a construction spot. Oh what we could do with 150,000 American Express points and your ideas on Making it Lovely!

    Of course, if we were chosen we’d be sharing all the nitty gritty details everyday on how we used our points courtesy of Making it Lovely and American Express.

    You can check out our space here.


  • Kristen Brassard
    June 8, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Hi Nicole! What a great opportunity! I would love a chance to get in on this social space makeover. I’ve really enjoyed even looking at other people’s spaces. I could stay on this blog for days! Anyway, I have a few spaces I’d love to redo but because it’s summer, I’ve chosen the deck first. It’s such a nice size deck but it needs some love. I have a little 16 month old boy and the deck really isn’t the safest of places. Also, since having a child we haven’t really had the time to entertain and I’d love to do that but our deck needs some help. Thanks for this opportunity!

    Here’s the link to our deck photos on flickr.


  • amy good house
    June 8, 2011 at 10:20 am

    What an awesome contest!

    My husband and I moved into our house about a year-and-a-half ago. We have done a lot of renovation projects, some big, some small – both DIY and hired out for the more complicated stuff. I feel so fortunate to be in our home and love every minute of home-ownership!

    Our living room and dining room could use a lot of attention. I find that the renovation part was easy as far as decision-making goes. I knew what floor stain I wanted, wall color etc.

    But I find myself stalled out on picking and committing to furniture and decorations. We spend most of our time in these rooms, but they should feel cozier. I would love to entertain my family and friends in a finished space.

    You can see our progress in the link below –


  • Barb Langlois
    June 8, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Hi Nicole.
    It’s time for my 90 year old mother to relinquish her duties of hosting family gatherings and holidays. She is tired and, as we all know, it’s hard work. However she enjoys nothing more than being surrounded by all of us.

    I love to entertain and cook, but my existing arrangement does not accommodate our immediate family. Thus, I end up carting everything to my Mom’s and she can’t just sit back and watch. She still tries to do dishes, set the table, iron tablecloths, etc.

    I would be thrilled to have some design assistance from Making It Lovely and help from the good people of American Express. I am out of work and new furniture or maybe an island just isn’t in the budget.

    Thank you for your consideration and this great offer.

  • alyse
    June 8, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Let me introduce you to my family’s basement living room, or the knotty-pine-asbestos-tile bare room. We moved into this 1947 ranch last October and have the goal of making this area ready for family by Christmas 2011. My daughter is 3 months old and will one day use this space as a play area, so we need to cover the asbestos floor tile! I love watching the makeover of your basement Nicole! I was so excited that I had the raw space to follow suit!
    Pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/apocalyse/sets/72157626791391041/with/5035097600/

  • Emily
    June 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    After seeing your yard before and after, I knew I had to comment! Our front and back yards are both modest, and though not perfect, they have potential to become nice spaces. But the area at the back of the house, just before the backyard begins is a disaster, and I don’t even know where to begin! We think at one time there was a storm cellar that has since been shoddily and unevenly removed, so there are multiple levels of uneven concrete sticking out of the foundation, haphazardly covered with dirt (and weeds)! We’d love to make this area presentable and extend it into a patio like yours! Even if I don’t get far with the contest, I’d love your advice on how to tackle this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/discards/3614590073/in/set-72157617916118717

  • Joellyn
    June 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Hi Nicole!
    Almost a year ago, my husband and I left our secure jobs in the city and took one giant leap of faith to move home to my family farm. We are learning to adjust to the huge lifestyle change, and I am learning how to cook for a crew. We were lucky enough to move into my Grandparent’s house built in 1971. It has excellent midcentury bones and tons of (great?) original seventies details. Our work started in the basement because it needed the most help, but now I am dreaming of starting on the upstairs where we do most of our living.

    The rooms I’m am dying to tackle first are:

    the master bedroom (we need a bed!):

    the kitchen (with no fast food down the street it gets a workout!):

    and the bathroom (can you say orange shag carpet?):

    Although, there are plenty of other rooms to choose from too. Thanks for much for hosting this giveaway!

  • Marsha
    June 8, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    We love to entertain in our Nashville back yard, but we really lack seating and visual interest. Although it’s June, we haven’t been able to enjoy what little we have because we are in the middle of a cicada infestation! In a couple weeks when they clear out we’d love to have a new space to throw the first cookout of the year! We’re very much a DIY couple and I’m pretty sure we can stretch that 150,000 points VERY far with some fun projects. Here’s our bare yard:


  • Jessica
    June 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    After living with two 40 lb dogs in a one bedroom apartment for the last 2.5 years, we FINALLY have a backyard to call our own. Unfortunately, it is missing some essential components (like living grass!) We really want to make this a colorful, comfortable space that we can hang out in and enjoy, but we need some SERIOUS help!! Check out our yard… http://www.flickr.com/photos/63760761@N05/sets/72157626902867762/

  • Jennifer Farley
    June 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    My name is Jennifer, and my husband and I have spent the last 2 years rehabbing the inside of our small, but beloved home. Our house is 1300 sqft and we have always longed to take our entertainment space outside. We have saved to re-sod the grass but that will deplete the funds for any outside entertainment ideas. This small, “buidler basic”, 10X20, cracked concrete slab is “making it ugly” and we would love your input to start “Making it Lovely.”



  • Erin Mayumi
    June 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Hey Nicole!

    Wow- what an amazing makeover. I must admit, your “before” looks more like my dream at this point. :)

    my partner and i bought an apartment in an LA suburb so we could own property, and both pursue our dreams. i love gardening, and we have four dogs, and 2 cats, so we needed a yard, and a lenient landlord. when that didn’t pan out, we ended up here, and we love it. i commute to my graduate social work program and work, and he commutes to his job downtown. despite it’s shabby appearance, i love my yard. i’ve spent hundreds of hours tending to my fruit and vegetable plants, and relaxing in the sun with my pack of wild animals. but after i graduate, my partner and i will begin foster parenting. while i can appreciate this patch of dirt, this yard is going to have to extend beyond the expectations of a first time property owner, and four dogs (who have a taste for their own feces no less).

    this set captures the gem of the los angeles suburbs:

  • Sheela Ubales-Gigantana
    June 9, 2011 at 6:34 am

    Hi Nicole,

    My name is Sheela, I am originally from Manila, Philippines, where I worked while I was taking my MBA. I have met my future husband in 2009 during my vacation in Maryland. It was a whirlwind romance, one that would uproot me from my family, friends, work and school. I got engaged in the same year and eventually got married in June 2010. The theme was pink and brown, VERY LOVELY! http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1493261285942.66662.1066333790&l=8c49a6cc67(Thanks to your ideas/mood board, I also patterned my wedding planning on how I was envisioning how YOU would be tackling it, but that’s another story, lol)

    My husband purchased a 1954 Single Family 4 Bedroom House last September 2010. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1569174783732.82071.1066333790&l=d2d556303f Lucky for us the house was move-in ready, but then again we seem to have endless indoor space as well as outdoor space that needs to be filled up, one painful step at a time.

    I would be very privileged, even if I don’t win this contest, if you can just give me some tips on how to eventually “own” my house.

    We call our place “BERRY”, since that is the name of the street we lived in, and yeah, my favorite color is Pink :) Thanks Nicole, for the inspirations, Keep doing a great job!

  • Sheela Ubales-Gigantana
    June 9, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Hi Nicole,

    It’s me again :) I forgot to mention in my previous post that I am prioritizing our dining area for this particular Social Space Make Over. Thanks! :)



  • Erica Mulherin
    June 9, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I am entering our living room/dining room social space. We spend most of our time here and it has some of our favorite possessions. Right now it’s the epitome of “so-so” and I think with just a little help it could totally be a space that would rise up to meet us. It’s an odd shape, dark and could really use some help!!

    Here is the tour:

  • Lauren @ with two cats
    June 9, 2011 at 9:20 am

    We live in an older home (circa 1930’s) similar to your own with a lot of strange angles, nooks, and crannies. After our daughter Violet’s first birthday we found ourselves drowning in toys in our (quite small) main living spaces, so we’ve decided to convert our mostly unused guest room into a play space for our little girl. Eventually it will become her ‘big girl’ room, so I’d like to keep that in mind when purchasing things for the space (like a Making It Yours!) This is what it looked like when we moved in:


    We just recently started to really renovate it – refinishing plaster walls, ripping out carpet, and installing new hardwood flooring. Now I could really use some help with the decor – paint, furniture, and accessories. I would absolutely love to have your help with the space. Thank you for the amazing opportunity!

  • A Room of His Own — joanna vaught
    June 9, 2011 at 9:23 am

    […] This is my entry for Making it Lovely‘s Social Space Makeover Contest. […]

  • Joanna
    June 9, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I want to make over my three-year-old son Milo’s room.

    I created a blog post with links to photos over at my site:


    Thank you so much, Nicole, for sharing this opportunity with your readers!

  • Ellen
    June 9, 2011 at 10:01 am

    When we bought our house, I was excited that the kitchen was a room of its own. I theorized that we would entertain in the living and dining rooms and the mess would remain hidden in our dilapidated kitchen. But, I was delusional. My husband is a chef and when he cooks people like to watch. And of course, the kitchen is a wreck. The cabinets are ugly, the space is awkward, and for some reason I can’t make anything work. We need the “Making It Lovely” treatment!

    Here she is, in all her ramshackle glory: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24766057@N06/sets/72157626918562326/

  • Nora Nuno
    June 9, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Well we bought our house last August, but we’re broke 80% of the time, so it has taken us until now to somewhat fix up the first story. The outside is ok except for 3 seperate spots around the yard which we can’t afford to landscape so it’s just dirt and weed patches (my dad generously put in grass on the front yard). The upstairs walls have been redone but the wood floors have splattered paint and nails/staples from removed carpet. Then there’s the bathroom, which you’ll see is no where being done. Again the walls have now been painted, but that’s it. Points redeemed for giftcards to lowes & home depot would be a tremendous help for a 22 yr old trying to fix up her 100 yr old house

  • Sheela Ubales Gigantana
    June 9, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Hi Nicole (again?)

    I am sorry if you get my posting twice, it’s because I don’t know if it was sent over since my computer froze when I clicked the “submit comment” button.

    Here’s a tour of our house:

    I got married June 2010, my husband was able to purchase a house of our own mid-September of 2010 and he was able to move in by himself last December 2010. It was a roller coaster ride for me since, we only just met and got engaged in 2009. The mini-projects I am doing in our house is therapeutic as well as a stress-buster for me.

    here’s a part of the house that I think, I should prioritized in making over…the dining room:


    I did a mood board similar on how you do yours, and make it as my own personal visualization board…

    THANKS NICOLE, here’s hoping for the best. THANKS FOR YOUR GENEROSITY, for sharing your blessings and your talents to us.

  • Ashley
    June 9, 2011 at 11:17 am

    In August of 2009 my mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage four cancer and passed away shortly there after. Exactly 4 weeks later I gave birth to her first grandchild, a beautiful baby girl. Five months after that we moved into our first home. My mother-in-law would have been so excited for us!

    Our house was a foreclosure in need of some cosmetic updates, but is in a great location. We’ve been here a year and just had our second daughter! Right by the front door is my mother-in-law’s antique chest filled with her glassware. I’d love to showcase it in a modern way in a dining room everyone would want to eat in!

    Pics here:

  • Jara Downs
    June 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm


    Thank you so much for the chance to win this awesome prize! I would love to makeover my backyard patios. We have a really beautiful pool where we love to entertain our family and friends; we are just lacking in the decor department and have a hard time deciding the direction of decor we want it to go in:) We have big dreams for this space and would love the chance to make them become a reality!!!

    Pics here:
    http://www.downsdays.blogspot.com – look for Summer Patio(s) Renovation

  • Noelle
    June 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    The second bedroom in our home has always been my “office” space/guest room/catch all room, but up until now I haven’t spent much time in there. I’d love to transform this bland space into something beautiful that inspires me when I’m working in there but I’d also love it to be a space that when girlfriends come over, we can sit in there on the sofa and chat, drink coffee, do crafts together, or even let guests sleep in there when visiting over night.

    Video of the small space here:http://youtu.be/ezG4rlfu2Nw
    Inspiration board here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rememberingthedayphotography/5815145305/in/photostream

  • Leticia Bravo
    June 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Dear Nicole and Family,

    Our great room is in dire need of some ‘making it lovely’. It’s a large dining, living, playing room for the husband, the child, the two dogs, and myself. The large space is a bit daunting to decorate and place furniture. And the baby’s toys have taken over! We spend all of our time here and would love it to be an inviting, lovely place. So please, choose us!


  • Sarah
    June 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks for hosting this contest!

    If I could makeover any space in my house, it would probably be the kitchen. I just purchased a condo in Southern California. Although it may look nice in the picture, don’t be deceived. The previous owners only made half-hearted upgrades before moving out. The counter-tops are cracked, the cabinets are painted very sloppy (there’s white, yellow and green marks all over), the contact paper inside the shelves is stained and peeling, the sink is cracked and the glue holding it into place is smeared all over the counter tops (which I can’t seem to remove), the faucets are broken, the garbage disposal is broken, and the dishwasher doesn’t work either! I think the part I hate the most is the cabinets. There’s stains, burn marks, disgusting contact paper, and even some occasional bugs that I can’t seem to get rid of! Oh, and the window above the sink is actually falling apart. I have some painters tape holding it into place so it doesn’t fall into the sink. Lovely right? Plus, the shelves are actually really small so I can’t fit normal sized boxes of cereal or even some glassware in them. It’s really odd. The tiles on the floor are cracked too. It’s definitely my least favorite place in the condo. The only thing I’ve managed to update is removing the blinds. Here’s a photo:

  • StarletStarlet
    June 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    My hubby and I got a house last fall and inherited the most amazing backyard full of fruit trees, and edibles. We’ve been working on them and are expecting bountiful crop of apples, plums, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and more!

    We’d love to invite friends and neighbours to come over and harvest the lovely fruition over a friendly BBQ gathering or a nice lounge chat with a glass of wine.

    We really want to create a cozy, engaging, and functional entertaining area that goes hand-in-hand with the already established nature, where we can share not only the produce, but also laughs and sweet times with loved ones.

    Pics are here and thank you for the opportunity! http://www.canyoucomehome.com/2011/06/project-backyard.html

  • Ling
    June 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    As new parents living in a small one-bedroom apartment, we’d like to make over our living/dining area (seen here: http://decorchica.blogspot.com/2011/06/our-living-space.html) since it’s THE social space and currently not configured to comfortably entertain all our old friends plus the new mommy, daddy and baby friends we’ve made. Something sophisticated, functional and child-friendly, where more than a couple of people can sit on actual furniture? That would be ideal.

  • katee
    June 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I’ve been in my house for 3 years and haven’t had the money or know how to make it my own. I have been doing little things here and there but nothing to make a huge impact. Here is my blog that tells about some of my home challenges!

  • RA
    June 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    We love having people over for casual get-togethers to watch sports and play games, but the first room you see in our house (what I call “the front room”) is an eyesore. It’s full of hand-me-downs and discounted furniture, and I wish it were more part of the flow when we have people over. The room opens into our kitchen, which leads into the great room, but right now, it’s basically unused because it’s so tired and bland. In my ideal world, we’d have a sleeper sofa (and it would fit), comfortable seating, and lots of storage for games.

    Here are a few pictures to give you an idea: http://www.flickr.com/photos/definitelyra/sets/72157626800083363/

  • Cynthia
    June 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I would really love to help my parents make over their family room/patio area. Their family room opens into their patio and currently, there’s no seating space in the family room. They have to pull in dining chairs to watch the TV.

    In terms of social space, this space is definitely used very frequently. They have weekly gatherings every Friday night of between 10 and 20 people. Currently, people just sit on metal foldings chairs, but I would love to add comfortable seating and conversation areas and have a nice flow between the family room and patio.

    We love your style and would be so excited to have the opportunity to have you make over our space.


  • Anne with an e
    June 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I would love to make over my dining room (this is how it looked when we moved in last year; still pretty darn similar today: http://annehoekman.blogspot.com/2010/06/house-tour-dining-room.html). I aspire to be a better hostess, because I think hospitality is a great gift, but it’s a little hard to develop that when I have only four chairs! (And only four matching placemats/napkins – duh, buy a whole set.) Replacing our hand-me-down furniture with something scaled for the room and cozying it up with window treatments would be a great start for hosting some gatherings, I think.

  • Jenny
    June 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I would love to make over our backyard/patio space. We live in a townhome that we’ve recently remodeled from top to bottom and the backyard/patio space is the last space we have left to fix up. After doing so much remodeling I’m at a loss for inspiration (as well as money) to really make the space something we love. Plus we have a baby on the way (due July 5th) so any extra money we have is going towards diapers and baby gear at the moment. We walk through the backyard/patio every day since we enter our house from the back door and it would be awesome to see the outside space match all the hard work we’ve done to the inside. We’d love to turn our boring and ugly backyard/patio in to something we are proud of and that we can use for family gatherings as well as an area where we can play and relax as a family as our baby grows.


  • Allison
    June 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    My family have been in our house for a year and a half, but our backyard still needs some serious work! We want to expand our tiny patio so our family has room to eat and spend time together in our yard.

  • Jenny
    June 9, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Nicole! Thank you for this opportunity! When I was growing up, my family ate on the picnic table outside nearly every night in the summer. I have such good memories of that time- bringing the veggies from the garden straight to the table, and I’d like to do the same in my own yard. My husband and I bought our first house last fall, so this summer will be our first chance to fix up the outdoors. Currently, there is a small deck, cement patio, a grass space, and lots of bushes. I’d love for it to be the kind of place friends and family can enjoy with us.

  • jane b
    June 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Wow – how incredibly awesome of you to offer this…you rock!

    We recently moved into our first home together, which we simply can’t get enough of, we’re in love!
    Our new neighborhood has such incredible history + beauty but unfortunately I can’t say the same for parts of our apartment. We’ve spent all our love (and money) into the first floor – our 2nd floor has been neglected and even somewhat forgotten for many reasons though we did not really worry as we knew we’d get to it one day. Maybe this could be our chance!?
    My husband recently started a new and amazing job and I would love to surprise him with gift of a home office makeover. He’s been so wonderful to me in every possible way and I feel that he deserves to be rewarded with a cool, fun looking office/2nd bedroom to help boost his mood! (And allow our guests to feel like they’re in a bedroom at the same time).
    Having the opportunity to not only win Amex points but your incredibly cool style/help would be beyond words – thanks!


  • Cali H
    June 9, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    What a great giveaway! I hope we win! =) My husband, daughter (22 months) and I are expecting our second little one in 3 months and our nursery needs help! We would love to create a happy, special place for our special little girl. Currently, our budget allows for garage sale splurges now and then but that’s about it. (nothing wrong with garage sales!) It would be a real treat to have your help in making over this nursery for our newest family member, a space our whole family could enjoy while enjoying our new little baby. Thanks for your consideration! =)

  • Brooke
    June 9, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Okay, I know that you don’t immediate think of your main bathroom as being a “social space where everyone hangs out,” but it’s definitely a space that everyone visits (usually alone) and therefore is quite aware of the surroundings! Our only full bathroom was quite granny and gross when we moved in and has since lost the granny but maintains the gross. For a room where we start and end each day — not to mention have to open up to visitors! — it’s in a sad place. HELP!!! (And thanks so much for the opportunity!)


  • Andrella
    June 9, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Hi Nicole! I’m entering our “social space” for consideration!!! We live on the north end of Chicago (Edison Park) and moved here with our two girlies a little over a year ago. When we were looking at houses, we needed three things: great public schools (check!), a fenced-in backyard (check!) and a finished basement (um… sorta check??).

    The house is in a great school district and we have amazing neighbors and a do-able backyard. The basement is functional, but leaves a LOT to be desired design-wise. Despite the “retro” wood-paneling, and lack of real dividing lines that would indicate purpose of space usage, the space just doesn’t make sense. We use it for two main things – for the kids’ play room and for the parents’ hang out after kids go to bed. However, there is also a third space that could be functional, but it’s just not. We don’t know what to do with this place! It’s mostly just one, big open space filled with kids toys, surrounded by wood paneling. Here’s the link to my blog with all of the photos and the “long” story: http://andreaschmandrea.blogspot.com/2011/06/friend-in-need-is-friend-in-deed.html.

    I really REALLY hope to hear that I make it to the next round!!!

    Love your work!!

  • stephanie
    June 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Awesome contest!! I love your Making It Yours series, so it’ll be fun to see what kind of advice you give to whoever wins! I’ve got two different spaces to send along for consideration —

    We were planning to give our deck some much needed love this year, but the first big summer rain flooded our garage and so funds have been diverted to a drainage solution. We host lots of potlucks and North Carolina springs and falls are made for spending time outside, and we’d like to make the space more inviting. We’d keep the table, which my husband made out of pallets using plans from ReadyMade magazine, but would like to add seating and better storage and also (re)stain and seal the deck. We’d also like to begin to landscape the backyard so we have something lovely to look at:http://www.flickr.com/photos/diamunds/sets/72157626802182765/with/5816724099/

    Our living room has some elements that we love — the fish painting we bought on our honeymoon, the awesome mid-century credenza and hutch — but it is not totally put together. We do lots of entertaining in this space, especially when we’re not able to hang outside on the deck (i.e. summer and winter!) and would like to add seating. The living room and dining room share the same space, so I’ve included a picture of that as well: http://www.flickr.com/photos/diamunds/sets/72157626926755518/

  • Molly
    June 9, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Wow…what a GREAT contest!!! :)

    The space that needs the most work: the playroom. It’s the very first room you see when entering my house. There is NO style in this room, just a lot of toys all over the place. I know it has a lot of potential, but I don’t know where to begin.

    I know with your help it could look 1,000,000x times better.





  • Crystal
    June 10, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Hi Nicole –

    My social space that needs the most help is my den. It’s has an awkward set up. There is only one wall empty wall in the sitting area and the rest is either a built in or two large open doorways. One open doorway leads to a sunken sunroom that we use as the kids play space. THis is the first space you see when you walk into our home and it could truly use some help. I’d love to see what you would do with the space.

    Thanks for sharing your reward points!


  • Melisa F
    June 10, 2011 at 8:10 am

    What an awesome give away! We could really use it!

    The Room that we would love to makeover first would be our Living Room. It is the first room that you see when you first come in. We’ve had the same furniture since we got married 7 years ago (minus the tv and console) and it’s looked the same (minus some rearranging) since we moved in 6 years ago. We have two young children and we love to entertain and this room does not reflect us at all.

    Here are a few pictures:



    We hope you consider us for the makeover!


  • NicoleD
    June 10, 2011 at 8:15 am

    What a fun contest! Thank you for the opportunity!

    The room I have that needs your intervention is my living room. For (oh goodness) 7 years we’ve had my husband’s grandparents floral couch/chair set and I long for grown-up furniture. This space connects to our kitchen and is our main social area.



    I also have 2 beautiful danish modern chairs that I inherited from my grandmother (I included a link below to the type of chair they are) in our basement that simply need new fabric on the cushions. Didn’t want to pick that out until new furniture was in the works to coordinate.

    Thanks, Nicole!

  • Dear Making It Lovely….. |
    June 10, 2011 at 8:19 am

    […] their personal blogs. Anyway, my surfing led me to Making It Lovely and I saw that she had posted this contest.  In short, you submit a “social space” that could use some help and if you win you […]

  • Stephanie
    June 10, 2011 at 8:55 am

    My living room would be thrilled to get a little TLC! Our living space is small (600 sq. ft. total) and while it works well enough for my boyfriend and I on a daily basis, when we have guests over it falls short. I think it has lots of potential (good wall color, some good art, cool vintage boot lamps I inherited from my grandmother) but it really needs to be pulled together. And while I am so grateful for the hand me down furniture we have (the clash between the sofa and rug makes my heart weep), I’m itching to update it and find a more company-friendly layout.
    Thanks for your consideration!

  • Katie
    June 10, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I’d love the master bedroom to have a makeover…heck I’d like it to be decorated. It’s the one room in the house that has been left undone.

    We recently had our first baby and find that she takes priority now. As much as my husband promises that this room will get the much needed attention soon, I don’t see that happening without help!


    Thanks Nicole!

  • Alaina
    June 10, 2011 at 9:13 am

    The social space that we would love to have help with is our living room. We bought our house 4 years ago this September and have been working our way through it. (We just completed our basement remodel and it was so fun to watch you go through the process at the same time!)
    The part that always slips our budget is the design aspect of a space. I end up piecing rooms together with what we already have and then end up feeling frustrated because I don’t love it. We had our first baby in March and could use extra seating in our living room now for our family that visits us much more frequently now! Thanks for considering!


  • Alaina
    June 10, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Living in Minnesota our outdoor social space keeps getting put off. The past 4 years we have chosen to enjoy the weather and do house projects in the fall/winter. Now I am really wishing we would have made our back porch and patio area a priority because I would love to have a cozy spot to lounge or eat lunch with our baby. My husband says, “Next year is the year for sure…” :) I have heard that before!

  • Honor Roll | Making it Lovely
    June 10, 2011 at 11:06 am

    […] You still have today and tomorrow to enter my Social Space Makeover Contest! Finalists will be announced on Monday. Honor Roll […]

  • Katie Ricks
    June 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

    So excited about this contest. It is so fun to see the spaces other people enter.
    My living room is made up entirely of the following four elements.
    – hand me down
    – DIY
    – kid art
    – & thrift store
    I love design and have ideas coming out my ears but purchasing furniture and decorations is low on the families budget list. The living room is the place where we gather as a family and I would love to integrate some store bought items in with my favorite thrifted and DIY treasures to give my room a more polished appearance.


  • Julie
    June 10, 2011 at 11:34 am

    In Portland, damp is a color.

    Which is why the moment the sun peeks through, all the kids in the neighbor come a-runnin’ down our little cul-de-sac and play. Our front yard is THE social spot to be seen if you’re part of the hip kindergarden crowd.

    Unfortunately, the little area attached to our front yard is sad and lonely (read: I gots nothing but grass.) I would love to turn it into a super great play area for my beautiful five-year-old girl, Avery, and all of her little friends.
    Here’s the blank canvas:

    And here’s the lonely tool shed around the corner which has some mighty fine potential:

  • Alysia
    June 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I’m so excited about this give away – the timing is perfect!
    My husband and I moved into our first house 3 years ago. The house has not had a deck or access to the back yard – until now. This weekend we are finally building a deck with a pergola. I’m looking forward to getting outside, enjoying our backyard, and hosting lots of parties in our new space. However, before we can do all that, we still need outdoor furniture, an outdoor rug (I have two babies 4 months & 22 months) and maybe a grill. I’d love to fix it up and start using it right away. Thanks Nicole for your consideration!
    Here’s the pics of our backyard before the deck: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45549867@N06/sets/72157626930348470/

  • Stacy W.
    June 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I’m a long time reader and absolutely love your style! I’ve always been more on the modern side, but I find myself gravitating towards more quirky-traditional pieces lately. I would love to fix up our small kitchen/dining area. We built this house 3 years ago on a budget, so it’s all boring-basic-builder style. I’ve painted it, but that’s all! We have a hand-me-down dining set that works, but it’s BORING. Our light fixture is so blah, I would love something striking. I’d also like to paint the cabinets, but I don’t know whether to go black or white, and that would determine what else we accent with in the room. I’d love for it to be a FUN room that we enjoy sharing with our friends. Some help would be nice, thanks for the giveaway!


  • kate so
    June 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Help, our screened in porch desperately needs a makeover! Two years ago we purchased a 1959 open floor plan ranch. There are many reasons why we fell in love with the house, the screened in porch being right up there at the top. However, when you look at our pictures you will see we have done a lot with the inside but haven’t touched the porch. And now that we have a little one our need for a larger dining area for entertaining is a must. Inside we fit 4 comfortably and 6 if we have to. On the porch we have enough room for a comfortable hang out area and dining for 8. We are willing to put the sweat into making it the space of our dreams. We just need to funds to do so.

    Check out our sad little porch here:

    Thanks so much!

  • Liz
    June 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Okay- I need some decorating help, stat! We’ve lived in our house for a year, but job changes and a new baby have stalled our remodeling. We’ve replaced almost all the floors in our 3-story with a gorgeous bamboo- all except the stairs, that is. Right now, our playroom/loft is a construction storage nightmare.


    I’d love a place for me to sew/do office-y sorts of things while my 2 year old and 3 month old play. My dream would be to have a reading corner with a comfy place for us to snuggle with a bedtime story next to a giant bookcase (IKEA Expedit, maybe?). I’m thinking that would go great where the twin mattresses are currently squatting.


    We love mid-century design, contemporary stuff, and I have a soft spot for anything handmade. Both of our girls have names that are variations on the color red, so it would be fun to see some punchy red elements.

    The ultimate plan is to paint the walls a whitish-grey color, but that all depends on if we can muster the energy to paint our VERY open floor plan. It might be builder off-white for a while. Oh! And I’d love to see a snazzy pendant or ceiling fan instead of the overhead boob light currently in place…

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to enter- I’m hoping that winning will give us the motivation to finally finish the stairs and make our playroom a beautiful, liveable space.

  • Marisa
    June 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Despite never having won a single thing on a blog, I so want to win this.

    I’d use the points and design plan on our kitchen. We moved in three years ago and this was the first project on my list, but other more urgent projects keep bumping it, plus we’re not *quite* sure of our design plan.

    It’s a galley kitchen with fake wood laminate counters, good quality (but ugly) cabinets with plywood doors, a stove from the 60’s, and a mini-fridge. Yes, a mini-fridge because a normal-sized refrigerator won’t fit in the cabinets. (But we have a plan. We think.) Think of the opportunity!

    We’re happy DIY’ers and could use some guidance to make sure all the details work out in the end, but just imagine: DIY’d concrete counters and cabinet doors all painted and happy, new flooring, better lighting. With the AmEx points, we could get the details right, not just good enough. Then it could be social because we wouldn’t always be kicking people out of the kitchen out of embarrassment.

    Here’s a pic: http://parentheticalme.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/589569.9.jpg

    And for additional photos, here’s my Flickr feed (I’ll upload a handful this evening): http://www.flickr.com/photos/39773783@N05/sets/72157626806151647

  • Kimmy LaMee
    June 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Oh man – my new hubby and I would love all the help we can get with design!! We have two spaces that we’re just kinda stuck with… The first is our kitchen space. It’s super small and the wallpaper is in one word, HIDEOUS! The second space is our outdoor space. I envision a quiet place to relax after a long day of work but right now it’s just grass and two brand new adorandak chairs that his dad made for us for our birthdays, which are coming up soon. Woohoo!! We’ve planted a small garden and a few flowers but we can’t seem to figure out an overall plan for our backyard space. We’d love to add a fence on the side and decorate and plant but we just can’t seem to come up with a plan that we like.. HELP!! We’re also newlyweds (6 months tomorrow!) so we’re having to do little projects as we can afford to so this would be amazing!!
    Thanks for such a GREAT contest!!

    Here are our pics…

    Don’t laugh!!

  • Jessica
    June 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    What a wonderful contest! Thanks so much for offering the opportunity!

    I’d love to win this as we could really use a space for entertaining. We have a tiny house (800 sq feet) so we really don’t have a good spot for entertaining. I’d love to make over our patio so we could have an “outdoor” entertaining spot. Granted, living in Chicago we won’t be able to use it all year, but for the few months that we could, it’d be awesome. As you can see in the photos, we really need some help & inspiration. Thank you very much for even considering us!



  • Amy S.
    June 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    This entry comes from my daughter, Maggie, who asked me to type for her since she is only 9 months old.

    Dear Ms. Nicole:
    PLEASE help my mommy and daddy makeover our spare room into my playroom!! Right now, there is no purpose to this room and we never use it. It just collects stacks of my old clothes and my mommy’s books. When my mommy and daddy’s friends bring MY little friends over, we all have to squeeze into my living room with my toys. My mommy and daddy are wondering why I am not crawling. It’s because I don’t really need to to play in my living room! If I had a nice big playroom, I could have a place for all of my toys and have space to crawl around and entertain my little friends.

    Please PLEASE help me get a playroom!! (I bet Eleanor and August would provide some consultation if you are on the fence about picking me.)

    Here are some pictures of the spare room:

    This is my mommy’s blog, which used to be all about home makeovers but now is just a hosting site for pictures of me: http://www.capecodmakeover.blogspot.com

    Thank you!

  • Laura Payne
    June 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Please Help Make our Garden Lovely!!


    I am GREEN with envy over your recent garden posts. We bought our house roughly 3 years ago, rehabbed the entire interior, had a baby, published two books, having another baby, and somehow along the way never got around to improving our outdoor space. Not for lack of trying! I drove two hours out to an organic farm in Illinois to get sustainably raised native plants, all of which seemed to be engulfed by whatever weeds were already growing rampantly in our front and back yards. I bought a little firepit and some nice chairs, but it is depressing to sit in a barren brick wasteland, no matter how cheery the fire! And I also bought raised beds for a garden, but between my two-year old going a little bonkers with the seed packs and a complete lack of sun, I couldn’t tell you what is actually growing in there.

    We do a lot of entertaining, but it is always confined to the indoors, as there is no good setup outside for more than two people to sit and marvel the dirt patch. We would love to have your help (and your points!) making over our outdoor space (with or without egg chair!) and would make excellent use of this space with our friends and family for years to come!

  • LizzieBeth
    June 10, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Oh my goodness, Nicole you are like an angel sent from heaven right now! ;)

    One of the things that really sold us on our house was the size of our backyard. However, everytime we looked at it, there was snow on the ground so we did not realize how bad a shape it was in. There are so many holes in from the previous owners dog that walking back there is almost dangerous to your ankles! The holes have also become breeding grounds for mosquitos, and there is an area marked with a patch of dead grass that apparently used to be a driveway leading to a non-exhisting garage.

    When we made settlement in April our plan was to attack that backyard this summer. However, in May we discovered I was 5 months pregnant and our money and time have clearly been diverted elsewhere. It is really a shame because I would love to have a lovely backyard for our son to play in next spring and summer.

    Also… Monday is my 30th birthday, so it would be an amazing present to be selected as one of the finalists. I’m just sayin’ ;-)




  • Steph at Modern Parents Messy Kids
    June 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    We have a 2 1/2 year old and a 11 month old and our house has a small eat in kitchen with an open living space but no dining room. Next to this is a room with sliding doors to the backyard and a fireplace which we’ve been using as a space for the kids to play and learn to crawl and walk. But now our youngest is starting to walk and we’re ready to use the room, at least some of the time, to finally be able to have friends over and entertain.

    What I would really love is some kind of hybrid space that has room to play, toy storage, (maybe even our creativity center) and adult seating that can also be used to have dinner with friends occasionally. I just don’t have the creativity or skill to pull it off!


  • jane davila
    June 10, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    What an awesome contest! Thank you for your generosity!!

    Our family moved into a circa 1880’s Victorian style stucco house in our quaint little, quintessential New England town. The house has beautiful lines, gorgeous 9-foot ceilings, and to-die-for wide moldings, but it’s been a little neglected. We’ve been working like mad on the inside since we moved in last December (it’s amazing what fresh paint and lots of scrubbing can do!)

    All of the neighbors’ houses are immaculate with perfect lawns, gardens and front porches. A stroll down the sidewalk along our street shows one charming, welcoming front porch after another — and then there’s ours… *needle screech*

    While exterior painting and plaster repair is on the agenda for this summer, the porch is a little lacking in places to sit and enjoy. We have one sad chair and ottoman from Ikea that has seen better days (I thought about a coat of paint and a bright pillow but haven’t gotten to it), but I’d love a cute bistro set to sit and sip lemonade and a settee or lounge chair for reading or listening to the outdoor concerts at the nearby park. A colorful outdoor area rug might be fun too! Our style is ethnic modern (picture Kilim rugs, white accessories, African sculpture, mid-century Finnish pottery and lots of clean lines).


    I even did up a quick floor plan. The porch has wider areas at the far end and the near end, so maybe 2 seating areas?

  • Whitney
    June 10, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    WOW! I love your blog, and your sense of style would be greatly appreciated to help add some SOMETHING to my living room.
    My husband and I have lived in our Chicago condo for three years and are slowly but surely replacing old hand-me-downs and beat-up thrift store finds with nice, new items (like the couch and tv stand). But somewhere along the way, it just got boring. Everything matches, (a little too well) and it just feels bland.
    We often have friends and family over for dinner (despite having no table- we usually stand around the bar) and when we all watch a movie those little chairs in the living room just don’t cut it…

  • Christian
    June 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    What a great contest!
    I blogged about it today and posted pictures of my living room…


    Our living room needs a serious makeover! I think we struggle with alot of the same issues most style savy new parents do – keeping our home stylish without letting the toys take over. Well, the toys have taken over!!

  • April Mastropietro
    June 10, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Hi there! I really love your blog and I’ve followed it for almost a year. I love your design style and would really appreciate your help with our new living room. My husband and I are moving into our first house in two weeks and our living room is a blank slate. We want to start from scratch and create a lovely and homey room for visiting with friends, watching tv, and playing with our 1 year-old daughter Leona Belle. So I will keep my fingers crossed!

    Here’s a link to our room:

    Thanks so much!

  • Katie C.
    June 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Oh, our screened porch is so bad, but could be so great. It just needs a talented mind and a little $$$. It has a great floor pattern, an awesome ceiling and is surrounded by lots of evergreens full of chirping birds. I want a comfortable, stylish place my husband and I can share happy hour while the kids play. The porch shares our family room’s only window so when we aren’t outside, I’d love to look out to a beautiful space. Help me please.


  • Jillian
    June 10, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Thank you for offering this! I would be so happy to have some help with our old house, which we’re moving back into. Let me explain. My husband and I bought a side-by-side duplex with another couple we’re friends with about five years ago. We lived in our half for two years with roommates to help pay the mortgage, but then I got pregnant and we moved to a small apartment so we could raise Gus without roommates around! We’ve been renting our side of the house out, but my husband has just finished going to school to be an art teacher, so now we will start having two incomes again, and we’re SO ready to have some SPACE again! … We just don’t know what to do with it. :-) I’m entering the living room, the dining room and the backyard separately because I would over the moon with help for any of them.

    This one is the living room and it has wonky walls with windows and radiators and almost no space to put anything! The furniture you see is the tenants’ so we’ll be starting from scratch!


  • Jillian
    June 10, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Thank you for offering this! I would be so happy to have some help with our old house, which we’re moving back into. Let me explain. My husband and I bought a side-by-side duplex with another couple we’re friends with about five years ago. We lived in our half for two years with roommates to help pay the mortgage, but then I got pregnant and we moved to a small apartment so we could raise Gus without roommates around! We’ve been renting our side of the house out, but my husband has just finished going to school to be an art teacher, so now we will start having two incomes again, and we’re SO ready to have some SPACE again! … We just don’t know what to do with it. :-) I’m entering the living room, the dining room and the backyard separately because I would over the moon with help for any of them.

    This one is the dining room, which I would like to paint a different color… but what?! Also, the furniture belongs to the tenants, so we’ll be starting from scratch! I’m as bad at design as I am at taking pictures, so you can see how badly I need your assistance. :-)


  • | Behind the Studio
    June 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    […] of my favorite bloggers has recently offered a chance to win membership rewards points from american express to fund a makeover for any social room in your house. Plus, she’s […]

  • Jillian
    June 10, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you for offering this! I would be so happy to have some help with our old house, which we’re moving back into. Let me explain. My husband and I bought a side-by-side duplex with another couple we’re friends with about five years ago. We lived in our half for two years with roommates to help pay the mortgage, but then I got pregnant and we moved to a small apartment so we could raise Gus without roommates around! We’ve been renting our side of the house out, but my husband has just finished going to school to be an art teacher, so now we will start having two incomes again, and we’re SO ready to have some SPACE again! … We just don’t know what to do with it. :-) I’m entering the living room, the dining room and the backyard separately because I would over the moon with help for any of them.

    This is the backyard, or our half of the backyard. The deck doesn’t belong to us because it’s on the other side, but the brick patio and the grassy(ish) area with the stones leading out to the fence is all ours to make beautiful! We have a cool old red fireplace that we’d love to showcase for S’mores nights with friends, and my husband just got a projector for graduation that we’d like to use to show movies on the fence!


  • Laura Gaskill
    June 10, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    The space I would love to have some financial & design help with is our living/dining room…which also has to serve as entryway, office, and baby play area. I was off to a good start, painting and scouring Craigslist like a madwoman while pregnant last year, and I managed to create a nice neutral (i.e., pretty much all white) backdrop…and then the baby came, and it is still a…backdrop. I spend tons of time in this space with my baby Bixby, and I would love it to be as warm and vibrant as my little family!

    Here are photos I took last year for my blog, nothing has changed aside from the glass cabinet doors being removed for child proofing purposes…and, oh, a bit more mess :) http://www.lolalina.com/2010/03/02/living-dining-room-progress/

  • Ellen
    June 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    This is really fabulous!

    I’ve posted a bit more about why we’d love to have our den made over at my blog here: http://www.kellyandellen.org/house/2011/06/our-den/ (including a video which can also be found here: http://www

    but in a few sentences, here’s why we’d love to win this makeover:

    We’ve got a whole huge 1916 fixer upper to renovate, and not a lot of money with which to do so.

    We bought our house in part because of how well it’s suited to having guests over – we love to throw a good party and do so regularly! Being open and hospitable to friends, guests, and sometimes even strangers is important to how we want to live our lives.

    Our den is our main gathering area – it seems like whenever we have people over, they end up congregating there. It’s also where we hang out as a family, eating, watching movies or random YouTube videos, playing video games, etc.

    It’s got some interesting architectural details, in that it was an addition to the original house and was built off the old outside back porch.

    Thanks for the opportunity, Nicole!

  • Rachel Preisser
    June 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Hi Nicole! I absolutely adore your blog. Thanks so much for hosting this amazing giveaway. I would like to enter our deck. It was one of my favorite things about our house when we first moved in a year ago because it has SO much potential. Unfortunately after a year of home improvement projects inside the house, my bank account and creativity have been depleted. I envision a comfortable and inviting outdoor living room and dining space where our family and friends can relax and create great memories. Please help me make our lackluster deck a lovely oasis!


  • Brett Alderman
    June 10, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    If we were selected for this makeover, I would choose our backyard. We would love to use the space for entertaining and throwing a big birthday party for our daughters at the end of the summer.


  • Jayna
    June 10, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Nicole! I’d like to enter my back patio into the contest. I wrote all about it on my blog: http://behindthestudio.com/?p=99

  • Kate
    June 10, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    We bought a little 1920’s Portland bungalow just about five years ago. It was, and still is, quite the fixer-upper. Because our house is so cozy (code for small), we really wanted to make the backyard livable space.

    We started out essentially a big dirt lot and have put each plant and paver stone in ourselves. It’s taken quite a bit of time, but progress is progress right? :)

    Fast forward 5 years and one 5 month old baby later, we’re stalled out. We’ve lacked time, motivation and money. We have our patio, but it’s just not lovely.

    We’ve got a great start – a sturdy paver patio, some teak Adirondack chairs, etc. but that’s it. I’d love to see this become the outdoor living room I know it can be.


  • Grace
    June 10, 2011 at 11:13 pm


    We recently moved and a major selling point for us was the backyard:
    With a 3 year old daughter and a 10 month old son, we wanted a place where our family could hang out and gather and this yard seemed perfect. Well, as wonderful as it is, it’s not the welcoming place I had hoped it would be and I don’t know where to begin to make it an inviting, restful space for family and fun. I think it has a ton of potential, but I don’t know where to begin.

  • Heather Van Wynen
    June 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    My husband and I rent a 650 square foot stone cottage, which was originally built as a small mountain library in 1920. We have lived here for almost two years and plan to live here several more, but I have done very little decorating due to limited resources. All of the furniture pictured was given to us secondhand, except the mid-century dining chairs, which I purchased at a thrift store and refinished by hand.

    We are expecting our first baby in three months. I would love the opportunity to make the home we are bringing our baby into a more aesthetically beautiful and cozy space.

    The living room (which includes are dining space) is our social space. This is definitely the room I would love to see transformed.

    Thank you, Nicole!


  • anu
    June 11, 2011 at 1:15 am

    oh, please, we are in need of your wisdom and the amex points! our house is lovely but a bit strange because it used to be a duplex. to make it more functional, we are hoping to have a multipurpose living/dining room. but it’s not a huge space, and we have just had a lot of trouble seeing the vision through. we have a cozy wing chair that works at the drop leave dining tables (closed when not in use), but are in desperate need of other seating that is comfy but can also work at the dining table. and storage. the room is functioning as a playroom for our 2-year-old, not a flexible, social space for dining and hanging out. help!

  • anu
    June 11, 2011 at 1:17 am

    our backyard is so tiny that it’s nonfunctional, which is so sad for our active 2-year-old. we’d love to paint the royal blue garage a less garish color, move the fence out to the part of the unused driveway to triple our running around space, and add more plants and furniture.

  • Capitol Jams
    June 11, 2011 at 1:47 am

    My husband and I live in a 1 bedroom condo with our nearly 15-month-old daughter. I love our apartment for many reasons, not least of all for it’s open floor plan where we do most of our living. It has a lot of great style with the maple floors, exposed beams and the exposed fir (original firewall) that makes it look a little bit like a ski lodge meets loft. I love some of the personal and handmade touches: the knitted pipe cozy to the left of the window and the fabric book slings on the radiator covers come to mind.

    There are many parts of this room that we’ve never addressed, and it feels like we just keep putting off projects for time and financial reasons, or more likely because I have trouble to committing to decisions. We don’t get much natural light with the big window and being on the ground floor of our building, and we’ve never known how to bring in more lighting into this space. The toys are a little out of control, and while we love the mid century furniture, the red chair in particular desperately needs to be replaced or needs to have fresh upholstery. While most of our home is pretty child-proofed, the shelves under the window are a slight nightmare – stacked and unkempt books and forgotten items, as well as a HUGE stereo that doesn’t function as it is designed (we listen to the radio or our iPods all the time, so it works for us in that way). Besides a couple of sad looking bolsters I made for the couch, we don’t have any pillows and really need some help with accessories that would work in this space.

    You can see pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/64008518@N08/

    While we love the Japanese poster that hangs on the wall for personal reasons, it will find a new home as we’ll be moving this piece there soon: http://www.kuroszahedi.com/the-garden-of-hope.html. The new art is also very meaningful for us for many reasons; we were part of its creation, adore the image and love the fact that it was created from trash picked up in our neighborhood.

    Thanks for this opportunity, Nicole!

  • Aimee A
    June 11, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Oh, man, what perfect timing. We are in the midst of a giant purge of stuff (1/5 gone so far, my goal is 1/3 of everything), and I am so focused on how much I hate our furniture. All that we have is either hand-me-down, Ikea, Target, or thrifted. I am so so sick of mis-matching finishes and styles and sizes, but I can’t really do anything about it as we have a budget of zero dollars. (hello, virtual unemployment!)

    It is just sad to spend time in our living room. It’s actually so cramped and our sofas are so uncomfortable that it has been three months since we last had guests. Quite depressing and lonely.

    My dream makeover would be to scrap everything but our coffee table, bookshelf, and artwork, and just start from the ground up. We need storage that fits in the room and doesn’t overwhelm it. We need a desk that fits both laptops and is easy to work from. The whole room just feels cluttered and is not relaxing in the least.

    Here are photos, and a more in-depth analysis/wishlist:


    This is such a great thing you get to do! Thanks for the opportunity as well. :)

  • Aimee A
    June 11, 2011 at 2:56 am

    Oh, and even though it isn’t a social space so much (not in the habit of inviting friends into our bedroom), I am positively itching to actually do something with our ugly ugly bedroom. Here is the photographic sadness:


    There is just no decorating done at all in there. It’s stark and depressing and insomnia-contributing. Blerg.

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