before and afterfireplacerugs and flooring

before & after: belén’s rug + jen’s fireplace

by Kate Pruitt

as someone who frequently enjoys browsing through the offerings of home decor and design retailers, i am happy to report that the rug market has never looked better. ten years ago i wanted an attractive and inexpensive rug for my college room, but there were none to be had.  “contemporary” rug selections fell under two themes: bad rip-off or art deco nightmare. while those rug options still exist, it’s great to see modern rug designs out there that actually feel modern; what’s even better is that you can find modern rugs cheap enough to customize in any way you see fit. plain white rug is a perfect example; her patience and steady hand provided amazing results. the bold graphic numbers are perfect for a fun and playful room, and she achieved them for almost no cost! you can see more about the rug and her other fixer-upper projects on her site, . great work, belén! –

home renovations are amazing to me; i just can’t get over what people can accomplish for themselves when they’re determined to make a space their own. i’m not totally inexperienced: i’ve tackled some large paint jobs, rewired a few lamps, and re-caulked a tub. i don’t feel worthy of congratulations for such small tasks, however, when i read about great feats like this fireplace transformation from and her husband. working together, they framed and built out the wall, installed a massive solid fir “floating” mantel with special welded mounts, created their own wainscoting effect with plywood and moulding from a hardware store, and invisibly wired the television and speaker system. phew! i love the dramatic results; the salvaged wood mantel seems totally worth the effort and the white fireplace provides a much improved contrast to the chic grey wall color. apparently they’ve doubled the amount of time they spend in the space, which is the true test of a great room renovation. you can read more about how they found materials and tackled the installation on her . amazing job, jen!

[have a before & after you’d like to share? just shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)]

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