Janel Laban's Recent Articles
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The “Dingy to Decorative” DIY Patterned Entryway Makeover
Project by: June Location: Hertfordshire, UK Our hallway was dark and dull, looking grubby and tired.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Cookie Cutter Condo to Creative Open Space” Makeover
Project by: Ana Location: Seattle, WA The one thing I love and appreciate most in life, besides my baby son Magnus and awesome husband Jordan, is working with my hands. The process of creation amazes me every time, and I look down at my hands and thank them for being healthy and strong, then I realize I should thank my eyes, brain and heart for caring on an artistic drive in me year after year.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Low-Cost Built-In Lookalikes” Dining Room Makeover
Project by: Katherine Location: Wichita, KS When we moved into our almost century-old house five years ago we were in the throes of planning a wedding (in the backyard of that house) and so a lot of things got the quick and dirty treatment. The dining room was one of those things. A coat of paint on the walls, a craigslist table and chairs, and a CB2 light fixture and call it good! This past fall, my father-in-law gave us a massive amount of books and along with them, several shelves.
Dec 19, 2019
The “The Quick Yet Powerful 1k Kitchen Style Transformation” Makeover
Project by: Karen We just moved into a 1929 Tudor bungalow. The kitchen is small and has only one window. The upper cabinets made the room seem darker. In addition, they were hard for me to reach (I’m 5’2″). So I took them out and replaced them with open shelving in gloss white. The room was instantly brighter. I added storage in the pantry to make up for the lost cabinet space. So I took out the upper cabinets and replaced them with open shelving in gloss white.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Blank to Brilliant Navy Blue” Baby Room Makeover
Project by: Taylor Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada Just days before my scheduled c-section, we were finally finishing our daughter’s nursery. We wanted a room with lots of contrast, personality and DIY touches. We also knew we were working with a small space and so we wanted our choices to be high-impact and make a smart use of our limited floor space.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Modern Chalet” Townhouse Makeover
Project by: Negar of Space Harmony Location: Vancouver, Canada This is an interior design and renovation we did for a client, a professional and avid skier who wanted his 1600 three-level town house to feel like a chalet. Because of the space limitation and ceiling height, we couldn’t use the real bold and robust materials used in chalets so we created an “modern chalet” instead! Our goal was to create the same cozy and comfortable ambiance on a smaller scale.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Blank & Boring to Cheery & Comfortable” Living Room Makeover
Project by: Molly of Awfully Big Adventure Location: Austin, TX This project focused on taking my tiny, boring, popcorn-ceilinged living room and turning it into a cheery, comfortable place to come home to- all on a serious budget. Using mainly Ikea, Craigslist, hand-me-downs, and tchotchkes galore, the living room came together and is now a colorful, eclectic space far from the oatmeal box it once was.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Sight Unseen Space, 3k for Everything” Apartment Makeover
Project by: Samantha Location: New York, NY It was actually my boyfriend who picked out our temporary apartment in midtown Manhattan – at the time I was still living in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, I did not have the time to fly to New York by the time he moved in, in order to help him out. Hence, I had to order most of the necessary furniture online and have it delivered to an apartment I hadn’t even seen yet which was a bit of a challenge and risk.
Dec 19, 2019
Amy’s “Goodbye Dumping Ground” Guest Room Makeover
Renovation by: Amy Location: Albuquerque, NM Our guest room + office space had slowly become the dumping ground for everything leftover in our home. After seven years, it was finally time to transform the room into a space that I actually wanted to spend time in. The first few items were not all that glamorous. They included decluttering, rearranging and painting the wall white. Next came, multiple DIYs and upcycled projects.
Dec 19, 2019
The “You’ll Never Believe This Isn’t Stacked Stone” Bathroom Makeover
Renovation by: Wendy Location: Nevada City We wanted the look of a stacked stone accent wall in our bathroom. However, we were unable to find a stone veneer that would fit behind our toilet. We decided to use reclaimed pine which we got from used pallets. We cut approximately 350 pieces of wood into different lengths and depths all with the same height (2.5 inches). We used a very strong floor glue to adhere the pieces of wood to the wall. After the wall was complete, we painted it a light gray.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Just Isn’t Me” $500 Kitchen Makeover
Renovation by: Kristyn Location: Pittsburgh There was nothing WRONG with the kitchen when I purchased my first home except that it wasn’t me. It didn’t fit the 1920s Tudor Revival style of the house or my preferred bright, colorful, organic modern look. Although I don’t love bead board, there was no reason to replace the clean and sturdy cabinets. So I embraced it, adding more to the side and back of the island that separates kitchen from dining room.
Dec 19, 2019
The “See You Later, Princess” Kitchen Makeover
Renovation by: Patti Location: Phoenix, AZ We moved into our fixer-upper exactly one year ago and finally finished the last room – the kitchen. I think the previous owner must have fantasied about being a princess because every single room was painted pink (including ceilings and doors!) and had wall to wall purple carpeting.
Dec 19, 2019
The “From Gutted to Gothic Glory” Living Room Makeover
Renovation by: Laura Location: Oak Park, Illinois My husband Michael and I just purchased this 1892 gothic Victorian home in outlying Chicago’s historic Oak Park. (land of Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace.) I own a jewelry boutique called Gem Jewelry Boutique and Michael is a general contractor. The home is perfect with its nearly 10 foot high ceilings and elegant moulding, original marble fireplace and gothic windows.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Present for Grandpa” Living Room Makeover
Renovation by: Katie Location: Canada For Christmas this year, I decided to update my grandfather’s living room as my present to him. My grandmother passed away last February, and he needed a change – something that he could see everyday that would make him happy to remember his life with her. They had kept their 1960s furniture in near perfect condition, so I knew I would just need to update the styling of the room with fabrics and some interesting wall art.
Dec 19, 2019
The “What To Do With This Nook the OTHER 11 Months of the Year” Makeover
Renovation by: Courtney and Brent Location: Houston, Texas When we moved into our house there was one thing about our living room that bugged us. It was the inset in the wall next to the fireplace. It was intended for the TV but we knew how we wanted the room to “flow” and found it awkward to have the TV off center and next to the fireplace. So we set up the living room how we wanted it with the TV on the long wall and left that space empty.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Darkly Dreary to Modern Minimal” Master Bedroom Makeover
Renovation by: Heather and Mike Location: Phoenix, Arizona We are Phoenix, Arizona natives that have never left our little neighborhood of Arcadia. Born and raised in such a gorgeous and historical area of the city, we decided to buy the perfect ranch-style home (in serious need of some TLC!) in our citrus-filled area of town 8 years ago. We’ve had some serious adventures in renovations, and the master suite was the last piece of the puzzle!
Dec 19, 2019
The “Totally Gutted to Nicely Nautical” Staircase Makeover
Project by: Emily and Erica Refinishing the main stairwell was just one small component of the year-log, full scale, gut-renovation of our 1900’s Greek Revival house in Providence, RI—but as the staircase is the first thing you see when you come in our front door, we wanted it to be a striking feature.
Dec 19, 2019
The “100% DIY Faux Flavor Paper” Project
Project by: Kelly Location: Athens, GA I recently became obsessed with this wallpaper pattern called “Cuben” made by Flavor Paper. I saw a photo online of how someone had used it in a kitchen. Unfortunately the wallpaper is a little out of my budget so I decided to attempt to recreate it in my own kitchen with paint. I measured my walls and plotted out the design on graph paper. I used a yard stick and a level to get all the lines penciled onto the wall.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Add a Little Color” Dining Room Makeover
Project by: Kate Location: Des Moines, Iowa My husband and I moved into our little house in Des Moines (in a historic area called Beaverdale, full of houses from the ’30s) in July, and were very excited to start bringing some personality into the place! We liked the olive green walls of the living room and dining room, but realized shortly after hanging stuff up that we needed more color in the space.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Mountain Mural” Bedroom Makeover
Makeover by: Pam Lostracco, owner of Pam Lostracco Custom Designed Murals Location: Toronto, Canada Last spring, I started envisioning how my artwork would look at a larger size. The mountain design I created for a calendar was doing really well, so I decided to start my first large piece by transferring the mountains onto my bedroom wall. Not only did it transform the atmosphere in the whole room but my entire business plan, too!
Dec 19, 2019
The “Va Va Voom Victorian” Kitchen Makeover
Alison Dahl Kelly shared photos and the story of her amazing kitchen and dining room makeover with us. Take it away, Alison: Purchased in 2009, our artfully restored 1880’s townhouse has been taken apart and put back together again, restoring some old and adding some new. What attracted us to buy this house were the still-intact original details—parquet flooring, tin ceilings, marble fireplaces, built-in cabinetry, his and hers vanities.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Huge But Bland to Classic Chic” Master Bedroom Makeover
Renovation by: Alicia Location: Orem, Utah This project was such a drastic change and so much fun! This was months in the making – between backorders and busy summers, we were finally able to finish my friend’s master bedroom! From basic and drab to classy and chic, it was a fun and drastic reveal! When I did the first initial consult, my friend said she never really thought to decorate her master. It’s a HUGE master bedroom and had so much potential!
Dec 19, 2019
The “Post-Divorce Time for a Change” Bedroom Makeover
Makeover by: Wendi Location: Seattle, Washington The room had looked the same (horrible) for 18 years. After my divorce, I decided it was time for a change. The project was done over the course of the summer this year, with the main costs being paint and trim. Though I did not set a budget or keep track of the total, the project was relatively inexpensive.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Goodbye ’90s, Hello Vintage Modern” Loft Makeover
Renovation by: Team Macnab Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada Jordan send us some photos and info on a recent project. He writes: The Macnabs have recently come together with all their handy friends & family to create what they are calling a true “Vintage Modern” double height loft in Vancouver’s industrial loft land. The Mecca loft building is located in Mt Pleasant’s up and coming Brewery Creek district.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Out-of-Date to On-the-Market” Home Makeover
Renovation by: Douglas Huebner Location: South Orange, New Jersey I’m a Realtor in South Orange, NJ and I have an investor client. I’ve helped him buy a couple of houses in the area for him to restore and resell. On this particular project he let my wife and I do the renovation. I became the General Contractor / Project Manager and my wife did all the design work. We did a complete renovation.
Dec 19, 2019
The “No Space to Move Around in There” Bathroom Makeover
Project by: Louise Location: Utica, New York We live in a 1930’s Dutch Colonial house in Central NY. The second-floor bathroom (the only one with a bathtub) was a disaster when we bought the house and stayed that way for several years. The room is extremely narrow. And to make things worse, the previous owner installed a vanity so large that there was no space to move around in there. The renovation had to be affordable, so the toilet, tub and sink had to remain in the same spots.
Dec 19, 2019
The “Stuck in the 60s Kitchen” Makeover
Project by: Kara and Matt Location: Charlotte, NC This past spring we purchased a 1960’s style brick ranch that aesthetically was still stuck in that decade. The home had great bones, but like most houses built at that time, contained lots of tiny “living” spaces, like a small L shaped kitchen, a super dark paneled den and a long, narrow living room.
Dec 19, 2019
The “1919 Cottage Goes 2014” Makeover
Renovation by: Oneiric Projects Location: Los Angeles, CA This developer redo of a house is worth a peek for your own potential projects. It’s fully updated but still charming, especially when it comes to not only preserving but improving upon its major vintage curb appeal. Details about the renovation from Oneiric: New energy efficient windows preserves the 1919 style while providing ample natural light into the home. Original front door and peephole provides a warm welcome to visitors.
Dec 19, 2019
The Under $250 “Work With What We’ve Got” Bathroom Makeover
Makeover by: Paige Location: Naperville, Illinois My husband and I just finished our latest project: updating our main bathroom for under $250. We went back and forth about doing a larger renovation in here, but in the end we decided to work with what we had first. If we could get it to look great with minimal labor for us, then why not try it? We replaced the counter top (which was veined with purple!
Dec 19, 2019
Before & After: A 100 Year Old Bathroom Gets a Makeover
We recently moved into a charming 1913 American Foursquare home in Joplin, Missouri. Our first major remodel was the upstairs bathroom. It was replete with plumbing issues (missing a sink), sporting stick on floor tile and press board wall “tile.” Our desire was to make things functional and restore it what it may have originally looked like, while adding our own sense of flair. From start to finish, the project took about a year and cost $2500.
Dec 19, 2019
The “The Happy Accident” Bathroom Makeover
Project by: Sarah & Chad Location: Montreal, Canada We thought we were going to take a break from renovating our 1950s attached house in Montreal after completely gutting the kitchen and updating the whole main level but a leaky toilet derailed our plans.
Dec 19, 2019
Before & After: The “Oops, You Got Us in Trouble” Bathroom Makeover
Sometimes a little unexpected “trouble” can go a long way toward creating a beautiful room. You start out with the plan of simply changing up a few decorative elements and find yourself in the middle of a full-on makeover. It happened to Renato, and he not only lived to tell the tale, he’s got a great looking room to show for it. Take it away, Renato… Tired of living with a bathroom falling apart, one day I woke up with design school ended, no jobs and nothing to do.
Dec 19, 2019
Before & After: Goodbye Basic Fireplace, Hello Custom Built-Ins
Project by: Holly Location: Portland, Oregon Holly had the perfectly nice fireplace shown above in her new place, but she had a vision of how the room could be really something special and decided to make it a reality. It involved a bit of demo and the building of a bunch of built-ins but it was worth it – the “after” looks great.
Dec 19, 2019
Before & After: No Excuse for a Naked Window
Makeover by: Jennifer Location: San Diego Moving into a new place means lots of little unfinished spots that need solutions, which means spending both time and money. Jennifer dressed up this window corner quickly, stylishly and for less that you would think possible. Check it out… Jennifer added triangle vinyl decals to a plain rolling shade that she picked up at Home Depot.
Dec 19, 2019
Before & After: Becky’s BOOOR-ING Bath Gets Some Oomph
Becky sent in before and after shots of her master bath makeover. She writes: Our house was beautifully renovated about 15 years ago, long before it was ours. All the important stuff was done perfectly, but a few aesthetics left something to be desired. Like our master bathroom. BOOOR-ING. Square tile on the walls, pinkish-peach square tiles on the floor, builder grade sink top and vanity. Cheap, boring fixtures. And GIANT wall-encompassing mirror.
Dec 19, 2019
Before & After: Half Bath Goes from Basic to Beautiful
Justin sent us before, during and after photos of his recent bathroom makeover: I bought my condo 2.5 years ago and the upstairs half bath was pretty awful. My girlfriend and I did a ton of research on materials since we wanted to go with a more modern renovation. No timeframe, but we needed it done sooner than later considering we’re talking about cohabitation.
Dec 19, 2019
Before & After: The Good Old Days Just Got Better – A Retro Reinvention Renovation
When faced with an outdated kitchen, it’s a natural reaction to want to go for the gut and simply start with a clean slate. It takes a a good eye and plenty of design confidence to recognize a situation where not everything has to go and instead, successfully build on the old, seen-better-days bones of the room.
Dec 19, 2019
Before & After: An Architect’s Own Creative Kitchen Renovation
Renovation by: Takbir Fatima from DesignAware Location: Hyderabad, India This kitchen had been through a lot of wear: the original construction was faulty, causing leakage in the floor, the original design allowed for almost no natural light to enter the kitchen, and previous tenants’ lack of maintenance had made an entire wall stubbornly greasy. Before moving in, I brought down the wall separating the kitchen and dining areas, opening up the space.
Dec 19, 2019
Before & After: The Amazing 6-Day RV Makeover
Renovation by: Carissa Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma My husband and I renovated our R.V. to make it more livable and cozy before taking it on a cross country trip to Yellowstone. We did the entire project in 6 days, which was crazy, but fun! We changed the dated woodwork by painting it a “modern greige” color then ripped out the old seating and replaced it with a couch from IKEA. We also replaced the dining room chairs with some more modern chairs from IKEA.
Dec 19, 2019
Unplug for an Evening: Try a Media Fast
Day 10: Wednesday, January 15 Assignment: Try a media fast this evening Believe me, I relish the feeling of being connected all the time. But, as with most things, both good and not-so-good, I’ve realized that a little more balance is needed. Constant information and communication, the ability to access all shows, sites and stores, whenever and wherever can definitely lead to an overloaded home life.
Dec 19, 2019
Weekend Chores: Flowers, Kitchen Organizing & Cleaning, Make a Meal
Day 7: Friday, January 10 and the Weekend of January 11 & 12 Assignments: Bring Home Flowers, Kitchen Organizing & Cleaning, Find a Recipe and Make Yourself a Meal It’s time to get tough. Pull on your superhero tights and get ready for a weekend of saving the world, one kitchen at a time. There’s lots to do and it’s focused on a room which many of us find challenging to keep ahead of in terms of clutter and cleaning.
Dec 19, 2019
Sarah & Chad’s Long Distance School of Style
Name: Sarah & ChadLocation: Iqaluit, Nunavut, CanadaSize: 1350 square feetLived in: 6 months Sarah and Chad (who you might remember from their House Call) make me feel lazy. I have a long list of decorating to-dos and the only thing holding me back is me! Living in a big city, my access to supplies is widespread, shopping for furniture both new and used is a no-brainer, prices are competitive and shipping costs for home improvement goods just isn’t usually a factor. Not so for these two!
Dec 19, 2019
Before & After: Katherine’s Warehouse Loft Update
Katherine sent us in photos and floorplans of the update of her West Loop loft. This is a hardworking condo — it is home to a (new) family of three and during the day also accommodates two employees as a live/work space…..and the After!Here is Katherine’s info on the update: We had to overcome a dated warehouse conversion of a beautiful masonry and timber loft building. Views were compromised by the fireplace and tv alcove dividing the kitchen and living area.
Dec 19, 2019
Michael’s Laid Back Cottage
Name: Michael Jon WattLocation: Traverse City, MichiganSize: 818 square feet, with a full basementYears lived in: 2 We first got a glimpse of Michael’s wonderful cottage in Traverse City (home of the Cherry Festival!) during Small Cool 2010. As illustrated by the hefty number of “thumbs up” on his entry, his style is clearly in line with the aesthetics of the Apartment Therapy readers. With that in mind, we’re thrilled to bring you a full tour of his home.
Dec 19, 2019
Know Thyself: It’s Time to Take the Style Cure Interview
Welcome! We’re at the very start of our step-by-step group decorating project. Over the course of 22 assignments, we’ll work together to makeover a room in each of our homes. We’re on a timetable that will give whichever room you choose a fresh, up-to-date, clean, organized and renewed look for you to show off and enjoy over the holidays – we’ll be done a week before Thanksgiving. So, now’s the perfect time to make this happen. Let’s do this!
Dec 19, 2019
How to Care for Your Mattress: Do’s and Don’ts
We all know that Martha has an opinion on all things to do with the home and sometimes the level of attention to detail is more than we mere mortals can hope to have the time for. That said, her advice and methods of housekeeping just make sense – it is tried and true “passed down from mom” good advice.
Dec 16, 2019
How To Get Rid of Cat Pee Smell and Other Odors
As much as people love their cats, and we know that love is boundless, there are certain aspects of life with pets that can be a challenge — odors being top of the “arrgh” list for many. We dug through our archives for some reader intelligence on the issue and according to our commenters, here are three top tips to try.
Nov 20, 2019
IKEA Black Friday Sale: All the Deals
You know the drill; first we feast, then we rest and then we go bargain hunting. We reached out to IKEA to find out about the deals they have in store for shoppers this Black Friday – and beyond.
Nov 19, 2019