Tess Wilson's Recent Articles
Page 4
Stencils Are the Secret to Amazing Halloween Pumpkins
The toothy, triangle-featured jack-o-lantern is a classic for a reason, but perhaps this year you’d like to push your carving farther. Here are a bunch of stencils—emoticons, constellations, demigorgons, porgs, puppers, and more—that will make your pumpkins look amazing, regardless of your skill level. Pay homage to the superhero movie of the year/decade with this fierce template.
Oct 6, 2018
Before and After: This Cabin Remodel Is a Cautionary Tale
This cottage had so much going for it—charm, manageable size, outdoor amenities galore—but needed quite a bit of work. The entire retreat has been renovated, but the treatment given to the formerly nondescript floors deserves special attention, and might be the owner’s one regret. Let’s learn a bit more about the challenges—and advantages—this cabin presented: I found this little cottage/cabin in Kerhonkson at the end of 2017.
Oct 4, 2018
Before and After: This Kitchen Is Packed with This Year’s Biggest Trends
This little kitchen was described as “an afterthought,” but its new incarnation is anything but. The space has been completely reimagined and reconfigured, and the results are totally dreamy. It’s filled with some of this year’s biggest trends: painted green cabinetry, vertically-laid backsplash tile, and open shelving.
Oct 2, 2018
Before and After: The Owners of This Kitchen Chose Storage Over Sunlight
The owners of this home have lived with—and loved—this kitchen for years, and considered just doing a few minor upgrades, but when they realized that this might be their forever home, they decided to make some major changes so that they’d love this room even more—for many years to come… This is such a subtle, beautiful upgrade by 17 Apart!
Sep 29, 2018
Before and After: See a Bedroom Clutter Zone Become a Functional Home Office
The window in this bedroom is absolutely dreamy, but the space below it was a bit of a waste—until inspiration struck, and one room became two. Here’s the scoop on the under-window situation: Before we had two slightly tatty built-in cabinets either side of a Velux window. They didn’t look great, and the space in the middle was wasted. It became a catch-all for junk. Because the home is rented, though, we couldn’t make any permanent changes.
Sep 27, 2018
Before and After: Costco Is the Reason for This Affordable Kitchen Renovation
This vacation home is in a totally dreamy spot and boasts amazing views, but it had a few issues involving the words “filthy,” “particle board,” mauve,” and “sagging joists.” The new owners were able to resolve all of these issues in a reasonably affordable and prompt way, thanks in part to standard cabinets ordered online. Read this tale and beware, future homebuyers.
Sep 26, 2018
Before and After: An Impressive $343 Budget Kitchen Redo
This dine-in kitchen is really nice—spacious, beautiful wood floors, lots of windows, tons of cabinet space—but its new owner considered it outdated, a sentiment you’ll definitely understand once you see the wallpaper. With less than $400 and just a fortnight of work, they were able to totally freshen up the entire room.
Sep 25, 2018
Before and After: An Over-the-Top, Yet Elegant $500 Bathroom Makeover
The new owner of this home became fixated on its “varying shades of split pea soup green” powder room and was determined to give it a makeover—but wanted to spend less than $500. Enter absolutely fabulous wallpaper! First, let’s hear a bit more about this bathroom’s pre-makeover state: To be honest, I don’t remember seeing this bathroom in the real estate listings or when we toured the house. I knew it was there, it just made no specific impression.
Sep 24, 2018
Before and After: This Bathroom Got Done on a Tight 6-Week Timeline
This “builder basic, circa 1980” bathroom is about to get a total head-to-toe makeover, in which nothing is where it was and everything is as far from builder basic as it’s possible to get.
Sep 23, 2018
Before and After: An Epic Tale of One Estate Sale Mid-Century Sofa
This estate sale sectional had its issues, but what it lacked in legs it made up for in mice. Don’t let the beautiful backdrop distract you: This sofa needed some serious (read: professional) TLC to go from threadbare and disintegrating to refined and rodent-free. Here’s how this sofa was acquired: The day before I moved 1,000 miles to my current home, I spotted a mid-century sectional sofa at an estate sale and bought it for my new place.
Sep 22, 2018
Before and After: A Practically Zero-Dollar Dining Room Redo
This sweet, sunny dining room has been totally refreshed for just $0. How?!? Dive in to see how a clever DIYer literally turned her sister’s dining room into a totally new one. The concept behind this refresh is a great one: Kristine of The Painted Hive was determined to update her sister’s dining room using only the profits from the sale of the old dining room pieces.
Sep 21, 2018
Before and After: This Tiny Backyard is Now a Full-Blown Living Room
While it’s always exciting to have any outdoor space at all, the owners of this particular outdoor space found it to be “tiny, messy, and not functional.” After six weeks of work, this backyard is now the dreamy oasis they were hoping for. Let’s hear a bit more about the inspiration behind this makeover, as well as the challenges it posed: Our backyard is small and on a grade, but we knew we could make it nice. [It] was tiny, messy, and not functional at all for us.
Sep 20, 2018
Before and After: This Bold Dining Room Only Cost $150 to Completely Redo
This dining room had a lot going for it—natural light, wood trim, soothing palette, the fact that it exists—but its owner couldn’t get past how “boring and beige” it felt. Paint to the rescue, and no, it’s not all white. Here’s a bit more about the before: This house was as beige and boring as you could get, from brown carpet, brown trim, beige walls, and builder-grade light fixtures.
Sep 19, 2018
Before and After: This Atlanta Condo Got a Massive $35K Upgrade
This condo had a lot going for it—high ceilings, fireplace, lots of windows, and a spacious feel despite an efficient footprint—but it also bore evidence of its previous life as a generic rental property. Its new owner was determined to give it a bunch of character and a totally personal feel. First, let’s learn a bit about how and why this condo was chosen: When I first bought this condo, It was the cheapest listing in Marietta [Atlanta] that included a fireplace.
Sep 18, 2018
Before and After: $200 Goes a Long Way in This Messy Entryway Makeover
This entryway is so incredibly relatable: purse, recycling, tote bag, Roomba, grocery cart—all necessary and conveniently accessible, but perhaps a bit too visible. One impressive DIYer took $200 and totally revamped this space, making it a lot more attractive and practical. Here’s a description of the pre-makeover entryway, plus how it affected the rest of the home: My entryway was a complete disaster.
Sep 17, 2018
Before and After: A Sophisticated IKEA Built-in Bookcase Hack for $1K
This dining room is so graceful and elegant—that delicate molding and beautiful hardwood floor, but its new owner found it lackluster and hollow. IKEA’s BILLY bookcase to the rescue! Well, more like eight BILLYs to the rescue… Reader Oriane Szekelyhidi-Williams kindly shares a wealth of details about the inspiration behind this project and the challenges faced: We purchased our condo knowing we would be doing a BIG overhaul on the space.
Sep 16, 2018
Before and After: This Low Budget Kitchen Remodel Was DIYed from Head to Toe
This kitchen’s new owner described it as “functional, but an eyesore” and was determined to make it as pleasant as possible. Nine months and a ton of DIYing later, this “midway” renovation is complete and this kitchen is a totally new room. Reader Erin Corbett was kind enough to submit this project and share details about the issues and inspiration behind it: My little condo was built in 1984 and not much in the kitchen had been touched since then.
Sep 14, 2018
Before and After: This $4K Bathroom Reno Looks More Like $40K
This totally DIY bathroom took seven months to go from damaged and dangerous (faulty electrical work!) to sleek and safe; and from “standard, average” to something truly special. Here’s a little backstory on this bathroom: When we moved into our home our guest bathroom was your standard, average space. It had newly updated cabinets and lighting, was painted a shade of beige, and was topped off with budget-friendly $5 blinds.
Sep 13, 2018
Before and After: A $150 Makeover of a Blah, Beige Bathroom
This appears to be a landlord-special bathroom, with the classic beige walls and floor, but with a twist—it’s not a rental, so the new homeowner dove right in to make some crucial but affordable and approachable changes. Here’s a closer look at what the bathroom was like upon move-in: This small bathroom is outfitted with almond fixtures. There’s a beige sink, toilet, shower, and tile. The yellow walls made the space feel tight and crowded, almost headache inducing.
Sep 12, 2018
Before and After: This Old, Busted IKEA POANG Chair Gets a Brand New Life
This sad chair—IKEA’s ubiquitous POANG—was languishing on a curb, doomed to rot away, dreaming of those good old days when it was useful. Fortunately, someone with a vision (and 20 meters of rope) happened to walk by and oops-a-daisy! Britt Winter of Regroovinator on Etsy describes happening upon this chair, and the makeover time crunch: This sorry-looking IKEA POANG was a curbside find: bare bones and a ripped-up seat. However, those bones were good.
Sep 11, 2018
Before and After: A $300 Kitchen Upgrade Thanks to a Lenient Landlord
This rental kitchen was covered top to bottom with fixtures and finishes from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, so one brave tenant finally gathered the courage to ask for permission to make improvements. Amazingly (and smartly), the landlord said yes and the DIYing was on. While the kitchen looks pretty nice in the photo before, its resident has the real scoop: The kitchen in this rental is a galley-style kitchen.
Sep 10, 2018
Before and After: A Clever $400 Upgrade for Rental Bathroom Tiles
In today’s Before & After, a Berlin guest bath gets a six-hour, $400, low-key upgrade that’s sure to inspire even the least DIY-inclined among us. Here’s a hint: If you can operate a sticker, you can handle this project. Before we ooh and aah, let me just say that the bathroom is already pretty nice. It’s black and white, which is a great palette for a rental bathroom, and I love that little black stripe.
Sep 9, 2018
Before and After: This IKEA Room Divider Hack Solves Two Problems at Once
IKEA’s KALLAX is perfect for holding boxes, bins, baskets, and books, but one DIYer saw its potential as an understated entertainment unit—and the results are inspiring. This looks so great. Nicole Witney of Meraki came up with and completed this smart hack, which has so much going for it. Its central position means it is viewable from the kitchen—essential for tedious food prep/cleaning tasks—and yet it doesn’t dominate the space.
Sep 8, 2018
Before and After: This 900-Square-Foot Condo Reno Has a $30K Price Tag
This condo’s new owner loved a lot of things about it—high ceilings, good bones, amazing natural light—but felt that the kitchen and living room were “dreary and grungy.” Nearly a year later, this “standard-grade apartment” could be mistaken for a gallery.
Sep 7, 2018
Before and After: A Rental’s $100 Bathroom Makeover
This vintage bathroom had a color scheme its renters described as “lentil yellow and seafoam green,” which Pantone probably isn’t going to be announce as the 2019 Color Combo of the Year. But in a rental, what can be done? It turns out that paint is the problem, but it’s also the solution.
Sep 6, 2018
Before and After: A Bright and Airy $2K Kitchen Makeover
When Genevieve Claire of Vieve Claire moved into her home, the kitchen had the same, standard design from when it was built: brown cabinets, dark surfaces, and track lighting. The kitchen felt dark and drab, and it was crying out for a refresh. I started looking into DIY solutions, but unfortunately, there were no shortcuts due to the material and sizing of our cabinets. Playing it safe, we decided to call in some professionals and talk through options and designs.
Sep 5, 2018
Before and After: A Very Satisfying $1,000 Bathroom Facelift
It’s always fun when someone comes up with a nickname for their home’s style, and the owners of home were a bit fed up with their “faux Tuscan” bathroom. Though it was spacious, with a roomy shower and plenty of storage, it was also “dated and dark and was not reflective of our more modern style.” Let’s see how they went from “faux Tuscan” to… let’s call it “mod nautical.
Sep 3, 2018
Before and After: There’s Only One Minor Regret After This $10K Kitchen Remodel
This kitchen was super cute and cozy, with beautiful whitewashed hardwood cabinets, bright, cheerful curtains, and platters that coordinate with the yellow paint. But it had been 14 years since this kitchen had gotten a tuneup, and its owner was ready for a fresh look. First, here’s how Emma Rupp described the kitchen and the initial update: Original wood cabinets, tile counters, and range/hood.
Sep 2, 2018
Before and After: This $8K Bathroom Remodel Keeps the Old Tile and Peach Tub
This sweet green and pink bathroom is 63 years young, and though it had received a few updates 25 years ago, “It was just time to modernize and freshen up the old bathroom,” according to its owner. Let’s see what a difference 10 days can make in the long life of a vintage bathroom… Ooh, this looks so great! I love how the newly restrained palette—goodbye, pink, ivory, oak!
Aug 31, 2018
Before and After: A You-Can-Do-It-Too $70 Kitchen Redo
This is a cute kitchen. It’s petite, efficient, seems to have ample storage, and its white palette is bright and conveys cleanliness like a spotless chef’s coat. However, this kitchen’s tenant was sick of its “bland and boring hardware and countertops” and took an afternoon to do something about it. And now? “It’s so glam and bright!” exclaims Chelsey Brown of City Chic Decor, and I have to agree. The changes are subtle but crucial.
Aug 30, 2018
Before and After: This Blank Wall Becomes a Triple Threat
This blank wall in a home office is about to become its own room, thanks to just $600 and a bit of hard work. The room before is pale and pleasantly beige—and the now is anything but. Let’s pause a minute before admiring the finished product to learn a little more about this space: Before we started working on this room, it was just an office space for my husband.
Aug 26, 2018
You Won’t Believe This Is an Actual Airstream Trailer
When Bonnie Christine found this 55-year-old travel trailer for sale, it was already in pretty damn good shape, but it got majorly upgraded into a gorgeous glamper that’s more elegant and luxurious than many stationary homes. She had been looking for one for a decade when they finally found the perfect specimen: A 1962 26-foot Airstream Overlander.
Aug 25, 2018
Before and After: A Big Change for a Teeny Tiny Narrow Bathroom
This bathroom was described as “pretty bare and utilitarian,” but since it’s a rental, the options for enlivening it were limited. Fortunately, the clever renter came up with a solution that both highlights the room’s lovely details and ensures the swift return of the security deposit. This is perhaps the highest impact per square foot wallpaper job that we’ve ever seen.
Aug 24, 2018
Before & After: This is What a $7,500 Cabinet Paint Job Looks Like
This kitchen has a lot going for it: a dishwashing window, stainless steel appliances, a beautiful hardwood floor, tons of counter space, and tons of cabinet space. I’ll say that the combination of the beigey-pink cupboards and the yellow walls are not for everyone, but they might have looked a lot prettier in natural light. But, here’s what the space looks like now. This kitchen now looks ultra-clean and is a blank slate for however the owners want to decorate.
Aug 23, 2018
Before and After: This Kitchen Now Brims With Life, Texture, and Personality
A “brand new builder basic home” that was “just a bit too vanilla” got some deep customization that totally sets it apart from all of the other homes in its subdivision, and the results are fantastic. The Naked Decorator—a.k.a. designer Veronica Solomon—has added so much life, texture, personality, and color to this formerly standard kitchen.
Aug 22, 2018
The Crazy Good $5 Trader Joe’s Deal You Should Get While It Lasts
Breaking floral news! You can get a ridiculous bargain for one of the longest-lasting flowers out there—seriously, alstroemerias stick around nearly forever. According to the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer, “For a limited time, we are able to offer this 20-stem bunch for the astonishing price of $4.99, only a dollar more than our everyday, 9-stem bunch. But get ’em while they last—ethereal beauty like this doesn’t stick around forever.
Aug 19, 2018
Before and After: An Impressive $2K, 5-Day Kitchen Makeover
This is one of those “Befores” that could totally be an “After”—the rustic, industrial style is great and the decor has tons of personality. Its owner, however, was ready to “freshen up” the kitchen, but didn’t have a ton of time or money to throw at it. Evette Rios managed to transform this room in just a week for less than $7,000. (Products were ordered in advance so that doesn’t include shipping time.
Aug 19, 2018
Before and After: This Kitchen Wound Up Costing $20,000
This kitchen was pretty cute and had a ton of storage, but it was sadly cut off from the rest of the home. Enter an interior designer–architect/contractor power couple armed with a clear vision and $20,000. Look how incredibly open and airy this room is now! The light from the window can now flow into the next room, the dining room is now conveniently integrated into the kitchen, and it all looks lovely.
Aug 18, 2018
Before and After: Behold the Transformative Power of White Paint
The “Paint It White” philosophy gets a bad rap sometimes, but it can be a great method for unifying disparate elements while emphasizing texture and form. In this home, white paint was used judiciously to update a living room fireplace, with wonderful results. This fireplace surround involves quite a few textures, including the red brick, and the white paint unites them all.
Aug 17, 2018
Before and After: This $80 IKEA Rug Hack Belongs in a High-End Gallery
This delightful IKEA hack involves literally hacking up affordable rugs in pleasing colors and combining them to create a gallery-worthy wall hanging, but don’t worry—bringing the pieces back together again will not require any sewing. This wall hanging was created by Monsters Circus, inspired by a glam piece by a wool wall hanging by Studio Pepe for CC-Tapis.
Aug 16, 2018
This Is What a $50,000 Backyard Looks Like
While the grass may be a bit patchy—no surprise in Southern California—this 90-year-old yard actually looks pretty great. The house looks nice, the fence is attractive and offers a ton of privacy, the plants are interesting, and the accessories are well-suited to the space. While the home was perfectly fine before, wait until you see how it was transformed.
Aug 14, 2018
Before and After: A Smart 15-Hour, $1.5K Budget Bathroom Makeover
This 50-year-old bathroom had two major things going for it, and they were both tile. All of the other features were perfectly fine, but, after a refresh, the entire room lives up to the high standards of the fantastic original tiles. Reader Kristine Buffa submitted this project and described exactly what was going on before the makeover: The before bathroom was outdated and dark, but the character of the original tile and tub had survived.
Aug 13, 2018
Before and After: These Cabinets Got a Wes Anderson-Inspired Makeover
Here we have a perfectly nice entryway console, adaptable to nearly any style with the right knobs. But its owner had something a bit more special and a lot more specific in mind… This is absolutely delightful and I wish it were available in a dress, or perhaps a dress/shoe combo. Pink and green go so well together, and they both pair wonderfully with gold, so the trio is totally fabulous.
Aug 9, 2018
Before and After: We Love This No-Reno Bedroom Makeover
This bedroom, pre-makeover, was very relatable: an assortment of cozy fabrics in interesting patterns, a jury-rigged reading light, and a bit of fun thanks to the dartboard. Relatable, but not up to the high standards of its resident, who’s been passionate about interior design since childhood. That’s more like it.
Aug 8, 2018
Before and After: This Dramatic Kitchen Redo Only Cost $800
A common point of discussion regarding renovations is that what we consider to look classic now will inevitably look dated someday—possibly someday soon. This kitchen, renovated less than two decades ago, is getting a much-needed (according to its owner) update. Let’s learn a bit more about what this kitchen was like, because photos never tell the whole story: We fitted our kitchen 18 years ago and, although it’s a classic design, it was starting to look very dated.
Aug 7, 2018
Before and After: This Small Balcony Was Turned into a $700 Second Living Room
When you live with four other people, you might need to escape the close quarters from time to time.
Aug 6, 2018
Before and After: This IKEA MALM Hack Took Tons of Patience and Precision
Here we have two perfectly fine IKEA MALM dressers: They’re pleasingly minimal, they have a cool presence and graphic appeal, and they offer a generous amount of storage as well acting as a TV stand. Their owner, however, was ready for something lighter and brighter—and a lot more fun. Here’s how this DIY makeover came about: The two dark IKEA MALM dressers that we purchased a few years ago were right at the time, but not so much anymore.
Aug 5, 2018
Before and After: This NYC Triplex Is Now Living Up to Its Full Potential
Reader Kate refers to the purchase of this apartment as “When the Only Good Thing Is the Layout.” After several months of renovation—and plenty of NYC red tape—this home is now living up to its full potential. This is so glam. I love the glimpses of the bedroom and kitchen through the screens of the balustrading, the deep duo-tone wood railings, the rich wood floors, the boutique hotel feel of the bedroom, and the entire vibe.
Aug 4, 2018