Local artisans breathe new life into outdated projects. by Brandon Hoops, photos by Keith Borgmeyer CRUZ CHAVEZ At age 22, Cruz Chavez walked away...
“Two heads are better than one” certainly is true when it comes to DIY. Kindred spirits best describes the relationship for Jana Gebhardt and me. Having seen each other over the past two years at various garage and estate sales, many times I’d catch Jana eyeballing my pile of goodies. I’m drawn to other people who are treasure hunters, and Jana can hunt with the best of them.
I invited Jana, from Studio J, to work with me on my next DIY project, and we were soon off to meet with Allison and her mom. When we arrived, the bedroom had a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore Galveston Gray paint from Johnston Paint & Decorating, new cream-colored bedding and a chandelier I found for $25 to replace the outdated fan.
The brief from the client was short and sweet: She wanted a modern and glamorous feel, and she loved things monogramed. She had a small piece of fabric in a red violet hue, which was our color cue to incorporate. Other than that, we could do what we wanted, and we had $550 to spend on materials.
First we decided on the furniture arrangement to determine which pieces could stay and which would go. Next, because the room only has one window, we needed to bring in more light, so we chose lots of cream, white and metallic on the furniture to create some brightness along with mirrors and glitter.
With the plan nailed down, the rest was serendipitous and based on whatever thrifty finds and DIY solutions we could hunt down for the space.
Big Score No. 1: I scored this desk at Salvation Army. It had the perfect modern lines the new room style craved and was purchased for a song — $20!
Big Score No. 2: Jana hit a big church garage sale and found two big frames and the perfect sized ottoman. Each piece cost a whopping $2. Now, we had some DIY art for the walls and great coffee table for the love seat, which also provides seating when friends come over.
Big Score No. 3: The inspiration color was beautiful but nary to be found in Columbia stores. I found one bolt of feature fabric at JoAnn’s, but the biggest find was a pair of IKEA window panels in a rich, deep version of the color for only $19.99. Now Jana had gobs of yardage to use as fabric for decorative soft furnishings, including pillows, slipcovers and a bed skirt.
• Ready-made drapery panels with a band of contrast fabric created a pop of color and a custom look.
• The nubby woven fabric of the 9-by-12-foot drop cloth from Johnston made the perfect soft throw for the loveseat. A few strategic tucks of the fabric later, and it was the perfect “slipcover” and an instant facelift for the homely piece.
• The cottage knotty pine dresser had an attached mirror that lends itself to a country style, so we removed it. I then primed with Benjamin Moore White Dove multipurpose oil-base primer and followed up with three coats of Modern Master matte metallic paint in Oyster, recommended by Vicki at Johnston Paint & Decoration. New clean-lined drawer pulls made it look more modern and sophisticated.
• Wallpaper was adhered to the top of the desk and varnished for durability. This paper design added another modern element to the space.
• The client had lots of photos of friends on one small bulletin board. To make them a feature in the room, we spray painted two frames and added extra wallpaper and cord to create a pin board. German glass glitter clothespins were added to hang the photos.
• It’s hard to have too many pillows, and they are an easy DIY project that adds softness, color and personality to a room.
• We ran out of funds to purchase a new modern chair, so Jana decided we should repurpose the old desk chair. She stitched the seat cover out of leftover scraps of fabric, I painted the legs, and Jana created a slipcover for the back to highlight the pretty lines and hide the cottagey cutouts. Jana also incorporated a monogram (created by my sister Karen) in the chair’s slipcover.
• The bed needed a skirt but were out of the feature fabrics and funds, so I found a couple drapery panels, which Jana used to create the bed skirt. A $2 roll of ribbon stitched onto the skirt gave it just a hint of color.
Jana’s business, Studio J, creates personal decorating solutions for a well-loved home. Jana will get inside your head to understand your style and what your room needs so you can fall in love with your home again. I learned so much from her during these past two months. Thank you for the bottom of my heart! Contact Studio J at 573-445-5554, or visit getStudioJ.com.