Lee’s Design Dilemma: Solved

When Lee sent over her Design Dilemma after pictures we couldn’t wait to share them. We know that many of you are chomping at the bit to see how our mood boards turn out (believe me, we are too) so we’re always thrilled to see how those spaces transform after some pretty major room makeover-ing. You may remember that we whipped up this custom mood board for Lee a while back when she came to us for help turning her hodge-podge of a room into a space to sort mail, do homework, and store a few things in a more appealing way. Since the room’s visible from a plethora of other adjoined spaces, it serves as a pass-through but also needs to bring a lot more function and style to the table. Here’s the before picture to refresh your memory:

And here’s the mood board that we created to inject order, balance and tons of eye-pleasing function to a formerly undefined and unfinished looking room (see more mood board details here).

And now for Lee’s big after pic. Here’s her newly spiffed homework and mail zone right off of the front room and the kitchen:

Isn’t it endlessly more inviting and useful? We love everything from the big round pendant to the woven baskets that mimic the texture in the round jute rug under that great desk that stems from that fantastically functional wall of bookcases from Ikea. And here’s what Lee had to say about her big room makeover:

This overhaul was so exciting! We got nearly everything you suggested and as soon as we built all of the Ikea stuff it immediately started to look great in there. Your ideas really did make for a big change. We love it. The bowl on the desk is always changing (sometimes it’s full of fruit but I also love your crayon idea – we’ve got boatloads of those!). Brilliant work! Thanks so much! -Lee

No thank YOU Lee, for sending us your room update. You don’t even know how excited we get when they turn up in our inbox. Didn’t Lee do a fantastic job? We love that she added as many boxes and bins as she needed to meet her storage goals and that she’s having fun switching out the desktop bowl depending on her mood. This is one of those great transformations that shows how just a few quick and easy changes (like Ikea bookcases that mimic the look of built-ins, and a simple pendant light along with a textured jute rug and some affordable Ikea art) can really pull a formerly mismatched room together and add lots of form and function in a snap.

Plus Lee’s big presto change-o proves that you don’t have to break the bank for a big room makeover either. The entire bookcase and desk system was just $317 while the pendant light was only $49 and the rug was a mere $84 (so all those major pieces only set her back a total of $450). Not bad for starting over practically from scratch, right? So let’s all shower Lee with praise for being so wonderful and sending us her eye-pleasing pictures. And here’s hoping more Design Dilemma after photos will be landing in our inbox very soon…

Update: We sadly can no longer find the time to take on client commissioned mood boards (and just whip up general inspiration boards instead) but if we ever reinstate them we’ll make a big announcement!



Help Me Help You

Name that movie. Come on, it’s an easy one. And while we’re on the subject of helping you, we’re here to share yet another way to dig through our archives and find any and all old posts that you’d like to peruse. After all it was one of my 2010 resolutions to seriously supe up the site. I’m not going for anything too techie and weird, just improved function and usability so you guys can find things more easily and click around to your heart’s content. I’m such a guy aren’t I? But I guess it’s all in the name of adding some twenty-ten-worthy simplicity and ease. So here’s the deal:

See that little search box in the top right hand corner of our site? Well there’s a tab there that says “Topics” and there’s where you can find a ton of categories (many of which are brand spanking new) to help you sift through our posts and find exactly what you seek.

You think I’m kidding when I say “a lot of categories” right? Well I’m not. Here are all of the different “buckets” that we have wrangled over 1,200 posts into:

We tried to keep our number of categories down but apparently we gab about a ton of stuff. And above all we want them to be effective so we had to create quite a few in the end. The good news is that you won’t have to sift through five hundred posts in a really vague category (like “Decorating”) and instead we’ve broken things down much further so it’s easier to pin down which bucket to search since they’re a little more descriptive.

So now if you’re looking for a cleaning post, just click on the “Clean Up Your Act” link. And if you want to take some fun quizzes just click on the “Pop Quizzes” category. You’ll see that we also added more detailed topics like “Furniture Makeovers,” “Exterior Upgrades” and “Painting Projects” – so if you’re bored and looking for a quick little DIY dose, those categories (along with “Before & After” and “Decorating Lessons“) are full of ideas and eye candy. And don’t forget to peep topics like “Easy Upgrades” and our latest addition called “Look & Learn” for even more doable (and affordable) ideas and decorating inspiration for the taking.

We also used to just have a category called “Our House” which we manually broke down (yeah it took a while) into every single one of the different rooms in our house. So now you can look at all of our kitchen posts (by clicking Our Kitchen) without having to sift through the rest of the house while you’re at it. In short, whether it’s organizing, saving money or even just flipping through old Design Dilemmas or Reader Redesigns, the topics tab is a great way to hunt anything down (and kill an hour or two if that’s the goal).

And while we’re on the subject of getting around, we also have our often relied on How To page with lots more categories and short linky descriptions to a plethora of posts that just might address your every need (from how to paint cabinets and furniture to how to upholster a headboard, mix up homemade cleaning products, unclog a drain or store everything in your house- even files and receipts- with style).

Plus we can’t forget the “Search” tab that can help you find something faster along with the “Archives” tab which allows you to flip back through our posts chronologically by month (they’re both up there with the “Topics” tab). So here’s hoping that it’s even easier for you guys to hunt down whatcha want watcha really really want. And yes I just got a little Mel B on you right there. You’re welcome.

Oh and on the subject of easier navigation and simpler YHL cruising, do you have any other requests in the functionality department? I can’t promise that I’m savvy enough to implement them all (well, any of them really) but I’d love to hear how you guys think we can make our site even easier to get around.

UPDATE: We’ve since retooled our categories, so some of the links above might not work anymore (since they’ve been updated).