The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

A New Old & Inspiring Bathroom July 21, 2008

Filed under: Creative Before & After,Creative Inspiration & Projects,Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am

One of my most favorite houses ever is my blogging buddy Meg’s home. I know she is becoming quite popular, but I discovered her long ago so we go way back and I am pretty sure I am her BBFF (grin). In fact, her craft room was featured on my blog late last year, that is how far back we go.

Her house is one of those rambling big old family houses (I think it is in the Midwest) that just feels like home to me. Not only is the home gorgeous, but you can see through her fantastic blog that her focus is on the life she creates for her family, not on trying to impress us with her decorating skill. That makes her a kindred spirit because she really emulates what I feel is an authentic life.

You can’t help but love her when you see her family kitchen. Glamorous with a chandelier yet homey with seven chairs lined up around the counter ready for their family pancakes. Love her.

Her whole house is beautiful, but today we are here to focus on her new old bathroom. I say new old because while it is a new bathroom, she combined antique elements and style to make it feel like it has been in her home all along. It complements her home perfectly. It is a retreat she deserves as the gorgeous mom of five! Let’s take a peek:

Could you just die to soak in that tub? Meg says she’s never been so clean. I’d be a prune.

Now, check out this old buffet. You know I don’t like to paint so this makeover is truly inspiring to me…this is the before picture. Look below for the stunning after photo…WOW! A white coat of paint can really make an amazing difference.

Do you see that adorable little mirrored table with the birdcage on it? Here, let’s look a little closer:

She bought that fabulous mirrored table for $12 at an antique store and scraped the paint off the mirrored legs herself. She is amazing! And what is even more amazing, she knows how to conceal! Yes, I caught her trying to get away with a unidentified concealment and I am capturing it here for you all to see. Look at this:

Modern stereo equipment, CONCEALED! Let this be a lesson to all of you. Don’t you try to sneak a concealment onto your blog without me noticing. I can spot these a mile away and I will expose them for all to see. I love this concealment.

This is the perfect new old bathroom, old and charming, yet blissfully new. Thanks, Meg, for letting me feature your private getaway! I love to share inspiring rooms from readers, so feel free to share YOURS with me!

photos: copyright Meg Duerksen, used by permission


Solving Flaws: Creative Concealment June 30, 2008

Filed under: Creative Before & After,Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

Do you ever watch TLC’s What Not To Wear? I got addicted to that show about a year and a half ago and for a few weeks I watched every episode. While I have always tried to look at least somewhat presentable, for awhile my uniform every day was jeans, Keds and white teeshirt. Nothing wrong with that for a busy mom, but from watching that show, I learned so much about how to focus on my better features and hide my figure flaws.

Another creative concealment made with fabric!

Same can be true of how we dress our houses. We don’t all have the luxury of a brand new perfect custom house or the ability to redesign every flaw in our home. Likewise, we don’t all have a perfect bod or the desire or money for plastic surgery — ah, yes, make mine a size two with no cellulite please, and a few inches taller while you are at it?, but we can make the best of what we have, imperfections and all.

I have used this technique to cover furniture more than once!
Even Pottery Barn gets into concealing! It can be a quick and inexpensive solution!

Who doesn’t have a bunch of miscellaneous necessities floating around the house?
If you don’t have enough closed storage, conceal stuff in simple boxes with labels. Bye bye mess!

I do not believe in house perfection or hiding everyday living. Even if it starts out perfect, I fully expect nicks and dings along the way. I am fine with scratches on my furniture, imperfect walls and even crooked floors. Those are what makes life charming, seeing a house is well lived in.

But, sometimes you just don’t want the glaring eyesores to steal the attention from beauty. I don’t think our houses should look unkempt or neglected or have areas that are just plain unattractive (at least permanently!). If we can fix things as an investment in our home, that is great. But sometimes we need to be content with concealing. There are ways around uglies even if you live in a rental or are on a budget.

Stacks of baskets or suitcases can not only hide flaws behind them
(cords, plumbing, old radiators), they can make short things taller,
AND they can hide uglies IN them!

  • Ugly Cords tangling from walls? Hide ’em behind a plant.
  • Old beat up or wimpy moldings? Paint them to match walls.
  • Less than lovely storage area? Hang a curtain!
  • Boring architecture? Hang some shutters for fool the eye substance!
  • Open storage where you need closed storage? Find baskets or shelf shades!
  • Ugly kitchen cabinets? Paint, new cabinet doors (on old cabinet boxes), or fabric can transform cabinetry for much less cost than new.
  • Too small of windows? Hang your curtains higher and wider to fool the eye!
  • Does your floor slope? Put taller things on the sloped end! It helps balance the room visually!
  • Electrical boxes, switches or ugly views from windows in your house where you wish there were none? Hang tapestries or artwork over them! Bye bye!

basement ceiling

Here is a creative concealment. An ugly basement ceiling was concealed with fabric!


Mismatched doors? We had a random oak door in our kitchen that
didn’t match our 1930’s style doors in the rest of the house.
Solution? Hello chalkboard paint!
Chalk board paint is almost the new duct tape.
Hey, yeah, duct tape? Another creative concealer! I’ve even used WHITE OUT as a creative concealer.
Not kidding.


Here is a clever reader’s idea for how to hide an air conditioner in the off season:

Ok, friends, now it is your turn.

I know most of my readers just like to look and not participate, that is OK! Don’t let me pressure you, but IF you are so brave as to show us how you have hidden the uglies around your house, we’d all be forever grateful to see we are not the only ones who conceal.

If you want to share a photo, an idea or suggestion, or a before and after, share in the comments or link up with Mr. Linky! I don’t think any links will show up until you click on Mr. Linky (then the list will appear). My Mr. Linky always lies and says “You’re First” even when you aren’t.

Feel free to check back over the next week to see if there were any brave souls willing to share! Feel free to share ideas in the comments too.

PS. I had to quit working on this post due to thunder and lightening, didn’t want to get electrocuted!



Top photo: Cottage Living
Next photo: Pottery Barn
Next three photos: BHG


Find home office concealments: here.


Creative Concealment: A Decorating Secret June 24, 2008

Filed under: Creative Before & After — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 2:16 pm

creatively conceal an electrical box

Southern Living


As I promised back in the day (sorry for my slowness), I wanted to share in more detail one of my decorating methods sure to shock anybody out there with money to burn. I call it CREATIVE CONCEALMENT. This is not Architectural Digest material, folks. So if you are going to be appalled, step away from the blogs right now. I’ll excuse you and not take offense. Now, this method won’t really be a surprise those of you who face the same issues I do, namely: lack of time and money. Eh hem. If we had a lot of both, we could do whatever we wanted. But, to make things pretty when you have “limitations” you have to think outside the box.

faux brick
Jeremy Samuelson Cottage Living

In the house I live in now, we had to do some major creative thinking. There were some real eyesores that had been added to this house, and we absolutely couldn’t afford $15,000 to $40,000+ to redesign several issues when we had other expensive things like a kitchen to update. So, we did our very best to “conceal” rather than “fix perfectly” whenever possible. We can always fix later if time and money allow.

Here is what I mean. Prepare for some gasps of horror! Here is my office, before. This photo doesn’t even do justice to how the room looked. Every wall was painted a hideous color. Some yellow, some orange, some pink. You can’t see that in this photo.


before photo

That window was so out of character both in size and scale for our 1930’s house. In a contemporary setting perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad, other than it was very poorly constructed. From the outside the whole dormer was atrocious (more on that in another edition of Creative Concealment!). But, in order to even put in a new window, the cost was going to be outrageous. So, as a way to put that expense off, we had to come up with a creative concealment.

The window was so large it exposed us to everyone walking by the house. Privacy and sun protection needed to be addressed. And with just using curtains, it looked ridiculous and messy from the outside! And those metal blinds had to go. So, here is what we came up with.

From the inside, creative concealment involved paint, curtains, old shutters (so the window would look good from the outside), a garden fence (to conceal poor construction and old ugly curtain brackets that I didn’t want hassle with removing!) and furnishings. While this after is not perfect or “done,” or magazine cover worthy, it is how things look right now. And that is the point. It isn’t about making something perfect, just better than it was so you can move on to other projects!


concealed ugly window

Now, it is your turn. Let’s share ideas.

I want to see YOUR Creative Concealments. Show me anything from the big concealments to the little ones and everything in between. On Monday I will set up Mr. Linky again (blech, I don’t like Mr. Linky, but I don’t know any other way to do this) and if you want to share something you’ve successfully concealed, link up on Mr. Linky to your post! Only brave, authentic and real people need link up.

Note: If you spent a fortune redesigning something, than it is not creative concealment. We need to see your creative ideas for making something look better than it did using more ingenuity and creativity than money! Ugliness and unsightliness in all forms, CONCEALED! If you have before AND afters to share, that would be great! I’ve seen many of your ideas and I hope you will share them all with us here! Don’t forget to come back Monday to link up what you’ve creatively concealed in your house. I will also share some of your before and afters in subsequent editions of “Creative Concealments.”

I will share more of my concealments in subsequent posts. Yes, there are more. Lots more.

window beforewindow after

Creative Concealment: The act of camouflaging, hiding or disguising something that is ugly, distracting or unsightly with whatever creative means are necessary. This method requires far less money than resorting to the perfect solution, yet yields acceptable results that can be either temporary or permanent.

Creative Concealment ideas:

Use old shutters to hide or distract from problems
Accessories can hide a multitude of issues
Hang curtains to reshape windows
Plants or baskets can hide wall outlets or cords
Hang fabric panels to hide laundry areas or to create a makeshift closet
Creative furniture placement can visually reshape odd rooms or disguise other issues
Rugs can hide stained or worn flooring
Sprucing up an unsightly piece of furniture with paint or other creative means
Use wall hangings (shelves, photos, tapestries) to hide wall imperfections
Use fabric or place mats to drape over tables to change their appearance
Use fabric or blankets to hide worn places on old chairs or change their look entirely
Use paint to divert attention from less than lovely moldings, walls, floors, sidewalks or features
Table cloths that hide less than lovely necessities underneath

Related articles by The Inspired Room:

Creating Visual Serenity (Christian Women Online article)

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