Believe it or not, this glamorously-chic home is a military rental designed on a dime for the most deserving of families. Let me show you how (and why) we did it!
Why this design project is so special to me
There are some people in this world whose kindness, humor, and sincerity attract others. People want to be around these folks because they make everyone else feel loved. This military home belongs to one such friend and her family.
The sad part of this story is that my dear friend, her husband, and children recently relocated homes under far less than ideal circumstances. During a routine pediatric check-up their doctor expressed concerns for the health of one of their children. That day started a terrible chapter in their lives. Months of testing and excruciating waiting eventually revealed a diagnosis that no parent wants to hear… a brain tumor. There were so many questions, so much heartache, and so many sleepless nights.
I remember reading the horrific and unbelievable news on Facebook. I wanted to rush there to help so badly. I wanted to hop on a plane and fly across the country to sob with my friend and hold her babies. I think we all wanted that…but we couldn’t. It is so hard to break away from our responsibilities at home (and at the time I had many). Instead I cried with her over the phone and waited for the next of many painful Facebook updates. It was 7 months of knowing that her baby had an aggressive brain tumor, but not finding anyone willing to take the case.
At month seven the situation changed rapidly. The military gave them what is called a humanitarian assignment. Civilian translation: They were able to work a move close to extended family and incredible pediatric oncology specialists. This meant that she would be back in my time zone…back within a day’s drive.
While I didn’t live near enough to help watch my friend’s children or make her meals during the stressful times, I could help her establish a beautiful and happy new home. I realize this sounds silly or trivial, but if ever there was a mother who needed a joyful abode, it was my dear pal. She certainly wasn’t going to be sleeping anyway, so why not use this time to design and beautify her life? Why not escape from the pain of reality through the power of imagination. I was comforted to know she was receiving physical and spiritual support from friends, family, neighbors, and church members. I just felt blessed to be there, even if it was virtually, to help her focus on the few positive things in her life that she could actually control. Can you say retail therapy at its finest?
Knowing the back story, it is obvious why this home needed to be a light, airy retreat. It also had to represent the personality of my friend, a beautiful woman who can outdress anyone I know. We lighted upon a high contrast color scheme with femine additions of blush, coral, magenta, and most any color pink we fell in love with (this is where I need to mention that her husband is a VERY patient man :). We topped it off with pops of gold and the result was beautiful.
I have learned that going through a health crisis is expensive, even if you have good health insurance. As a result, this home update had to happen on a dime…more like a penny. It was time to rekindle my long-standing relationship with craigslist. We spent countless hours reading all 27 pages of listings for sofas and 35 pages of chairs 🙂 Sleep really is over rated.
A craigslist settee and side chairs helped keep the costs low. The stars aligned and my friend found this dalmatian print coffee table at TJ Maxx. That cute little bowl? Walmart! I know, right?
The art and accessories are a combination of Hobby Lobby, Etsy, and TJ Maxx treasures (beefed up by things we dug out of her closet 🙂
The story on the two rugs is lovely. I sent a group email to twenty mutual friends. I mentioned that I was helping to redo her home, and if anyone wanted to chip in I could find a nice purchase to show our love and support. The result was unanimous and overwhelmingly generous. These sweet angel friends were feeling the same way I had. They all wanted to show their support, but hadn’t known quite how to do it. I was blown away by their generosity.
My friend picked up this thrifted table at her last assignment. With clean lines and good bones, it was a keeper. We decided to jazz it up with some Milo Baughman inspired Ikea chairs. To add a little pop of glam we painted the chair legs gold…Ok, by “we” I actually mean my friend. She was a self-proclaimed newbie to spray paint, but I can vouch that she did a bang up job! Nice work girlfriend! 🙂
We needed to soften this room with a little greenery. We scored this pot at TJ Maxx and filled it with a Sam’s Club plant.
The side table was an ugly little mahogany 90’s mission styled buffet. A coat of blush-colored chalk paint and it was mo’ better.
We picked up the pair of lamps from Hobby Lobby (on sale-woot woot!).
Hmmmm…. What to put on this wall? It is this very wall you see from the front window. It is also the wall you see when you first walk into the home…No pressure.
Since we were designing this home to be a refuge from the stress of reality and a tribute to those held most dear, a gallery wall was clearly the best option. Ikea to the rescue again! Inexpensive Ribba frames filled with beautiful family photos provided the perfectly personal backdrop to this room.
This old shoe bench got a face lift. I was crushin’ on this art. A cushion recover and some new pillows made this such a lovely vignette.
I was able to visit and hug my friend, hold her babies, and finish up all of the loose ends on this venture. I can vouch that the house turned out to be one of my favorite military homes I have seen. More importantly, my dear friend has told me that this project was a life saver in her darkest hours. I truly cherish the time we spent working on this project together.
I am so thrilled to tell you the most unbelievable news!!! Her sweet baby beat the odds!!!! The doctors performed a successful brain surgury. In an incredible answer to prayers, the sweet baby was in the very small percentage who actually conquered the horrible disease that threatened to change their beautiful little family! I am so grateful and overwhelmed by this blessing. I’ve watched in awe at the strength of my friend and the example of grace under fire that she demonstrated. I am touched by her continued kindess and sincerity, and I truly wish her and her family the very best.
Questions? Comments? I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave me a message below.