Home...and a GIVEAWAY!

Tonight was the first night in months, literally months, that one of us did not have to be somewhere. We were able to be here...at home. Finally, it's a place I love to be!

As a child, I didn't long to be "home" like some of my friends did. My friend, Jamie, for one loved to go "home" which meant back to her parents house, long after she left home. It was a comfortable, familiar place for her and there were times in her life when she wanted to be there more than anywhere else.  I've always wanted that for my children. I wanted our house to be their "home".  A place that would feel comfortable and familiar no matter how old they got and how far away they moved. 
A place they would always long to come back to. I thought I had accomplished that over the years since having Owen & Sophia, but what I hadn't quite mastered was making our house a place where Trevor and I could relax and unwind. It was always comfortable for the kids. All of toys, art projects and displayed good grades made the kids feel loved and pampered, but it made us feel overwhelmed and inundated.

I realized, wanting to make our home a comfortable place for the kids was fine, but we had to want to be here too! So I decided to make a change. I wanted a peaceful, calm and uncluttered space. I wanted a home that housed our treasured memories in a simple and beautiful way. I wanted to highlight our history and our hopes while maintaining a classy, stylish feel. 

When it finally dawned on me that I had no idea how I was going to do that, I called in the expert, 
my friend and soul sister Joanne from Joanne's Decor Plans, to help me make my cluttered, kid-dominated space a soothing home for all of us.

I gave Joanne 3 guidelines:
1. Inexpensive,
2. If it didn't mean something to me or I didn't absolutely LOVE it...I didn't want it,
3. No fake plants!

Joanne gave me 3 guidelines:
1. Take about 1 year to complete the project,
2. Swear every time I see her,
3. Trust her!

Here are some the before and after pictures of the magic Joanne worked in our family room, downstairs bathroom and entry way. She is amazing! 

I have always hated this oak entertainment center, and after some crazy 8 year old boys broke the glass out of one of the door, I loathed it even more! Now I love it. A little paint, a screwdriver and a handy husband gave the old, oak eyesore a beautiful, built-in feel.

I love the idea of a collage wall, but I hated the thought of mixing frame finishes. Here was one time that I took a deep breath, trusted Joanne and ended up completely loving the results.

I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep my $40 Goodwill shelf, but of course, Joanne knew the right paint color would turn it into a rich looking piece of furniture. 

I did spend a little money on the cool lamp next to the couch; it was like $60 at Gordman's. 
Oh and the Pottery Barn pillows...they were $3 each at Goodwill! 

I love how we found a way to display all the stuff the kids love to collect: anthers, rocks, feathers, seashells, owls and even the French horn my trash-collecting father gave me for Christmas.

Now take a look at how our bland, vanilla powder room with crappy decor transformed into a vibrant space with art and personality. 

The jellyfish photos were taken at the Shedd Aquarium last summer. I had them framed for months but wasn't sure where to put them. Believe me, I wouldn't have thought the powder room, but I trusted Joanne and it worked great.


This is a photo I took years and years ago with an old point & shoot camera. I love that it matches perfectly in my bright new bathroom. 

Once we got the paint color worked out in the entry way, the decor went together with a little elbow grease. Trevor took my $19.99 Goodwill sewing machine and turn it into a beautiful, black side table per Joanne's request.

Trevor also fashioned this doorknob hanger using the old glass knobs from our first house and some super smooth wood from his grandfather's farm. For 50 years, cows walked along side these fallen branches and "sanded" them smooth as glass. We've had the branches & knobs for years just waiting to figure out something to do with them. I love these unique and useful pieces.

Joanne understood my desire to continue to use the kid's art work and my photos as the common thread that ties the whole space together. Here is an example we came up with ways to showcase and organize at the same time. The personalized clipboards are really handy and super easy.

My friend and local artist, Beth at Prairie Hills Pottery, helped the art & photos theme with some of her amazing personalized pottery pieces. I love, love, love the silhouette plates she made of Owen & Sophia! They work perfectly in our very informal dining room. 


Beth also created this lovely ceramic pennant with the kids handwriting on each tile. I can't even explain how much I love having this fill the big bare space above our bed.  
I think Joanne's next project here at The Compound will be to beautify my room using this as the focal point. I have absolute faith she will nail it!

Here is the really exciting part...a giveaway! 

Joanne & Beth have decided that 1 lucky From The Compound reader will receive a lovely little home makeover. 
Joanne will be giving away a consultation and decor planning session and Beth will be giving away a personalized piece of pottery. Together the prizes are valued at over $150! 

All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me what you think of my new space and which space in your house needs a makeover.  The giveaway starts Friday, July 13th and ends July 27th. The winner will be drawn randomly on July 28th.  Good luck!


  1. Julie- it looks great! I had seen some of these projects in transition, but seeing them before and after really makes me realize how uncreative I am about decorating! I really need Joanne's help with my living room- our furniture doesn't fit, the things hanging on the wall look like they're thrown together, and the only time we spend in there is spent cleaning up the kids' stuff off the floor. And I have always loved those plates with the kids' silhouettes- great idea!

  2. This is what I need. I feel so lost on what to do with my house since we had to do so much work to it. I think I am just burnt out. Your house looks gorgeous!

  3. The house looks GORGEOUS...I love how everything fits together, when all items are not the "same". Helps to have a handy husband around too ;-) Congrats!

    Becca Kroll

  4. I'm always amazed at what someone with a little vision and know-how can do to transform a space. I love all the after shots. I think my favorites are the powder room and the entertainment center. What a difference just having the right color can do. I desperately need something done with our bedroom. It's cluttered and completely devoid of personality. It's the "neglected" room and given that it's our only truly personal space it needs to be more of a place to relax!

  5. I love ALL the transformations! I especially love the way very personal items to you were taken and made into something to show off on your walls (the doorknob/piece of wood display). It all has personality...I need personality in my bedroom/master bath (well more than just there but...). My bedroom is yellow with too much flowers and let me tell ya...I'm WAY over it!!!

  6. Julie your home looks amazing!!! Everything is so beautiful and special. I love that you used inexpensive items and ideas to make it fashionable and affordable. I would love to have someone that could help me decorate our apartment. I think with the right touch it wouldn't feel so claustrophobic! Plus I want to do something special with our wedding photos rather than just random frames scattered throughout! Enjoy your beautiful space and your wonderful family. Miss you guys!

  7. I like it Julie... I think I like the powder room the most. The color is great!

  8. Julie I LOVE it all...especially the entertainment center! I didn't realize you had a powder room---what exactly do you powder in there? :) My whole house needs a makeover, but I think I'd start with the dining room. I'd like to dig up stuff the kids have made over the years and display it similar to how you have. I also love your entry way!

  9. Julie, What a great transformation Joanne has done. Everything just comes together just right. I love how she took things that you just had laying around and didn't know what do to with it, and she used them all in a way to make your rooms look amazing. Where would I start with a makeover in my house, let me see, can't decide, but if I had to pick one I would have to go with my living room. That is my main spot to spend my time and I would like somewhere in my living room to just relax and read a book. I have an huge bay window that I have no idea what to do with. Hope you enjoy your new transferred home.

  10. Julie-I love the transformation. I truly am amazed with people who have the gift to transform spaces with an excellent eye. Jason and I have no such skills. This is on our wishlist to have someone come and do this for us someday, our living room has been the same since we moved in I think. I'll have to come and check it out in person sometime soon!

  11. Beautiful 'after' pics! We are in the very midst of repainting the interior, and I have some questions about a few pieces of furniture but your entertainment center gives me pause that I might possibly be able to keep it and revamp it.

    Great work!!!

  12. I love seeing before and after pictures. My mathematical mind doesn't do wonderful creative ideas like those! My kitchen / dining room ... talk about vanilla! It could really use a consult. There is always someplace else higher on the priority list for our money than decorating!
    January Meylor

  13. Angela StauffacherJuly 25, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    I love the pictures Anymore, I look around our house and all I can see are kids toys! Maybe there really is something worthwhile under there! Do you think she can revamp our diaper genie into something chic?? lol! I am so jealous of your comfortable and stylish new crib!

  14. I loved your house before and truly can't imagine it any better but.....the new look is amazing. Love the personalized touch!
    Debi Heisner

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  16. Wow! Everything looks amazing! Your house looked great before but all of these little changes make it look some cozy and warm! My entire house still has bare walls because I'm not sure where to even start! :) But if I had to pick, I would say my living room or bedroom need the most help!


I can't wait to hear from you!