Practically Speaking

Our Mini Home Makeover: Before & After


Earlier this year, I decided to give our home a makeover. I wanted furniture that actually fit the size, style and architecture of the house.  The house we’ve been living in is a rental and we’ve been in it much longer than we ever expected. The challenge was to keep costs down and incorporate as much of my existing furniture as possible. The problem is that my furniture came from our grand Mediterranean-style house in Florida and I needed to find things that worked in this cozy Ranch-style house by the beach, which is all about indoor-outdoor living.

I really wanted help from a professional interior designer, but felt overwhelmed at the thought of hiring someone because of my small budget. That’s when I found Natasha from Natasha Jansz Design. I sent her photos of my living room/dining room by email and her immediate suggestions were just what I was looking for as well as her fees and finding furniture and accessories that stayed within my price range.

After chatting with Natasha, I shared that we wanted the interiors to better reflect our family, which is I believe is causal, unpretentious and fun.  Natasha introduced some clean-lined furniture that was better scaled to our home’s architecture, with a range of influences from Danish Modern to Industrial, a style we love and use in our Napa Valley home. She then splashed color (which I’m not afraid of because it makes me really happy) in accessories and abstract art and pulled the interior’s connection to the spectacular views of the outdoors with large plants and a beautiful landscape photograph in the dining area.

Natasha did such a fantastic job for us (and is the reason I want to share her with you) and it felt effortless. Really! The majority of it was by email through photographs and suggested pieces to buy with links attached. She did the majority of the work, I just had to choose which pieces, click and purchase. I bought almost everything online so I didn’t have to bother running from store to store picking up items only to find out they were out of stock- which happens all the time at chain stores! That brings me to the point of staying on budget. You’ll see that the majority of our pieces were bought at stores like World Market, Target, Homegoods, Urban Outfitters and Ikea. I spent more money on a few pieces I knew would be a good investment when we buy a home in Los Angeles which were the art by Chris Miele, the credenza by Sunbeam Vintage (I’m SO in love with this store) and the lamp by Restoration Hardware.

Natasha showed me some things I definitely would not have been drawn to on my own and was surprised at how much I loved them once they were in the room like the Urban Outfitters Butterfly Chairs which are surprisingly super comfy. She also suggested I send them with my daughter Natasha in 2 years to college if they don’t fit the new house! Perfect! She showed me spaces in the home I would not have utilized with pieces of furniture or accessories that ended up making all the difference. She also did a fantastic job of explaining to me why certain things would or wouldn’t work well and not just saying, “no, that’s not good or yes, I love it.” Natasha did an amazing job for us and whether it’s a style you like or not, I’m sure you’ll agree the before and after is a HUGE success!

Now let’s get on with the photos! Don’t laugh too hard at our bland, beige rooms with furniture that doesn’t fit! Remember, we never expected to be in this place for more than a year and this mama wasn’t about to buy all new things for a rental home! Just because I make money doesn’t mean I don’t care about the value of it. Nevertheless, plans change and while the rest of our Florida home furniture is tucked away in 8  large storage crates, I just wanted our small space to be something I enjoyed being in every day and a place I was happy to have our guests over to.

1AA 1B


2A (2) 2B


3A (2) 3B


4A (2) 4B


5A (2) 5B


6A (2) 6B


P.S. In case you’re wondering, we moved the engagement photo of Val and me that was over the fireplace into a more appropriate room, our bedroom. I always felt weird about having just the two of us up there without the kids, but that was all we ended up getting out of storage (don’t ask.) LOL. And that random desk? Yeah, that used to be in the boys bedroom back in FL, but I needed something for the kids to do homework on…. ugh. Don’t you see why the investment was worth it?!

If you’re thinking about redecorating or want personal design guidance on a budget, Natasha offers e-services for those who aren’t local. Honestly, we did this together as if I weren’t local because it was mostly by email. Don’t be afraid! Click on the links below to learn more about Natasha Jansz Design.

Natasha also consults with people who are buying and selling houses in the L.A. area.

You can also find her on Facebook  at

Here were are after a sweaty day of putting the finishing touches together.

Here were are after a sweaty day of putting the finishing touches together.

Home photo credit to Judson Morgan Photography.



Framed Black & White Landscape Photograph – Chris Miele

2 Abstract Canvases – World Market


Sofa, Media Console and Dining Table- my existing

2 Leather Butterfly Chairs – Urban Outfitters

Carved Wood Side Table – World Market

2 White Chairs – Ikea Poang

Coffee Table – West Elm Bentwood

Metal Dining Chairs, Bar Stools – Overstock

Desk – Target Threshold Campaign

Ladder Book-case – Target Threshold Carson

Desk Chair – Sunbeam Vintage

Mid-Century Style Credenza – Custom-made by Sunbeam Vintage 


Living Room Rug – West Elm Bullseye

Faux Lambskins on chairs – Ikea

Pillows – World Market (plain green), Target (colorful lumbars), Homegoods (chevrons), Serena & Lilly (green patterned)…not sure about the heart pillow, can find out from Candace

Tripod Floor Lamp & Shade – World Market Tristan

Coil Pot and Pepper-berry Branches near fireplace – Crate and Barrel

Wood Container near TV – Target

Branches in Wood Container – Pier One

Dining Room Rug – West Elm Jute Chenille Herringbone

Dining Room Plant – Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Cerused Horse Sculpture on window-sill – Z Gallerie

Floor-lamp by desk – Restoration Hardware Atelier Scissor 

Green Boxes & File Holders on book-case – The Container Store

Tray on credenza – Homegoods

Ceramic Hand Dish on credenza – Urban Outfitters

Soapstone Heart on Tray – World Market

Soapstone Sculpture on Mantle – World Market