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When You Give A House A Mirror: A Quick Update.

It all started with a mirror.

A $30 thrift store mirror, in fact, which I haggled down to $25. It was very large with a clean beveled edge and a gorgeous burled wood frame reminiscent of the 1950s, the era in which this house was built, and while I’m not typically a mid-century modern kind of gal, I lugged the thing to the back of my Tracker because, hey. A steal’s a steal.

You can’t get half the quality for double the price at Target these days, so into my car it went.

It weighs approximately 547 pounds.



When you give a house a mirror, it’s going to want some curtains.

I’ve wanted a mirror near the garage entry for as long as we’ve lived here. Our house is very long, with our bedroom on one end and the (would-be) laundry room on the opposite end, and countless is the number of times I’d be on my way out the door, only to run back across the length of our ranch for a last-minute mirror check and winter hat adjustment.

Sometimes it’s really hard being a woman.

In the below photo, taken after we ripped up the mint green carpet but before we finished the floors, I’m standing in the front living room near the fireplace, facing the dining room. The kitchen is through the doorway on the right, and the (would-be) laundry room is through the doorway on the left.


I hung the mirror in that spot to the left of the kitchen doorway, but just like that mouse with his cookie, after that it needed more.

Since we’re saving up to install washer/dryer hookups in our laundry room and finishing up some projects in the kitchen, we’re very much in work-with-what-you-have mode around here these days.

So that’s exactly what I did:


In a completely unplanned post-thrift shopping afternoon frenzy, I went nuts on this room. The rug is from our old kitchen, the console table and lamp were in the entryway, the curtains were in our old master bedroom, the light fixture has been sitting around here for 8-9 months (though I’m not convinced it will stay in the dining room, hence the extra wire), and the gold tray was a clearance Target find from a couple of years ago.



I know we need to talk about the branch.


I bought it 6 or 7 years ago from Kirkland Home and never hung it anywhere.

Up close, I really liked its earthy colors.


But from far away, I realized it was very reminiscent of some gold leaf branch decorations that were super popular when my mom was my age. In fact, she and my grandmother each have one, still hanging in their homes I believe, and it was too much of a throwback for me to handle.

But the wall to the right of the laundry room doorway needed something, because after I hung the mirror, a blank wall was reflected back at me every time I entered the house.

Now, there’s a tree branch:


It’s weird how a bunch of items I’ve had tucked away from our old house can come together to create a whole new look.

My friend Alaina said it reminds me of her grandmother’s house.

Which, okay. Ideally, my house would reflect the colorful, cozy craftsman style of a well-read-yet-hip 30-something couple, this was ALMOST FREE.

And that’s all that really matters right now.


Since we moved in just over a year ago, this space has gone from this:


To this:


And while it may not be our personal style, when it comes to getting the house ready for re-sale, I think we’re on the right track.

I’m really excited to show you are final kitchen projects, which are in the works, our makeshift sunroom dry bar, and I’ve finally painted my bathroom. At this rate, we might actually meet our goal of getting the house re-sale ready by the end of the year!


Dining Room To-Do:

  • Paint — The walls are filthy and a muted mint green with matching crown and baseboards. I’ll paint the trim white and pick a neutral for the walls, which should really help pull everything together.
  • Shoe Molding — This room still needs shoe molding to cover the gap between the baseboards and the hardwoods.
  • Rug — Investing in a lighter, brighter rug might make the room look less grandma. We’ll see if I can find something that doesn’t break the bank.

What do you think? Is it at least an improvement? Let me know if you find any killer rug deals or the perfect affordable light fixture.


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Colleen Brynn

Before I even read your words, I was surprised, knowing this isn’t your style, but the room looks leaps and bounds better than before, so you should be proud!


It actually makes me feel better, knowing you were surprised. It’s like when your mom buys you a shirt and you feel obligated to wear it, but you wish you were also wearing a sign that says, “This isn’t really my shirt.” But you already knew that without the sign. :)


Yes! I wouldn’t fill your whole house with them or anything, but it’s nice to have one in strategic places for a last minute do-I-have-any-food-in-my-teeth? check. :)


Looks wonderful!!!! So pretty…and by the way…I really like the branch…..I do!


Haha, thank you Diana! It’s growing on me. ;) (Get it?)


great job making it work with what you have. i am trying to do the same here in my new apartment. i did have to buy a new rug because i went from an apartment with all carpet floors to all wood floors. i ordered it from, they have a ton of stuff on sale seemingly all the time. i ordered this one and was pretty happy with the quality and appearance of it, given that it was 75% i was sorta expecting crap.


That’s a GREAT rug! You were about 5 hours too late, though — I just ordered on from Overstock. I actually intended it for the living room and was going to move a different old one to the dining room, but now I might want to put the new one in the sun room. We’ll see when it gets here. Also, I have too many rooms (and kind of miss wall-to-wall carpet!). :)


I think it looks great, very much considering you had zero budget and basically shopped from your storage! It turned out fabulous!


Thanks, Andi! I really want to paint it and hopefully brighten it up a bit.


OK, I am a bit WIERD sharing this, but I have to use a mirror to put on makeup, cleanse my face, brush my teeth, fix my hair, and most of all put on anti aging serum! LOL! But when I look in a mirror, I think of the past and how I changed it to the future. I Will always do this because, I can ALWAYS change my future!

Don't be shy... tell me what you think!