Turning our 1980's Tract Duplex into Something Way Better. | Skillshare Projects



Turning our 1980's Tract Duplex into Something Way Better.

Bookshelf (Well, Entire Office) Styling

Here are my after photos! Our home office got a complete makeover, so it's not just the bookshelves. I wrote about it all on my blog: 


Here's what I ended up with. I tried to apply the design principles, especially the bling, botanicals, and shape -- three things I had really never thought about before. 

I also tried to improve my photography skills. (skillz?)

We added a shelf above the desk, which I love. My side of the desk is sleek and clean, my husband's has his mammoth computer -- nothing to do about that! 

Here is the other long bookcase. I had to take some of the books off and relocate them. I'm still not sure what we're going to do with all of them. But I like the shelf better now with the storage (need) and more non-book elements.

Here are some detail shots showing some of my elements:

I'm really pleased with how my bookshelves (and this entire room) turned out!

Before Photos

Coffee Table + Couch

This room is SO BROWN. My husband painted the walls this color and it's outta here pretty soon. I'd like to move toward a more gray and yellow color scheme (with some wood furniture), so the walls are getting painted soon and we're getting new gray couches at the beginning of December. So I won't style my couches until then.

I actually like my modular coffee table, but just like everything in this room, it's brown. I have this grand plan to paint the inside of each cube a mustard yellow, but we'll see how that goes. Needs some styling, at least. 


I have two consoles I'd like to work with in this class -- the buffet in my dining room, and the hope chest in my bedroom.

The buffet is not the worst, but the mirror needs to be hung, the flowers look too fake (and are in a vase that's not proportional) and the cookbooks look messy). The orange wall is gone soon -- hopefully mustard or gray.

The hope chest in our bedroom will probably move at some point, but not for a while (I wanted to put a dresser I'm stripping and painting below the artwork -- that's why it's hung higher).


I am a reader, so I have a lot of books. These are the two bookshelves in our office. Right now, books are pretty much the only things that fit on my shelves. I am looking for another bookshelf to put in the spare bedroom, so I spread them out some more and style them better. We are also in the process of building a desk with a bookshelf above, so I'll style that too.


We got the comforter and sheets for a wedding gift, but without a headboard or bedskirt, the whole thing looks messy. The dog cage is enormous and I don't know what to do with it, and I'd like to better utilize my nightstand. I painted that lamp (it was an ugly brassy bronze before -- you can see it's brother in the living room photo) but I am not sure it works in here yet. Plus the room is really dark. Blah.

BONUS: Mantel

I love my husband, but THIS HAS TO GO. I am 99% sure I've convinced him to put up a soundbar instead of these horrible speakers, so that will help immensely. But there will be a TV here no matter what, so I have to work around it. That "media unit" is gone too -- we can find something much smaller for the DVD player (most of those electronics we don't use). Going to paint the fireplace and style it. 

Any suggestions? While this house isn't the worst place I've ever seen, it definitely needs some help!

My Sample Room 

1. Needs: a place to store books, kleenex, Kindle, chapstick, etc. -- all that stuff that's currently sitting on top of my nightstand.

2. Shape: I like the square headboard when contrasted next to the round lamp shades and lamp base.

3. Color: the color palette is bright white and yellow, with the gray helping to ground it all.

4. Pattern: modern versions of older patterns (I think?) all work together.

5. Would prefer more texture -- perhaps a fur rug or pillow. But the basket helps bring some in.

6. The pillows are arranged nicely on the bed, and the placement of the items on the dresser is pleasing.

7. Bling: brass tacks on the bed and brass/glass knobs on the dresser provide bling.

8. Botanicals: Some flowers give life to the space.

And that's that! I'm getting a tripod from my father in law tonight, so I'll take some photos of the before tomorrow!


Hello All!

I recently moved from my stylish former model home into my new husband's 1980's tract duplex. While I'm very happy to be living here with him, I am finding it much more difficult to decorate when the space itself is not very pretty. The stunning (STUNNING, I tell you) architectural details of this home include a roller-painted MDF kitchen, 1" molding with five layers of old paint, a leaky master shower that fits 1/2 a human, laminate flooring that is coming up because the foundation isn't level, and a whopping FIVE windows. FIVE. In the whole house.

Hold me.

Thankfully, the husband took care of the popcorn ceilings before I moved in, replacing them with smooth, sanded ceilings. And he painted the PINK pretty pretty princess room. So there is that.

I have also run across the issue that my husband has an opinion. I know, how dare he! :) His opinion, however, is not about the decor -- it's all function. Those cute desk chairs I like? Not comfortable enough. He wants TV speakers that will blow his face into oblivion when he watches action movies. Our dog must have his kennel right next to our bed. Our dog weighs 100 pounds. This is a big kennel.

ANYWAY. I am hoping this class will help me take my difficult home and make it something special -- without breaking the bank. I want to do a series on my blog (www.letseatgrandpa) on Real-Life Rennovations -- what to do when your house doesn't start out as a beautiful, light-filled 1800's farmhouse like we all see on Pinterest. I'm hoping to encourage people that it is possible to make something beauiful out of something...with only five windows.


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