NataLee 9-1-1: Acknowledge the Old, Move Forward With the New

Jennifer B. from Austin, TX writes:

Hello there!

So excited to send you a question! I am about to move into our first home and it’s a biggie in Austin, TX. As pretty as it is, it’s still got that “cooke cutter we all live in the same kind of big ol’ nice homes” vibe. How do I make the great room/living area more special? The only piece I’m attached to is I have an an espresso dark brown  velvet sectional that wi’ll be taking with us. Right now the whole house is whitey white inside. The kitchen that shares part of the great room has dark, dark almost black brown cabinets with a light, almost greyish/white speckled countertop, but with a natural tuscanish backsplash (sounds awful, but is gorgeous). My question is how can I bring is som glamour? Once you buy a Tuscan style on the outside, are you stuck with the Tuscan style interior decorating? If so, how can we *bling* it up. (Sorry, I hat that word too, but don’t know what to update it with!) 

Also, I am stumped about whether or not to paint the main part of the house including the entry way? Everything loosk so pretty in white, but seems a little unfinished? I really don’t wanna go the taupe or yellowy Tuscan if I can help it. If you are able to answer any of my questions, I’ll be forever grateful!


Girl, I so feel your pain!! As you know from following my blog, we just bought a new-to-us home in Arizona, where the VERY same problem exists… every single home looks exactly the same. Our home is in the mediterranean-red tiled roofed-typical Arizona house style. So my answer is NO. NO. NO. Well, at least in most cases.  If for example you have a ultra sleek contemporary exterior, I wouldn’t really think it’s the best idea to do an ultra traditional interior, that would just be weird. But, if your home’s exterior isn’t extreme in style, you can get away with being flexible on the inside. In fact, I’m taking my “Mediteranean” styled home in an Eclectic-Transitional direction.  I feel like you might like that direction a  bit too.

Don’t feel obligated to the Tuscan style, but that doesn’t mean you have to ignore it all together. You can give little nods here and there to that design style while still maintaining your own personal flair.

Here are just a few ideas I thought of to differentiate your home from the pack and also add a little bling.

1. Make your fireplace more of a focal point.

Your living room….

What your living room fireplace could potentially look like.  There is a lot of wall and a lot of white with your fireplace. I think if you did some sort of bat and board treatment above your fireplace followed by being topped off with some cool stone on the upper third, it would add so much interest to your home (ignore the furniture and accessories in the below photo- blah!)

2. Acknowledge the traditional elements in your home, but don’t feel married to them.

This shows that you can add “bling” to a traditional home, while also bringing a more transitional glitzy look.  Using cleaner lines in the furniture, graphic patterns and bolder colors against the traditional elements of the home help to pull off this look.

3. Add more trim as you can afford it.

This will differentiate you. If you can do this yourself, you will save money. Also, consider the style of molding you use. The bat and board look is a little cleaner and less fussy than a more ornamental look.

4. Be brave and use bold color!

Don’t get caught in the taupe/tan rut. Not just on the walls, but in pillows and window treatments too. Don’t be afraid to use a bolder color…

But just check this entry redo I found… you could get a little inspiration from this:

This is her before…

Very similar in style to yours…

I could totally see you doing something like this in your entry way. Notice the somewhat tuscan light fixture, paired with this glammed up trellis pattern.

You can do what she’s done and just do it on the upper portion of your staircase, or I think it would be nice to carry it all the way down. For instructions on how she did this, go here:

5. Use mirrors and glass items.

This will add the sparkle and a little bit of glam you are looking for.  Think furniture pieces, lamps, as well as the more obvious.

Hope this helps! Would love after photos of you in your new home. Good luck!

Happy Monday!


**I try to credit all photos displayed in articles, but don’t always know the original source, if one of these is yours, please let me know so that I can give credit where it’s due!

2 thoughts on “NataLee 9-1-1: Acknowledge the Old, Move Forward With the New

  1. jen says:

    you are fantastic! i love your style, and i would love to pull off any of this for our new home! i’ll send pics!!!
    forever grateful!

  2. jen says:

    p.s. that middle picture of the finished dining room is really inspirational to me. i would never have thought you could pull off black/white, and browns/blues in the same room. this is flawless.

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