E-decking the halls at Just a Girl’s house

She might think she’s “just a girl“- but to many of us out here in blogland she’s A-MA-ZA-ZING!

Chris and I have been e-friends for a couple of years now, and I’ll never forget the day I received an email from her that said, “Uh…is Kevin at Ikea in Michigan? I think I just looked at him, but I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t sure.” I wrote her back and told her that it was indeed Mr. LC, and that he was there recording his album at the studio across the street. Unfortunately he left the store before they had a chance to meet- but I, however, made a super secret trip up to her neck of the woods again tonight.  Yep.  I did.  I ate lunch in ‘Bama- but I was in MI by five.  I wanted to do a little “surprise by design” style renovating/re-decorating for her while she and the family were out for their weekly Thursday night dinner at Outback Steakhouse. According to their next door neighbor, (a.k.a my accomplice) they usually don’t stay out long- so I had to act fast.

Chris recently told me she had been thinking about putting an arch over the doorway that leads to the living room, so I went ahead and threw that together for them real quick-like.  A little drywall, some touch-up paint. Easy peasy.

Hey, did I mention I drove up there in a large U-haul truck filled with all sorts of home decor and Christmas stuff? Yep. I did. I do that sometimes. Just drive from one state to another, in a big, noisy vehicle, loaded up with a buncha neat-lookin’ stuff.  Its really fun.

Long story short- I was able to finish my surprise makeover before they got back home, and weirdly enough, I was able to make the trip from Michigan back to Alabama in just 37 minutes. (Not one red light the whole way- yeehaw!)

I haven’t heard from Chris yet.  They must have decided to go out and see a movie or something.

If you’d like to see how it turned out, simply move your cursor back and forth over the photos below. (Google readers you’ll have to hop on over to TheLetteredCottage.net if ya wanna see!)

Hope she likes it!

(Note: Obviously I’m kidding about traveling up to MI tonight and re-doing Chris’ living room. I just put those drawings together in Photoshop for her so that she could decide if she wants to do the “arch thing” or not. Hee hee!)

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  1. Kerri says

    :) That had me so very excited for a moment! I live in Michigan, and near the Canton Ikea !
    Let me know if you’re ever in the area, I can tell you about some cool “junk” shops ;)

    • Ellen S. says

      Kerri – I live just a couple miles from the Canton IKEA…so, tell me what are the cool junk shops in our area?

      P.S. Sound like you have a Canton, MI fanclub Layla…better hop on up here and visit us!

  2. Linda says

    The arch makes a great difference, differentiating the rooms and adding character. Good job!

    I love the rug, would you please let us know the details?

  3. says

    Oh, I love it so much! She’s so lucky to have a friend like you! Her house is amazing, but I really like your little makeover! Please, oh please, put me on your list! I’m so stuck on my family room. :)

  4. says

    Oh my gosh, u totally had me going! I was like wow that’s awesome that you would sneak in and surprise her like that! Then I started to wonder if I could you to come to my house! Haha! Love the way the change would look too!

  5. says

    Gosh Layla..you even painted her walls, added a mirror above the fireplace, decorated for Christmas and even put in crown molding….what an elf you are! :0) LOVE the archway…Chris you SO need to do this!! :) You can sneak in and photoshop my house anytime you want…heck, I live in KY, you can just come visit me and we’ll go junkin’ together and forget the decorating part! lol :)

    Have a great weekend! (oh and you look cute as a bug in the Uhaul!) lol

  6. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says

    Well Layla, for a minute there I so excited, imagining you in a U-Haul filled with cool stuff on your way to my house! You are too cute! … And I think Chris should definitely go with the arch. It makes a huge difference! … And if you ever feel the need for a road trip to Maryland, I’m here!

  7. says

    hahahaha!!! You totally got me! I was like WOW! She really does drive around like that?! I’m totally gullible. I like your changes :) And her home is gorgeous, with or without the arches.


  8. says

    Dude, I was so confused. But then I read your last bits, and now I get it. Also, I drank more coffee. Will you e-visit me? Or even just hop into a real U-Haul and come on up! YES?! Awesome. I’ll put another pot o’ coffee on! The two windows above the fireplace are GENIUS.

  9. says

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????????!!!!!! I’m so madly in love with you right now, I justa can’t stand it! It would have taken me 3 1/2 years just to get the picture uploaded in Photoshop–let alone THAT beautifullness! You’re so sweet AND funny. No wonder we’re friends.

  10. says

    I knew that it wasn’t exactly possible for you to do that drive so fast. But honestly, I wouldn’t put it past ya to haul up to Michigan to do a redesign! haha! I love the design you came up with. It’s perfect. I can’t wait to see what Chris decides.

  11. elaine says

    awwww…I think when you come to Michigan you should have a meeting of Michiganders for junkin’ and dunkin’ (coffee)….I’m an hour north of IKEA… Sound good?

  12. marcia says

    I love it!!!! And you are amazing … making it from Alabama to michigan (or was it the other way around??) in just 37 minutes!! ;) LOL

  13. says

    Hey Layla- Can you describe the framed art on the right? I have recently incorporated a refurbished packing trunk, orchard ladder (to hang blankets on) and a handmade sign from a picket fence- into my living room decor. I have some old boards that I could simulate making the framed art you are showing. Just wandering what your details were for how it is hanging the frames. Thanks so much for creating idea inspiring post like this. I wish there could be a weekend long “decorating/crafting” session with all you fun gals in blogland. I would even pay if we got to make 3 or 4 great decor items like a paper wreath, custom art…anything really, lol.


  14. SheilaG says

    Ok, along with everyone else here, you had me jealous that you weren’t sneaking into my house! (Never thought I’d say that to anyone!) Love what you can do with photoshop. I’ve had photoshop elements for a couple of years now, still haven’t sat down to figure it out- intimidating. Would LOVE to have you “redo” most rooms in my house! :)

  15. says

    You had me fooled (except for the time it took to get there and back)! I’m thinking, her husband must have been in on it as well but why didn’t Layla stick around to capture the response on video? So, not Layla. Hmm.
    Your makeover looks great. I’m beating Chris wishes you did take a road trip down in big ol’ clunky box truck loaded with things to decorate with! (Too funny!)

    Your Friend,

  16. Amy says

    Are her table and chairs from Ethan Allen b/c i have my eye on a set that looks identical!

    Love the archway…it def gives the room a little somethin’ extra!


  17. LauraB says

    A_MAZ_ING!!! I can’t believe what a difference you can make in a room. Seriously. I want you to come to my house in January – I have good ideas, but I can’t seem to pull it all off. I live in Prattville, so that should make your road trip super quick and easy :)!

  18. Deb-IL says

    Layla you amaze me. Your design eye and photoshop skills are killer but your blog presentation is what makes you a stand-out. Your posts not only showcase your work or an event but they elicit an emotion or a response – I love the almost daily chuckles you give me! You’re a triple threat girl – and that’s a good thing!

  19. says

    I love the room! The long mirror over the mantel/mantle has given me some ideas! (And made me want to get out my Christmas decorations!)

  20. says

    Okay, silly me, you had me going for a minute until I got to the drive back part. Duh. I think I need my coffee now.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could all work as fast as Photoshop or Sabrina from BeWitched. Just a twitch of the nose and we’d be done!

    Thanks for sharing. Love that rug!


  21. Patsy says

    Very neat. I like that mirror you photoshopped, complete with windows and a chandi. LOL I think all mantels look best with a mirror. Good job.

  22. JEN JESCHKE says

    WOW I’ve always thought Chris’s room was gorgeous but this just put it over the top! LOVE IT!

  23. says

    I am such a loser! I was thinking “really” Michigan to Alabama in 37 minutes? Really? That can’t be right, I have to look at a map … if it were only 37 minutes they would see each other more, wouldn’t they? ….DUH!!!! Big “L” on my forehead. You had me hook line and sinker!!!!!

  24. says

    Layla, you crack me up girl! At first I was thinking waaa? She’s going to do all this while they’re having dinner at Outback?

    Loved the mock-up on photoshop you did!


  25. says

    I’m pretty gullible and you had me going there for a minute! The arch really makes a huge difference and it’s amazing to me to see what the rug, pictures and mantle details do for the room! Great job—even if it was “virtual”.


  26. Sarah Teske says

    That arch definitely “cozies-up” the space. And really like the mirror above the fireplace. It really lightens up the space.

    And now, I REALLY want to get out our Christmas stuff. And I don’t care what my daughter tells everyone at preschool – ha!

  27. beth says

    Layla-any chance you might suggest some paint colors similar to what is here? We’re getting ready to move (again!) and I’m liking the color combo and the table is the style I’ve had my eye on.

    Thanks dear!

  28. says

    Too funny! You totally had me going at first. I am so gullible. :)
    I was so stinkin’ jealous!
    You did a great job with her family room. It looks so cozy and festive. I really do like the arched doorway.
    Swing that UHAUL by Kentucky sometime, would-ya?
    Have a great weekend!

  29. says

    Your Photoshop tricks are just too cool I tell ya! Love the rug and frame to the right of the mantel too. Oh, and it that a mirror above the mantel. That is a fun trick too. :)

  30. says

    Chris, you should definitely go for it! And buy that rug while you’re at it! ;D

    Layla, your Photoshoppin skillz are amazing!!

  31. says

    You completely GOT ME. I really thought you drove up there and did that! I love both you girls. <3 AMAZING inspiration every visit.

  32. says

    omg!! i love it!! wouldnt it be great if someone would actually do that??/!! i know i would love it!!
    whats on the wall on the right side of the fireplace? and whats over the fireplace? i know, i know , i ask alot of questions. :)

  33. says

    Count me in with the gullible crowd. Although I was about to completely resign if you did that kind of drywall job while someone was out to dinner. Too funny!

    Great job on the photoshop’d arch and pretty accents! You’re such a sweet friend.

  34. Ann says

    Too funny! I thought “gee, her house sure is neat for someone who didn’t know her house was going to be photographed!”

  35. geri says

    OH POOEY!!!
    As my sweet 3 year old granddaughter Kate would say.
    I was truely hoping you would load up the truck like on
    Beverly Hillbillies and ‘come a visitin’ here next.
    A titch farther to Ct. but I would have LOVED it!
    I need a layla fixer upper.
    I am sure Chris will love your magic even if it wasn’t done
    while she was out to dinner or a movie. hehe
    You are a funny girl Miss Layla.
    have a wondeful weekend. geri.

  36. says

    You had me for a minute. I was just fixing to say you can come and see me any time….I’ll leave the key under the mat and I’m only an hour away!!!

  37. Deb Claytor says

    I LOVE this arch. For our family built a Habitat for Humanity house in 2005, and we have a huge arch like this that spans some 22 feet, between my eat in kitchen and living room.
    So REALLY how much work do you think making this arch would be?? I would love some pointers/tips so I could do this project.
    THanks for ALL the INSPIRATION…..
    You have been Blessed w/ some AMAZING talent,
    and THANK you for bless so many others by sharing
    your talent.
    Deb CLayTor

  38. says

    baaa hahahahaha you had me going. I kept re-reading… Michigan to Bama in 37 minutes? what? I wish you could have heard my inner diaglogue. LOL

  39. says

    Ha! You had me going & I was trying to figure it all out! Thank goodness you fessed up at the end, I might have been up all night trying to comprehend how you did it. LOL :)

  40. says

    if I was going to attempt to build something over my fireplace like that would I glue that mirror to the wall and then frame around it with mouldings? Or would I try to make it so the mouldings hold that mirror in place?

    Better yet, is kevin available to come to my house and build it for me?

  41. Kate says

    This is random, but I was totally excited to hear that your boy was at the MI Ikea/across the street! And I bet I know the Outback Steakhouse they were at! I’ve lived in Wisconsin for a couple years now, but I grew up about 10 minutes from where the Ikea is now – I wish I still lived that close, it would be great to visit Ikea more. :)

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