For the past year, Cassandra Monroe has been flipping a home. Transforming it, in her words, from a dull and depressing sight, to a bright and modernized space. The Everygirl Food and Drink Editor (who can also add photographer and lifestyle blogger to an ever-growing list of caveats) has since been covering this inspired makeover on her blog and Instagram - follow along with #monroefamilyflip! So when we found out we'd be featuring Monroe's Big Reveal on domino, we were excited to say the least. Here, Monroe touches on the inspiration behind the makeover and shares the best decorating advice she's ever received. Take a look!
by Anna Kocharian photos courtesy of Cassandra Monroe
What inspired this renovation?
When we (my mother, brother and I) first inherited this home last summer, we didn’t know what to do with it at first. It definitely needed cosmetic work and some serious tender, love and care. I am a huge fan of home renovation and DIY shows and websites and have always been interested in interior design since I was in middle school. Suddenly, we had this home in our hands and I knew it was time to make my dream of flipping a home into a reality. After devising a plan of action- and a few glasses of wine later- we decided to bring this project to life!
What is your favorite part of the redesign?
I have many favorite parts of this redesign project so it’s hard for me to pick. I am in love with the overall difference of the inside of the home. Before, the home was very outdated and the orange-brown color palette left the home feeling dark and dreary. Now with the renovations, the home has a sense of elegance- the beautiful dark flooring mixed with the lightness of the walls feels so airy and welcoming. Also, I absolutely love the kitchen’s transformation- hands down one of my favorite parts!
How you would describe your personal style?
It took me a while to get my personal style down, and I think I’ll always evolve through different styles throughout my life. I love light and airy spaces with a clean aesthetic and bright whites. I love antiques and family heirlooms as centerpieces or conversation starters. Whenever I travel, I always bring back a memento, whether it be in photography form or something to display in my home.
What was the most challenging part of this project?
The most challenging part of this renovation for us was sticking to a timeline and budget. We had the idea that it we could finish the project in about 6 months but that definitely was not the case. We finished everything in about 10 months. We did pretty well on sticking close to our budget but still went over about $3,000. There are always unforeseen circumstances that come up though, which is why I didn’t get too hard on myself when we went past our timeline.
What's the best design advice you've ever been given? What's the best design advice you've ever been given?
This isn’t necessarily advice that has been given to me but just stuff I’ve picked up along the way: Think big picture and think realistically- is it worth getting new cabinetry when you could spend the time and experience refinishing the older cabinets? (For us, refinishing was a better option.) Installing a marble countertop in the home was super unrealistic, so I had a laminate countertop installed that looked very similar to marble to maintain the contemporary look I was going for. You also have to think about resale value, and how your designs compare to those in the neighborhood. One more thing- do a ton of research. Google everything!
What is one thing you scrimped on when it came to the decor? What did you splurge on?
As far as the actual renovation goes, we tried to do most of the work ourselves. This included removing the wallpaper, many days and nights of painting and refinishing the kitchen cabinets, plus other details. There were other projects, like the whole bathroom and the kitchen tiling, we needed to contract out. As far as decor, I’m thankful we were able to work with a local vendor (Dwell Home Furnishings and Interior Design of Iowa City) to help stage the home. For scrimping on decor, I suggest scouring through local flea markets or antique shops for pieces that speak to you, or taking brush to canvas and painting a unique piece for your home.
What part of this project are you most proud of?
First and foremost, I am really proud of my family for sticking through this together. Renovating a home is definitely stressful and although we had some tough times, I am thankful that my family supported this crazy decision from day one. I walk through the home at times remembering how it looked before, and I have to take a moment to remind myself of how much work we did. It’s a great feeling when you realize that you can accomplish anything your put your mind to.
What is one thing you learned from this project?
While renovating this home, I learned so much about home design and renovations, budgeting and timelines, but also about myself and my personal strength. I learned to be confident in my decision making and to never let a goal be out of reach- there is a will and a way to reach any goal you’ve set for yourself.
Anything else you would like us to know?
This project was made in memory of my father, Gregory Monroe. Like me, he had always wanted to renovate a home and we wanted to bring his wishes to life.
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