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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

Friday night we had the awesome privilege of being the special guests at Calvary Church of Souderton’s Ladies Night Out.  We were asked to come up with something involving DIYing and be super entertaining while 450 women looked on… yikers, no small task right?
We chatted about it a bit and then decided we were up for another White Box Challenge!!  If you missed our first one with Nate Berkus, you can check it out HERE.  We set up a Plain Jane, Ho-Hum room, talked through each project, starting it on stage in front of everyone, and then had 30 minutes during intermission to actually transform the room.  Yes, we know we’re completely insane!!
We wish all of you across the country could have come to the event- it was SUPER fun, but since you couldn’t- we thought we’d share some of the fun with you!!
One of the first things we talked about was using what you’ve got.  We’ve all got “mad skillz” but my skillz are probably pretty different than yours.  Rather than feeling like you’ve got to fit into a perfect mold, instead, find a way to use what you’re good at- and what you most likely love- to help others.  Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking we need to serve in the traditional ways i.e. church nursery, ushering at church, helping at a food bank- and while all of those are awesome and perfect for some people, God might have gifted you in a different way, to do different things.  For some weird reason, I can make rooms look pretty… not your typical serving “gift”, but Jess and I have been able to use it in awesome ways- decorating the women’s recovery center, Jess did the children’s room at her house, our Design It Forward projects etc…  Bottom line: Use what you’ve got, don’t try and fit into someone else’s mold- God wants to use YOU with the cool talents he’s given you.
 Then, we talked about using what you’ve got in your home!!  We all have rooms in our houses that we’d like to change, but odds are we don’t need to go out and start from scratch- so we explored ideas for making generic items awesome!!  The biggest things to remember hear are #1- Don’t be afraid to try something!!  Working on Knock It Off, we’re now 100% convinced that fear is what holds peeps back from making their home exactly how they want it!  #2- Your home should reflect YOU! It doesn’t need to look like a Pottery Barn catalog (although those are pretty)- it should be a place that YOU love.  If that means a green piano, then go for it.  If it means neutral, planked walls, then have at it!  Whatever you do, just make sure it feels right for you and your family.
So, here’s where our room started off…
(We actually struggled to make it look “bad”  Jess kept staging things nicely and I would go through and mess them up on purpose!)
The space was fine, but kind of blah- no real personality at all…
Now, please forgive me… this is a blogger foul, but the after pic is from a different spot- you don’t get the full room.  There were 450 ladies in the room at the end and I couldn’t get off stage to get a good pic.  My bad!
BUT…Here’s the room after our 30 minute makeover!
Just a wee bit better eh?
Here’s a bit of a before and after all you can eat buffet, and we’ll be back later this week with more project how-to info!
Ikea RAST dressers are under $40 and you can do so many things with them!
Here it is BEFORE…
We combined two to make a fun, color blocked buffet.
And in case you didn’t notice… we found the biggest shade this side of the border!!
We picked up this baby at a thrift shop…
We knew it had potential, it was just being hidden by a 10 foot shade… it was like a “shade-nado” Ok, bad, lame joke sorry!
With some fun orange spray paint and a new shade trimmed with ribbon, it looked much better!
My official survey showed that 8/10 households has at some point owned an Ikea LACK side table.  I mean at $7.99 it’s almost impossible not to buy one.  The problem is that it SCREAMS Ikea more than any other piece.
The good news… it’s one of the easiest Ikea pieces to hack!  We turned ours into a tufted ottoman with this gorgeous Ikat fabric (we got it at Joann- use a coupon to get the great price we paid!)
 Another common Ikea piece is this chair…  Again, so cheap, but sadly, looks it.
We added nail head detailing and paint dipped the legs in the same orange as the lamp.  Added a fun pillow and suddenly this Ikea chair isn’t so generic anymore!
 Art can be expensive and unless to want to unload tons of cash, it’s usually pretty generic.  This is just blah artwork you could find at Target, Kohls, etc…
We used letters cut on paper, some spray adhesive, and spray paint to make our own custom art.  The options are endless with this project.
 How ’bout that for some fun before and afters?!?  And honestly, every project was started live on-stage and then we finished all of them, painted the top of the wall, and added chair rail in 30 minutes!  It was insanity and oh, so awesome all at once.
We couldn’t have done it without the help of some awesome volunteers!! Our blog readers rock and 3 awesome ladies worked behind the scenes to have all the projects ready to go for intermission.
Dana, Beth, and Donna were great to work with and plus, we love meeting readers in real life!!  Thanks again ladies!!
Also, our carpenter and friend Matt made our entire white box before the event and then installed a chair rail and painted the teal walls during intermission in about 5 minutes flat!  Matt’s in the Philly area and does amazing contracting work!  If you need a project done- he’s our #1 recommendation! You can reach him at Tell him we sent you!!
So, all-in-all we felt like the event was a success.  We loved the challenge and thrill of doing a room live, but more importantly- we LOVED being able to challenge so many women to use what they’ve got in their homes and also in their lives.  We’re honored and feel pretty darn blessed to have been given this opportunity.
Check back later this week for project how-to’s and other inspiration ideas for these pieces!
If you were at the event… what’d you think? 
Are you ready to try some DIY in your own home? 

The comments +

  1. You both did a fantastic job at Calvary last night with your funny stories and awesome DIY tips! Thanks a bunch for coming out:D

  2. HisTruly says:

    Thank you for your wonderful entertainment and inspirational education and inspiration! 🙂
    You have my wheels spinning….

  3. […] an entire space! Here’s the before and after- to see the full post about the challenge, click HERE. Throughout the evening, we upcycled and hacked our way to a completed room, but there are so […]

  4. Is there a link that let’s this entire project be shown? If not is there a step by step on how each of the IKEA pieces were transformed?


  5. […] Ladies Night Out DIY White Box Challenge East Coast Creative Blog source […]

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