Modern Study Makeover… The Study-ish

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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

Our family is growing up… we no longer need a playroom for our kids toys and it’s a little crazy to think how quickly that phase flew by.  Over the last few months I’ve worked (in between shoots and makeovers for other people) on a Modern Study Makeover for our family and I won’t lie, I think it turned out pretty epic.


We moved into our home 5 1/2 years ago and when we did, our kids were 9,6,3,& 2 (to say we had our hands full would be an understatement. To any of you with lots of littles or littles close together… I feel ya!) I think I’ve mentioned before, but our house was bank owned.  We bought it after it was studded out, and then we hired a builder to finish it off, meaning we couldn’t do much to change the layout that was already done.  The original builder wanted the room on the far side of the house to be a library. I kindly explained to him that people with 4 kids 9-2 don’t have libraries… they have playrooms.  I might have rolled my eyes a bit too. lol So, when we first moved in this space was a playroom filled with toys and bright colors, and (according to these blast from the past pictures) some really bad design decisions. It was perfect for our phase of life and my kids loved it and played in there all the time.

playroom makeover 2

It’s crazy to see how our style and ability changes over 5 years… I was preeeeety proud of that lil’ gallery wall. Yikes!   playroom 4

Flash forward about 3 years and I made some changes.  The kids were less at the phase of train table and kitchen and more into a craft table, homework area, and playing Just Dance on the Wii.

I added a teal wall and wallpaper, added a hex accent over the fireplace, got some mid-century furniture and opened the room up a bit so they could dance their Wii little hearts out (you see what I did there)

Playroom Makeover 6

This room was always functional for our family’s different life phases, but it was never a room I loved. Something was always off design wise.

Well, here we are in 2016 and my kids are now 14, 11, 8, and 7 and they have a “hang out” room in our finished basement, which means it was time for Mama to create a space she was really going to love.  I teamed up with Lowe’s Home Improvement, ATG Stores, CaliBamboo, Minted, and one of my trusty contractors Jon Paul to makeover this room.  Since it’s not a playroom, not a library, not a living room (we have one of those), not an office… One day Jess and I just started calling it the “Study-ish” and it stuck.

I’m going to break the study-ish into a few posts, because there’s a ton to share, but today, let’s just enjoy the transformation of what’s now, my favorite room in the house!

Modern Furniture Study Makeover

Couch | Accent Chairs | Rug | Bench | Coffee Table | Wool End Table | Carved End Table | Hardware | Fabric Planters | Paint | Bamboo Flooring | Sconces |

Modern Fireplace Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative

Ive painted a LOT of fireplaces (this one is a fan fav), but painting our stone fireplace white was a major battle between me and the hubs… he pulled the “you can’t paint real stone” and I fired back, “You can if it’s UGLY colored stone!” In the end, I won the battle, because we have a second stone stacked fireplace that I promised, on my life, never to paint.  It’s all about compromise friends. I love the white and it brightened up the room so much!


I decided to keep the hexagon accent and to paint the entire thing white.  I had ordered a hanging plant cozy from West Oak Design and one afternoon literally ran up to the hex wall and had a major omg moment when I finally knew just how I would accent this massive mantle wall… fabric plant cozys!
Modern Fabric Planters Hanging Planters East Coast Creative

Since that day, West Oak Design and East Coast Creative have actually joined forces and all of these fabric plant cozys will be available as part of our collaborative collection!  Monochromatic, Modern patterns, The perfect home for your plants!

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.02.23 PM

 The East Coast Meets West Oak Collaboration will be live this weekend!

Modern Fabric Planters Hanging Planters East Coast Creative 2

The A-Frame Built-ins are the show stopper of the room.  They were a labor of love and a collaboration between me and my friend and contractor Jon.  We spent a few hours planning them out. I’m 100% not your traditional, know-what-the-heck-I’m-doing designer, so I took sidewalk chalk and a ladder and drew out the design, erasing with a wet rag as I changed things.  I’ll do a full how-to, but really, my how-to is going to be… hire Jon to do it. Ha! Jk. Kinda.

Modern Builtins Fireplace Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative 3

You might notice something’s missing… the shelves are completely empty and this room really has nothing but furniture in it. Well, that’s because A- I wanted to show you how it looks plain Jane.  B- I am completely stuck on the styling side of things and need more time. And,  C- Even without books and accessories, oh..and curtains, it’s my favorite room!

Mid Century Furniture Built in Shelves Modern Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative

Besides the fireplace wall, the furniture totally sets the vibe for this room… IT’S SO GROWNUP! I mean, I actually feel like I have one, real, grownup room in my house!  Every piece of furniture in this room is from ATG Stores – they have a massive selection for any style! I not only used them for this room, I’m just finishing up my 10th makeover in a series and used all of their furniture for 10 totally different makeovers.  That video series launches next month- dying to show you!

Mid Century Furniture Built in Shelves Modern Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative 4

I blended comfort and style and textures and wood tones, because it’s my house and I can do what I want.  I mean a wool side table… does it get much cooler than that?!?

Mid Century Furniture Built in Shelves Modern Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative 5

I feel like I hit the jackpot with this sofa because it has clean lines AND is super comfy.  My 14 year old does her homework on it pretty much daily.

Mid Century Furniture Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative 4

Curtains are the final thing this wall needs, and I’ll be asking you guys for some help with that soon, but I love how the bold colored sofa doesn’t feel overly crazy because of all the natural light and neutral colors in the room.

Mid Century Furniture Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative 3

The coffee table is a warm, mid-century piece and I love how it looks against the shaggy rug- lots more on that rug and how it’s really my second one, because my dog got sick and crapped ALL OVER the first one.  I might have lost my mind a little… to be continued.

Mid Century Furniture Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative 2

The braided ends are my favorite thing about the rug.  Did you notice that we went from carpet to brand spakin’ new Cali Bamboo floors?  They’re light grey, slightly distressed, and I’m planning to put them throughout my whole house.  This was our test room and after a few months, with two 125 lb dogs they are perfecto! The hubs and I agree, Cali Bamboo is the way to go!

Modern Living Room Makeover Mid Century East Coast Creative

The artwork on the back walls is from Minted. I mixed and matched frames, styles, and let the colors be the unifying factor.

Gallery Wall

Minted 1 | Minted 2 | Minted 3 | Minted 4 | Minted 5 |  Minted 6 | Minted 8

Mid Century Furniture Built in Shelves Modern Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative 3



This fiddle leaf fig is the one I shared on Instagram that I bought on Amazon for a steal!

It’s still available here- Fiddle Leaf Fig for only $19!

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 4.20.04 PM

It’s alive (barely) after 2+ months! Go me! (And, If you’re not following along on IG– what are you waiting for?)

Mid Century Furniture Fiddle Leaf Fig Modern Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative

Modern Builtins Fireplace Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative 6

Mid Century Furniture Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative
I feel like I could just keep adding more and more pics to share with you, but this is already getting a bit lengthy.  So here’s just a few more…
Modern Builtins Fireplace Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative 2
Modern Builtins Fireplace Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative 4 This light fixture is a DIY project from a few years ago- it’s an upcycled garden orb.  Check out the tutorial here.

Modern Fireplace Living Room Makeover East Coast Creative

So there you have it… My all grown up Study-ish.  Over the next month or so, I hope to get it styled and then I’ll share a final, final reveal, but I’d love to know what you think so far?


A HUGE, MASSIVE Thanks to Lowes, ATG Stores, Cali Bamboo, Minted, West Oak Design, and Jon Paul for making this room a reality.  These are all companies and people that I love and trust and think you will too!

-Photography by Laura Olivia Photography

The comments +

  1. Hot DAMN! I LOVE this space!!! I couldn’t help myself, sorry. Seriously, what a great room.

  2. Wow!! Those built-ins are AH-MAZING!! The color is fabulous, too!

  3. Amy says:

    I am pretty sure that your amazing blue shelves just made an appearance on HGTV’s Good Bones. Guess they know good taste when they see it!

  4. Diana says:

    I would love the plans for the triangle bookshelf. I’ve been looking everywhere since I saw it on Good Bones. Please!!!

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