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From Blog To Berkus and Beyond

Mandi Gubler, Author of the Blog Vintage Revivals and Do-It-Yourselfer Extraordinaire, Utilizes a Bevy of Creative Projects in This Living Room Transformation

In July 2010, Mandi Gubler, wife and stay-at-home mom of two, founded the blog Vintage Revivals ( as a place to talk about some of the decorating approaches she used in her own home. “I needed a creative outlet,” she explains, “something that was new and non-repetitive.”

As her readership grew and two TV appearances on The Nate Berkus Show followed, she began helping both friends and neighbors with their own decorating projects, including her friend Hailee, who had just purchased new couches and asked Gubler to help rearrange some furniture. “My friend had no idea what she had gotten herself into,” says Gubler. “Ten days of nonstop work and about $1,500 later, the whole living room was changed into a fun, happy, Hailee kind of room.”

The 1,700-square-foot home, located in St. George, Utah, had dark-stained floors and beige walls. The floor and couches had a heavy, serious feel, Gubler says, but she knew that Hailee’s personality was more cheerful and upbeat. So she decided to bring in some bright color and lots of white to balance the darks and give the room freedom. “First, we painted the upper wall a grayish-taupe color called Hopsack, by Ralph Lauren,” Gubler says. “Below the paint, we installed strips of board to create wainscoting. We used medium-density fiberboard, MDF, to create the board and batten.” They spray-painted the wainscoting an ultra-pure white color to complete the transformation.

Southern Utah doesn’t have a lot of “designer” boutiques, Gubler says, so she depends on thrift stores, garage sales, and some warehouse stores for her creations. “This rug was a plain sisal one from IKEA,” Gubler says. “I designed a stencil working with the folks at Royal Design Studio in Chula Vista, California, and used that to add the houndstooth pattern.”

The cabinet-turned–TV console was an old dresser with recessed drawers purchased at a garage sale. Some PVC pipe in one of the home improvement centers caught Gubler’s eye, so she bought about eight feet of two-inch pipe, added it to the drawer fronts, and the dresser took on a whole new character.

After creating a canvas of taupe, tans, and white, Gubler wanted to punch up the room with bright-yellow and teal-blue touches. “We spray-painted the thrift-store end-table lamps a cheerful yellow,” she explains. “The chairs were an exciting find in Pier 1 and worked perfectly in the room. The mirror over the loveseat was Hailee’s and we painted that yellow, too.” The lamp hanging from the ceiling near the loveseat was purchased from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Gubler painted the base white gloss and then wound yarn in an ombre pattern on the shade.

Shelves now fill the open space between the dining area and living room. “We purchased one-by-eight-inch lumber for less than $30. Then we stained and polyurethaned it,” Gubler explains. “It was a big, open, empty space before. Now it still has that open feel but holds lots of decorative items that we found in thrift stores. They add color, interest, and personality.”

The new living area has a mature, well-thought-out attitude, says Gubler, but also captures Hailee’s free spirit. “Hailee is so organized and competent,” she says. “But she also is sweet and always cheerful and just in love with life. Her home had to show all the sides of her wonderful personality. And this living room was the perfect place to start.

Written by Carolyn M. Runyon.

At JL Bottone, we specialize in complete kitchen remodeling in the following towns.

  • Warren

  • Watchung

  • Berkeley heights

  • Summit

  • New providence

  • Basking Ridge

  • Westfield

  • Short Hills

  • Millburn

  • Chatham

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