When it comes to interior design, there’s nothing I love more than a good Before & After! In a recent issue of Country Living Magazine I spotted a fabulous home makeover by one of my favorite interior designers, Sara Story, and had to share. The home belongs to her sister Lisa, and while she’s one lucky lady with a designer sibling to redo her home free of charge, what makes this makeover even better is that it requires no major renovations. Except the addition of new floors, most of the transformation is achieved with little more than paint, wallpaper and a few smart furniture buys. Plus, it looks like something we could all feel inspired to do, without too great of an expense!

sara story

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Typically found in older homes, transoms are one of those architectural details that add great character to any space.  Transoms are windows set above the pediment of a door or another window and can be found in many different style homes – from Victorian mansions and shingle style cottages, to modern glass houses. Transoms can be incredibly practical as well as decorative. Used above doors, they let in natural light and make spaces feel brighter, more open. Victorian or Craftsman style transoms are made of leaded, colored glass and are very pretty.

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This 1920s stucco cottage in East Hampton, New York, with pretty blue shutters, window boxes and a storybook feel is my idea of a dream home. I first read about Bee Cottage back in 2009 when it was published in House Beautiful through a yearlong column. The owner, Frances Schultz -a contributing editor to House Beautiful, Veranda, TV personality and tastemaker  – bought the house in 2008 and documented its renovation through a monthly column.

‘Roofs are to houses what shoes and bags are to dresses. Have the best you can afford and the whole outfit looks better.” – Frances Schultz 

Seven years later, to the delight of Bee Cottage lovers everywhere, Schultz published the entire story of Bee and how its beautiful interiors came about.  Part memoir, part decorating book, The Bee Cottage Story graciously invites us into Schultz’s home and into her life. Her story is an honest, incredibly funny tale of finding happiness in the process of decorating. Her message to us all is that creating beautiful, personal spaces can be incredibly therapeutic.

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With its white picket fences, window boxes and dormers, the Cape Cod cottage is undeniably one of the most charming and recognized house styles in America. Originating from the 17th century when the pilgrims started building homes resembling traditional English cottages, Cape Cod style houses stood the test of time due to their elegant simplicity and practicality.


My dream home

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