The DIY Home Makeover of Your Dreams

Rachel Nadeau creates her dream home on a budget.

If HGTV has the biggest presence on your television, and Chip and Joanna Gaines are your inspiration, then a DIY home makeover may be in your future.

The hugely popular “fixer upper” trend has inspired many to take outdated homes into their own hands, transforming them into the idyllic spaces we’ve all dreamed about. From updating appliances, refurnishing, repainting and reupholstering to knocking out walls and reformatting rooms, nothing is out of bounds when it comes to making a home.

Maple Grove resident Rachel Nadeau has embraced this trend with her 27-year-old home, thus far updating almost the entire first floor in the four years she and her family have lived there. After finishing the living spaces on the main floor, she will work on the kitchen next.

With experience in home furniture merchandising, Nadeau uses an eye for style to her advantage. “I really like eclectic styles," she says. "I don’t like everything to be matchy-matchy. I like mixing new with old and cheap with expensive.”

With this formula she’s decided where to save money and where it’s best to spend a little extra. “Most would splurge on the staples, on the sofa or chairs, and save on the accent pieces,” Nadeau says. “For me, I was able to do the opposite because I knew my accents were a very specific look … and I looked for generics in leather sofas.”

But following this particular formula means not following a strict timeline for the makeover. Nadeau perused Craigslist for a leather couch and a dining set that fit the bill, not knowing when the project would be complete—it was at the discretion of finding the piece that matched her vision.

Each room wasn’t necessarily redesigned just once. “My dining room was a dining room, and then I made it into an office," she explains, "and then I made it into a dining room again, and then I changed the look of the dining room … I’m always changing things.”

Finding the right piece--be it rug, hutch or table--can determine the look for the entire home.

“When I found the Ballard rug, I really felt like that has helped me solidify what direction I want to take with my entire main level to make it cohesive,” Nadeau says.

That rug helped her pull the color theme throughout the house—greys, taupes, blues and golds, tied together in each room mainly through the accent pieces.

Among those accent pieces is an example of her save and splurge mentality. As she explored Ballard Designs, she found a set of four prints for $800 that matched the design and style of her home. Instead, she saved by researching the artist, purchasing similar prints online and placing them in frames she already had, bringing the total for the artwork down to $80.

She shopped locally for fabric to re-cover dining room chairs, and at World Market, she found the coffee table. At the end of the day, Nadeau says it’s about making the place feel like home. That’s the mark of success.

“You know when you go to your mother or grandmother’s house and it just feels like home? That’s what I’m trying to create for my family, and have it be beautifully done,” she says. “I’ve finally decided to embrace my inner Joanna Gaines.”

How she got the look

Crate & Barrel cabinet in dining room $1,000
Craigslist  dining set $250
Ballard Designs “Katherine Rug”  $850
World Market coffee table $250
Craigslist leather couch $400
Grand piano, family heirloom

More photos here!