A Surprise Home Makeover! One House Goes from Shabby to Chic

A new year is the perfect time to acknowledge the kindness of others and to repay them in some form or another. See how one woman honored her friends by gifting them a home makeover.

We all know someone who constantly puts others' needs before their own. For many of us that might be a parent who is always there, or a friend who shows us how to laugh again when we forget how. At Laurel & Wolf we thought, wouldn't it be great if we could give back to these people who help change lives with their genorosity?


That's why we teamed up with ATG Stores to give one lucky stranger the ability to do just that. Together we donated a Classic Design Package and $10,000 in furniture to the winner of our Better to GiveAway home makeover. The twist? That stranger had to give this amazing gift to someone in their life who they found to be most deserving. Enter Olivia, the kind-hearted winner of our giveaway.

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Kate and Shirin's living room before. Courtesy of Laurel & Wolf, Photo by Sean Robertson

Before: The Living Room

This is the living room of Olivia's two best friends, Kate and Shirin. When Olivia first moved to Los Angeles in 2012 she had little more than a suitcase. Without giving it a second thought, Kate and Shirin opened their home to Olivia and let her stay rent-free until she was able to get on her feet. Olivia will never forget this act of kindness. She was overjoyed when she found out that she could give them a little something back as the winner of the Better to GiveAway makeover.


After an emotional Skype call between our winner and her friends, we immediately got to work. We had the two roommates take our style quiz, choose a designer, and with their designer finalize a plan and order everything they needed from ATG Stores. Kate and Shirin were taken aback by Olivia's gift and eagerly awaited their new living space.

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Courtesy of Laurel & Wolf, Photo by Sean Robertson

After: The Living Room

The homeowners chose Laurel & Wolf designer Jessica Today for this project. Jessica took into account the duo's artistic personalities and modern-eclectic preferences when redoing their interior. In the living room, Jessica elevated some existing treasures – that the women weren't ready to say goodbye to – by anchoring them with more substantial, sophisticated pieces. For instance, the designer gave new life to Kate and Shirin's antique Oriental rug by layering it over a larger solid textile. Also, she was able to find a raw wood coffee table similar to the original but in a much more suitable size for the space.

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Courtesy of Laurel & Wolf, Photo by Sean Robertson

A bright sofa is one way to add instant color to a room, and this sumptuous, blue velvet fabric is a shining example of how it's done.

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Courtesy of Laurel & Wolf, Photo by Sean Robertson

Twin arm chairs provide additional seating in the living room. To make the neutral scheme more cozy and inviting, Jessica indulged in luxe upholstery, faux-fur accents, and throw pillows with coordinating graphic patterns.

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Courtesy of Laurel & Wolf, Photo by Sean Robertson

By decentralizing the TV and providing plenty of alternative seating, Jessica optimized the layout of the room for entertaining purposes.

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Courtesy of Laurel & Wolf, Photo by Sean Robertson

Before: The Breakfast Nook

The breakfast nook was charming and full of potential, but it was pretty bare.

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Courtesy of Laurel & Wolf, Photo by Sean Robertson

After: The Breakfast Nook

Jessica breathed new life into Kate and Shirin's breakfast nook with just a few key changes. She added a warm but modern seating area that fit the space; she softened the light with flowing drapes; and she hung succulents in place of wall art. Now the space reflects the pair's personalities more than ever.

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Courtesy of Laurel & Wolf, Photo by Sean Robertson

For a finishing touch, Kate and Shirin added found items they picked up at local flea markets, including this amazing petrified-wood wall clock. It plays perfectly with the raw wood tones and hints of greenery throughout.

Olivia, Jessica, ATG Stores, and Laurel & Wolf were overjoyed to give the gift of good design to two kind and deserving people, and Kate and Shirin still "can't believe this is 'home' . . . we have a home!" Yes, it definitely is better to give than to receive. Home makeover success!

About the Author

Laurel & Wolf

Laurel & Wolf is the world's largest online interior design marketplace. We believe in the power of design and how it can transform the way you live. Find your interior design style with our style quiz, tell us about your space, and launch a design project! For a one time flat fee, you receive multiple designs for the same space. All the designs consider the overall budget and how...


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