Makeover: From storage space to chic sunporch, for $150 | Bleader

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Makeover: From storage space to chic sunporch, for $150

Posted By on 06.02.11 at 02:00 PM

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Once a month, the Reader’s Dean Fisher uses her expert eye and a shoestring budget to overhaul a Chicagoan’s space. Want to have a room redone? Send a photo of your pitiful interior to

For the three years that Veronica Shaeffer and Keith Dumbleton lived in their Ukrainian Village apartment, their back room—an adorable sunporch with loads of potential—had become a catchall that served as a mudroom, potting shed, and storage area. The sad space was in serious need of an overhaul. Armed with $150 and a little DIY know-how, we transformed the porch into the perfect spot for summer cocktails.

What we bought

Fabric: $48, Jo-Ann Fabric

Plant stand (used as stamp): $9, Jo-Ann Fabric

Blinds: $58, the Home Depot

Paint & paint supplies: $15

Lamps: $12, Unique Thrift

Pendant: $8, Unique Thrift

The first step was to repaint the drab stained walls a fresh sky blue. This instantly brightened the room and inspired the Moroccan-meets-country-chic vibe. Shaeffer, a bridal gown designer, stitched up some punchy pillows out of vintage fabric and a futon cover from English-inspired ticking. We hit a few thrift stores in the area and found the cut-glass lamps for $5.95 each. The pair of hexagon tables were free—yes, free—on Craigslist and were revived with a coat of white paint. Shaeffer bought the pair of bentwood chairs years ago for about $40, and we re-covered the vinyl seats with a natural burlap.

The rag rug had seen better days, but we used a $9 plant stand and a sample pot of navy wall paint to stamp a pattern on the rug that tied the space together. We then repurposed an antique toboggan that Shaeffer found in her parents' attic as a bookshelf and installed simple bamboo blinds ($60 at Home Depot). The potting area is now a charming breakfast nook, thanks to a quick canvas cover on the storage shelf and an $8 industrial pendant lamp.

An enclosed back porch is a common amenity in many Chicago apartments, yet few tenants know exactly what to do with them. But with a little creativity, a coat of paint, and the right eye, your porch can be party-perfect in no time.

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