Corie's Living Room: The After

When Corie asked me to help her with her living room I was so excited!  This is the seventh house I have worked on, and I really can't think of anything that I would rather do.  Why- oh why didn't I choose design as my major in college. Sorry,  I digress! 

Corrie and her husband had been renting their home for over a year, but between their two kids under two, and working CRAZY hours at the non-profit, Corie hadn't had time to make changes.  They had not decided how they wanted their house to feel or look.  But then Corie found these images below, and was inspired.  This was it. 

What was important to me:
-that Bob and Corie love the space and want to spend time there
-that we use as much of what they already have as possible, and stay on budget
-that I offer up many different ideas and choices, but ultimately, it's their home and not mine
-that their house feel more like home when we are finished

-they are renting, which limits changes
-work schedules + 4 small children between the two of us
-minimal budget (although I'm not sure if that's a challenge, or makes it more fun)

This will be one of my longer posts, so hang with me here.  I would like to explain as much as possible as to what we did.  You may want to re-visit the before post to see what was important to Corie, and what we needed to keep.

Entryway view of the living room:before

Entryway view of the living room: after

Do you think you can find all the changes?  Here is what we did.  1) opened up the entryway by moving the love seat in front of the window  2) painted the trim on the bookshelves, the front door and the shelf white  3) styled the bookshelves  4) used Corie's new chair and side table from Craig's list  5) moved the small picture that was over her table to a different wall, and added a more proportional shadow box that Corie had in her basement  6) Moved her wine cabinet that was behind the love seat to the other side of the room  7) added a picture I found at Goodwill of a dove over the shelf, instead of the faux branches  8) It may look like there are not many accessories, but it was important to Corie and Bob that the surfaces be clear so that the kiddos are not tempted to pull things down.

another view of the before

window wall: before

window wall: after
Here is what we did.  1) Used Corie's new rug from Craig's list  2) privacy was not a concern, so we were able to use new sheers that really lighten up the room 3) again, the trim was painted white around the windows and bookshelves 4) new slipcovers and pillows galore for the couches 5) new lamp and side table used as a TV stand

before (don't forget Corie snapped these quickly on her lunch hour)


See what a difference painting the trim white has made?  I am such a fan.  Everything feels cleaner and you can actually see the trim now, where as before, it was the same yellow as the walls.  Here is what's different: 1) new white balloon shade instead of the more global valance on the window  2) took down the picture next to the window  3) placed the wine cabinet from the entryway in the corner 4) removed the contemporary/Asian lamps that Corie will sell in her garage sale  5) moved each pillow from the room into her kitchen on her breakfast-nook bench 6) new pillows and slipcovers  7) kept the room free of a coffee table, for more play space for the kids

Remember this lamp from the before post?  We put a new, white, pleated shade on top and it feels totally different.  I love all the pillows in the room.  They were the biggest expense, but necessary to make the change Corie wanted.  This wall is not the finished product, but a place holder until they can find some artwork or stained glass piece that they love for over the couch.  Once that is up, the room will have the substantial color boost that it needs, and viola!--new room!

Thank you Corie for allowing all of us into your home!  I look forward to working on the rest of your house moving forward!  (that means more before and after pics for you)

What do you think?  Does it look more like her inspiration room?  Is this style something you would do in your house?

If you would like my help making your house feel more like home, please contact me at abbymanchesky@gmail.com .


  1. Ah-may-zing. My mouth is hanging wide open. Beautiful work, Abby!

  2. Wow - you are just plain TALENTED! I love it! Great job lightening up the entire room...I love the "light" feel as opposed to the darker look (goes along with that Nantucket Style, I think :)). Yes, you need to make this a career!!! :)

  3. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I LOVE my living room and how thankful I am for the countless hours you spent creating this masterpiece! I love that I have a beautiful room to enjoy everyday with my family but what I'm especially grateful for is all you taught me about good design and loving the space we live in. Since moving to Michigan I feel like we've just been "making do" with what we have accumulated over the years and never felt like our home was a true representation of our style, but it definitely is now (well our living room is at least, can't wait to work on the rest of the house!) and I'll always remember "if you can't live without it, don't live with it" It's a great way to ensure that I'm intentional about the money I spend on our home and only buy things I really, really love. Endless thanks, Abby. You're incredibly talented, and a fantastic friend!

  4. Oh yeah, and my Mom wants you to do her kitchen and bathrooms ; )

  5. GREAT work! The floors actually look like they now have a lighter finish to them. The room is much more brighter. I love it! Amazing how most people live in such a comfort of dark colors (myself included) to have someone see it in a different "light". The peices that you incorporated worked in well with the new room as well. Great work again, I look forward to more before/after pictures of other lifes that you brighten.
    Thanks for sharing and don't be afraid to offer your opinion when visiting our house! ;)

  6. WOW!! GREAT job Abby but I knew it would be beautiful when you finished!! Soooooo talented!!!

  7. What a fantastic improvement! Painting the trim and covering the dark couches really lightened everything up. I just love Before & Afters.

  8. Oooh. I love the addition of the sheers on the front window - I hardly noticed how beautiful the space was in the Before picture, but the trim and the sheers make that room breathe! Nice work!


Abby Manchesky Interiors is a boutique design firm based in Grand Rapids, MI. Combining the new traditional, vintage and a dash of the unexpected is her ideal. Contact Abby Manchesky Interiors for more information on available interior design services for clients near and far. abbyminteriors@gmail.com | 616.719.9400


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