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Tracy & Peter    |    Home Decorating

My client, Tracy, wrote this story about her experience working with me.
I was so happy to be able to turn their loathing into love.



Dear Designer...

I have a confession. I did something dumb. I bought our house sight-unseen over the Internet. Who does that!?

In my defense, we were living out of state and desperate to find a place in Minneapolis but housing in our lower-market price range was going like hotcakes amid bidding wars. Two friends gave us a quick video walk-through on a townhouse and the realtor put some pressure

on us to get an offer in. We gave in, were accepted, and prayed that the house would live up to my friends’ assessment.

Sadly, it did not pass muster. Not by a long-shot. I cried the first time we walked through the house after closing. We had bought ourselves a bright yellow sour sucky LEMON!

This crazy little house of horrors townhouse was like no other dwelling I’d ever seen. It gave me a dizzying sensation every time I contemplated its odd angles and unpredictable shapes. Every wall was angled. The closets were maddeningly trapezoidal. The hangers clanged and protested every time the door opened. Even the bathtub was a triangle!

We hated the house so much we never bought a piece of furniture. In desperation I got a ratty free sofa from Craig’s list and friends donated a table and chairs. We lived like this for two years, never invited anyone inside, and vowed to sell the place when we got back on our feet.

Unfortunately, life intervened. Health problems in the family dictated that we would need to stay put. But I couldn’t imagine living like refugees in our own house for another year. I reached out to several people who said they were in the business of designing house interiors. We paid a home designer $5,600 out of our savings to create a remodeling plan. We

told her our building budget but her creativity would not be contained. After we shopped her plan we discovered no contractor would touch the work for less than double what we told her we could spend. Her plans were useless. We’d just wasted $5,600.

Next I reached out to a friend who worked as an interior designer. I told her of our plight and she excitedly said she could help. I paid her $1,000 and she provided me with Pinterest boards. This did not help us. We needed a lot more than just pretty pictures of furniture ideas. Discouraged, we decided there was no choice but to move. This house was obviously a bigger project and a harder challenge than we could manage. Dejected by failure and demoralized, I turned to Google to find a home stager who could make our dump sell for at least what we paid for it. It was with delight that I found Happy Place Interiors. The reviews I saw online

sounded like Melanie was just the person we needed. I called and begged for her help. And am I glad I did!!!

Melanie came over and looked at our challenging house. She was calm. She was cheerful. She was optimistic. And she told us she didn’t think moving was our only option. She was positive that if we wanted to stay in our townhome she could make it as beautiful as the magazine pictures I cut out and drooled over.

Over time we began to see her vision. Our hope floated to the top. We were motivated. We got excited and then we got BUSY!

With Melanie’s guiding hand and design vision, we began a light remodeling and decorating project that was solidly within the amount of money we could afford to spend. She started by helping us choose soothing paint colors to minimize the shadows and angles that drove us

crazy. She reviewed our choices in cabinets, countertops, and tile. We conferred on tearing out a knee-wall and replacing it with a railing to complement our open floor-plan. Her genius idea to put down vinyl plank flooring to replace a sea of ratty beige carpet worked like a magician’s

sleight of hand—the house became a designer's dreamscape.

Next we needed to get our junk to the dump and buy some decent furniture. Melanie gave us specific direction on selecting furniture pieces to last - size, style and fabric - all the way down to the selection of bedding and window treatments.

Before long our ugly yellow duckling townhouse was transformed into a beautiful swan of a place! In one final salute to Melanie’s design talent, we handed her our keys and she completed home accessorizing one week when we were out of town.

Just like you see on those popular TV Shows where the designer revitalizes a home interior, we returned home with starry eyes to find our townhouse transformed into a place of splendor! I couldn’t believe it. Truly. It is incredible what a few of the right accessories, placed in the right areas,

could do to lift a house from great to gorgeous!

We finished the project four months ago. Since then, EVERY person who enters our home says, “This place looks like something out of a magazine!” Honestly, I still say it myself every time I come home. It’s just unimaginable to me how much I could hate a house before but love

it after. Now we enjoy being at home. We entertain and invite people in to visit us instead of hiding inside those sad, ugly rooms. Melanie truly changed our home into a Happy Place.

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