A few weeks ago I scrambled to get our house clean to prepare for Meg, a contributing writer for The Philadelphia City Paper, who was visiting to interview me and take some photos of our house.
What resulted was this hysterical article, which will go down in history as my favorite title ever associated with The Painted Home.
Thanks Meg it was fun.
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did…
Reporter Meg Augustin takes you inside some of Philly’s most fab dwellings to showcase our city’s unique grasp on design and architecture.
Denise Sabia (featured in a recent Great indoors) is no rookie when it comes to flea-market finds. The designer and author of The Painted Home has had a constant rotation of dumpster-find redos and DIY country-chic projects for clients and fans. Her own home is no different. “We call it the house that trash built,” says Sabia. Every room sports a bevy of make-it-yourself projects, major trash finds, flea market scores and ingenious repurposing. Over the year and a half the Sabias have owned their Ambler home, Denise has worked on a limited budget to turn a shabby house into a chic home. We’ll walk you through Sabia’s designs and DIY projects in every room of her six-bedroom abode.
Walking into this small space, one easily feels at home. Beadboard wainscoting is set off by chocolate burlap that Sabia used as wallpaper, and the super cheap wall covering was made from free coffee sacks. The smaller space also presents the opportunity to undertake a more dynamic paint job. Sabia did a turquoise-and-blue stripe job on the ceiling, making the entryway the home’s “great first impression.”
Instead of using the front room as another living and lounge area, Sabia wanted to repurpose the large space as a dining room fit for parties and socializing. The large table, which can sit 12, works perfectly for Sabia’s Dine & Design nights — an all- girl’s night where Sabia hosts meals with chef Jeanne Joneswhile teaching a DIY design project. We showed up the morning before Sabia was getting ready to host a Ina Garten-style “Thank You” party for friends who helped her set up for the Philadelphia Home Show. The Pennsylvania Barefoot Contessa has perfected every corner of this social space with minimal purchases. The enormous farm table was a gift for the designer’s birthday, chairs were dumpster finds that have been roughly painted and repainted, buffet tables were gifted by a friend and then repainted, and even the enormous buffet was found on the curb just down the street. The dining room also sports great ideas for the average home owner. Sabia repurposed an antique suitcase as a liquor table. Above the bar area, a shipping palate was cut into several “pockets,” creating perfect wall shelves for books, toiletries, plates or plants. The stunning mantle piece was built from scrap wood and functions as a kind of shoebox lid. The wooden box simply slides on and sits atop the mantle, making it an easy DIY mantle makeover.
Thanks to a bit of luck, Sabia was able to get new cabinetry for her ’80s-style kitchen. However, Sabia still found ingenious ways to cut corners. The furniture-styled pantry was a gift from her contractor. Often, cabinetmakers and contractors have to get rid of pieces that have been scratched or slightly damaged in shipment, so her contractor offered her the piece for free, knowing she could work with it. A simple paint job hid any imperfections and gave it a more polished look. Finials finish off the piece as door handles. The fridge sports another easy DIY: an antique frame that fancies up the mundane appliance. Just attach magnets to the back of an old frame and voila! For Sabia’s beloved farmhouse sink, which can go for well over $1000, she headed to Ebay where she found a Mexican, hammered copper piece for half the cost. The beautiful sink is set off by the open and airy shelves, which look gorgeous and is a great way to save a few bucks on cabinetry.
Moving upstairs, the master bedroom offers a serene escape from social areas of the house. Muted tones and luxurious-looking linens give the room a relaxing atmosphere. Utility lighting wrapped in gingham fabric turns a cheap lighting buy into unique bedroom sconces. Antique, stacked suitcases make for an easy occasional table. This room also shows off Sabia’s DIY artwork. She painted the above-bed art herself. , which is made to look like an old sign from her husband’s childhood campsite.
Check Critical Mass next Monday for the second half of the tour.