I love houses with lots of windows. Windows with a view are the best, but windows facing a brick wall will also do as long as they let in light. If you happen to have a room with a not-so-pretty view, create your own with a window frame!
Goodwill Home Interior Expert - Merri Cvetan
I started my career as an interior designer when we finished remodeling our home that was built in the 1890s. I loved the space planning, choosing finishes and decorating every little inch. It was trial and error, and we made mistakes, but I learned a lot along the way. Along with being a learning process, working on our home was also a hands-on project. We did everything ourselves (actually, my husband Tom did all the building and heavy work, I did the fun stuff!). I’ve had the decorating bug ever since I was a little girl, but I wanted to know everything about design, so, as a result I returned to college (Mount Mary) for a second degree in Interior Design.
I’ve been collecting antiques and vintage furnishings forever. My favorite shopping places are flea markets, antique stores and of course, Goodwill. I love DIY projects and saving money by taking an object and re-purposing it into something beautiful and useful. I’m also an amateur photographer, love to travel and study French (J’adore tous ce qui est franҫais)!
Although I love to entertain, I’m not much of a cook. My party philosophy is "if the table looks fantastic, it doesn’t matter what you serve."
My weekly column for Amazing Goodwill and my design blog, Design Coach, are about all things design, living a stylish life and entertaining (like setting a great table). I share DIY projects, decorating and design tips, as well as ideas and secrets.
If you have a specific question for Merri, feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch Merri on Windy City Live! ... See more videos featuring Merri (and more) on our AmazingGoodwill YouTube channel!
January is the perfect time of year to start new projects. Since it’s cold outside we hunker down until spring. This photo bracelet has been on my to-do list for quite a while. It turned out so cute, I think I’ll get a head start on Mother’s Day and birthday gifts.
Not many people wear watches anymore. I know I seldom put one on. My cell phone is just too convenient. That’s probably why Goodwill’s jewelry department has lots to choose from. I like this one, because of its bead bracelet band.
Christmas decorations are festive and pretty. For a few weeks your home is cheerful and bright. Then January rolls around and ornaments and garlands are packed away until next year. It seems as though winter lasts until May with short days and long nights! Now the house seems empty, dark and not so cheerful. So what can you do? Here are a few decorating tips to make your home comfy and cozy again until the spring thaw.
Where did the year go? It just doesn’t seem possible that 2017 is almost here. If nothing else, New Year’s Eve is another excuse to continue the celebration with family and friends. Our December 31st parties have changed over the years, but we’ve spent the last day of the year with the same friends. (I have visions of us all making too much noise in the nursing home someday!)
There is always so much to do the last few days before Christmas. Finish your shopping, finish baking cookies; finish the decorating then trying to squeak out some time for yourself! If you’re still in the “finish decorating” mode, I have a fast and easy stocking project for you. You should have figured out by now that I traded traditional red and green for turquoise, pink and purple this year. The challenge was to find stockings in coordinating colors. Since I didn’t have any luck, I headed to Goodwill to buy sweaters and shirts in those colors. (I loved the turquoise and aqua so much, I stopped there!)
I love easy DIY projects that look like a million bucks when you’re finished. Throughout the year, I collect small wooden boxes and metal sleighs knowing that when December rolls around I can transform them into original Christmas gifts.
Since my mannequin Christmas tree in the turquoise, purple, pink and silver was so successful; I decided to use this bright color scheme throughout my house. And I do mean throughout my house, since I decorate every room. Next stop is the kitchen and what could possibly be better to adorn a kitchen wreath than cookie cutters! I don’t bake anyway, so they’re better on display than in a drawer.
A friend told me about a dress form Christmas tree idea last December and knew I would be all over it. She was right! I couldn’t wait to make my own mannequin tree this year. Since it’s so unique and feminine, I decided all my Christmas decorations should be a little different. Instead of the usual red and green or gold and white, I’m loving the combination of turquoise, purple, pink and silver. They’re so fresh and pretty.
Thanksgiving week is almost here. That means, food, family and kids home from school. With everything you have to do to get ready for the biggest dinner of the year, keeping the children occupied can be a challenge. I came up with a turkey pinecone craft that will keep the kids busy all week, or at least Thursday morning.
Thanksgiving, my favorite meal of the year. Seriously, I could eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy every week–if someone would make if for me! Since that’s not going to happen, I have to be content with the fourth Thursday in November. In the meantime, I spend my time coming up with a new table setting ideas.
I know I sound like a broken record, but a successful table is made up of layers. I often add more dishes than I need, just to make the table look really special. This year, I’m starting with a vintage quilt to cover the table.