Goodwill Home Décor 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!
One of the best things about Mother’s Day (besides spending time with the family) is opening home-made gifts. When my kids were little, we spent time making something special for their grandmas. Presents from the kiddos are right up there with sticky kisses. This crossword puzzle/Scrabble picture can be made by children of any age and describes mom or grandma perfectly.
One of the most fun parties to plan is a baby shower. Celebrating the mother-to-be is a happy event for family, friends and the new parents. Shower themes are certainly diverse and can be based on animals, stories or the gender of the baby. In fact, hosting a gender reveal party is the latest trend in announcing to the world the gender of the baby. I decided to go “old-school” and decorate a shower table with nostalgic, vintage toys.
When the grass starts to turn green and buds appear on trees and bushes, you know spring is here! Even if the temperatures aren’t hot yet, you can’t help smiling when the sun shines. To welcome the new season, I like to hang a pretty wreath on my front door. Instead of the traditional round grapevine wreath, I decided on a different look this year.
Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, especially at holiday time. I love to gather family and friends for a leisurely brunch on an important day, like Easter. Afterwards, everyone has plenty of time to head to the next party. This table setting is perfect for Easter, but works for any spring weekend.
Does the Easter bunny hide baskets at your house every year? Or does he leave it out in plain sight full of candy and goodies? No matter your traditions, there is always room for a new one. These little Bunny Buckets are so easy, the kids can make their own or one for every classmate.
Sometimes all it takes to “redecorate” is to add something unexpected to your home.
I found a vintage Heirloom wooden walnut nut/candy dish made by the Lebanon Supply Company. It has a gold metal handle and is in perfect condition–no chips, no dings. I spent $.99 and it’s going for $15 on ebay! Don’t you love a bargain?
It’s almost spring and that means it’s time to freshen up the house and do some redecorating. Although I would love to open up the windows to let the fresh air in, I have to be content with staging a bookshelf and while watching the last of the snow melt away.
I designed the basic same shelf display in 3 different color-ways. The constant in each is a picture and books. Framed artwork looks just as good standing on a shelf as it does hanging on the wall.
Manners are big in my house. Early on my kids learned to say “please and thank-you;” to hold the door for others and proper table manners. Besides having a command of the English language, knowing appropriate etiquette and how to behave in any situation can go a long way when becoming a successful person. (Okay, I’ll get off my high horse!). Seriously, everyone should know which fork to use, not to talk with your mouth full and to place their napkin on their lap while eating.
Mardi Gras means fat Tuesday in French. It’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Although many cultures (mainly those with large Catholic populations) celebrate the day, New Orleans is famous for their public festivities. If you can’t get to the city with the famous French Quarter this month, plan a party at home.