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Goodwill Home Décor Expert - Merri Cvetan

Goodwill Home Decor 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 askmerri@goodwillsew.com.

Follow Merri on Twitter and Pinterest!

Watch Merri on Windy City Live! ... See more videos featuring Merri (and more) on our AmazingGoodwill YouTube channel!


Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Jun 16, 2016 4:19:04 PM

Wrap It Up!

Whatever the occasion, we all like to receive presents. Don’t you love the anticipation of discovering a secret when you lift the lid on the box? I also like to make the wrap as special as the gift. When it comes to Father’s Day, give dad a little hint of what’s inside.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Jun 8, 2016 2:53:13 PM

Homemade Shaving Cream for Dad

With Father’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about a special gift for dad. Surprise him this year with his very own natural, homemade shaving cream.

Any dad will love it, but the guys with sensitive skin will really appreciate the all-natural ingredients. 

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Jun 2, 2016 11:15:24 AM

Teachers Rule!

Only a few more days of school, then summer vacation begins. I’m never quite sure who is more excited—the students or the teachers! Show your teacher some appreciation with an end of the year gift. This one is so easy the kids can do it themselves.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on May 25, 2016 12:32:53 PM

Denim Braids - DIY Placemat

You can call it a placemat or hot pad, just be sure to call it cute. Denim isn’t just for wearing; it also looks great in home interiors. 

One pair of blue jeans had enough fabric to make a 12-inch round placemat.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on May 18, 2016 4:50:11 PM

Leather and Lace Wedding Table Numbers

Wedding season is no longer a season anymore. People get married every month of the year. But spring and summer still rule. Because the cost of hosting a wedding keeps going up, brides are always looking for ways to cut expenses and doing it yourself is one way. 

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on May 13, 2016 11:27:55 AM

Guiding Light

Floor lamps come in a several styles. There’s the torchiere, the down-bridge lamp, arc lamp, and your basic floor lamp—the club lamp. 

Lamps can also be very expensive, so when you find one that needs a little bit of work, don’t pass it up. As long as the electrical parts work, you can easily fix up the outside.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on May 3, 2016 12:01:47 PM

Mother’s Day Pin-Up

Handmade gifts are always treasured by moms and grandmothers—especially for Mother’s Day. Shop Goodwill and your own home for a few supplies and you can make a unique gift for your mom.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Apr 27, 2016 3:28:31 PM

Frame Message Boards

One final upcycling project to celebrate Earth Month—frame message boards. The goal of every busy parent is to stay organized and keep the family on track. The best way to do it is to make sure everyone knows the family schedule. I made erasable message boards from picture frames I found at Goodwill.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Apr 20, 2016 3:51:28 PM

Book Smarts

It’s Earth Month! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle has been Goodwill’s philosophy for years. Donations to Goodwill keep tons of items out of landfills. So with a salute to Mother Earth, I give you Book Frames!

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Apr 14, 2016 4:28:49 PM

Play Ball!

Baseball, America’s favorite past-time, is underway. Not only do we enjoy watching the game, but we love tailgating, too.  Most tailgaters serve brats, chips and drinks in paper products, but there is a growing group who go all out with “real” dishes and glassware. Setting up a table with linens, ceramic plates and silverware might up the ante a bit, but non-disposable tableware keeps the leftovers out of the landfill.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Apr 7, 2016 11:39:45 AM

Easy Closet Organization

One complaint many women share is the fact that we don’t have enough closet or storage space. I always recommend the old adage, “when something new comes into the house, something old should go out!” I’m just as guilty as anyone about not following this simple organizational rule. I love all my scarves, belts and jewelry.

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Mar 30, 2016 12:30:14 PM

Travel Table - Upcycled Suitcases

Sometimes a project is so easy, you wonder why you didn’t think of it before. Like this suitcase table. It doesn’t require any power tools, craft glue or paint. And it serves two purposes: a side table next to a chair or the bed, as well as storage. Both are valuable assets in any home, especially a small one. So, it’s particularly attractive for apartment or dorm living.