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A Surprise Makeover for my Mother-In-Law

Turning an old study into a place for contemplation and prayer

As women we often put the emotional needs and financial needs of our families first, but investing in oneself makes it easier to give. . .

In February of 2020 I lost my father-in-law to esophageal cancer. Our family lost a dad, grandpa, husband and friend. Grieving the loss of a loved one is always a complicated process, but the days became darker and weirder as a worldwide pandemic complicated being with family. My mother-in-law, Barbara, was left alone to deal with the new emptiness of her home as we waited with the world to see how this COVID-19 thing would shake out.

A year after loosing her husband, Barbara began the fun, sad and complicated journey of turning the home she shared with her husband into a "lady lair"--a place just for herself.

With all of the craziness in the world, I knew I wanted to do something special for my mother-in-law. With COVID under control, my second baby officially living outside of my body, now seemed like the best time to be able to gift Barbara a room make-over.

The process of caring for her sick husband and eventually loosing him to a rapid and scary cancer brought Barbara closer to her spirituality. It has become a cornerstone to her healing journey. The mission of this make-over was to turn the old study into an office and prayer and meditation space for her.

I will eventually get this room professionally shot and styled, but in the meantime, I really wanted to share the behind the scenes with you!

Here is what the old study looked like. . .

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Before the make-over took place, we had the walls painted a fresh color. I chose Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore. I immediately knew that in order to save space, we would need to turn the closet into the office--a cloffice--if you will! The second thing I immediately knew was that this cloffice would NEED to be wallpapered. I've been eyeing this beautiful Suz Wallpaper from Justina Blakenely's collection. We were able to repurpose the old butcher block for the cloffice and it ended up working out perfectly.

A "cloffice" makeover with Jungalow Wallpaper
cute little cloffice with Jungalow wallpaper

Speaking of repurposing, Barbara mentioned she wanted to get rid of this cabinet which was previously in the dining room. I love the shape of the mullions in the windows, it reminds me of stained glass in a cathedral. I decided to repurpose it into a mediation altar. The left-over wallpaper scraps really did wonders to elevate the piece!

cabinet repurposed into a meditation altar

I think when Virginia Wolf said, "every woman needs a room of her own.." she may have been implying that every woman needs "a cozy chair of one's own." This chair does the trick. It is actually called a chair-and-a-half. It is exactly that. A chair with a little extra room! If not for her grandkids, then for curling up with a book or a journal and a cup of tea.

reading nook

The art is by Jess Franks for Minted and I am totally obsessed with the colors and warmth it brings to the space.

My mother-in-law loves the space! She said that it feels like after such a rough few years there is "a new energy, space and possibility." She also reflected that she's never embarked on a journey to invest in something just for herself. As women we often put the emotional and financial needs of our families first. However, to invest in oneself is uplifting and frees positive energy to dedicate back to the world.

I second that. Who is in charge of filling our cup if not ourselves?

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