3 Daughters, 3 Rooms, 3 Makeovers

HGTV Magazine met up with three families who put their designer daughters in charge of their room makeovers.
By: Alyse Harral Stevens

Photo By: Julie Soefer

Photo By: Courtesy of the homeowner

Photo By: Julie Soefer

Photo By: Julie Soefer

Photo By: Sarah Dorio

Photo By: Courtesy of the homeowner

Photo By: Sarah Dorio

Photo By: Larsen & Talbert

Photo By: Courtesy of the homeowner

Photo By: Charles White

Photo By: Larsen & Talbert

My Daughter the Decorator

Jennifer Berno, HGTV Magazine's home editor, convinced her parents, Judy and Chris Berno of Houston, Texas, to turn their home office into a snuggly TV room. It took a few years of gentle pushing, but they finally admitted they were ready for a change.

Behind the Times

Jennifer's dad says his daughter constantly reminded him and his wife that they had outdated furniture. "My parents didn't need a home office anymore," says Jennifer. "I just knew this room could be so cozy."

Paint-Color Persuasion

The process began when Jennifer's mom came to visit, and the pair spent a full day looking at fabrics, paint colors and furniture. Jennifer says the design followed the blue, orange, brown and white pillow fabric they found, but her mom says it started with her daughter's idea of painting the room a deep blue. "Pretty dramatic," she says. "She wanted to paint the trim blue, too, but I couldn't go that far. Now I wish I had." All in all, the transformation took about six months.

Family Ties

"The first few days after it was painted, it just felt so ... blue," Jennifer's dad says of the paint color. "But once all the furniture was in, it turned out to be very calming. So we've grown to trust Jennifer, even if she drags us kicking and screaming." The day the room was finished, Jennifer toasted with her parents to a job well done. "I feel very connected to the room," she says. "When I visit my parents, I always come in here first to check on it."

Keeping It in the Family

Dana Oatley Brown, a sought-after Louisiana-based interior designer, came to the rescue when her mother, Margaret Oatley, discovered that termites were chomping away at her Baton Rouge kitchen. When she bought the house, Dana's mom planned to update the kitchen, but never expected it would need a total gut job. She says she "hired" her daughter because she needed help from a pro.

Unexpected Challenges

The original kitchen had floor-to-ceiling dark wood cabinets and felt claustrophobic, says Dana. So to "let the room breathe" they put in all the appliances low and built a long island. The reno process took about a year. "I love color, but Dana is more subdued," Margaret says. "I told her I wanted aqua. So she painted a bunch of different aqua squares on one wall for me to see." Dana pushed for the lightest one, and although her mom thought it looked too gray, she was convinced to use that color on all the cabinets.

Great Teamwork

This is the third project mother and daughter worked on together. They kept Margaret's collection of redware bowls, which sit on top of the cabinets. The backsplash tile was bought on a trip to Sana Fe, and Rojo Alicante marble was chosen for the counters. "Mom loves to bake," Dana says knowingly. "When she's hungry, she'll make a cake instead of a sandwich." Sally adds, "I'll make it, and I'll eat it sitting in my lovely kitchen."

Rehabbed Room

Melissa Warner's parents, Sally and Michael Warner of Los Angeles, hadn't updated their bedroom since the '80s. After plumbing problems gave them a reason to reinvent the space, Melissa, of design firm Massucco Warner Miller, swooped in to oversee the makeover. "My parents' bedroom was chic in 1984," says Melissa. "I think they were ready for a change."

Put Faith in Your Designer

Melissa gave her parents an estimate so there would be no budget surprises. She also made a sketch of the new bedroom design and got loads of fabric samples. Working with family made it easy for Melissa to voice her opinions. If her mom liked something she knew wouldn't work, she didn't have to sugarcoat anything. "I could just say, 'No way,'" she says.

Mix-and-Match Concepts and Color

"I never understood the idea of 'a pop of color,' but Melissa taught me the pops are there to offset neutrals and add fun," says Sally. Rules were broken with this design, Melissa says. The old room had a furniture set, but she didn't want everything to match. "I didn't think all the furniture she picked would fit, but Melissa knew better," says Sally.

The Grand Surprise

Melissa says working on her childhood home was "such a rush." She and her mom kept her dad in the dark about any details, so they put a red ribbon on the door and had a big reveal. "It was fun to see the room for the first time," Michael says. "The girls had spent a lot of time working on it, but for me, it was instant gratification."

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