Operation Fixer-Upper

HGTV Magazine features a sergeant's special homecoming--a beautiful house his wife updated and furnished with thrifty finds.
By: Jennifer Berno DeCleene

Photo By: Jim Bastardo

Photo By: Jim Bastardo

Photo By: Jim Bastardo

Photo By: Jim Bastardo

Photo By: Jim Bastardo

Labor of Love

Just months after Meg Stein married Army sergeant Josh Sutton, she enlisted in the biggest challenge of her life: to complete a surprise home makeover before her husband returned from Afghanistan.

Eclectic Look

In the dining room, Meg's wood chandelier was a $50 garage sale find, and she scored the vintage Duncan Phyfe table on eBay. “I wanted a collected look, not an insta-house,” she says.

Lucky Furniture Finds

Meg already had the flat file coffee table in storage, so she designed the living room around it. She sent Josh links to sofas she had in mind since it would be their biggest style splurge, and they decided on a tufted velvet model from Macy’s. Next came a pair of armchairs from Craigslist. Meg painted the caned frames white and recovered the cushions (originally orange) with a graphic gray-and-white print.

A Happy Place

For the Sunroom, yellow rattan chairs and an ottoman (vintage Ficks Reed from Craigslist) were Meg’s first big finds for the house. “I loved the color, and I didn’t even have to reupholster them,” she says. She added an IKEA credenza to store Josh’s DVDs and video games, and keeps an ever-changing display of plants and vintage objects (like science beakers) on top. Meg upgraded white cotton curtain panels with vibrant yellow velvet ribbon sewn along the edges. “The light in here is incredible, so it’s a happy place,” says Meg.

Group Effort

Friends pitched in to help paint all the cabinets, replace the appliances, and install butcher-block counters. “It was a mad dash to the finish line,” says Meg. Josh worked on a few projects after he finished his deployment in November 2010, like completing a new marble backsplash and sewing Roman shades for the windows.

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