This design-savvy power house has a long list of wow moments on her resume. One of those being the hit show ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. So to say she knows a few secrets to dream home status is an understatement. Read along as Veronica Valencia of the Design Hunters fills us in on 12 ways to gorgeously style your home inside and out. And get ready to take notes with even more in the VAULT!
For the past 10 years I have traveled the United States drawing, remodeling, designing, styling and staging homes within ridiculously accelerated timeframes for people I have never met. Sound crazy? Well it was and still is! This my friends, is the design home makeover world you see today scattered across TV’s nationwide. I started this journey in my early 20’s, touring the States with the hit show ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
The pioneers of the design makeover world, EMHE was the ultimate training. Since then I have run art departments for other major networks, such as NBC, FOX and OWN Network, who all credit me as a Design Producer. The rest of the entertainment industry refers to my position as a Production Designer; Collective Magazine called me Miss. Makeover, Remodelista called me the Master of Design Transformations (humble brag! Eeek!) and I like to refer to myself as the Design Hunter.
Much like your modern day sportsman, my team and I have to think quick on our feet, hunt for every bit of inspiration we can get our hands on (quickly), track and pursue great deals (even more quickly) and make construction decisions in a matter of a minute, all while cameras are rolling 24/7. The kicker, we hardly ever get to meet the families that move into the homes we spend hours on end designing night after night. And, the even crazier part, a majority of the 300+ homes I have designed to date have each been built from the ground up in a matter of 7 days. 7 days!!!
PULLING INSPIRATION & THE DESIGN JOURNEY
The takeaway from my unconventional beginnings in the design industry…
Design your home based around your loves, feelings and lifestyle. You will adore the results SO much more. Every project you take on, whether its for a client or your own home, will come to fruition exactly the way its suppose to. Don't loose sight of the big picture. If a painting comes 2" too wide, it is not the end of the world. You will survive! Enjoy the journey, its the best part! Everyone pulls inspiration from others, everyone. Pinterest is an incredible source of motivation and incite. If you are not pinning, get to it! It is a great way to make yourself aware of what you like and identify your personal style.
DESIGN WITH THE SEASONS
Much like the seasons, people, places and products change annually. Revisiting your home at the beginning of every season is a great habit to get into. Not only do you challenge yourself to live more simply, but you are able to pay close attention and tap into what is working and what is not working within your home. If you are not in love with it, move on.
WHEN CONSIDERING THE INTERIOR OF YOUR HOME, START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
Focus on the big ticket items, like your sofa and bed. Never start and splurge on accessories (unless you MUST have it). Items like pillows, lamps and bedding are always great items to change up here and there. I am such a huge fan of swapping accessories from room to room throughout the house or potentially even grabbing new ones every season. Summer makes me feel different than Fall and Winter, and I want my home to reflect that.
FOR NEW HOME BUYERS AND REMODELERS, GET SOME PAINT UP ON THOSE WALLS!
Paint is the quickest way to express yourself, bring out your personality and set the mood for your home, both on the interiors and exteriors.
SHIPLAP WALLS CAME AND WENT... AND NOW THEY ARE BACK!
Traditionally used in barns and historic homes, this is always a go to when you want to spend a little extra to bring a big wow into your home. There are so many different versions of shiplap out there. Rustic barn boards can be a great way to bring character to a fireplace, while running freshly painted pine boards vertically or horizontally can make your office or kitchen feel immediately cozy and chic. There are so many DIY’s that can be found on Pinterest to walk you through which works best for your space and how to install yourself. If you have the budget to do this, and don't want the hassle… consult with your local contractor.
INCORPORATING BEAUTY AND WELLNESS INTO YOUR HOME WITH JUST ONE PURCHASE! COUNT ME IN!
Not only do plants beautify an empty corner of your home, they tremendously improve your health and wellness. Toxic cleaning supplies release so many harmful chemicals into the air of your home. Did you know there are 3 common houseplants (you can easily pick up at your local home improvement store) that can be grown indoors to cultivate fresh air throughout your home? A design decision that can make your air as neutral as possible, along with removing unwanted formaldehyde! Crazy! (Tip: Areca Palm, Mother-In-Law Tongue and the Money Plant are the most common indoor plants to help improve air quality. They are also said to help cure headaches, as well as foster human productivity.) To read more about this, check out the book How To Grow Fresh Air and check out Kamal Meattle’s Ted Talk, How To Grow Fresh Air.
WHIMSICAL AND BRIGHT ARTWORK WILL BRING A LOT OF CHARACTER TO ANY SPACE.
Artwork is a great centerpiece for any room. The perfect anchor to set the style of any space, and more importantly a wonderful conversational piece for guests.
SET OUT TO MAKE A COLLAGE WITH UNEXPECTED, INEXPENSIVE ITEMS.
Straw hats and straw fans are a great cheap way to provide an empty wall with a bit of flare. Your local goodwill and amazon are both great places to start hunting and gathering dollar finds.
GET ROMANTIC AND BOLD WITH WALLPAPER!
As a designer who is obsessed with instagram and all of the beautiful content generated from fellow stylists, making any moment “instagrammable” whether it’s in my own home or a client's, is definitely something I strive for. Frankly, wallpaper has always been my friend. It brings immediate eye candy to any space.
WHEN IT COMES TO CURB APPEAL - PAINT, LANDSCAPING AND PATIO FURNITURE WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN.
It doesn't matter what style of home you have, a freshly painted front door and an unexpected shutter color will do the trick. Landscaping is always key! Invest your money in a professional landscaper. A lot of times, homeowners will set out on a DIY weekend and plant tons of plants in their front yard….. And guess what? They die a week later! Let professionals who know how to maintain your yard, take care of all of your hard weekend work. Just like indoor plants, exteriors plants soften and make any ol’ house feel like home. Splurge on interesting patio furniture. A lot of times I will hang wicker chairs in the front yard to give a house some character. It’s like the statement earrings to an outfit!
USE TWINKLE LIGHTS WHENEVER POSSIBLE.
I remember when I first moved out of my parents home, I found the perfect guest house in Silverlake. The week I moved in, I convinced my roommates to drape string lights from the front of my house to the back of their house. Our property was immediately magical! It was an inexpensive purchase, that helped set the foundation for so many lovely memories and gatherings.
BUILT IN SEATING IS YOUR FRIEND.
Today, with a shift toward small living, formal dining rooms tend to eat up so much valuable space in a home. If done right, built in seating can be an affordable alternative and sometimes even more cost effective than a brand new dining set. The amount you spend on dining chairs, can potentially be comparable to the price of what material and labor costs to construct your dining corner. Built in seating is a great and intimate way to host formal dinners and respectively, provide an informal hangout for homework time, game nights and more! It is also a great addition to any backyard and deck. It’s inviting and perfect for those summer al fresco nights!