Feature Friday: The Lettered Cottage Makeover House

Last year, I had so much fun hanging out with Layla and Kevin as they filmed a pilot HGTV show.  Sadly, the show wasn’t picked up and they found that out in February (HGTV doesn’t know what they are missing!).  I had taken some nice After shots of the room they did and I’m finally getting around to showing them to you.  It had been so long, I almost forgot about them, but I know you’ll all love these pics.

One of the things they did in the makeover was to change up the existing fireplace mantel.  I loved that they added a box to cover the old red brick and added molding to really bring it up to a modern version, as well as added a beautiful rustic mantel on top.

That’s on my list of things to do with my stone fireplace too.  Now, I just have to find someone who can execute my plan.  The rocks on my fireplace are not flat in the front, they are all kinds of uneven, so it might be a bit more of a challenge for me to get a rustic mantel in place, but I will be pondering on that one.


For now, it looks like this, but one day I hope to get a pretty mantel up there and maybe even add a bit of wood to the front of it too. We’ll see how it evolves.

Before Living room

Here’s where the Morrison’s house started before Layla and Kevin got ahold of it.  They had just closed on this foreclosure house (boy, do I know how THAT feels!) and were eager to start ripping out and making it better. The house has great bones and I’m sure they are doing some fantastic things with it after getting a major head start with their living room. Wait til you see the afters!


I know! You are scrolling back and forth right now, cause you can hardly believe this is the same room, right?  It is amazing what paint, flooring, revamped fireplace and beautiful furniture and accessories can do for a room.  Astounds me every time!

I do believe the color is Oyster Bay by Sherwin Williams, a gorgeous soft gray-blue.  I used the lighter version, Comfort Gray, on this strip in my den.

The red color on the table and French doors is Heirloom Red by Valspar.  You can find lots more details on the room at Layla’s!


Hard to believe the fireplace is the same. They added glass tile and a wooden surround to the existing brick and installed that beautiful rustic mantel. Oh, how I love that.


With the flat screen above, this is a great family room now for watching TV.  Love, love the changes in the mantel.


This pretty mantel really makes it too.

coastal living room

A sectional sofa fills in the space nicely without taking up a lot of room.

Billy bookcase

They did the Billy bookcases from Ikea built-in on either side of the French doors and that really brought the room to life.

Billy bookcases builtin

Perfect idea!  And those red doors rock.


These bookcases look like they’ve been here forever, you would never know they are put together bookcases from Ikea with molding added.  I just might have to find a place to do this in my new house, I love it so much.


This pair of flea market chairs got a new slipcover.


Layla’s shopping expertise shines in her choice of suitcase side table and flea market accessories.


Love the mix of pillows too.


An old leaded glass screen in the corner, along with a live plant adds a nice mood in the room.


These simple drapes with the same fabric as on the chairs pulls the colors and fabrics all together.


Another shot of the side table and chair/ottoman in front of the Billy’s.


Painting this table red was one of the jobs I helped with.  It really adds a nice punch of color to the room, same color as the French doors.  I’ve got some furniture painting to be done for my new house.

Morrisons LR

Another shot of the room.  Isn’t it just lovely?


Other side looking towards the front door.

rustic coffee table

They got this rustic coffee table at Southern Accents in Cullman, AL.  Great place for vintage finds.


Here’s talented Layla, with the homeowner, Emily.

I know they are enjoying this room and last I heard, it looks just the same, they haven’t changed a thing.  Now, I’m wondering what other rooms they have done since this one.  You can see Layla’s post back in April with her Before and After pics as well as lots more details on the room (and sources for all!).  Their pics are much better than mine too!

Hope you enjoyed this beautiful room makeover. I get so inspired when I see rooms like this come alive with paint, flooring, furniture, and accessories.  My fixer-upper is coming alive too and I can’t wait to get to the decorating point.

- Rhoda


  1. After all the hard work it’s always fun making it pretty that one looks forward to.

    I really like the color combinations this couple used.

  2. Rhoda….thanks for presenting this fantastic room to us….I remember this room and just loved seeing this again…Layla certainly is a wonderful talent…and yes, HGTV made a big mistake, big mistake!!!…I just love the pops of red throughout the room….perfection!
    Have a great weekend!

  3. I visit their site frequently and you are right they are very talented. It would have been like seeing old friends on HGTV! So sorry the were not picked up, but maybe in the future!

    This is a wonderful room and I get so many ideas from these blogs. The IKEA cabinets were the keeper on this one for me.

  4. Love this room so much!!! Do you remember what color was used for the red table and doors? I would love to paint something soon in red and absolutely love this shade! Thanks so much!!!!

    • Hi, Heather, I just added that color above in the post: Heirloom Red by Valspar (Lowes). You can find lots more details over at The Lettered Cottage post, link above too.

  5. The room turned out amazing! I love everything about it, especially the touches of red sprinkled throughout. It’s casual and comfy but so very stylish! You all did a great job. And yes, I think HGTV made a huge mistake in letting that show slide!

  6. I agree. The pops of red make the room. They’re perfect!!!

  7. they did an awesome job with the room. I love the color choices. To bad about the show.

  8. Yes, HGTV doesn’t know what they are missing! They could be airing their show instead of House Hunters for HOURS each day! 🙂 I miss all the old shows like Trading Spaces and such – wish they had more down -to earth/real- life design shows like that.

    The room is gorgeous – but of course, Layla and Kevin did it! 🙂 I love their style.

    Yours is going to be beautiful too, Rhoda – amazing to watch the transformation!

    I would think you would put a mantel up there – might need to create a template and cut the wood up against the rocks along with the shape of the rocks but it would be gorgeous! 🙂

    • I agree, I love HGTV but House Hunters & House Hunters International are on so much that I just change the channel. Layla & Kevin would have been a great addition to their line up! Hopefully an even better opportunity will happen for them! I love all of the pictures! Great job, as usual!

  9. HGTV is so out of touch with what people want in decorating. Kevin and Layla understand all that. They did such a fantastic job. Hang in there, you two, and don’t give up. Someone will give you your own show eventually.

  10. What fond memories:-) It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year, and yet it seems like an eternity ago at the same time! We’re going to be doing our kitchen reno in October and I can’t wait to share the afters with you!

  11. Wow! I totally want to redo my family room!!! But if nothing else, I’m definitely going to paint my door!!! Thanks for sharing that wonderful space! I can’t wait to go check out Layla’s other inspirations!

    Your’s is going to look just as wonderful! I love your fireplace surround! Your soft feminine elements brought in against that rustic stone would be an awesome contrast! I’d add a simple wood mantel like you mentioned and then leave it be! Hard to improve perfection!

  12. Delores LeBoeuf says:

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! VERY, VERY, VERY, SUPER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. I am still so amazed and disappointed that they didn’t pick up their show – what a disappointment! Thanks for sharing the inspiring room for a reminder of great design once again.

    Take care,

  14. What a great transformation! Love a good “before&after” Thanks for sharing – it only helps to spur me on in my own house :o)

  15. That was a real shame… they are darling, talented and so watchable!! I would have tuned in for that!! Thanks for the peek and highlights. It’s a beautiful room =)

  16. The room looks awesome {I loved the fireplace before, too!} Layla and Kevin are adorable. It’s funny because I’m totally obsessed with home design, but I NEVER watch HGTV. Maybe because they pass over the best talent? 😉 Thanks for sharing, Rhoda.

  17. Gorgeous room -what a transformation! I wish HGTV picked them up because they really need to get rid of some of the real estate shows and get back to the decorating shows. I used to watch that channel all the time but barely turn it on now!

  18. This has Layla’s stamp all over it!! I loved her post back then, but it’s so fun to see it again — all fresh and the perfect combo of rustic and refined. I can’t get over those Billy bookcases– who’d have thought?? Thanks for sharing!
    xo Heidi

  19. I don’t know how you sleep Rhoda. My head would be spinning with ideas constantly. I love what you are doing, and i’s fun to watch the transformation.
    Thanks for sharing Layla’s room transformation. Somewhere along the line I missed it. There is definitely lots of inspiration in those photos. I’ll check it out at her ‘place’ too.
    Wishing you an Extraordinary weekend!

  20. Love the room! Sorry the show didnt get picked up!! Am I the only one that thinks the only thing they (HGTV) want is real estate oriented shows? 🙁

  21. What a gorgeous makeover, I love it especially the soft greens. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  22. What a gift those two are… you are right, HGTV missed out big time! Can’t wait to see what you’re up to Miss Rhoda, I’m sure it will be fabulous!

  23. I can not believe HGTV did not pick up their show, what are they thinking. I guess it has to be a real estate show to make it! Yikes. That is really too bad, I think it would have become a favorite of viewers. Lovely makeover and they did an amazing job. Love the color choices and so many of the elements,

  24. Wow, that is a night and day difference before and after. I only half-jokingly say that HGTV has turned into Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous these days. Every show I seem to catch is someone buying vacation property in a tropical paradise. The Design on a Dime style shows are few and far between. I wish they’d back off on that and back to shows like those guys would have done! Still can’t believe those are spruced up Ikea bookcases!

    I’m sure you’ll come up with something for your fireplace. If you intend to cover up the stone like they did the brick fireplace, maybe it would be simpler to just remove the stone and start from scratch? It looks like the stone is just a facade rather than part of a chimney, etc?

  25. I’m looking forward to see what you come up with for your fireplace Rhoda. I too have a fireplace with a stone front to the ceiling. I would like to know how to add a mantle to the uneven stone, but I don’t want to cover up the stone. I enjoy seeing all the improvements you and your folks are making to your house.

  26. Where is the sectional from? I absolutely love it!

  27. Love the mantel. Was it custom made? Or were you able to do it yourself?

  28. I love this room so much! It’s my inspiration room for my house. Have you seen what the home owners have done with it now? They painted the walls black!! Everything else stayed the same. They love it, so that’s all that matters.

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