After a Pipe Burst, These DIY Experts Created a Dream Bedroom in 4 Days

Sometimes, to create the ultimate bedroom retreat, a top-to-bottom transformation is needed.

Left side: a room stripped down to the studs and foundation. Right side: Fully furnished and made over bedroom.
Cara Newhart

Impactful bedroom design is often about making small tweaks and building the style of your space over time — but sometimes the design gods will demand an immediate and complete overhaul.

Kelsey Mackall and her partner were forced to start their bedroom design from scratch when a pipe burst in their primary bedroom due to an unprecedented wave of snow in Texas. The ceiling collapsed and there was extensive water damage, necessitating a restoration team to strip down the entire space down to the bare bones.

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As an aspiring DIY-er, Kelsey might otherwise have embraced the disaster as an opportunity to take on decor projects in her freshly drywalled space. But at nine months pregnant, she had no time to waste, especially given that she was planning a home birth in the very room that was destroyed. After watching this disaster unfold — and knowing that the baby’s due date was rapidly approaching — my DIY bestie, Jessie Ecker, and I stepped in to help Kelsey create her dream space.

For the uninitiated, Jessie and I are DIY home renovators who bring fresh eyes and femininity to the home improvement world. We teach everyday women how to take on epic home projects by themselves.

But just because we CAN do it alone, doesn’t mean we HAVE to. Like in Kelsey’s case. With the baby’s due date rapidly approaching, and just four days to transform the space, she needed us to lend a helping hand.

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Building a Trim Accent Wall to Last the Ages

Finished trim accent wall
Cara Newhart

The first phase of the transformation was the trim accent wall, which for Kelsey’s bedroom, would be a muted but dramatic deep blue color. Trim detailing is a timeless texture — a factor we kept in mind so that Kelsey’s wall could match any trend or accent pieces in the future.

The eye-catching design: Not only does this wall help anchor the space and give the room a focal point but it also provides a backdrop for other bedroom elements to pop, like her gorgeous tufted upholstered headboard and nightstands.

How to build it: We aimed high with this intricate design, which consisted of 40 trim boxes to create a visual impact for the ages.

  • Part one: To help the trim wall go up quickly, we started with a pre-made design plan that included all the necessary and varying measurements. Jessie got to work, batch-cutting the trim pieces to save time and using a stop block to make the repeat cuts easier.  
  • Part two: I got started painting the wall in our color of choice, Ocean Swell by Behr. Painting the wall before attaching the trim meant we could caulk (aka seal) and paint each individual trim box once it was up, without needing to worry about also painting between each box. It also saved a lot of time. 
  • Part three: Once the pieces were cut and the trim was dry, we installed the trim together piece by piece. We started at the very top with the middle piece, measuring 3 inches down from the ceiling and leveling it before securing with our 18-gauge brad nailer. Once the first piece was in, we used our level and spacer blocks to attach the additional pieces, completing the top row of boxes before moving on to the next row.  
  • Part four: Once all the trim was up, we caulked each trim box on all sides before painting. This is a slightly tedious process, but ensures the trim looks seamless and polished.  

Transforming the Window Bench for Gorgeous Views

A DIY window sill bench with neutral colors, looking out to a backyard.
Cara Newhart

After the trim wall, Jessie and I divided up the projects to get the job done more quickly. I dove into transforming the window into a texture-focused seating area so the family could relax over views into their serene backyard.

The eye-catching design: The large window filled the room with amazing natural light and had a wide ledge, so I wanted to leverage those amazing features to create a soothing seating area and focal point that didn’t distract from our bold accent wall.

How to build it: I started by making an upholstered bench to fit the window.

  • Part one: First I got a piece of ¾-inch-thick plywood cut to fit the width of the window and depth of the ledge. Then I stacked four layers of 1½-inch-thick foam, cutting them to the same shape and size as the plywood base. To hold the foam in place, I wrapped the bench in two layers of batting, a material that’s also used for quilt insulation, which also gave the bench additional shape. Then I secured the batting with fabric staples. 
  • Part two: I layered a canvas drop cloth over the top, wrapped it taut all the way around, and secured that with staples as well. For added texture and visual interest, I created two faux leather straps for each end of the bench. These also helped to pull in the burnt orange color we were using around the bed. 
  • Part three: To complete the bench with cozy vibes, we added throw pillows in a variety of shapes and sizes. Mixing fabric textures and colors, from our neutral and burnt orange palette, helped tie the entire space together.   

Securing a Desk into an Arched Nook Area

An arched desk nook with minimal decorations.
Cara Newhart

Kelsey's bedroom also contained an arched nook, which was the perfect place to add a built-in desk, creating an office space for her to work.

The eye-catching design: To define the nook, I painted the inside arch using the same blue color from our trim accent wall. Pulling this color through to the other side of the room not only made the space feel more cohesive, but also helped outline the nook and provide more depth and contrast from the rest of the fresh white walls.

How to build it: After the interior paint was dry, Jessie got to work transforming it into a desk area.

  • Part one: She added some pole wrap to the back wall of the area. Pole wrap is pliable, decorative wood, that’s made to be wrapped around metal or concrete poles — usually found in a basement — to make them look like columns. This DIY hack we came up with adds texture and gives the classic column look super easily. The fluted texture is very on-trend right now.  
  • Part two: Once the pole wrap was in place, Jessie started building the floating desk and shelf. She created the floating shelf by securing 2x4 boards along the back and sides — sinking them into studs — to create a support base for the desk. She used ¾-inch plywood and some 1x2-inch primed wood boards to build the desk and shelf, which she primed and painted a creamy white to complement the wood tones of the pole wrap and the blue color in the arch. 

Creating a Comfy, Fresh Bed Space

Medium shot of a bed covered in white sheets and burnt orange pillows.
Cara Newhart

The bed is absolutely the most important part of this space, so we wanted to give Kelsey a bed that helped support her sleep routine and all the big changes it may undergo after baby arrives.

We started with the gorgeous Linden Upholstered bed frame from Mattress Firm that was easy to assemble. The creamy, soft curved upholstery was the perfect contrast to the strong lines and deep blue shade of the accent wall.

Then we added some fresh white microfiber sheets to her new mattress and layered on a Serta goose down comforter and some Blanquil weighted blankets. We also made sure to include a variety of pillows, so Kelsey and her husband had their pick of pillows to customize in support of their best night's sleep.

To finish off the look and bring together elements from the rest of the room, we added two burnt orange pillows. Since orange and blue are complementary colors, the pillows added a pop of color against the muted blue wall, giving the space a dimensional and polished look.

And for the Finishing Touches...

Wide shot of a bedroom with a muted blue trim accent wall, a white bed with orange pillows, and a window sill bench.
Cara Newhart

Maximizing lighting: To complete the space, we added some amazing light fixtures with a gold finish. My designer secret to making a bedroom feel comfortable is multiple lighting options, including adjustable lighting that uses dimmers or smart bulbs.

I like overhead lighting for ambient light; bedside sconces or pendants for task lighting, like reading in bed; and I added a gorgeous gold desk lamp for light versatility while Kelsey is working. Installing lights at different levels in the room also highlights architectural features of a room and make it feel more spacious. For example, a modern chandelier draws your eye up to the high ceilings; or bedside pendants can help ground the nightstands so they don’t feel like they are floating against the large accent wall.

Modernizing the door: We repainted Kelsey’s DIY barndoor to match the desk and shelves and re-hung it using black barn door hardware we added some gold accents to. Across the light fixtures, furniture hardware, and decor elements, we mixed gold and black finishes for a modern aesthetic and to create interest instead of just sticking to one color of finish.

Adding accent elements: Some other final touches in this space included leather benches that fold up for storage, a gold mirror to add depth to the desk side of the room, and some DIY artwork we created using the same canvas drop cloth from the bench upholstery. For all of these touches, we used the same blue from the accent wall, neutrals from the window bench, and burnt orange from the pillows to further tie the space together.

The Final Reveal

When Kelsey saw our room renovation, she was blown away by the transformation. She couldn’t believe it was her house and tearfully exclaimed that it was “so good” and looked like a hotel. We were able to give her the retreat she deserved, just in time for baby to arrive!

For more DIY projects, follow Jessie of Eye in the Detail and Cara of Never Skip Brunch on Instagram.

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