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updated: 11/19/2013 3:00 PM

If these walls could talk

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  • Nancy Rinker of Grayslake is looking to turn her "wreck" room back into a rec room.

    Nancy Rinker of Grayslake is looking to turn her "wreck" room back into a rec room.

  • Mirrored sliding doors for a closet adds style and makes the room seem bigger.

    Mirrored sliding doors for a closet adds style and makes the room seem bigger.
    Courtesy of HomeStory Chicago

By Nancy Rinker of Grayslake

Help! Our "wreck" room is in desperate need of a makeover!

Left unfinished when our house was built in 1965, the lower rec room portion of this tri-level was finally completed by DIY projects in 1972. Everything has remained frozen in time for 41 years. I mean everything -- carpeting, wallpaper, furniture and the red, white and blue color theme. Even with years of TLC, the life expectancy of this room has been pushed beyond its limits.

"Time flies when you're having fun," and now that we're senior citizens (How did that happen?), a redo by ourselves is no longer an option. This room has always been the center of activity in our home from watching our only TV, doing laundry, hobbies and entertaining family and friends. Remodeling or redecorating is sadly not on a priority list. Your wonderful and timely contest is giving us an opportunity to hopefully resolve our dilemma. Revamping our largest room from tattered and outdated into an inviting comfortable "living room" would make us ecstatic to say the least!

Not visible from the photo, this is a U-shaped multi-purpose room which warrants professional design guidance (dimensions are 10-by-22, 10-by-6 and 12-by-6 laundry area with sink, counter and cabinetry adjacent to the garage entry). Needing a makeover from the floor up, your talented designers would have a clean slate to express their creativity. Many of your subscribers who reside in similar split-level homes would also benefit from your recommendations in future articles on this topic.

Thank you for your consideration of this entry. We'll hold our breath for the judging results. Oops! That's not a good idea, especially for older folks.

Design by HomeStory Chicago

• Budget: $2,000

This room definitely can use some love. Doors, floors and walls all need updated.

Let's ditch the wallpaper and get some hardwood floor or laminate in there.

Update all of the doors in the room with new two-panel doors.

For what looks like sliding closets, adding mirrored sliding doors would add style to the room and make it feel much bigger.

Design by Mel Alger of Alger Decorating

Removing the wallpaper in this room and painting the walls will offer a clean slate for updated flooring, furniture and accessories. I'd suggest a warm, inviting color chosen to complement the furnishings and window treatments.

Stripping wallpaper can be challenging but worth the effort. The key to success is using the product DIF, along with hot water and lots of elbow grease.

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