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It’s been three years since the start of the biggest project of my life – the demo and renovation of my home in a suburb of Boston.

My mental and physical selves have been back to normal for a while. I’ve even made a few more adjustments since the initial completion. I am proud to say, “I did it! And I lived to tell the tale!”

I learned so much about how to manage a renovation and I’ve had so many people ask me about the project that I figured I should share what I learned. This is sort of a how-to guide for anyone out there brave enough to rip apart your home and put it back together with ease, and maybe only a few hair-pulling sessions.

May 2016 marked the start of the demolition of almost every single room in my family’s newly purchased home, a 1951 Colonial, as well as my venture into home renovation when I took on the full-time job of general contractor, architect, interior designer, coffee gofer, mathematician, decorator, debate champion, gardener, mediator and friend.

Wow, did I really do all of that? Now that it’s all over, I can actually walk around my home and appreciate the jewel it’s become… and I think, damn, I wish I knew then what I know now. I think, wow, how fun would it be to take on a whole new project knowing everything I know now. In those long six months of renovation, there are a few things I wish I had known to make the adventure even a tiny bit easier.

This is my guideline. Each week we’ll delve into each tip deeper, and I’ll share all of the fun photos from along the way!

Ultimately, your guide might be a little different. Don’t worry, you WILL get to that finish line and who knows, it might be the next day or like for me, a year later!

Eventually, you’ll stand there and look around at your creation and think, holy shit, I cannot believe I just went through all that. I cannot believe I cried over a broken sink, I cannot believe I spent a king’s ransom on frickin’ plumbing that no one can even see, I cannot believe I sat on 10 different toilets in the middle of Lowe’s Goldilocks-style to find the perfect throne for my king, I cannot believe they didn’t put me on payroll at the tile store and Home Depot after the number of hours I clocked in there! The biggest shocker (and a hunk of satisfaction) is that it is finally done and that I did this all by myself!

Here’s a look at the transformation of my dining room. Come back next Tuesday to read how I went with my “gut”.


Dining room:  I think this was Aladdin’s original magic carpet and I’m thinking this must have been the color of the year in 1951 because why else?

Time to brighten it up! I painted all the windows white. New chair rails and molding

Time to start on my biggest and hottest (literally) project- the painted floor. Three coats of primer that definitely made me high from little ventilation and the 90 degree days.
High school geometry finally came in handy. Measuring out the right size and direction of squares that I wanted.
Just having a little fun!
I don’t  know which project was harder for me, painting these floors or installing this wallpaper… but all well worth it!
This antiqued mirror glass feature was something I’ve always wanted in my home, and finally for this home, it was the last piece to be installed in our renovation 
My collection of blue Chinoiserie pots

I loved the texture of the metal starburst, chartreuse brocade with metallic print curtains and the wallpaper with metallic finishes in the zebra’s stripes

Take another fun look inside Alisa’s home in this Houzz article.

For more design inspiration, find Alisa’s home and others inside the pages of, “Your Home, Your Style” By Donna Garlough.


Alisa Kapinos has been a fashion stylist and personal shopper for almost 15 years. She started her career in fashion working for a Boston based magazine as their Fashion and Beauty Editor and then went onto become their Editor in Chief. During this time she produced and styled countless photo shoots, working with top designers and top photographers. She has been lucky enough to attend many New York Fashion Weeks, also styling shoots for commercials and print ads, as well as assisting in styling Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel and the Jonas Brothers on their Boston stop during their musical tour. She then began her career as a personal stylist to some of Boston’s most notable people, as well as women and men from all walks of life. What her clients love about her is her attention to detail, her understanding of personal style (not just what’s trending), and her ability to mix high end with affordable pieces that fit everyone’s budget. Through her work in the fashion industry, she has also partnered with many charitable organizations to bring awareness and raising money for their causes. Recently, Alisa has taken her passion for interior design and has worked on a few interior projects for local clients. She has had her own home, which she renovated herself, featured in a home design book and a few home websites. Alisa’s greatest loves are her husband of 11 years, her two dogs and her three kids. She loves photography and taking photos, loves to travel, to write, to garden, to decorate, to cook and spend time with her family and friends.

If you love style and want to keep up with Alisa, check her out on Instagram @styleproductions. For more info on her personal styling and home styling business, check out her website, www.alisakapinos.com

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