Utah couple Shea and Syd McGee are back with Season 2 of Netflix’s “Dream Home Makeover”—and their new projects will make you want to drop everything on your plate and decorate.
In this new season, they show off renovations in every room of the house, from the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom, doling out style inspiration for the whole house. And while Shea’s signature style is still as clean and calming as ever, she focuses on creative designs like imperfect tile, wallpaper accents, and, yes, even carpet!
Read on to get the best tips from “Dream Home Makeover.” You’ll find some unexpected design choices that will inspire many weekends of fun projects to keep you happy at home through 2021.
Use imperfect tile to bring character to a new kitchen
In the episode “Luxury Estate,” Shea and Syd meet up with LaRee and Travis Hansen, who are just about ready to move in to their new home. This new build has been a work in progress for over two years, and now Shea is able to add the final touches, like a stylish kitchen backsplash.
Since this kitchen is so new, Shea chooses a handmade tile. But after it’s installed, the special texture makes the tile look at first like it’s not sitting perfectly flat.
“In new homes you kind of have to pick a few things that are maybe older or have some imperfections so that the home has a little bit of soul even when you move in to it,” Shea says.
At first, LaRee is unsure about this imperfect backsplash, but once it’s installed, it’s clear this tile is the right choice. It gives this clean kitchen a little personality. With this unique backsplash, the kitchen feels less like a hotel and more like a home.
For a midcentury look, use the right lighting
In the episode “Midcentury Makeover,” Shea and Syd meet Omar Poole and Josh Newbury for a midcentury makeover of their guesthouse. Poole knows that his mother will need to move in to this guesthouse eventually, so they want to fix it up for her with a fun midcentury modern design, which will match the main house.
However, this guesthouse was built in 1956, so Shea is forced to make some era-appropriate lighting choices.
“Homes of this era don’t typically have attics,” Shea explains. “We can’t crawl into the attic space to install can lights. We have to do all fixtures.”
She removes the original fixtures and replaces them with new, white alternatives that have the midcentury look. Plus, she installs a midcentury-inspired pendant light over the kitchen island, which adds even more retro style to the space. These new lights really set the mood.
Make sure different flooring types complement each other
The episode “Bath Hideaway” is all about Shea’s clients Mandi and Bryce Winkelman, and their fabulous primary bathroom. Mandi explains that she wants a peaceful, spa bathroom where she can take a break from the kids, so Shea focuses on finding a spa-inspired flooring choice.
She decides that gray herringbone with light grout is the perfect look for this bathroom because it’s elegant and gives the space some color. However, Shea runs into a challenge when it’s time to install carpet in the adjoining closet. She can’t match the carpet color to the tile or else it would look too matchy-matchy. So instead, she brings in an entirely new pattern with familiar colors.
“We did this kind of warm, gray grout with the dark stone herringbone floor, and then we flip-flopped the color palette in the closet, where we get the plaid that’s a warm gray with the dark accents,” Shea explains.
In the end, the closet carpet ends up looking great. The light plaid brightens up the space without seeming too stark next to the gray bathroom floors.
Use wallpaper as a classic accent
In the episode “Restoring History,” Madison and Nick Panos show Shea around their historic home, which was built in 1908. Madison knows that it’s time to update the old kitchen, but she still wants to keep the home’s classic look.
So, to keep some 1908 style, Shea brings in wallpaper.
“Our days of wallpapering every single room has passed, but when we have a dedicated area like this desk, where you have easy places to stop the wallpaper, it’s a perfect place to use it as an accent,” Shea explains.
She uses some subtle blue and white paper to dress up the built-in desk area. It gives the space a classic style without seeming dated.
Give stone an updated look by brightening the color
In the episode “Mountain Retreat Makeover,” Shea meets with Shazia and Taylor Chiu, who live in a cozy cabin.
These two want to give their cabin an updated look, but they also hope to keep the old-fashioned stove in the living room, which they still use to heat the house in winter.
To update this feature, Shea uses mortar to turn the stone behind the stove white.
“The cement mortar looks amazing on the stone,” Shea says.
Indeed, this small change to the stove area brightens the space and transforms the entire room.
Give your windows some cozy style
In the episode “Bedroom Oasis,” Shea works with client Jessica Stone to surprise her husband, Tyler, with a bedroom rehab. Jessica wants the room to feel like Hawaii, so Shea uses lots of soft colors and materials to get that island feel. She even uses those soft materials on the windows.
“When it comes to picking window treatments, you could pick shades, or you could pick drapes, but I often like to do both together because the more textures and textiles you have, the cozier a room feels. And blending the two together makes a home feel homier,” Shea explains.
So she installs long, light gray drapes, plus a woven shade. Together, these materials and textures give the room a relaxing vibe that’s reminiscent of the coast.