DIY projects add personal touches to Marietta home

A Marietta foreclosure with potential turned Erin and Julius Marshall into confident and experienced DIYers.

The stone surround on the fireplace in the family room, new kitchen cabinets, and furniture, including a dining room table and dresser in the nursery, all began as something else. After they purchased the home in 2011, they used Google to find instructions on how to redo the fireplace, then armed themselves with tools such as a wet saw for their first home project.

That initial DIY project was a success, and the couple has made other changes, big and small, to update the home on a budget.


Residents: Erin and Julius Marshall Jr., their 1-year-old son, Julius Marshall III, and their dogs, Kane and Theo. Erin is an event manager who also blogs about her home and DIY projects at; Julius is an IT specialist.

Location: Marietta

Size: 2,479 square feet, four bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths

Year built: 1996

Year bought: 2011

Architectural style: Traditional

Favorite architectural element: The arched entryway that leads into the living room

Renovations: Major changes included adding new premium laminate flooring, ceramic tile backsplash and changing the look of the cabinets, using a Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations kit, in the kitchen. In the family room, they updated the fireplace with mosaic stone.

Interior design style: Modern take on traditional

Favorite room: The nursery, which has a re-purposed dresser and original artwork.

Favorite pieces of furniture: The nursery dresser and stained dining room table, which Erin says are her favorite DIY projects. The dresser was an item they owned; the dining room table was purchased off Craigslist and stained in a chocolate color for a new look.

Favorite artwork: Paintings in the dining room, family room and nursery by Erin Marshall's sister, Chicago artist Dana Todd-Pope.

Favorite "a-ha" idea: The family room did not have built-in bookshelves, so they added IKEA bookshelves on both sides of the fireplace. Adding crown molding at the top and base molding could create the illusion of built-ins, Erin said.

Decor tip: Make your house your own by adding elements that are personal and functional for your family. For example, she added a storage bench and shoe dresser to the entryway and made up for the lack of built-ins in the family room with the IKEA bookshelves. "Functionality is the biggest thing for me. If it doesn't work for our everyday lifestyle, it doesn't work for this house," Erin said.

Resources: Furniture from Ashley Furniture, Marshalls, IKEA, Target and Craigslist; accessories from Target, Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby and thrift stores; rugs from Rugs USA and