Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!


Living room update: new custom ottoman, coffee table solution!

I said back at the beginning of the year that a goal for my home was figuring out the living room. I knew it would probably take all year! I've been updating the curtains, creating attractive toy/book storage, moving things around... and the custom ottoman I ordered a while back is here and so wonderful!

This post is sponsored by Wayfair.

Coffee table replacement: upholstered ottoman

I've debated a lot about coffee tables in here and tried a couple out. I love the function and style-ability of a coffee table, but with little kids, we had to just keep it bare all the time and it was sort of a hazard for rough play. There is also already a lot of wood in this room due to the original wood trim. Plus, I like to put my feet up on the coffee table while watching TV and I was always putting a pillow under my heels for padding, ha.

So a while back I decided I wanted something traditional, comfortable, and unique. I found this upholstered ottoman on Wayfair that comes in a ton of beautiful patterns and has charming ball feet. It was perfect! I was able to choose the color of the feet, too. Ah, I love some of those stripes it comes in so much... it was a hard decision! I recommend ordering swatches!

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Old house small closet update!

I did a closet project last year--I repaired the walls and reconfigured things in a medium-sized somewhat funky hall closet that I used as mine. That worked great but it was down the hall from our room... we recently switched things around and now I get the closet and dresser in the bedroom. It was built similarly and apparently 1937 closets often need some of the same updates. I recently made this closet way more functional, too! 

This was a simple project that I mostly did right after the kids went to bed over a few days. Check it out!

Old house closet update

Here's my clothing storage corner of the room. Dresser (we bought two of these when we did this bedroom update years ago), jewelry storage, and a long but pretty narrow closet. 

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From-scratch sink skirt tutorial

The sink skirt is back! It's not just to hide unattractive plumbing; it can add so much charm and softness to an otherwise standard-feeling bathroom. I added a floral block print sink skirt to the pedestal sink in our recent basement bathroom project and it made it so much more fun!

I started my sink skirt journey by turning two shower curtains into sink skirts for my friend @ciarakenaston. It was a genius idea of hers--clearance West Elm Heather Taylor Home big gingham shower curtains, sturdy fabric and great colors. You can see the stories here and the finished product here

Making a sink skirt from a shower curtain is by far easier than what I did for our bathroom. I highly recommend that shortcut route! They come hemmed on all three sides; all you have to do is add a casing at the top for elastic or gathering and attach it with velcro. But if you want to pick your fabric (even use a lighter weight fabric) and make something totally custom... this tutorial will tell you how!

Sink Skirt Tutorial

You will need:

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Top 5 One Room Challenge room reveals!

The spring One Room Challenge is over, and there were hundreds of incredible design and home improvement projects as usual. (See them all here.) I've shared a handful of favorites in my Instagram stories but I like to put together a short roundup of my top faves each season and here are five that I think are really, really special. Bathrooms, a kids' room, and more!

Top 5 One Room Challenge makeovers spring 2022

Some of these are not exactly my style but I so respect them for the quality work and good design! Or maybe I kind of wish they were my style...!

A couple of these designers have been in my favorites roundups from previous seasons, too!

1. Deeply Southern Home European-inspired bathroom and closet

Wow... this space was just fine before, in a newer home, but Leslie made it feel classic and glamourous and so luxurious!

2. Rumfield Homestead shared toddler room

Honestly I didn't mind the "before" on this space, either! But now it's a way more unique and interesting, character-filled space that feels so perfect for this Victorian home.

3. The Southern Gail glam mudroom

I am in awe of this project. SO many skillful construction projects basically rebuilding this addition on this 1930's home, PLUS so much style! I would have never thought to combine some of these elements in the soft goods and wall/ceiling treatments. Epic!

4. @reneerenovates dining room

Renee MADE that table. From scratch. And I'm mesmerized by it in this shot. That built-in is original to her 1914 home, how cool!

5. Erin Zubot Design guest bathroom

Erin does such high quality projects always, and this room is no exception. She really puts care into her DIYs (almost everything she does is DIY) and she uses a great mix of classic English-inspired quirky style and modern fresh pieces (how cute are those sconces?). She also brings great art prints from museum downloads! And that is an antique pedestal sink (hey, a few similarities to my ORC bathroom this season!). I love that this bathroom is bringing beige back, too!!

Hope you enjoyed my little roundup! Check out all the reveals here!

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English country-inspired basement bathroom REVEAL! And budget/costs

PHEW! Our basement bathroom is DONE--AND I am so, so happy with how it turned out! Sorry for all the caps. I wasn't sure for a while there if I would wrap this up in time, and how I would feel about it. Very happy to share this post today.

This is my final post in this One Room Challenge of this bathroom we're doing as part of our basement renovation.

English Country-inspired bathroom renovation

I'm proud!

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Wallpaper, tile, beadboard, and a door: Major bathroom progress, ORC week 7

One Room Challenge Week 7! We have finally picked up the pace and are now getting so close to being done.

Big Bathroom Progress

We've spent the past couple weekends working a ton on the bathroom and my parents helped me get the tile done (my mom and I tiled, my dad watched the kids) the other Friday, and Jason grouted Sunday. I spent a couple of evenings listening to Taylor Swift and hanging wallpaper instead of relaxing on the couch like I wanted... but it's done!

The wallpaper is this pretty one from A Street Prints (sponsored). It was my first time using pasted wallpaper (versus peel and stick). Easier in some ways (like on the corners).

We've been spraying the trim and laundry room beadboard walls the past few weekends too, and man, am I glad to be done using the paint sprayer. But we did spray these beadboard panels flat on the ground which was 1000x faster than the brush-and-roll method for beadboard. We'll touch them up once they're installed. I picked out art today too so wanted to visualize it and brought the beadboard in and leaned them up against the walls. I can almost picture it!

Then, right after I took these pictures this evening, I got excited to hang some doors and I installed the new antique brass hinges and doorknob. I think the antique brass (almost matches the original ones upstairs) will give the basement some character and less of a brand-new build feel.

Later this week I'll do the pleated shade DIY on the sconce shades, and this weekend, we'll install the beadboard and baseboards. The plumber will install the toilet and sink next week! Almost done!

Follow along on my Instagram for regular updates on this exciting basement project, and the bathroom!

And you can follow along with hundreds of other 8-week room makeovers this One Room Challenge!
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My 1-year-old's favorite books

Been a little quiet on this blog the past week or two and I'm giving myself a pass on One Room Challenges every week... still planning to finish the bathroom on time but not much has been happening lately! But I've been wanting to write this fun post for a while so here it is.

Lucy's room after we added these shelves

Best books for 1-year-olds

Lucy didn't get as many baby books read to her as Otto did, but when she was 14-18 months or so I noticed she really had some strong preferences for some of our classic baby/toddler books. (Some of these I mentioned in my baby shower/new baby gift post!)

Some of these are the Montessori-recommended kind: realistic/not too cartoon-ey pictures of real people and babies, relatable, concepts they can easily understand. But some are just silly, with animals wearing clothes or cutesy faces on the cartoon babies. Some are very repetitive. Some are so short!! We read most of these multiple times every time. (Baby sign language for "more"!) Otto loved a lot of these, too.

I got sentimental just writing this list. It is so special to see such a little person, even before she can talk much, clearly having preferences and favorites. The Very Busy Spider has to be her #1. She gets it down from the shelf so often! We have two copies, one in Otto's room and one in hers. Sometimes she reads it by herself. So special to see a love of reading and learning in such a little person. 

Hope you've enjoyed reading this! Happy book time. :)
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It looks like a bathroom! Week 4 ORC

One Room Challenge Week 4! I didn’t have much of an update last week so I’ll catch you up on the past two weeks of progress. The bathtub is now installed and we have drywall up, though not finished, in the bathroom.

Bathroom Progress

The drywall and the rest of the basement is completely done (and the very light/smooth texture is beautiful)! We had to wait for the initial plumbing and electrical inspections before drywalling the bathroom itself, but we’ve passed those now. I am taking today off work to get as far as I can painting the basement and getting ready to install some beadboard, and then once that’s done and the drywall is done over the weekend I’m hoping to paint and install beadboard in the bathroom!

Here’s the current status!

I’m also still making design decisions… leaning toward this look and colors. I have some wallpaper samples for the upper half of the walls; nothing is looking perfect but I think I can make one of them work… I am going for sort of a bold look with a dark keyboard on the bottom and a lighter wallpaper, that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of color the same as the beadboard. Like this inspiration.
Image source

Follow along on my Instagram for regular updates on this exciting basement project, and the bathroom!

And you can follow along with hundreds of other 8-week room makeovers this One Room Challenge!
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Choosing electrical locations for our new bathroom! ORC Week 2

Things are moving along in the basement bathroom (part of the 8-week One Room Challenge), and I got to do something I’ve never done before: decide on the placement of the electrical work! 

Bathroom Sconce Placement

Lighting, switches, and outlets, but the lighting was particularly exciting because in every other bathroom I've had I've had vanity lighting over the mirror, and now I get to put the lights on the sides of the mirror. Part of that is necessity because the ceiling is very low! But it’s really the best place for flattering, helpful lighting when using the mirror.

I had to do some math, diagramming, Google research, and actually laying it out to determine how high the sconces should go and how far away from the mirror. Thankfully I already had the sconces, mirror, and sink on site and was able to get pretty close with my research and then lay the sconces out next to the mirror on the floor to see that I needed to account for some room for the shades!

60" is pretty low for sconces, but we have a low ceiling. We decided on 62" up from the floor and 5" out from the mirror. That will put the sconces 28" apart, which is closer than what you see above a big vanity with a big mirror, but will actually be great lighting. I looked through my Pinterest bathroom pins for examples of sconces above pedestal sinks and quickly realized I don't need to worry about the relationship of the sconces to the sink width. It doesn't matter that they don't line up to the center or edge of the sconces or sink.

The electrician talked to me about where the switches, etc. would go and we decided on lighting locations, and then he got to wiring everything. You can see in this photo of the boxes are set, and there are wires to where the sconces will go (above the sink plumbing).

There will be an outlet to the right of the sink, and as you can see the switch is handy by the door frame. The door swings in and will open up toward the wall to the left.

Drywall goes up soon, and the tub will be installed soon, so it will start to look like a bathroom any day now.

Even though this phase is not all that beautiful, I am particularly enjoying it because I don’t have to do any of the work! I might not be as cheerful in a few weeks when I’ve been painting and installing bead board and tile. Ha!

You can follow along with hundreds of other 8-week room makeovers this One Room Challenge!

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