Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovation, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals. I'm a recovering former vegan and vegetarian, now healing with a nutrient-dense mostly Paleo diet, and love at-home CrossFit and yoga workouts. I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

First baby expected April 2018!


Beautiful Tudor home living room refresh

I recently started offering e-design services, but one of my first clients was actually in-person! A blog reader, this fellow Portlander just purchased her first home with her husband and two small children in a great neighborhood in Portland. It's a beautiful Tudor revival-style home built in 1926 and very well-maintained, but it doesn't fit her style yet and she wanted some help with the living room, library/sunroom, kitchen, and general updates throughout like lighting.

Living Room

Room and goals

The living room is long, with a fireplace on one end and the front door in the middle. The walls are and will remain a pale color, and the original woodwork is painted ivory. Some inspirations for this space included this living room by Joanna Goddard:

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Your Home Story Episode 8: Consistency Throughout a Home

This is a question I've been trying to get confident in for a long time. We've had opportunities to do two houses from scratch (our new construction townhouse and then our fixer upper that we stripped/did all at once) and it's a LOT of pressure to pick lighting, hardware, window treatments, paint, and of course decor for a whole house at once. I grew up in a historic house that my parents fixed up room by room, and it's very different than a new build where all the light fixtures are the same boring metal.

So this has been a big question for me! How consistent should a home be from room to room? Lighting, trim colors, hardware, even decor style! What's the balance between builder-basic-boring and hodge podge? How do you make it look cohesive, decorated by the same person, without making it look sterile?

We talk all about that on the episode this week!

We talk about Ashley's experience in her 3,800 SF split-level home--she's been working on it for years and some spaces and elements are more consistent from room to room than others.

My experiences... we upgraded some of the features of our townhouse, like statement light fixtures instead of more brushed nickel builder special drop boob lights, but it was pretty consistent throughout--and always looked like new construction without a lot of personality.
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Can't believe-it's-the-third trimester, 30-week pregnancy update

I bet a lot of people feel this way when it happens, but wow, I can't believe I'm in the third trimester already. The second one was pretty uneventful (thankfully) and I only started really seeing the bump at week... 25, maybe? Now I'm getting more pregnancy symptoms and really feeling big and pregnant!

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Your Home Story Episode 7: How We Live vs. How We Want a Space to Look

Episode 7 of our podcast is up today! It's a thinker... decorating a beautiful home versus creating a space that works well for your family--how do you balance those goals??

This is an age-old question and there's no one answer! First, how do you determine how you live in a space? What are the challenges in smaller vs. larger spaces? How do you want the space to look, anyway? Some specific issues we talk about are tools like hiding cords, storing toys, dealing with lots of books, and more!

Some inspirations...
Nesting with Grace's lego closet

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How to REdecorate with pieces you already own

We sold or got rid of a LOT of furniture, rugs, decor pieces, etc. last fall before we sold the Stanley 90's Reno and moved our stuff to storage. Some of it was older and we were getting tired of it, some of it we just didn't like that much, some of it we weren't sure would work in the new place. As I shared here, our plans have unfortunately changed and we're not moving into our dream house before the baby comes, but it looks like we'll be moving into a charming historic apartment building with nice wood floors, a fireplace, and lots of windows.

That will be short-term, we expect, as we keep house-hunting--so who knows what my perfect living room rug or dining table and chairs will be for our next house!! I'm planning not to buy much at all when we move into the apartment, so the wheels are churning for how to decorate it without spending any money, re-using the pieces we already have (possibly a mix from multiple rooms).

I think I've figured out a few tips for decorating a new space or re-decorating with what you already own, here they are below!

How to Decorate (or Redecorate) With Pieces You Already Have

Step 0.  Only keep the pieces you really love or can't replace.

This step is before you even start to decorate a new space. I think a lot of us clean out before we move (it is the worst to pack something you don't use later) and this step is key for setting yourself up in the new place! When I look back at photos of our house to , I see FIVE categories of things

  1. X's on items we didn't love and got rid of
  2. Heart emojis on pieces we were dang sure to keep
  3. Question marks on the things I might buy again (Like these dining chairs--see photos below. Killer deal. I didn't want to pack them, so I sold them with the table, but might buy them again and barely lose any money at all.)
  4. Hearts PLUS question marks on pieces I like but am not sure how to use in a new space
  5. Down arrows on pieces I kept (for function or cause I felt bad getting rid of them) but don't really love.

Try to reduce those last two categories.
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Your Home Story Episode 6: All About Choosing & Installing Flooring

Episode 6 of the Your Home Story podcast is up today!

Ashley and I both have experience with flooring changes in our homes and flooring is one of the BIGGEST impact items (like wall color) but also hardest to change! So we wanted to talk all about why flooring matters and how to choose it.

What does flooring do for a room? How can you change the look of a space by changing flooring?

What goes into choosing color and material? What kind of prices should you expect for different choices, and what can you DIY?

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