Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, 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!

New mom to baby Otto born April 2018!


We finally have a bathroom door. And baseboards! #stanley90sreno week 20

Two big milestones happened this past week at our fixer upper!

The layout of our master bathroom is the "suite" style with the vanity and entrance to the closet in one room and the toilet and shower in another. This is stupid for several reasons... mainly:

  • There was no door to the bedroom from the vanity, so the light glared onto anyone still sleeping!
  • There was carpet in the vanity part of the bathroom (and a big icky spot under the carpet from people standing there wet after a shower! Ugh!)
  • There is only one window in the bathroom area, above the toilet; the wall/door blocks all the natural light coming to the vanity where you're doing your makeup and want all the light you can get.
  • It makes both rooms feel small!

You can see this funky layout in person in our before tour. No good. That wall between the vanity and toilet will be coming out soon I hope, but in the meantime I've been meaning to move the trim from the inside door frame to the bedroom door frame (it previously had a cased opening with no door-mounting trim).

My dad came over the other weekend with his nail gun and we did the door frame swap. Then during the week I filled the holes with wood filler, primed, and painted (using the same method we did for all our trim). Finally this weekend it was dry and I was able to install the door!

Here it is before (the old frame accidentally got partially primed--it is now trash). Ignore the turquoise painted floors--cannot wait to get tile in there! Ugh, this bathroom is so gross right now.

We are so excited to have a bathroom door!!

Already we used it as Jason slept in Sunday and I was able to get dressed in a light room without bugging him!

Another big step of the past week is we bought and painted baseboards. I really should have measured the whole house first... but I just did a rough estimate based on how many rooms we have, and I am fine going back for more later. We will do it in chunks, anyway. I am not looking forward to installing these but buying them (had to have my dad help so we could strap them to his car) and painting some of them (they come with primer on them, which is a big help) were the first steps! We are a tiny bit done!

Also note that white door in the back of the photo (and ignore the messy garage, please?)--we bought that at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore over the weekend since doors were 75% off for the month of February. It's almost like new and has a nice craftsman look and was in the exterior door section but looks like an interior door--it's actually labeled "laundry" on the top edge and that's how we're going to use it, too! It will replace that navy door to the right, which is a dinged up hollow metal door with no functioning knob! The previous residents replaced it with a padlock so now you just push/pull to open it. :/ Excited to replace it with the clean white one and a real knob!

Meanwhile, I am still on the hunt for rugs, dressers to use as bathroom vanities, and other fabulous Craigslist scores and am thinking more seriously about our kitchen tile backsplash which I think will happen after the baseboards. Things are happening!

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Imagine an incredible historic beach house renovated a la Fixer Upper - and you can stay there!

It's real!! We spent last weekend with 10 friends livin' it up at the Historic Reed House in Manzanita on the Oregon coast.  The house is 101 years old but was fully restored a few years ago with modern touches like marble tile and heated bathroom floors--and lots of shiplap.

Kim, the owner of The Houses on Manzanita Beach, is a reader of this blog and has been sewing and remodeling houses with her mom since she was a girl. She reached out to me about trying out one of her vacation houses to share with you!

Jason and I love to go to the coast for little weekend getaways but we usually go just the two of us. But this 7-bed, 5-bath house was just too incredible not to share with friends, so we invited a big group and had a relaxing weekend eating, drinking, working on a 3,000 piece puzzle, and walking on the beach together! This place sleeps 20 so would be great for a bunch of wedding guests, a family reunion, or a corporate retreat. Or a super fun weekend with friends like we did!

There is no question that my favorite thing about this house was the kitchen. It's massive, with drawers for storage everywhere, marble, two dishwashers, and a super cool vintage sink with two faucets which was so helpful when a few of us were cooking at once!

Also, this kitchen is STOCKED. Tons of cutting boards, knives, beautiful dishes, everything we needed. Even had huge stock pots (crabbing, anyone?) and a slow cooker.

My second favorite thing was probably the seating. Or the lighting. Or the tile.

The huge dining table seats 14 (how cute are those Windsor chairs??! They are throughout the house.) and was the perfect central gathering place for our puzzle attempts.

Every single piece of lighting in this house was cool, and carefully selected and placed. (And there are a TON of light fixtures to place.) I don't even know where to start on the lighting (sconces, floor lamps, flush mounts, chandeliers, exterior lighting... all fabulous) so just keep an eye out for it in all the photos.

As for the seating--I know how hard it is to decorate a whole house at once so I was SO impressed by all the seating areas and vignettes throughout the house, how each had a slightly different attitude but they all were comfortable and tied together. A great mix of vintage and new pieces!

I think this was my favorite of the four seating areas in the main living space. Great views of the ocean, too!

A lot of the original wall and ceiling construction was exposed and new wood walls added, giving this super cool, funky industrial vibe that also worked out to be really beachy.

Every single bathroom had beautiful tile work, This one at the top of the stairs shared a wall with an almost identical bathroom (but with marble shower instead of claw foot tub). So dramatic when you walk up the stairs!

The master bedroom on the main floor was just luxurious (Jason and I claimed that one!) and there was another king bed room on the main floor with I'm pretty sure this fabulous West Elm bed and some beautiful vintage furniture. But I loved the bedrooms upstairs, too, especially this double queen bunk room!! With an ocean view.

More cute seating upstairs. And vintage dressers! As someone who has been obsessively searching Craigslist for dressers for a couple of purposes for our reno, I really enjoyed looking at how Kim used hers.

We also hung out at the fire pit and recited parts of The Sandlot while roasting marshmallows. Oh! and we played pool and had a ping pong tournament on the ground level, while some of us hung out in yet another living space down there. There are also two bunk rooms in the basement that would be great for an even larger group!

What a cool house. Literally across the street from the beautiful beach.

The Houses on Manzanita Beach include three other houses, sleeping 4-10, so if you can't fill the Reed House with 20 check those out! We hadn't ever been to Manzanita before but just loved it. It's quiet and beachy, with just the right amount of little shops to visit, but also great for just hanging out in a swell beach house like this one!

Thank you so much to The Houses on Manzanita Beach for covering our stay! We had a great time!

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Help me chose a sofa color! #stanley90sreno week 19

I did a few things for the house in the past week but we spent the weekend at a fabulous beach house with 10 friends and a 3,000 piece puzzle. It was fabulous and more on that later. But one thing that's really been on my mind for the house this week is choosing the color and weave of a custom slipcover for our IKEA Karlstad sofa!

I think we'll be getting a Karlstad cover from Comfort Works along with some medium wood tone midcentury feet. We've had our basic grey Karlstad sofa for several years and while it's very comfy, the cat has used it as a scratching post and it's definitely seen its share of red wine and little bits of chocolate. Plus, we have our grey West Elm Henry sofa in the family room, so we don't really need another grey one. Comfort Works slipcovers for the Karlstad come in soooo many fabrics, and nothing else in the living room is set in stone!! So there are SO many options for what this couch and sofa could be! I am having a really hard time deciding, so thought I'd share a few options.

We have 1) brown wool blend 2) blue velvet 3) emerald velvet 4) navy basic woven upholstery and 5) tan basic woven upholstery.

Here's what the living room looks like now. Remember all of this can change! I was originally going for a neutral look in here, black and white plus natural elements like the jute rug, but the grey couch is just too boring and I know it needs to change, so not sure the existing pieces will work with whatever we choose.

Widest room shot I could find, though this is before we got the big jute rug.

Things styled a little bit... I played with some art above the sofa but still not sure what to put there.

So pretend it's mostly a blank slate!

One of my first thoughts was deep blue velvet. I know that could sound really fancy French apartment-ey, but check out these inspirations--it actually can look really boho and cool. Looks great with leather, tan, brushed brass.
But in looking at colorful couches I also saw some dark green velvet ones that are really special and different!

Of course, I think what I'd really like if I was to buy a new couch would be a soft, warm leather, like one of these. This color of leather or fake leather isn't an option for the cover, but I could do a warm tan wool blend that might sort of get the look. Although, it could blend into the jute rug and get a little lost--maybe unless I did a ton of colorful pillows and artwork?

I do notice now that none of these rooms have jute rugs--all fluffy white, which I'm not into for this room which gets a lot of traffic, or a beautiful oriental rug which I guess is an option if I could find the right one. But we do like the jute rug. Would blue or green velvet be weird with jute??

I think I've pretty much narrowed it down to 1) brown wool blend 2) blue velvet or 3) emerald velvet but I'm torn about the rug situation for all of those, and of course what art and pillows. Would love to hear your suggestions!

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The most amazing fabric for DIY boho pillows in the new house!

It's the first sewing I've done since before we moved in October, and it was a total success!

I have a thing for pillows right now. I noticed a while back that so many of my home decor pins involved really fabulous pillows. Lots of "global" boho prints, shibori dyed ones, variations in texture and wear, mix and match rather than symmetrical... and lots of blues! Here are a few inspirations:
Sources: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7

So many fabulous blues!!

I'm a DIYer. You know this. When I can, I like to make things myself! But I don't have access to all these imported and vintage fabrics... but I still wanted to make my own. I wasn't sure I could find commercially available fabrics to get this look at all! But has tons of interesting home decor prints, and they sent me some to try out!

(If you want to make your own pillow covers, you can check out this pillow tutorial I did ages ago (after the appliqué steps). I've found a super simple, quick method for making basic square pillows and I made all five of these in just a couple hours! I put all the zippers in first, then sewed all the right-sides-together seams. So fast.)

First I tested out my pillow forms to see how many pillows and of what sizes would fit. I decided these five were good!

I played with the fabric, folding it around the pillow forms to see which patterns worked best where. I learned this trick from a friend long ago who would buy new fabric for pillows every season or two. She took her pillows seriously! It really does help when doing more than one DIY pillow cover at once!

So I sewed them up, and voilà! I added in a woven pillow from HomeGoods which mixes up the textures and scale of the patterns.

They pair fabulously with the vintage rug I recently found on Craigslist. Even though I picked out these fabrics months ago!

And they work well with the natural elements of our DIY leather ottoman, this basket, and our bamboo blinds.

After months of storing boxes and extra flooring, being largely ignored and in the way, our family room is finally becoming really cozy and pretty! We've started actually spending some time in here with the new rug and inviting, pillowed couch!

The fabrics I used from are:

And you can shop the other items in our family room (or similar ones) here!

Thanks to for sponsoring this post!
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Super simple, $20 update: New matching hall flush mount lights

I'm sure I've said it before, and I'll say it again--lighting is one of the easiest, most budget-friendly updates you can do in a home!

Our home was built in 1992 and had builder basic lighting throughout. It wasn't the worst thing there was (except the brass chandelier and kitchen fluorescent); mostly white mushroom style. But they were old and dirty with layers of paint and ancient masking tape from old paint jobs on them. And were the bug trapper style.

Having cohesive lighting throughout our home was important to me since I want it to look pulled together and intentional, and like it was designed by the same person at once! I guess it will probably look that way for the most part anyway, but I have been making a lot of decisions and making lighting consistent was an easy way to tie things together without too much hard work and planning!

Hall lighting isn't always noticeable, but is another opportunity for showing off a home's style and design elements. Like in this photo--those lights really make it special!

I had a hard time justifying replacing the bug trapper white globes we had, since they were functional and not hideous, but this lighting update came right around when I picked out our kitchen pendant light and I thought it would be a good opportunity to find hall lights that matched. I shopped around lots but found these simple flush mount lights for about $20 each that match the kitchen pendant! And the Edison bulbs make the look.

You may remember from our "before" tour... here's what this hall looked like before!!

I love how simple these little fixtures are! I installed them myself one Saturday morning!

I also installed one in the downstairs hall outside the laundry room (which has had no work done to it so please disregard that dirty door, dryer that doesn't fit right now, and subfloor!). (Also, what am I going to do with that yellowed doorbell?!)

I really feel good having all three match!

If your home needs a little update, I highly recommend you consider swapping out light fixtures and going for a matching look! Here are the ones I chose, plus the kitchen pendant which is a different brand but is very close to matching, and the bulbs we went with.

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