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've come so far! #stanley90sreno "before" pictures

It's been more than 6 months since we bought our fixer upper house, and while we still have lots of ideas and projects to do, we've come SO far in making it functional, livable, even beautiful. I shared the  "before" video tour here, but I realized I haven't shared photos of the house yet and as we make over each of the rooms, it would be great to have them up to compare!

It was really fun to write this post and guide you through a photo tour of the crazy "before" of our house!!


Here's the living room. Reeeally tall vaulted ceiling, big window facing the street.

No comments


Two bathrooms in two weekends: Part 2! #stanley90sreno week 28

I considered calling this post "Two bathrooms in two weekends: What not to do."

As I shared last week, we're redoing both of our secondary bathrooms this month and had a pretty intense construction schedule! We did a TON of work last weekend and were exhausted but got basically everything on the list done and were feeling super productive and effective.

Stuff started arriving in the mail and we were feeling pretty ready to get things installed!

(Both of those tiles are provided by Thomas Avenue Ceramics. Aren't they cute? I love the classic shapes. I'll share more about our tile ordering process later but check them out in the meantime for free shipping and great customer service and online ordering!)

No comments


Straight herringbone tile backsplash tutorial

I learned SO much installing this tile!

I've done tiling several times before but never like this! With my mom's help and two weekends of work, I installed about 60 SF of backsplash/wall in our kitchen with affordable white 3"x6" subway tiles, installed in a "straight herringbone" pattern. You can learn from our struggles in this tutorial!

No comments


All about our DIY butcher block countertops

We did 90% of the install of our Lumber Liquidators butcher block countertops several months ago, but only recently finished one small piece behind the sink and, following the tile project, the final oiling and caulking. They look fabulous, add warmth and interest to our kitchen, and are easy to install and affordable!
No comments


Brass-free fireplace and two bathrooms in two weekends: part 1! #stanley90sreno

We are feeling proud and excited, but seriously tired! We got so dang much done over the past two and a half days and the bathrooms are looking great!!

Oh, also, we had our fireplace and chimney cleaned last week and the cleaners removed the doors for me--WOW, does it look better. (Here's the before tour.) Still not sure what we'll do with the brick, maybe add a mantel, need to add some art... but for now it's a much nicer room! We even had a fire in the fireplace Sunday night.

No comments


IKEA hack modern bathroom inspiration--guest bathroom

I've mentioned lately that we're planning two bathroom renos in April. (!!!) We recently put together a construction schedule and of course I have a budget spreadsheet, but I've only recently totally decided on the look for our guest bath upstairs and our downstairs powder room.

I shared some bathroom inspirations for our guest bath in this post, but due to budget and time considerations we decided not to go with a natural wood antique or vintage dresser look in the bathroom.

Around the time of that decision I saw this bathroom--two IKEA Hemnes bathroom vanities with non-IKEA faucets and the handles replaced with classy soft metal ones. What a difference! I've looked at the white Hemnes vanity before but I don't love how commonly it's used and it always has the same stocky black round handles, so far apart. This handle treatment is genius! (And I found that cool hexagon towel ring here for only $14!)

No comments


Our statement sofa! ComfortWorks green velvet IKEA sofa cover

Our living room is the first room you see when you walk in the door, and I've been a little at a loss for how to decorate it. We brought in pieces from our last home's living room, and bought a huge jute rug, which helped... but with no art on the walls and a bunch of neutral furniture, there was nothing to anchor the space.

We didn't have the budget for a new sofa, but I discovered ComfortWorks when looking around online at IKEA hacks with new covers, feet, and other updates. They make custom and popular IKEA and Pottery Barn sofa covers out of all kinds of fabric choices, and sell replacement feet and even tufting kits! It's incredible to see the transformation of a basic IKEA sofa or sectional with a fabric cover in a fun color or texture (or neutral--I love neutrals, too). I love scrolling the ComfortWorks Instagram to see their customers' living rooms rocking unique, perfect couches designed just for the space! I reach out to ComfortWorks and they sent me a cover for our IKEA Karlstad 3-seater to try and share with you!!

I seriously debated when choosing the color and fabric for this sofa but kept being drawn to bright, deep colors like blue and emerald velvet. We love the jute rug and weren't totally sure how it would work with the velvet, but I saw some inspiration images of jute or natural elements plus velvet and actually really loved the contrast.

You can easily spend $2,500+ on a green velvet sofa. Here's a very budget-friendly DIY version that you can do with a new or Craigslisted IKEA sofa and ComfortWorks cover and legs!!
No comments


This was a HARD project. Installing the vent hood!

I've shared a lot about our kitchen this past week as we finished tiling, shelves, countertops, etc., but also had to share about our very cool stainless steel vent hood. It did not go quite as planned...

I was so excited we could do a dramatic stainless steel vent hood like in my inspiration kitchens by removing the upper cabinets over the stove. Here are some "before" photos of this loooovely date, dirty hallway kitchen. Grease stain above stove, dingy corners of cabinets since there were no handles, broken tiles on counter, dripping faucet, pantry door off the track, filth everywhere else... (see the full before tour of the house here).

The vent above the stove, while on an exterior wall, didn't actually vent anywhere so it just blew greasy, steamy air around, not adding to the cleanliness issue of the former residents. We wanted to do open shelves on the wall to the left of the window and a cool vent hood above the stove!

I shopped around and found this vent hood for about $150 at the time. What a deal!! I bought it even before we moved, I think, and it sat in our garage for months until we were ready to tile the kitchen walls.

Installing the vent hood

This is not a tutorial for how to install a vent hood... more of a "do as I say, not as I do"... but you definitely can learn from it!

We had never done anything like this before, but my dad had, and because it was an exterior wall he understood what we needed to do to make the hood vent outside.

The first challenge was measuring the center/vent location. Most ranges are 30" wide, but our opening is more like 32-33". The stove pushes up against the countertop, so we centered the hood over the stove and not the opening, but it's a little weird to have 2-3" to the right of the hood. We marked the center and drilled through the house!

To create the 6" opening for the vent pipe, we used a hole saw.

NOTE: Be aware of where wires are but still turn the power off before doing this!!!!

Once done from the outside, we matched the hole and drilled the drywall.

You'll notice that's a different drill from the first one... yes, we killed the first one by drilling through the siding and the project was put on pause while my dad and Jason went out and bought a new corded power drill. Here is the old one literally smoking in our mud pit of a backyard. It was super stinky.

Once done, we installed the exterior vent and caulked around it.

On the inside, we attached a rotating 6" vent pipe and drew a template of the hood so we could mark the installation holes and avoid those areas with tile.

I tiled around those areas (or, at least, I thought I did). Somehow we ended up needing to pull up a tile and add another one before mounting the chimney anyway.

To actually install the hood, we did the wiring (which also presented some challenges), and angled the piping down.

That was also tricky, and that's when we had to move the screws slightly to shift the vent hood over from the template. Must have been a problem with our template.

We taped it with HVAC foil tape.

Then the chimney. Poor Jason, struggling with this chimney! (While I cooked dinner/lunches for the week, as you can see. It was a stressful Sunday evening.)

Our vent hood came with two chimney pieces, so it's adjustable depending on ceiling height. But our ceiling was too low even for the shortest possible, so we had to cut the bottom metal piece that inserts into the hood, cutting off the pieces that anchor it. So it just sits in the tray and can get bumped around when we clean it. Maybe we'll find a better solution for that sometime, but no good ideas yet.

We also a hard time installing the bracket that the top piece screws into, getting it allllll the way up to the right angle of the ceiling so that the top of the chimney was flush, no gap. We did it, but it took a few tries because of the grout and ceiling texture.

All said and done... it's in, it looks great, and I am still happy with our purchase. I would still recommend this vent hood but definitely plan to spend some real time working on installing it, or have it done for you!

No comments


How to install basic open kitchen shelves (over tile a tile backsplash wall!)

We tore out the upper cabinets along the window wall of our kitchen in favor of a dramatic vent hood and open shelving. I like the look, the cabinets weren't that attractive (even if we had painted them like we did the rest), and they would let us show off our tile wall!

I did a little research on how to install shelves on a wall of tile (various results--you can put the hardware under the tile for floating shelves, even) but mostly just charged ahead with the plan and decided to figure it out later.

So the time finally came the other week, and we had to buy brackets, shelving, and tools for installing into our tile wall! It ended up working out fabulously and I'm here to share our steps with you!

How to install open kitchen shelves over tile

You will need:

  • 10" deep board (we did three 30" out of an 8' long piece of pine that was about $15)
  • Power sander and sandpaper
  • Butcher block oil or conditioner
  • 8" deep brackets (like these or these)
  • Long black screws (we had a hard time finding black ones so ended up using 2.5" exterior screws)
  • Short black screws (we bought two packages of bracket screw packs that come with long screws we didn't use)
  • Diamond-tipped drill bit, 5/16" for regular size 8 or 9 screws (we used this one)
  • Basic tools--masking tape, pen, measuring tape, level
  • Only if you don't know where the studs are: drywall anchors


1. Cut the boards to length. We used a chop saw but had to cut one side, rotate 180 degrees, and very carefully line it up to cut the other side. We did need to sand the cut edges to even them out. 

2. Oil the shelves the way you would a butcher block cutting board or counter. We wanted to go with a natural wood look so didn't want to stain the shelves, but the oil or conditioner keeps them from drying out and makes them easier to clean.

3. Measure bracket placement. (NOTE: Before installing the tile we had measured and noted the stud location, so we knew we would drill into the studs with our brackets.

Mark locations, but cover with Xs of masking tape to protect the rest of the tile from cracking or scratches from the drill bit.

4. Drill top bracket holes on ONE side only. To drill through tile, start the diamond drill bit at an angle until you make an indentation. Then right the drill and drill straight through.

We did three shelves; at this first step only drill the top bracket holes of all one side of the shelves.

5. Dry fit shelves on all three brackets. Put a shelf on each bracket, hold another bracket under the other side, and using a level, check placement of other side holes. We definitely adjusted them a little.

6. Drill other side top holes.

7. Mark bottom holes. Put a shelf on each set of brackets and use a level on the top of the shelf and each bracket to make sure they're straight up and down. Put tape under each approximate bracket hole and mark on top of the tape.

8. Drill bottom holes.

9. Mark hole placement on shelves. They will all be slightly different, so keep the top, middle, and bottom shelves straight.

10. Carefully drill about 1/4" deep pilot holes into shelves on your marks.

11. Screw in small screws to anchor shelves in place. 

That's it for the construction part! Now's the harder/artistic part--styling them!! I think that will be an evolving process for us but for starters it is SO nice to have commonly used dishes right above the dishwasher (instead of on the counter on the opposite side of the kitchen where they were for months before we did the tiling and shelves). Hoorah!

No comments


Get all of the small things done so we can focus on the BIG, exciting things to come! #stanley90sreno week 25

We are planning two big projects in April, and wanted to get started on the right foot by finishing up our little projects and getting the rest of the house cleaned up!

You can call me crazy now or later, but I'm writing it down anyway--I'm having a party with some girlfriends the last week in April and want to have our powder room totally redone by then. Jason suggested how about we do the guest bath at the same time??

We're going out of town next weekend and so will have two solid weekends to do demo, tile floors, baseboards, plumbing install, vanities, and hardware for both bathrooms. We'll see how it goes!!

In the meantime we just had to get some of the lingering last steps and clean-up done for other things we've done lately. The big news is we got the kitchen tile project almost all wrapped up, including shelves, counters, etc. That is a HUGE weight off my shoulders and it's so exciting to have a functional kitchen!!

Here it is as I write this post. Still need to finish up switchplate installation, caulk the ceiling and counters, and touch up paint outside the grout. And install the quarter round at the base of the cabinets, but I'm hardly counting that. And we will probably need to buy a new range and get some electrical work done.

We had quite the list of to-dos. Here it is--we got the crossed-off ones done!


  • Clean up tile project
  • Caulk counters, ceiling
  • Cut switchplates (1/2)
  • Clean kitchen light globe
  • Oil counters 
  • Finish shelves
  • Touch up wall, ceiling paint around grout (soon?)
  • Put away jars in moving box
  • Clean off small appliances


  • Organize garage
  • Set up gym (1/2)
  • Put away tools on top of dryer


  • Switch desk/table
  • Fix ivory chair
  • Wash chair covers
  • Clear off dining table
  • Hem bedroom curtains
  • Install keypad garage door opener
  • Go through art
  • Paint doorbell cover
  • Caulk finished baseboards

If all of that goes well…

  • Play with stair flooring 
  • Paint package of baseboards
  • Paint bathroom ceilings

As usual, things take longer than you think they will so we didn't get anywhere near working on the stairs or getting a head start on bathrooms. 

And, of course... I've been online shopping for supplies for our bathroom renos! Here are a few of my biggest inspirations for the guest bath... following some big decisions after this post, thank you for your suggestions here and in this Instagram post!

We are going to buy an IKEA white Hemnes vanity for the guest bath!! Big step, starting to spend the real money on this project! How cool do they look in this image, with the handles swapped out??

And I think we've decided on a white hex tile floor and pedestal sink for the powder room. We currently store the medicine cabinet in that bathroom but that's not critical, and I haven't been able to find an attractive small vanity that will work in that room. An inspiration...

So one of my other to-dos this week is to make a shopping list of supplies for the bathrooms. I have 2-3 weeks for things to get here so we can install on schedule! Despite all of our work here at the Stanley 90's reno I've never done two expensive, concentrated, time-sensitive projects at once like this so I am definitely a little nervous. 

Feeling powerful after our week of knocking out so many little tasks, though!

No comments


© Create / Enjoy • Theme by Maira G.