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!


Master bathroom progress! Tile, lighting, and more!

You'd think I'd have figured this out after our two bathrooms in 4.5 days success... but man, remodeling a bathroom is hard!! Our master bathroom involves moving walls and changes to plumbing and electrical, plus the aesthetic stuff, so it has definitely been more work!

And, we ordered a vanity mail order and the tile took a while to get here, too... the vanity isn't here yet, and electrical (and associated wall repair) are taking longer than we'd hoped. So, we decided to tile the floors even though the walls aren't done, and we'll protect them with dropcloths when we paint.

Note: I'm working with Progressive on our master bathroom reno, one of their “fresh start” stories. Progressive is sharing the message that they understand the needs and the unique life stage of new homeowners like myself and lots of people I know, buying first or second houses and going through big life changes. Renovating a master bathroom is a big project and big improvement to our home's value!

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How to remodel & stay healthy!

We bought our fixer upper 7.5 months ago now... and it's totally changed our lives in ways we didn't understand before. We've faced both physical and emotional challenges (and lack of spare time) for what feels like forever now and while there are definitely things we could have done differently, at this point I'm feeling pretty good about my ability to balance life + fixer upper goals, and wanted to share with you!

I've learned that any shift in routine is an opportunity for change in habits. Moving, starting a new job, etc... opportunity to develop habits you want to have, and chose to keep or ditch old ones. I knew buying our fixer upper would be challenging, expensive, and time-consuming, and would change our daily and weekend routines a lot! But I didn't want my health to suffer. I chose a few goals to keep during this process.

"Health" on the surface may mean body composition above other things to some people. I didn't gain weight when changing up our cooking and my fitness routines, but that isn't what I mean by "health" anyway.
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Master bathroom reno progress!! Starting with demo

#DemoDay!! Everyone loves a good demo, right?! My dad, Jason, and I have been working hard on our master bathroom remodel and have gotten through the first phase already!

I shared our bathroom inspirations in this post so you can see the look we're going for! This makeover is definitely more work than our guest bathroom and powder room renos of last month. This room also has the only wall we're planning on removing in this stage of our fixer upper remodel.

Note: I'm working with Progressive on our master bathroom reno, one of their “fresh start” stories. Progressive is sharing the message that they understand the needs and the unique life stage of new homeowners like myself and lots of people I know, buying first or second houses and going through big life changes. Renovating a master bathroom is a big project and big improvement to our home's value!


First, my dad and I tore apart the wall separating the toilet and shower room from the vanity room. I actually got to hammer apart drywall like Chip does, and chunk big pieces of wall off! It's dusty work!

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Budget and sources: $905 complete guest bathroom makeover!

I shared our powder room makeover with budget and sources yesterday--this one is even more of a transformation!! We made over our guest bathroom with new toilet, tile, vanity, lighting, and more and it turned out so fabulous. The budget was tight on this one, too, read on for more!

(See the video I just made about this bathroom reno here.)

We didn't touch the existing shower/tub unit, which unfortunately is ivory--I've heard you can do a DIY resurfacing with some crazy chemical stuff, might look into that sometime, but for now we just covered it with a white waffle shower curtain and it totally works.

I did this IKEA hack for the vanity and it looks just like I'd hoped. I love ALL of the fixtures we did with it, too!
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Budget and sources: $391 complete powder room makeover!

We've done so many projects over at the "Stanley 90's reno" since last October, but most of them are throughout the whole house like flooring and wall repair... and we did almost nothing to the 2.5 extremely dated, deteriorating bathrooms until we were ready for the full guts. Yet we use them every day!! So redoing this powder room makeover, our main floor bathroom, really makes the reno start to feel more complete.

(See the video I just made about this bathroom reno here.)

We didn't have a ton of budget for this bathroom, doing it at the same time as the guest bathroom, but we did a COMPLETE transformation/makeover including toilet and tile for $391! Read on for sources and the breakdown...

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Our master bath reno begins!!!! Two competing design inspirations

After our successful smaller bathroom renos last month, we've been feeling energized to tackle our master bathroom reno this month! It will be a bigger project, and there are a lot more design decisions to make. We spent 5-6 hours over the past week and weekend (Jason spent about 3, bless him) looking over design inspirations and products, after considering our vanity and plumbing options prior. We are torn but think we have a direction! We put a lot of time into some mood boards that were very helpful, and I've shared them with you below!

We'll be removing a wall in our bathroom between the toilet and vanity, and will have space for a 72" vanity. I'd love to have a lot of counter space and only one sink, but there are almost no one-sink vanities that size on the market. So I've been planning to need something custom. Oh, by the way, here's the "before."
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ONE cooking method that's changed our weeknights! & book review

We have had a really busy past couple of months, with most weeks either or both of us having activities almost every weeknight. It's exhausting for this introvert. And, it means there's way less time for cooking dinner, packing leftovers for lunches, and having a peaceful dinner at home.

A few months ago I flipped open a cookbook that has reenergized me for all of the cooking and food prep we do each week. I have a new favorite method I wanted to share with you!!

I've followed Cassy Joy of Fed + Fit for a while now, and heard about her new cookbook/28-day lifestyle/food/fitness manual on podcast interviews. It sounded like a comprehensive resource for people interested in making health changes, and was all infused with Cassy's cheerful, positive personality. But we've been doing the "real food"/mostly Paleo lifestyle for almost 4.5 years now, and I don't use cookbooks or recipes most of the time.

But then I saw the book at a bookstore and flipped through, and immediately felt inspired by several of the recipes. Then I had a chance to get a review copy of it, and jumped on it!

The book (Fed + Fit: A 28 Day Food & Fitness Plan to Jump-Start Your Life with Over 175 Squeaky-Clean Paleo Recipes) has a ton of squeaky clean, super healthy, incredibly photographed, delicious-sounding recipes and we've tried a few of them already. (My favorite discovery from this book is the homemade buffalo sauce!! I had never had "buffalo" flavored anything until this year, really... my 13 years of vegetarianism didn't expose me to buffalo chicken or anything else, I guess. The buffalo sauce recipe is SO DANG GOOD I could put it on anything!)

There's a chapter in the book called "Casserole is my favorite food." I also hadn't made many casseroles in my life until recent years. But Cassy's Buffalo Chicken Casserole sounded so good, I tried it one week.

Wow. Not only was it delicious, I discovered that when we had a casserole made up in the fridge, we had at least one super easy weeknight dinner ready when I got home! A lot of her casseroles require cooking before assembly and then baking for 30 minutes or so before serving. I discovered if I added a casserole to my Sunday morning food prep, all I would have to do on Monday night to make dinner was turn on the oven and pop it in!

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VIDEO: Two bathroom renos in 4.5 days! We are so proud of these makeovers!

If you've been following along recently, you probably saw some of our bathroom progress on our powder room and guest bathroom makeovers. New flooring, new sinks/vanity, new lighting, new toilets, baseboards, everything! We had never done a project that big before (or two at once...) so definitely wanted to document it on video.

I put together this video about how we made over both bathrooms in 4.5 days (over 2-3 weekends) and man, watching this sure takes me back!! So much work, but we are SO happy with the products!

Here are a couple before/afters for you... but you've really got to see the video! Team effort of me, my husband, my brother-in-law, and both my parents at different times. And it really was more efficient to do two at once--though it was exhausting.
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My hunt for a natural fiber kitchen runner (help me chose!)

While my constant Craigslist searches did bring me this fabulous vintage rug, I have yet to find the runner I want for our kitchen. I do have a cool antique one I've put out before, but it's a little too dark and high pile. I don't have the budget for the vintage Turkish peachy patterned rug of my dreams and I really don't like most polypropylene reproductions, so while I continue to keep an eye out for something great while estate sale-ing, in the meantime I bought several nice modern cotton and wool runners to try out. I tested each of them in our kitchen, which one do you like best??

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My first real sewing project since summer 2016! A flirty floral print dress

I am so excited for warm weather!!! Spring in Oregon is pretty hit or miss but when we have the nice days I get really happy and start thinking about berry picking, day trips to the beach, and wearing cute dresses on date nights.

Since moving to our fixer upper, my sewing room has been in some stage of packed-ness and I haven't had a lot of access to my patterns, fabric, and tools. But I did set up the machine to make these pillow covers and I do have some room to work. I got inspired for a transitional springy floral dress, and made this one up in only about 2.5 hours of sewing! (Cause I also don't have much time for sewing when there are bathrooms to renovate!)

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My proudest IKEA hack! Classy modern vanity from an IKEA favorite

I am definitely no snob about using IKEA products in my home, but I do want things to look original rather than straight-out-of-the box. One of my favorite successes of our "two bathrooms in four days" reno projects was the affordable, cute, clean and modern bathroom vanity we created out of an IKEA sink cabinet! Here's a bit of a tutorial for you!

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The first 30 weeks in the #Stanley90sFixerUpper

For the first 30 weeks we've owned our fixer upper, I've shared our progress here on this blog. You've seen the drywall repair techniques we learned; heard about allllll the door, trim, and cabinet painting; and seen that magical moment when our living room got baseboards. We are still in what we're considering "phase 1" of our reno, but at this point have gotten so many things done that it's time to share our progress a little differently.

And, I wanted to put all of the weeks in one place--so here is a gallery and list of our efforts, in order!

Note: See the "before" video tour herebefore photos here, and design and projects here. Of course I've also shared tons of our other projects, including tutorials and everything related to the fixer upper. But for the weekly updates alone...

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Shades of white, and how we chose our wall color

My friend at work has been house-hunting for months and made 6 offers before finally having an offer accepted last week! I am so happy for her and we've been talking about houses and DIY projects and decorating for ages and now she has a place to implement her ideas and good style. We started talking about paint colors and turns out I blew her mind (her words) about choosing it. Read on, this may be something you didn't know, too!

My friend said her mother-in-law loves paint colors and was excited to help them choose, but they were going to go with plain white so she thought she might disappoint her. I said, well, she can still help you choose which shade of white!

My friend was confused. "There's more than one white?"

I explained what I know from my limited knowledge of color theory, and how there are undertones to whites that can make them look bluer, yellower, etc. in different settings. I explained, the original 1960's hardwoods in her house were a warm tone, so if she chose a cooler white it might look pretty blue in contrast. I said ideally you'd try several paint colors in the room, in artificial and natural light, to see how they really look.

(I know this from choosing greys, too, greys are so hard! When we chose the color for our townhouse walls and ceiling it was really helpful to see it in rooms in other homes (online) first. The color we went with (Sherwin Williams Snowfall) looks almost brown higher up on the card, but reads as a comfortable, pale grey in person, rather than a blue-grey or purple-grey as are common.)

Anyway, I told my friend about how I chose the white we used alllll throughout our house. We sprayed our paint on in about 5 hours and did every wall and ceiling the same color. We chose not to use a ceiling paint for the ceilings, even though it's cheaper, because we were using the sprayer and didn't want to change the paint out. We used an eggshell finish so it works well on walls and ceilings. 
Walls: "White" by Benjamin Moore in Eggshell
Trim: "White" by Benjamin Moore in Semi-Gloss

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Two bathroom renos in four days: Complete! And art-hanging success. #stanley90sreno week 29

Happy day! Our spirits and energy were up this past weekend, out from under the dark, grumpy pneumonia cloud and ready to get stuff done. We finished the bathrooms!!!!!

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