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!


Brand new concrete driveway and patio: details and cost!

When we bought this house six years ago, we knew there were a lot of things that were big ticket items we couldn’t do ourselves. We’ve done those slowly, over time--roof, gutters, and garage door in early 2020… Major basement renovation in 2022. Then got a divorce and I really slowed down on my home projects. But with summer coming up and with my life feeling pretty stable right now, I felt ready to tackle the very cracked patio and driveway that I knew were really negatively impacting the home overall and property value/future sale price. I knew this would be expensive, but I got three quotes and talked the project over with my dad and an engineer friend, and went ahead with it.
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Updates to the pink bedroom (with sources)

Last fall I painted my bedroom a light peachy paint color I concocted myself out of some samples and then had color matched. I had been thinking of doing this for a couple years, but ended up actually doing it around the time my divorce was final (not intentionally a girly single woman choice, but it works!). I was bored of the white (see that version here), but it was also comfortable/I was used to it. Adding color can be scary and sometimes it takes a while to get used to it. I was really not too sure about this color at first but I’ve made a few changes around the room, and now I just love it and it feels so right!
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Main bathroom sage green floral wallpaper transformation

I recently made a big change in my main bathroom and it's past time I share it on here. We redid this bathroom in fall 2019 (hardest reno we ever did btw) and afterwards it was... fine. Clean, fresh, not at all offensive. But my style has changed since 2019 and I've been leaning into the traditional and romantic vibes this house does well with, and this bathroom felt so boring. 

I knew adding some wallpaper above the tile, and painting the vanity to match, would totally transform it. I was overwhelmed by the prospect of the project, and choosing a paper, so I sat with this idea for more than a year. Well, I finally did it, and I LOVE it!

Historic home sage green wallpaper bathroom

Ta-da! I chose the Alexandra Sage Green wallpaper from Sandberg Wallpaper. It's a floral stripe with a 19th century French feel. 

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We're on TV! The house's moment of fame

I have some very exciting news that I haven't put up here on the blog yet, and it's time. Last summer a film crew came and shot at our house over two and a half days, showing all the projects, pretty vignettes, and family moments in our home. We're now in an episode of Diary of an Old Home, a charming series on Magnolia Network!

Our Diary of an Old Home Episode

The production company that makes the show is based out of Portland and found me through Instagram. They wanted to know if I was about done with renovations on the house (I am) and asked for some more photos and info. They ran it by their team and their client at Magnolia, and I passed the test!

We scheduled filming for a weekend in late June, which gave me time to finish a couple little projects and get things cleaned up. They didn't pay me, but they gave me a small stipend which I used to pay for some landscape cleanup.

The sunny weekend in June approached and we coordinated schedules--it was mostly outside my work hours but I'd have the kids around, and they would be in some of the shots but we also needed lots of time at the house without them there.

The first day, only the directory and videographer came to scope things out. They took some test shots and I gave them the tour, and they confirmed which areas they wanted to show the most.

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The pretty projects I did in 2023, and my big ideas for 2024

It is very satisfying to look back on what you've done in your home over 12 months. I set goals every year and do a recap of progress too. Usually each goals post includes a depressing photo of the exterior in early January, some interior in-progress shots, and some inspiration photos. The recap posts have exciting before and afters. You get all of the above in this post since I'm combining recap and goals in one this year. Efficient! 

Historic house 2023 project recap

I started the year with almost no energy for projects, and that wasn't a bad thing. After our separation the prior spring and a tumultuous year and holiday season, a year ago I was feeling like I could really be myself, and didn't really have the energy or time for doing a lot around the house. Instead I went on my first warm weather long weekend vacation (Palm Springs in February with a girlfriend); I made major decisions about my life; I made major progress on my resolutions list like learn to make cocktails, get my tattoos removed, and buy golf clubs. But then this fall I got the bug again and have been pretty busy doing little things around the house and sharing about them on Instagram.

In April I wallpapered the dining room. It was a daunting job but I'm so glad I did it!

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Full basement renovation is complete! (Enough...) Cost breakdown!

Many months ago I shared about our basement renovation plans (here). A 1,100 SF basically unfinished, yucky, cobwebby basement that we, for the first time ever, hired out most of the work to finish to modern standards and add a bathroom to. We finished parts of it (bathroom, guest bedroom), but then began our separation and divorce and plans changed, including our use of the basement for a while. 

Now, the basement is basically done, except for some finishing things like paint touch-ups and cleaning up the windows. It's partially in use as a playroom, plus storage, laundry room, furnace room, and lots of storage for my former brother-in-law's stuff. It's not fully presentation-ready but I've had some questions from followers and even neighbors about the cost and extent of the project and wanted to have everything documented!

Historic house full basement remodel cost and updates

You can see the full before pics and budget here, though that doesn't include everything. You can see my updates in this Instagram story highlight too!

The first thing we did was the earthquake retrofitting (bolting the frame of the house to the concrete foundation), a step necessary on the west coast for older homes not built to current seismic codes. 

Then came framing the new walls, bathroom work (that post links the progress posts for the bathroom), and drywall. We painted it ourselves which was an awful experience due to the personal stress I had going on at the time... and there is still touch-up to do! But it's done.

The wall paint color is SW 6227 Meditative by Sherwin-Williams and the trim is a couple shades darker, SW 6228 Refuge. The ceiling is SW 7008 Alabaster (like the white walls, ceilings, and trim in the rest of the house).

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I painted my bedroom pink!

I've been wishing for some updates for my bedroom for quite a while now. I felt too lazy to paint but the white walls were getting reeeeally boring. I redid this room from 2021-2022 and called it done here. It was fine, but minimal (just, with antiques). Since that reveal I've gone through a separation and then divorce and now the room is solely mine, so all the more reason for a feminine update!

I'm still working on some big changes in here, but I debated so much over the paint color and ended up mixing it myself and getting it color matched, so wanted to document that here at least! And you can see what a change paint and 2 hours of work on a Sunday did.

Pale peachy pink bedroom makeover

I wanted a pink, except those all felt too pink or blue, but a peach felt too 90's. I wanted really pale, though. Adding color to walls is still relatively new to me (my past few room projects have involved colored walls, but always smaller rooms!) and lighter felt more versatile. I got some muddy pink paint cards and chose two and got sample pots at 50% strength. They were still way more saturated than I wanted! I added white paint I had and played around. I added some warm yellow-brown to the pinks (and more white) and made my own color!
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Downstairs guest room/office REVEAL!

Another room done! I haven't had a guest room in years so this one feels very luxurious (even though it doubles as my work from home office squeezed onto one wall). We've had a few room shuffles since we finished the basement, then Jason moved out, then etc. other changes, but things are getting cleaned up and I have this whole glorious, light-filled room on the main floor to decorate and use.

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Wallpaper in the dining room! Just what it needed

 I'm working on the dining room this spring. New chairs, new rug, different gallery wall, working on replacing the dining table and finding a permanent replacement for the chandelier. The dining room was the first room I "finished" in this house in 2018-2019 and aside from changing the rug a couple times and adding to the sideboards, it was still that "modern traditional" look I was doing here at first and not my current style. 

The new chairs, rug, etc. helped but it was still looking really plain. We have the original wood trim in here and I struggle with what paint colors would look good with it, but am also not planning to paint it. So... how to add more interest? Wallpaper!!

Thanks to Brewster for providing this wallpaper for my review.

I have some patterned curtains in here that I love, so wanted either a very small pattern or just a texture that wouldn't compete. I found this sort of grasscloth-ey, super durable, fabric backed vinyl textured wallpaper from Brewster.

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