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!



This is so exciting.  I've wanted to own a home since I was 14 and go to re-do my bedroom.  I did a darn good job, too--but the point is, it made me yearn for my own bathroom, and living room, and whole house to decorate and call my own.  Nesting is so important to me, and I feel so much more centered when I'm in a place of my own that I've made unique.  I'm sure you know what I mean--you're reading this blog for a reason, right?

So, when my now-husband and I moved in together more than two years ago, we lived in a boring apartment and I did my best to make it nice (and I started this blog!).  Then we moved to a tiny, poorly insulated bungalow but then I got a job that was an hour and 15 minutes away on the light rail--so we moved to inner NE Portland.  It's a very cool place to be but the rents are super high, and we spend so much money for a sort of icky c. 1979 townhouse (900 square feet, 1 bath, small office that we share. I don't have room for a full-sized ironing board!).  Then I got a different job anyway, also in the city but with more transportation options.

Anyway, now we're married, I have a good job, and we're ready to buy a home.  FINALLY!  (After moving three times in two years, never to a great place, it starts to feel like "finally.")

So, in our price range, a new place, 3+ bedrooms, means we're looking at areas outside Portland.  This weekend we looked in a suburb halfway between our parents' places and my work.

This weekend we looked at SIX places.

Wanna see pics?!!?!?!!?

That's four of them, anyway.  We were afraid they would all blend together and we wouldn't be able to weigh the options, but there was one clear favorite and one good backup/definitely affordable option.

We are SO excited to have our own place!!

Neither of us has ever lived in a new house (my parents have a lovely 1909 foursquare that they've restored beautifully and his parents have moved a lot but also live in an older house), and we long for the energy efficiency, convenience of multiple bathrooms, and ease of maintenance.  As much as I love old houses and even midcentury houses (think of the decor options!), we can't commit to keeping up an older house right now.

More updates along the way, I promise!

Any of you have tips for househunting?


  1. I love looking at houses. It is sort of a sickness, really. You definitely have the right idea about taking photos - it really does help you remember which houses had the "good stuff." I also recomment sketching the floor plans. When I bought a house (way back when) it was a toss-up between three. To decide we drew out the floor plans on a white board, then erased the negative features from each house. Whichever floorplan had the most left is the one we made an offer on. Plus, we had a good idea of whether or not our stuff would fit. Good luck and congratulations!

  2. me and my boyfriend were house hunting a while back, it's so exciting isn't it, for us it's now on the back burner due to my boyfriends job uncertainty, but hopefully we will be able to resume it again in the new year!!

    I found that taking a note book and jotting down details, likes/dislikes and asking yourself could you imaging living here and could you imaging it decorated to your taste, what potential does it have:- could you expand it if you wanted to, knock two rooms into one or make a big room smaller?

    I also found that after we'd seen a house we would have a quick chat about it and then have a proper discussion a few hours later when we'd both had time to really have a good think over it and come to our own conclusions.
    A bit of advise that one estate agent gave us was to view a house as many times as you like to make sure it's right for you as it's such a big commitment, interestingly he told us that it takes us on average 11 minutes to view a house and decide if we want to buy it, yet we go shopping and can spend the best part of a few hours searching for the perfect dress, outfit, shoes etc.

    I've rambled on a little there -ops sorry, but good luck and happy house hunting :)

  3. Anonymous12/05/2011

    My only suggestions are get as much space for your money as you can and be SURE to get yourself a craft room!....a big one with good lighting! Enjoy the hunt!

  4. Trust your feelings! You will know the right house when you find it, as soon as you walk in. My husband and I house-hunted in Portland this spring; as soon as we walked into one, we both knew it was the one. Luckily, we got it. So, take notes on the particulars of the house, but trust your feelings. Have fun, and good luck!

  5. My tip on house-hunting is not to tell yourself, "Oh, I can change that later," or, "I can live with that." Sure you could change the paint color in one room fairly easily, but repainting a two story foyer without sufficient ladders, etc. might become a bit of a challenge and then you'll end up hating the color of the walls for the next two years... I'm just saying, when you do decide to make your choice, make sure you are totally fine with the place "as-is" because life is busy and you might have to live with the ridiculously tiny linen closet or those awful purple walls for a very long time.

    Also, keep in mind that if it's a great property and at a good price, it will disappear fast! Go get pre-approved for a mortgage at the bank as soon as possible so that you can put an offer in on the spot if necessary. You'll be kicking yourself for having to wait a whole weekend for the banks to open to get approval only to find someone beat you to the punch! :)

    Good luck with hunting and I hope you get everything you want in a home! :D

  6. Enjoy! Househunting can be so much fun! It looks like everyone has given some great advice.

  7. How exciting! We love our midcentury near bob's red mill (the commute from milwaukie to downtown is pretty smooth by car,) but we regularly talk about how we miss the ease of townhouse living. I had one in Raleigh hills (another great commute- but by bus) and he had one in tanasbourne. You've enough experience to know what works best for you, but best commute was always a priority for me. Excited to see where this adventure takes you.

  8. Good lucky with your house hunting, so exciting.
    I love looking at houses, and I won´t even tell you how many houses I looked at before buying our latest ones! Even now, I enjoy going to "open homes" and "show houses" just to get ideas and see what the houses look like.

  9. I'm sure everything will go swimmingly for you.

    I don't know how things work in the US but I'm stuck in a waiting situation here in the UK. We offered on our first property together at the end of July this year and are still waiting to hear if we are going to actually take ownership from next week! I would dearly love to be in before Christmas but these things are sent to try us and we have gone from being in no chain to the bottom of a chain of 6 sales/purchases! But then i'm sure my situation will have no comparison with yours.

    Good luck and happy hunting.

  10. I made a list of definite have-to-haves and the second list of want-to-haves. I graded each house by those lists. And pay attention to the feeling you get when you walk into the house. Trust it. Buying a house for the first time can be just too exciting. You will find one that will work out really well. Don't feel like you have to buy "this one" because another good house won't come along.
    Another good house will come along.
    Our realtor had us name each house that we saw by using something in the house that stood out to us--positive or negative. We named one house "weird cabinet house." Another was "cherry floor house." They're easier to remember. In fact, I can still see those two houses because of those names.
    No, we didn't buy either of those. I can't remember what we named the house we bought...but I'd name it "Happy and Almost Perfect."
    Have fun. And take your time!

  11. Thanks for the awesome tips and support, readers! @Janet, our realtor suggested naming the houses, too... but so far we only have one favorite so it's easy to remember!

  12. East side or West side? I live in Tigard and like it, but really loved living in Wilsonville. Good luck!

  13. @AmbreRose, love hearing from local readers! We're looking in Beaverton by the MAX.



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