Real-Life Remodel Packed with Cool DIY Projects
Before: Craving Character
The dark, dated kitchen was in need of a 21st-century update to boost space, function, and charm. "The day we got the key we started demolishing the kitchen," homeowner Jenna Diermann says.
After: Spacious and Inviting
Character now runs floor to ceiling in the opened-up space. Jenna and her husband, Brad, installed tongue-and-groove planks on the ceiling, then accentuated it with beams made from inexpensive whitewood distressed and stained in a dark walnut hue. To age the wood, Jenna took hammers and chains to the beams. "We laid the wood out on a bunch of blankets and went crazy right there in the dining room," she says. Jenna creatively embraced the idea of island seating by attaching a banquette to the back of it. Three short over-the-fridge cabinets, sitting on a base, screw into the island to create a bench. Custom cushions cut from plywood and upholstery foam and covered in batting and fabric add comfort, resulting in more storage and loads of extra seating for guests.
Jenna and Brad went big with their first-ever tiling project, borrowing a wet saw and covering an entire wall with subway tile. "It wasn't hard, just time-consuming --especially the grouting," Jenna says. Gray grout was her stylish and keep-clean alternative to white.
How to Tile a Wall
Whether you're tiling a backsplash or an entire wall like Jenna and Brad, learn how to tile with this step-by-step guide.
Center of Attention
This simple, darling centerpiece can be made in under an hour, Jenna says. After gluing and nailing together 1×4s, she stained the box, painted it, then sanded areas to age it. The box hides repurposed glass jars that hold fresh flowers.
Jenna built rustic-looking floating shelves from cabinet-grade plywood, which she distressed before staining. The pocketlike back slips onto a support made from 1×2s mounted to the wall with toggle bolts.
A bar built from IKEA cabinets is an entertaining staple in the newly remodeled home. Tiling the stacked-stone wall was a test in patience, Jenna says, but the wall has a big visual payoff. Grand total: $250. Shelves made from an old desktop were another cost-saver.
Jenna economized on the countertop, making it from 2×6 boards (with beveled edges, courtesy of her woodworker dad). "I love the rustic touch wood adds," Jenna says.
Before: Underwhelming Design
A tiny brick fireplace didn't supply the character or presence the living room craved to enhance its soaring ceiling and open layout.
After: Wow Factor
A massive stacked-stone wall gives the living room a dramatic focal point that beautifully complements the vaulted ceiling. The new mantel was created from a salvaged beam found at a local lumberyard. Roman numeral art along the mantel represents the date the couple bought the house; it's one of the customizable typography prints Jenna sells.
This Craigslist cabinet reflects Jenna's passion for giving old pieces new life. She sanded off the shiny finish and replaced the glass in the doors with chicken wire and added vintage pulls from eBay.
Jenna's Instagram photos often end up on her walls, framed as budget-friendly art. Wide mats cut from white poster board and $4 frames keep costs low. This travel-theme trio hangs above a cabinet Jenna built.
How to Cut a Mat for Art
Learn how to make your own mat for framed artwork in just a few easy steps with this tutorial.
Before: Blank Space
A neutral base offered plenty of room to layer in cozy amenities and make the room a dreamy oasis.
After: Sleeping Beauty
A plank wall painted dark gray and plush fabrics in navy and white cozy up the master bedroom. The tufted headboard was Jenna's in-a-weekend creation, made from medium-density fiberboard, two mattress toppers for the padding, and $2.50/yard fabric. It hangs on a French cleat.
A basic dining room light fixture became an ooh-la-la light source when Jenna sprayed it black and draped it with beads and crystals she found online.
Jenna got creative with a $10 woven basket, adding shelves to turn it into a bedside table that incorporates a charging station (cords slip through holes cut in the adjacent wardrobe and into an electric outlet).
Wardrobes flanking the bed emulate the look of built-ins. Jenna dressed up doors of the plain IKEA units with strips cut from a plywood sheet applied in a crisscross pattern.
Open the wardrobe doors, and -- surprise! -- it's Jenna's vanity. Storage inserts and necklace holders made from leftover wood and hooks add the function. Damask-covered back panels and a mirror add the pretty.
The wall opposite the bed is now a rich visual beauty, thanks to a board-and-batten-inspired treatment. The couple covered the textured walls with hardboard to create a smooth surface, then nailed on strips of medium-density fiberboard to create the grid pattern.
Jenna assigned numbers -- computer printouts in spray-painted picture frames -- to basic hooks to class up the bonus hanging space on the wall behind the bedroom door.
The U-shape work area -- a blend of two IKEA desks and a custom-made desktop -- maximizes Jenna’s office. Leftover wall planks became an under-the-desk crate to store shipping tubes for Jenna’s prints. For an easy bin label, she adhered letters to a galvanized tub, spray-painted a white strip, then removed the letters.
Jenna stained crates purchased from a crafts store before screwing them to wall studs and to each other to create storage perfectly sized for her binders.
Before: No Storage
A shallow entry didn't offer much in the way of storage.
After: Welcome Home
The small entryway springs to life with a few stylish touches. Dark paint updates outdated doors, while new engineered walnut flooring in a gray finish runs throughout the home for a cohesive look. A shelf made from two wood scraps (secured atop $6 brackets spray-painted black to look like iron) provides a much-needed drop zone.
"It's like a second living room," Jenna says of the deck that takes in views of the Sierra Nevada foothills. Pillows, throws, and a rug that softens the composite decking add indoor comfort. String lights provide ambience.
The bar cart Jenna built from a plan she found online is eager to please: It can roll to wherever it's needed and has a removable tray top.