It’s been a while since I posted any updates on our beloved bungalow that we affectionally refer to as Dandihaus. This year has been interesting and filled with smaller DIY projects rather than anything larger scale due to an unfortunate, yet respectful, decision from our go-to contractor. So here’s what we have been working on!

Once the dust settled from the stair renovation and the holiday season we decided to take down the awkward archway that divided main living area and making it flush with the walls and ceiling and closing the original doorway into the hallway to make one seamless wall.
Our living area has always been pretty snug but once the family visited for New Years we realized how constrained we were were by this arch way ifor furniture placement wanted to create a more open space. Luckily, we were able to schedule this project when my father-in-law was still in town so he and my husband got straight to work on demoing. Once complete, it only took our contractor less than two weeks to patch up the walls and ceiling and make new baseboards. Then with a few coats of paint to cover up MORE beige, the living area improved a million times. We were a little worried that closing the old hallway entrance would make it dark and an awkward space in the back but it actually was perfect and created a lot of privacy for the bathroom and guest room.

In the near future we are looking to re-size the one window near the kitchen and replace all windows in this room to match the style of the new one in the staircase, smooth the ceilings, replace the trim, baseboards, and crown moulding. Stay tuned.


The kitchen has been such a debate. The original plan was to give it a refresh to hold us over until we could gut and remodel. We started by painting the walls because I just couldn’t take the beige paint anymore. I admit, I did this in kind of a rush without really thinking or wanting to put too much thought in it and just ended up painting it white. Like really white. Like the white in the can sans any pigment. For some reason, I just didn’t think of it until I was half way through and I was already using a paint-and-primer in one and was not about to do it again.
Good news is: WOW did it make an improvement in light. This kitchen actually feels alive now.
Bad news: it is REALLY white.


Next, we were going strip and paint the cabinets which my husband was really against. It was going to be a lot of work and I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. The white walls were great but it did make the ugly ass counter tops and crappy floors more noticeable. Where do you even go from here? We didn’t want to paint the cabinets white now too and we could not find a color that would compliment anything in this kitchen. Not even black would do. And you know what, we kind of didn’t hate the contrast of the wood against the white walls. But man, were they beat up. My dad was getting ready to come out to visit to help us with the kitchen and anything else so, thankfully he came up with a simple and easy solution: Old English. That shit really brought out the warm wood color and hid almost all the wear and tear from decades of abuse.
And then to add insult to injury: these cabinets seemed to have never had any hardware! I didn’t want to go out of my way and spend agonizing hours sifting through the billions of hardware options so I found some decent knobs and pulls on Amazon that I would not feel terrible about getting rid of in a few years with the remodel. We needed a total of about 30ish pieces and couldn’t believe I found these for a grand total of about $50! I think they are great for what they are.


We also finally changed out the terrible lighting! My husband switched out all of the crappy bulbs in the canned lights with new LEDs which are awesome. And we finally took down those two awful light fixtures (can you believe I couldn’t sell these babies?)! I ended up moving the pendent light from the guest room and we hung it above the stove and then added an awesome chandelier in the bay window / one day breakfast nook from Schoolhouse Electric.


Lastly and probably the best: WE INSTALLED A NEW BACK DOOR! I couldn’t stand the door that came with the house! It was warped, weathered, didn’t seal completely and was dizzying. Now, this was something that would be a permanent fix so we took this decision more seriously. Thanks to some light internet searching I was able to locate a place called Building Material Resource that sells high end doors that have the slightest manufacturing defects so the doors are literally half the full retail price. And I found exactly what we were looking for!
We picked out a 1/4 lite with a single panel solid fir door by Simpson Door Company. This door was everything that I wanted, it met our budget, and it went perfect for the vision of our future kitchen. It is literally my dream door. Who knew a door could bring me this much happiness?
To save on installation cost, we flew my father-in-law out to help us with putting it in. And it was definitely worth the wait. The door is so beautiful and it lets even more light in! We also went with a keypad lock for it and it has been a great decision.
I totally recommend buying one if you are considering it.


When it came time to finish it we debated to either paint or stain it. We originally went with stain. But to make a long story short - it didn’t work out. So we stripped it and painted it. We went with Behr’s Ultra Pure White on the inside and Marquee Red Pepper on the exterior (to go with our future exterior color scheme) in semi-gloss. I never thought I wold have a red door but here we are!


Another hot topic has been the bathroom. What to do with the this bathroom? Almost two years later and all we had done is put in a new toilet (which was huge). I couldn’t deal with the darkness from the turquoise any longer and had to get in there and paint it. I didn’t go for any specific color other than just white for now - I could change later. After what felt like a ton of work - once again the room was instantly transformed. It felt so much more like a clean and bright bathroom now rather than some dated room. I didn’t do the ceilings tho because I hadn’t picked out new lights and honestly the entire ceiling needs to be re-mudded and I didn’t want to deal with it at the time.


Since this was more of a refresh rather than remodel, I wanted to spruce up the vanity, too since ripping it out would’ve created a domino effect. I did some research and bought Rust-o-leum’s countertop paint. This stuff is cool but know what you are getting yourself into. Not only can you “not really” choose your own color, this shit is toxic and takes foorrrrevvvver to dry. But it did make the counters look better. From here I was going to paint the body of the vanity and put in peel-n-stick floor tiles (I found super cute ones from FloorPop!) over the existing linoleum but then once again, changed my mind due to to seeing how much work it was going to be and maybe if I leave it as is it will push me to do the full remodel sooner. But at least we have white walls now right?
I am still in the process of picking out a new mirror and hardware for the towels and such but I did find this awesome lion head ring from my friends at Hippo Hardware in Portland. This will do for now.


The garden! I have been loving it though I don’t really know what I am doing. Back in the early Spring my husband built me this awesome raised bed out of left over wood we had. I love it. I began starting seeds inside in the winter for this which included super sweet 100 tomatoes, spaghetti squash (I used seeds from a squash we bought and ate from TJ’s), lemon cucumbers, celery, & jalapenos and bought starters for strawberries, spinach, beets, and broccoli. Not everything turned out so good but I definitely learned what to not try to grow again and what not to plant next to each other. It has been super rewarding to grow your own edible food tho. Can’t wait to try new plants next year!




What a surprise. We don’t know how to care for grass. It’s worse than last year.
Come this fall we are planning on trying to re-seed this barren yard. Also, stay tuned.

Thanks for reading this far! Owning this home and working on it slowly has been such a ride.
More updates to come soon (I hope).
Love ya!



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OUR STAIRS ARE DONE!!! Finally! From, start to finish it took approx. six months! But as my husband likes to say: the turtle always beats the hare. And yes, patience definitely paid off! They are beautiful and exactly what we wanted!

If you dare to look back at the before (and progress from week one and week five) these new stairs have completely transformed our home. It’s so airy, and natural light pours in - which is really important in Portland. It definitely makes for a great entrance into the house.


Not only did the stairs turn out better than we thought, but our contractor gave our home a big upgrade with his awesome craftsmanship in the trim and moulding. We went with a base-trim to return the home back to it’s era after numerous previous owners did their own “upgrades.” In this he also added a very simple but very appropriate frame around our new window which I love so much! Eventually every window and door frame will have the same details. It ties in our mid-century style so well. The new window is also going to be our new standard for the house with the craftsman divided lights. We also replaced all of our floor registers from the dingy ones that were left behind that help tie in our vintage look with an antique brass finish.


Picking the right paint and stain was probably one of the most difficult decisions we had to make in this project. Our treads are a gorgeous White Oak but we quickly found out do it’s absorbent nature we would need to use a gel stain that would give us the color we wanted while keeping the integrity of the grain while still being durable. We ended up going with a color called Candlelite that gives a rich tone without being too warm (and it matches our furniture!). Only downside is, gel stains take about five days to dry so prepared for that.
Then, I really struggled with the color, because I wanted all white walls, but Danny wanted a contrast between the walls and the trim so we compromised and went with Benjamin Moore’s “Cloud Cover”. It looks more like a Vintage White, and goes nicely with the all the wood. We had originally thought we would do all the painting and staining on our own to save money, but after we realized how tedious it was going to be, we decided to hire out the job - and it was worth every penny spent. The whole process took about a month.

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After the initial build was complete, Danny and I talked about what the functionality of this room would be besides just the stairs, since it was previously a bedroom. We never envisioned this room to be our dining room, but after placing our table in there while moving the rest of the furniture in from it’s hiatus in storage, it just made sense. The rest of our existing furniture then fit in perfectly, as if it was meant to be. But, the room really came together with the gorgeous light fixture from Schoolhouse Electric. Biggest plus side, now we have a great view of the fireplace while we have dinner or play games with family and friends.


We are beyond pleased with how everything came out and could not be more grateful having met the people we did who made this all happen. Now to get some more plants and finish decorating!

Thank you so much David & Bryan, Nikole & Tom Peña, Bonnie Johnson, and Emily Moran. You dudes are the best. Xo.

Stair Newel - McCoy Millwork
Window - Milgard via Parr Lumbar
Paint - Benjamin Moore, Cloud Cover
Stain - General Finishes, Candlelite
Floor Registers - Home Depot
Lighting - Schoolhouse Electric
Rug - Vintage from PCC Flea Market
Chairs - Craigslist
Table - Goodwill
Bookshelves - Salvation Army
Flowers - Knot & Fern





We recently had our one year anniversary of being homeowners - not only owning a home, but also renovating one. I know tons of people are in the same boat as us and they know: it ain’t easy. HGTV is great and I am definitely guilty in over-indulging on Fixer Upper and Property Brothers, but what you don’t see are the massive teams behind the scenes and the real cost of things. So I wanted to share a few thoughts from just an average, young homeowner on a real-life budget for those who are looking to buy, are in the process of buying, or who are looking to work on their little slices of earth.


Looking for a home is very exciting. Things you never thought about are now major topics of discussion and it’s easy to get in over your head. But before you hop onto Redfin or Zillow, saving homes with cute windows, know where you stand.
Danny and I started talking to a mortgage broker well over a year before we were ready to buy. We were fortunate to have gotten in contact with a broker and realtor with tons of patience to walk us through all the steps, numbers, rates, ALL the terminology, and what it would take from us as life-long-renters to make the leap. Knowing how much you can actually afford may surprise you and will set you up with realistic expectations. This will also give you the time and wiggle room to set yourself up for success and save for the appropriate down payment you will need to make your monthly mortgage one that works for you.

Starting early also allows you to get organized. There will be a billion questions lenders are going to ask you and you had better be ready with answers and paperwork to support them. The escrow period is really just a giant audit of your financial life and the decisions you have made. So, if you’re thinking of buying a new car or taking a fancy vacation before you buy a home, you should probably wait. Take it from me.

Remember, the broker and realtor are there to help you get the house. Find ones you can trust and you get along with. They will be your best friend through it all.

Lastly, really do your research of where you want to buy. Be honest and ask if you can see yourself in that particular neighborhood for a long period of time. Does that area appreciate in value? What is it like in the evenings? A home’s appearance can always change overnight, but neighborhoods take a bit more time. For Danny and I, we ended up buying the home we did for the neighborhood. Make sure the area fits your lifestyle and your daily needs. Otherwise, you might find yourself away from home more than you want.

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A window is $1k??? What!? Painters costs how much? WE NEED A NEW ELECTRICAL PANEL?!?!

If you buy a home that will need some love, don’t believe what you see on TV or what you read online. Because, yes, it DOES cost that much and will likely be more than you anticipated in the end. DIY is great and we are total advocates, but there are just some things you cannot do, or just flat don’t want to because really, who has the time? Materials and labor cost a lot. That’s just how it is. Things cost as much as they do for a reason, so don’t cut corners. You’ll end up spending way more in the end.

When hiring professionals, get as many quotes as you can and do your background research on them before committing to any one. You’ll be surprised at some of the ranges you will get. Then, whatever cost you agree on, set aside a little more as cushion. You never know what lies in your walls until you start opening them. Sometimes, it’s nothing, but again, you never know… And then, if you don’t need it, now you can buy that nice piece of furniture you’ve had your eyes on for your new room!

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Ask questions. TONS OF THEM. Who cares if you sound like a crazy person.

I think this is the most important thing I have learned in the last year. I work full time and unfortunately cannot be there during the normal hours people work on our house, so sometimes decisions get left to someone else. Don’t ever assume they will know exactly what you want because they aren’t you. No one can read your mind or know your exact vision unless you constantly ask questions and get involved. If not, sometimes it will be too late, and well... you’re just going to have to live with it for a while, or forever. Be clear, concise, create diagrams by hand or in a simple CAD application like SketchUp, if you have the skillset. Do whatever you have to do. Be over-attentive to detail. This is your home and your money, after all.

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Planning a party or have family coming to visit soon? Probably not a good time to start any projects. Renovations of any kind take a while. Whatever lead times you set aside for yourself or receive: double it. When we started our stair project (which is still not 100% done) we anticipated six weeks for completion. At WEEK TWELVE we were finally able to remove the plastic walls and use them regularly. Good work takes time so you have to be flexible. Materials can easily not be available or backordered, and you know what - contractors are humans too, with families, and they need breaks. Be patient no matter what comes up (the struggle is real), you’ll be thankful in the end .

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Lastly, don’t set yourself up for disappointment. I, for one, was terrible with this. I wanted things done a certain way and wanted them done NOW. This made the whole process tough and exhausting.

Know that not everything is going to work out as you plan and be ready for the rollercoaster. Be realistic with your wants vs needs. Make a list of real priorities to help set yourself up for what can really be obtained with your timeline and budget. Learning how to live in less than ideal situations is going to be a big part of the process in any home buying or renovation. And really, when you live in an unideal space, it gives you the chance to be creative with what you got. You might impress yourself with what you come up with.

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Being a homeowner has taught us so much and has also put a lot in perspective. I am so grateful to be able to have experienced all the things mentioned above and encourage everyone to take risks and make themselves uncomfortable sometimes.

Thanks for being here.