How "nerdy DIYers" style their Delaware split level home

Updated Oct 12 2015

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The offbeat occupant: Heather B, Special Events Planner (and yummy cupcake baker!)
Other occupants: Husband, Nate
Approximate square footage: 1000-2000 sq. feet
How many bedrooms? 4
Lives in: Delaware
When did you move into this home? Six months ago.

Let's start with the neighborhood. What's it like where you live? Our neighborhood was built in the 1950s, so a lot of the homes follow the same model, but over the years they have been personalized by the owners to the point where until you start touring them, you don't realize the layouts are basically the same. We have a nice mixture of older people who've lived here for 50 years and younger families (like us). We're close to one of the main drags in Wilmington which has lots of stores, restaurants, bars, etc. and is super convenient. Overall, it's pretty quiet in suburbia.

What makes your home offbeat? I would consider myself and my husband to be offbeat-lite. We're nerdy DIYers.

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What's the most challenging about this space? How do you deal with the challenge? The kitchen. The kitchen in our previous apartment was awesome, and I really wanted a big kitchen in the house since I love to cook. The kitchen here is tiny with extremely limited storage (especially since I have just about every kitchen gadget known to man).

IMG_1038In our previous apartment, Nate was using a sideboard as his dresser. We refinished it black and liquid-nailed a butcher block top from Ikea onto it, and BAM it created extra storage and counter space in the kitchen. I also store a lot of my less-used items (turkey roasting pan, stock pot, etc.) in the attic and only pull them down when I need them.

The master bathroom is also very small with basically no counter space. Plus the only outlet is located on the opposite wall to the counter so (for instance) my electric toothbrush can't be plugged in and sit on the counter because the cord is not long enough and if it was, it would clothesline you.

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To solve this problem, we purchased an old media cabinet for $40 and refinished it black. We then installed a mirror in the back and some puck lighting on the top and screwed in a power strip to the side. Now I have a big vanity in the bedroom to house all of my make up, hair products, jewelry, and other miscellaneous that would otherwise have no home. Plus, I can just close the doors and it's like the mess disappears.

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What's your favorite feature of your home? The space! We host a Canadian Thanksgiving seated meal every year, and we were able to comfortably have 20 friends all sit around a table, which was pretty well impossible in our previous apartment. In the same vein, I love the built in bar in our family room!

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What's the most important lesson you've learned from this home? Paint before you move if possible. When we purchased this home every room (seriously) was at least partially mauve. Now, I have nothing against mauve as a color, but there's a point where you feel like you're in a giant stomach being slowly digested. We were fortunate and had a month of overlap between closing on the house and the end of our apartment lease, so we were able to come over and do 90% of the painting before we moved the furniture in. That last 10% still isn't done and it's been five months, so productivity has gone way down.

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What's your grandest plan for the space? I REALLY want to put a hole through the kitchen to dining room wall and expand the kitchen. Get some granite counter tops and a gas stove and make it a cooking haven.

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What advice do you have for other offbeat homies? Everyone told me that my paint choice for my craft room was "crazy," "bizzaro," "like the nightmare of a 5-year-old girl who ate too much candy" etc. etc. But I stuck to my guns and painted it like that anyway. It's a space in the house that's 100% mine without compromise. And I love it!

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Any stuff or services you want to recommend?
We got our sweet Star Wars prints from JWCDesigns on Etsy.

The Restore Store (it's run by Habitat for Humanity). They're all over the place, but I had never even heard of it. They not only sell furniture and stuff, they also have hardware, paint, and all sorts of other stuff.

Show me the decor porn!

We want to see more of your homes. Do you have not only a craft room, but an entire house that's "like the nightmare of a 5-year-old girl who ate too much candy" too? We wanna see it. Submit!

  1. Lovely house!
    And, as I side note, I love that you have a Canadian Thanksgiving party!
    I am a Canadian who has a big American Thanksgiving party each year. Thanksgiving is the best holiday, so why not celebrate it twice!

  2. Our house was a pale pepto bismal pink (2 bedrooms and the bathroom) so I understand your need to paint! Now if only we had space in the bedroom for the media cabinet vanity!

  3. That bathroom cabinet is the best idea! I can never keep my bathroom supplies from looking like a tornado, so closing the doors on it would be amazing. Great home tour!!

    • thanks! it has been working out really well. in our apartment, the 2nd bathroom turned into a giant vanity for me and I really wanted to avoid that in the house.

    • About 8yrs ago my former roomie and I painted our bathroom a dark fushia pink with a gold ceiling. Our (then) boyfriends were non too impressed but we LOVED it. (Currently dreaming of a midnight blue bathroom with a silver ceiling but I'm renting and I want my deposit back.)

  4. Hehehe – Nice to know I'm not the only one who went "this room is mine – girly!" When we officially bought our house after renting it for almost a year, I kind of went nuts with purple paint and pink accessories in my craft room. I love it! And my husband loves that the door closes on all my craft stuff, and I don't try and inflict girly on the rest of the house.

  5. The ReStore looks really cool! I had never heard of it before, but sure enough, there is one near me.

    I'm glad you went for your stripey paint scheme; it turned out great!

  6. My favourite things about this tour:

    1) The built-in bar. (seriously, I'm a cocktail nerd, and am crazy jealous now).

    2) Doctor Who on the kitchen TV.

    • you can't see it in the pictures, but on my nightstand in the bedroom, I modgepodged star wars card game cards to the top. We're also working on making light saber lamps for them.

  7. I love the storage for the pots and pans in the kitchen and the media cabinet! awesome idea! I am now tempted to affix a butcher block atop my dryer (which is directly next to our fridge in an addition off the kitchen)

    and I'm in wilmington too, even the internet is small when it comes to delaware, damn x.x

  8. May I just say that I love these sneak peeks into people's real homes! This gives me more inspiration for my own home than anything else, especially when I have my own sort of nerdery that I want to have represented. No home design magazines can tell you how to do that! : )

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