Beautiful House Blends Designer with DIY Styles

Beautiful House Blends Designer with DIY Styles | Image Credit:
Beautiful House Blends Designer with DIY Styles | Image Credit:

You would never suspect that some of the fabric embellishments in this chic home are hot-glued, or that the majority of the furniture is made from IKEA, spruced up with trim and mirrors.

There are DIY homes that are the labor-intensive result of the owner’s sweat equity, and there are designer homes where every detail is impeccable. Although the two aren’t frequently mistaken, Renee Cusano’s house masterfully blurs the boundaries between them. It is tasteful, well-detailed, conventional but still casually modern. And with her amazing talents, Renee constructed just about everything, from the coffered ceiling to the ribbon decorations on the lampshades.

Like many others, Renee and her husband Brian Alexander got into do-it-yourself projects because they were strapped for cash when they purchased their first home in 2014. Thus, the pair did their own remodeling. Renee explains, “It was our practice house.”

The couple discovered this 1931 Tudor-style home that needed renovations after Brian’s work compelled them to relocate to Sacramento. They began by updating worn-out elements and adding inexpensive IKEA cabinets that they customized to seem like pricey built-ins. But Renee saw that they also needed to reconsider their interior design. Since our previous home had an open floor plan, none of our furniture fit, she claims. “That’s when my passion in design truly began.”

Handmade Console Table DIY

Renee made the most of her available space by converting one end of the living room into a chic and useful doorway. Uneven plaster is hidden with gridded wall paneling. The personalized bench conceals HVAC vents and offers a place to put on shoes. Renee covered the table, which Brian had made, with textured wallpaper, her interpretation of an ostentatious console she’d seen.

Giving it a look

Image Credit:

Renee wrapped a wooden console with washable grass-cloth wallpaper to give it a more polished appearance. To simulate mitered corners, use folds. Renee used wallpaper paste to stick the paper in place.

Redesigning the ceiling

The couple had an unusual situation when they opened a wall between the kitchen and dining room and discovered that the ceiling beams ended at the doorway. Their answer was to build a coffered ceiling, painted white to lighten, by putting plywood in front of the dark beams and adding beams in the opposite direction. Flat-pack cabinet doors look more bespoke when mirrors are added to them.

The Enchantment of Textiles/Material/Fabric

Renee’s first foray into home décor projects began with a slipcovered headboard, an undertaking spurred by an expensive estimate to have it reupholstered. Renee adds, “I realized I could use textiles to create a custom-looking house.”

The secret to Renee’s magic is her ability to take simple things and turn them into something straight out of a design book. She put pink paint on the walls of a corridor and wrapped ribbon over doors, around the ceiling, and behind artwork. She covered cupboards with hand-sewn covers and wallpapered tables. She compares sewing to a riddle that you can solve as you go.

Image Credit:

Renee was working in the dining room’s concealed storeroom for extra small kitchen gadgets. She used a fitted skirt to cover a shallow base cabinet without doors.

Renee’s old light with new wiring and inexpensive framed florals from an art book are examples of her frugal decorating style. Renee never thought she and Brian would become such passionate do-it-yourselfers; despite their hectic schedules as Charlotte’s parents, they still find time for projects like the.

Giving it a look

Image Credit:

Renee spread a small coating of wallpaper paste on the walls and glued ribbon strips, including around doors and moldings, to attach petersham ribbon, which curves readily. Hot glue blobs hold the ends in place.

Modern Living Space

The pair backed two sets of base cabinets before building an island for the renovated kitchen.

Image Credit:

Renne and Brian added crown molding on IKEA Billy bookcases in the living room to make them look like built-ins. The cabinets may be made even more uniquely with details on the fronts and mirrors behind the glass doors.

The pair found an arched brick entrance after they removed a dilapidated fireplace insert. They installed plywood and flat stock trim over the surround and retiled the fireplace.

Giving it a look

Image Credit:

The lampshade’s block print design is repeated throughout the living area. Renee used a rubber stamp kit to create the design. She stamped all the way around the shade, straight onto the bare surface, using acrylic paint.

Cabinet doors in the living area are given detail by an X-shaped motif created with screen molding from Home Depot. Renee used double-stick gel adhesive to attach the painted, size-appropriate molding to the door fronts.

Details of a Whimsical Bedroom

Renee added new wallpaper with a chinoiserie design to the guest bedroom. Birds in flight highlight the craftsmanship on the ceiling. She covered the plywood that was cleat-mounted to the walls for the window cornices with a set of drapes. Her first significant sewing endeavor was the headboard covering.

Giving it a look

Image Credit:

Renee collects a piece of cloth and sews it into an elasticized cover to fit over a lampshade. She pins the gathers in place after adjusting them to a uniform spacing. After that, she removes the pins while hot-gluing the collected cloth.

Because there was no closet in the bedroom, the couple made do with IKEA closets and a dresser that Brian constructed. Benjamin Moore Kittery Point wood trim The acrylic handles and green paint give the pieces a visual connection. A mirror frame’s appearance and texture are altered with crushed seashells.

Since the mirror pieces would be visible through the IKEA closet doors, Renee had them cut with polished edges. She adhered each panel to the wall using mirror adhesive. Her simple approach of adding shine is to update cabinet knobs.

Driven by the artistic vision of Christa Wilm, Renee covered a mirror frame with tiny crushed seashells and affixed it using construction adhesive.

To cover up irregularities where the wall and ceiling meet, the couple installed baseboard trim on the ceiling. “We had to come up with a pretty creative way to finish it off, so we added these square pieces to the ends,” Renee explains.

Little Blue Dream

Renee also has a talent for solving useful challenges in elegant ways. She came up with a lattice-inspired overlay to hide the cracks in the plaster ceiling after she realized how much she hated the effort needed to fix her daughter Charlotte’s nursery.

Image Credit:

In Charlotte’s nursery, Renee stayed true to her limited color scheme, casting white and powdered blues in place of the typical little-girl pink. A variety of designs, such as the toile wallpaper and the large checkered cloth on the ottoman, cushions, and window seat cushion, are brought together by the color repetition. The Benjamin Moore Sea View trim was painted by Renee. The wall’s slope appears less noticeable because to the allover design.

Renee chose to take down the mismatched doors on the side-by-side closets in order to create a changing station and expand the space. She constructed the inside using components from an IKEA closet system, such as shelving and a pair of drawers that served as the changing table’s foundation. In order to conceal flaws in the plaster, wall panels are installed on the ceiling.

Renee came up with the idea of using fretwork wall panels instead of repainting the nursery ceiling. In order to conceal uneven plasterwork and provide architectural interest in an unexpected area, she stapled the panels in place.

Giving it a look

Image Credit:

Closet shelves have faux-bamboo molding that is half-round. Renee used a mitre saw to cut the molding to the proper size before painting it and securing it using construction glue and pin nails.

Image Credit:

Even though the Safavieh lamp base’s inky blue pattern didn’t go with the nursery’s color scheme, Renee liked it. After purchasing it, she covered the black splatters with light blue ceramic paint using an artist’s paintbrush. She put wallpaper over the shade.

Clever Space-Saving Specifics

Renee mounted brass flush-end posts to a shelf bottom to maximize the utilization of a hall closet and free up wall space for a shoe rack on the side. Shoes are maintained upright on shelves by acrylic rods secured in place by wall flanges.

Renee painted the lower walls, trim, and cabinets a blue-green color to accentuate the petal design after stenciling the top walls and ceiling of the laundry room. The washer and dryer are concealed by a skirt on a curtain pole.

A Fresh Experience

Renee started sharing her efforts on Instagram as she grew more confident in her DIY skills and experience decorating. She found out along the way that she liked giving others advice and working through problems together. She made the decision to change careers and set herself up as a decorator after Brian’s job compelled her to relocate to Dallas. Renee is beginning her business with a small number of clients, primarily for a familiar reason but also partly to familiarize herself with the area. One pleated lampshade and fabric-covered cupboard at a time, she is renovating her family’s new house.

Original Author: Liz Strong


Discover more from Minnesota Residential Remodeling

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top