ALL POSTS TAGGED "erin loechner"

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It’s time, friends. Time to introduce you to the final “after” in our long sunroom makeover project! And if you need a refresher on what the space used to be, enjoy a few progress videos here, here and here. You won’t believe the transformation!:

For info on how to get the look in your own home, I’ve created a source list for you here. Happy shopping, and thanks so much for joining us on this wild ride!

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Upcycling. You love it, right? Equal parts upgrading and recycling, the art of upcycling promises to breathe new life into those found objects you just aren’t quite sure what to do with. Case in point: a fruit crate I was gifted by some lovely blogger friends while teaching a course in Portland last summer. You might argue that a fruit crate is an odd gift, but to a design blogger? A fruit crate is the mecca of possibility.

Upcycling 101: From Fruit Crate to Toy Chest - Erin Loechner

Still, the aforementioned crate sat dusty in my entryway, begging to be used for more than hat, gloves and scarf storage. And as we started to plan our little one’s nursery (she’s due in July!), the thought hit me: why not transform this fruit crate into a rustic toy chest with a hot pink caster twist? The project was easy peasy and took just a few materials: casters, spray paint, spare wood and the crate itself! Here’s how we pulled it off:

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For those of you who happened to tune into The Nate Berkus Show last week, I hope you spotted two familiar faces! That’s right, Ken and I had the pleasure of welcoming Nate’s kind audience into our home a few months ago, and the segment has officially aired!

Click on Nate's photo to watch us on the show!

And because the renovation magic all began here on, I thought I’d share links below to a few of the projects we shared on the home tour, just in case you’ve missed a few along the long, wild ride!:


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Sunroom update time! For those of you following along at home, our back porch sunroom has been a massive work in progress for oh, the last six months or so (in case you’ve missed it, check out the before video here, and an in-progress video here!). We’re thrilled to be in the home stretch and can happily report that by this time next month, you’ll see the big, final, fully-decorated-and-loaded reveal. Can you hardly wait?

Sunroom Renovation Update - Erin Loechner

The excitement is brewing!


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Every now and then, Ken and I like to take a break from the heavy-lifting, sweaty renovating mode and switch gears to something a bit… lighter. Today, I’m making three nature-inspired crafts I found online that will have you shopping in your backyard in a heartbeat! Behold, branch hangers, geode bookends and light bulb planters – oh my!:

DIY truly can be a walk in the park, yes? Enjoy!

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Dip dye is all the range in the crafts department these days, and I’m definitely aboard the fan train. It’s the simplest detail, really, but proves to make such a grand impact on even the most basic furniture pieces. The bolder, older sister to ombre, dip dye is a technique used in a variety of mediums – from baskets to tees to [gasp!] hair! – and is quickly transitioning from a fleeting trend to a long-lasting and well-loved design practice.

Dip Dye Stool DIY Before & After - Erin Loechner

Transform a $5 stool in an afternoon!


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Organization is my middle name (well, that and Elizabeth), so I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to share our latest video – a closet makeover! Ken’s been hard at work building a custom closet solution that we designed for our master suite, and you guys? It turned out beautifully. Take a look…

What do you think, friends? It’s a vast improvement, that’s for sure. And if you’re inspired to try the look in your own home, feel free to ask any specific construction questions in the comment section; I’ll be popping in to answer any and all!

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Laundry room makeovers might not seem like a high priority for most homeowners, but for me? Huge. I am completely, madly and deeply obsessed with doing laundry. It’s by far my favorite chore (although I’m pretty partial to loading/unloading dishwashers, too), and living with a half-finished, semi-cluttered laundry room has definitely put a damper in the joy I usually glean from this chore.

And with the momentum we gained from last week’s DIY vanity project (do you love it as much as I do?!), Ken and I decided it was time we bit the bullet and finished the last remaining items on our laundry to do list. Might I add that this means our renovation checklist for the laundry room is 100% complete? What a feeling!

In case you don’t remember what the space looked like in the very beginning, let me remind you photographically (you’ll want to wash your hands after seeing this image; trust me!):

Laundry Room Makeover Before & After - Erin Loechner

The super gross before photo!

Scary, right? Of course, wood-paneling the walls made a huge difference, and just a few short months ago, the space looked like this:

Laundry Room Makeover Before & After - Erin Loechner

An in-progress shot of our cluttered laundry room.


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Laundry rooms are all-too-often neglected spaces in the home, aren’t they? Sure, the laundry room might serve a purely utilitarian purpose, but function can be beautiful, too – right?

Concrete Countertop and Vanity in Laundry Room - Erin Loechner

A major progress update!

Right! Remember just a few short months ago when I shared our laundry room (almost!) makeover? We’ve been slowly but diligently working away on the space, and thanks to our renovation checklist, we’ve made an organized effort to finish over the next few weeks. First on the list? Tackling our custom vanity, which included a DIY concrete countertop project. And although we’ve worked with concrete before (remember the concrete mantel in our dining room?), we were super nervous to construct something so… intimidating. After all, a countertop needs to be both durable, functional, and (preferably!) beautiful.

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As most of you know, our sunroom has been the biggest current project in the Loechner Lair, and I’m happy to report that after a few snafus and some scheduling conflicts, we now have progress to share (did that rhyme? I think it did!)!:

Sunroom Renovation Drywall Progress - Erin Loechner

Well worth the wait!

Yes, that is a fully, 100% drywalled space. Are you starting to envision how beautiful it will be when finished? A vast improvement from the insulated room we shared just over a month ago, yes? We’ve tackled the electrical and finished spraying our insulation, so our renovation goal checklist for the room is coming along just swimmingly.

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Art makes the world go ’round indeed, and today I’ll be sharing how to create a quirky, informal art gallery for that empty wall you’ve been meaning to fill! Bonus? It’ll take just a short afternoon, so you’ve got no excuse not to give it a go!

Curious as to where you can score our art for your own home? I’ve got a source list right here – happy shopping!

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Modern pet furniture has always been a hot topic in our home. Ken and I are the type of pet owners who plan our lives around our pups, and our pets are the type of dogs who bask in that delight daily (clearly, we’re in for a surprise when baby comes along this July!). And although we’d love to have gorgeous, modern pet gear sprinkled throughout our home, we’ve found that the majority of gorgeous pet items far exceed our budget.

DIY Pet Crate Coffee Table - Erin Loechner

If you can't find it, why not build it?

Still, I’m to the point where I can no longer look at our dogs’ cheap, plastic-y crate without shuddering. And when attempting to design your home around pets, it’s important you get a bit creative. Naturally, I consulted dear Ken with a conundrum much like my famous dining room table request:

“Can you build Bernie a dog crate that isn’t ugly?”

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t spend a few minutes showing gratitude for this crazy renovation that has been trying, rewarding, surprising and endlessly satisfying. And after a quick walk down memory lane (including my Thanksgiving post from last year!), I realized I owe an enormous thank you to you, readers, for experiencing this adventure with us.

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

It's been a long road since these days...

So, in an effort to share my endless appreciation for the support, comments, encouragement and more that you have all shared in our quest for renovation finish line, I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite renovating moments – and a few I’m thankful are behind us!

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

I still get butterflies when I see this table!

1. Building A Dining Room Table
I’ve dreamed of a massive farmhouse table for years and years, so to own one (that was handmade by Ken!) is such a treat. I love that we can host our entire families – and then some – for family functions, impromptu dinners and random game nights. Isn’t that what makes a house a home?

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

Still a work in progress, but such an improvement!

2. Nearly Finishing Our Laundry Room
Yes, you haven’t seen an update in a bit because we haven’t progressed on our finishing touches, but I can’t begin to explain how grateful we are for a working washer/dryer. Earlier in our renovation days (remember this?!), we dreamed of the moment we could wash our rags, sweatshirts and rugs in a machine on-site. And to have our laundry machines in a room we paneled ourselves? Icing on the cake.

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

My bright and sunny office.

3. A Working Office
I spend so, so much time behind the computer, so having a working, inspiring office has been such a blessing this year. Long gone are the days when I’d work at coffee shops while Ken power drilled his way through studs and drywall!

4. Our Kitchen Makeover
I’m so proud of the space planning, lighting and architectural changes we made in this kitchen. Plus? Our wallets (and waistlines!) are loving that we don’t have to order take-out and delivery during huge remodeling projects. Bonus all around!

And, of course… a few memories I’m grateful to bid adieu to – forever!

1. Mold Remediation in the Basement
This one needs no further explanation, right? Ugh.

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

I am sooooo thankful this is over!

2. Siding our Exterior
Oh my goodness. The heat! The math! The torturous 12-day project! I am so, so grateful that we never, ever have to side our house again. (Knock on fiber cement!)

3. Living in Two Places
I’ll be honest – as blessed as we were to live offsite during part of our renovation, it was really, really difficult. I’m so happy to be living in our own home – even amidst renovation dust and chaos. Nothing beats the joy of being in a space that you’ve built for yourself!

As for future gratitude, I’ll be endlessly thankful when our sunroom project is done, our basement makeover is underway and all of the finishing touches throughout the rest of the home are in place.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! What are you thankful for this year?

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If you’re a Design Happens regular, then for more than a year you’ve been following Erin Loechner, her hunky husband Ken and their daunting, gorgeous (and sometimes comical) total gut renovation. We’re talking the complete transformation of a Midwest auction house into a stunning Scandinavian cabin. (If you haven’t been following along, here’s a link to Erin’s posts documenting their remodeling journey.) For those of you, like me, who are utterly charmed by Erin’s sense of style and gusto, you’ll want to subscribe to Erin’s eye-candy of a blog Design For Mankind.

Design for mankind erin loechner design blog hgtv blogger of the month
Design For Mankind is the perfect compilation of topics I love to casually browse while drinking my morning coffee or when I unwind before bed. Let’s face it. We’re all busy. So, who has time to scroll through pages and pages of endless copy. Erin’s blog is filled to the brim with captivating pictures, images and art. And that’s just how we like it. I seriously can’t get enough. So much so that I absolutely must share my take on DFM with you lovely people. So here it is ladies and gents, the top four reasons why DFM makes my heart skip a beat as soon as it pops up in my inbox and rolls through my Twitter timeline.


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Tackling a home renovation without a contractor can be a like a horror scene from Friday the 13th. (If you do have a contractor and he behaves like Freddy Krueger, well then, it’s a Nightmare on Your Street.) While the wallpaper in my living room resembles the bulging walls of the house in The Haunting, I’m more afraid that if/when I take it down, the whole wall will come down with it. But we can all breathe a sigh of relief. The experts at have assembled the ultimate remodeling survival guide to keep you (and me) sane and on track during the next big (or little) redo.

Renovation Survival Guide Erin Loechner

5 Remodeling Tips and Tricks From

By the way, our featured blogger Erin Loechner and her husband are in the middle of a complete gut renovation of their Midwest rancher. (That’s him with the protective mask on in the picture above.) Following her weekly blog is like having someone to hold your hand through all the trials and tribulations of a major remodel. You have to read about her triumph over a mold-infested basement! Plus, she has great design tips and a handy hubby.

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Hanging a gallery-style art wall is sometimes tricky and incredibly time-consuming. Unless you’re a tiny bit tech-savvy and a whole lot of creative! Here’s the skinny.


Images from

Our guest bedroom is seriously lacking in art and visual interest, so I knew a gallery wall was in order. I also knew that with guests arriving in just six days, I had to find fast digital and online solutions instead of shopping around town. Ready for the secret?

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