my DIY Dilemma

Can I ask you a favor?

Like a huge favor?

Because I really need your help with this.

And, honestly, you are the only one who can help me.

Over the weekend I attended a conference.

A blog conference.

If you were a reader last summer you might remember that I went last year.  And it was great again this year.  Really great!

There were new tools …

… and I learned some really great things that I can’t wait to share with you.

But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about you.

And us.

And this space on the world-wide web that we share.

Because really, I tend to do all the talking around here, but there would be no fun in that if it weren’t for you.

So, whether we became friends on day one, or today is your day one here ( … Hey there day oners, I’m Karah.  I like to DIY.  :) … ) this place is much more about you than it is about me.

I may be the only one who insists on posting dirty, sweaty pictures of myself …

guest bedroom wall repair

… but that is so not the point.

So here’s where the favor comes in.

I want to know what you want.

It’s no secret we’re knee-deep into a full house renovation project.

Unless, of course, you’re a day oner … then Hi! I’m Karah and we’re renovating our entire house in Key West, FL.  :)

So … if you want us to forget about this house and move back to Curacao, let me know and we’re on it.*

*that will not be happening

If you want to see a non-stop supply of posts about the latest trends, holla at me.*

*I wouldn’t know a trend if it smacked me in the face

If a DIY tutorial about a mani / pedi is more your speed, let me know.*

*I will recommend that you check out Pinterest, because that’s not really my thang … unless this is the look you’re going for.

Truthfully, this blog is always going to be about our home.  Our space between.  Our journey to make the most of that space.

But, I would love you forever and ever and ever if you would take just a minute to drop me a line about you would love to see around here.

And what you would hate.  #scaryquestionalert

Is it:

  • longer or shorter posts
  • nitty gritty, down and dirty details about running electric and installing a french door and changing the size of our windows
  • decorating details
  • simple DIY tips and tricks
  • recipes – My bff has the best broccoli salad recipe that we make 3 times every week.  It’s like our staple vegetable … with bacon.  :)
  • ideas and thoughts about what we’re going to do and why
  • or just skip to the after shots already?

I’m not going to make a fancy form.  I don’t have any expectation about getting a long diatribe about your wishes.

But if you had a sec to give me your one main thought on all of this I’d get all mushy about how we’re all like-minded, and kindred spirits and soul sisters.

Unless, of course, you say you wish this was a mommy blog.

Then we might have to talk.  :)

A comment right on this post would be great.  Or if you’d rather a for-my-eyes-only response you can email me at

And, if you really are new here, this might be a fun page to check out.  And here is the driftwood Christmas tree project that kicked this who adventure off.  So don’t be afraid to let me know how you ended up here and what you’re hoping to find.  :)

And definitely don’t forget to …

And, because I get an awesome amount of requests for new pictures of our pooches (which melts my heart because those girls really are my besties) look at who was so excited to have me home she was trying to hold me down.

Until the power tools came out, then she hit her safe spot.  #puppyunderapicnictable


  1. Carla Pennington says

    Well, I did enjoy the inside scoop on the Bachelorette Curacao location, getting to see a DIYer with a lovely pedicure (you swore it was a rare moment, and up close wasn’t really all that [emphasis on “that’] and always love the easier DIY without too many power tools kinds of stuff, but no matter what, I enjoy, like really enjoy, visits with you, even if it is virtual. Better that it is virtual in fact, because my house would scare the sawdust out of you.

    If I think of something more helpful, I’ll post again, but for now that is my two or three cents worth.

    • says

      hahaha, I am laughing out loud at “my house would scare the sawdust out of you”. Then maybe I need to visit, no matter how many times I shower I tend to find paint on some random body party anyway, I’m sure there’s sawdust somewhere that could use a good scare. 😉 But seriously, if you’ve been eyeing any project around your own house and you just don’t know where to start let me know, I’d love to help!! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and start my day out with a chuckle!!

  2. says

    Ya know Karah, I might just be a day-oner. If not pretty darn close. I remember the driftwood shots and tools and driftwood and …..I’m still here because I like you just the way you are. You give good DIY info, love your doggies, you and Joel and a great team, befores and afters–keep them, p.l.e.a.s.e. Your humor is a joy. And that’s my .02.

  3. says

    i love the simple diy tips and the decorating the best! i will never run electric (i say that now….) so when i read those posts it’s like i am back in college trying to read a french novel and keep rereading and i still don’t understand.

  4. Cathy says

    I think you we’re buying Key West house when I came to the party; don’t know about Curaçao House except in references. Can I go back that far?
    Anyway, I like your posts just fine. Keep on hammerin’

    • says

      Thank you so much Cathy! We rented in Curacao so we weren’t doing any rehab, but I made my fair share of crafts with driftwood and seaglass. :) And while the house we rented wasn’t much, we did have this great rooftop patio that we made into a bedroom ( There are tabs at the top of the page (directly under the head section that says ‘the space between’) that can help you take a look around if you’d like. The “Project Gallery” has all of the projects we’ve ever done here seperated by category and listed in chronological order, I used to do posts about where we traveled and a photo journal of the island of Curacao.

  5. says

    As time goes by I get farther and farther away from living the sort of life where I do any sort of rehab, so using your blog as an informative sorce for learning how to do those sorts of jobs probably isn’t going to happen. I still read though because of you. I love your voice and your humor. When I read your posts I feel a bit like I’m sitting across a table visiting a friend as she details the most recent happenings in her DIY life. I may not also be rehabbing, but I still enjoy her stories. I totally made those greeting card ornaments, and will eventually make some driftwood creations a’la’Karah, but mostly I just read to see what’s going on wit you. :-) So for me it really doesn’t matter what exactly you ae writing about. Just write what you are most interested in writing please.

    • says

      Thank you so much for such a great comment, Karen!! I will never for get how excited I was when you made those greeting card ornaments. By now we are definitely old friends. :)

  6. says

    I only know the Key West house. I enjoy seeing the progress. I need to do some DIY renovations in my house, so let’s just say I live vicariously through you. Keep it up.

    • says

      If you have any questions about any projects you’d like to tackle at your own house don’t hesitate to give me a shout!! I’d love to help!

      • says

        We need to redo our master bath. It’s all builder grade stuff from 20 years ago. We want to get rid of the tub and put in a shower pan, redo the flooring and of course the cabinetry, mirrors, etc. Hopefully we can get started after the first of the year.

  7. Christa says

    I have always enjoyed your posts about making your home the best that it can be. Your posts on your new renovation are very helpful in that I was on a journey to renovate a 1897 farmhouse and then life happened. My 97 year old grandmother needed me and I am here with her but saving all of your reno advice. I lived through you on a dream Caribbean island and now through your home renovation. I do look forward to your insider views of the Keys and more beautiful artful pieces you create for your new home. In a word… Don’t Change A Thing!!

    • says

      Thank you so much, Crista!! I hope everything is going well with your grandmother. I need to start posting a little bit about Key West I think, it is such a neat community. I really appreciate you reading!!!

  8. says

    One of the things I LOVE about your blog, Karah, is the variety of posts you share — easy DIY projects, massive and complicated nuts and bolts DIY renovations, what inspires you, etc. Keep it up!! And throw in pics of those darling pooches and some of Key West, too… you know I’ll be back and may even show up on your doorstep! The hubs has been warned… 😉
    Hugs to you, my friend — you are such a blessing to me!
    xo Heidi

  9. Amy says

    I love your blog the way it is. I read it for the before, after, and during photos and commentary. I read it for the DIY details and am having fun following along with the progress on your home!

  10. Scouty says

    I love the blog just the way it is. Your writing, the DIY, the ‘crafts’, the doggies, the little peek into a great relationship, your humour. I don’t post, too shy, but follow you daily with my morning coffee. Keep up the good work my blog friend!

    • says

      Thank you so much for stepping out of your comfort zone to comment here. Is it weird that I truly do feel like we are friends?!?! I appreciate you sharing this journey with us. :)

  11. Deb says


    I’m a not a day oner, but I have been reading your blog for a while and I LOVE it. I almost always read it immediately when I see that you have updated. I’m a small DIYer–I dabble at lots of different things including crafts, cooking and sewing–and I very much enjoy reading what you are doing. I like it when you write about the stuff that you cuss at….things that a normal DIYer wouldn’t know and would find themselves in that situation if they were doing the project. My son-in-law is in construction and doing remodeling. I am constantly sending him things from your posts. I asked him the other day if he wanted me to stop and he said NO. Keep sending them. So, what do I think? Keep blogging. Tell us about things that worked just as you thought/planned that they would and tell us about things that went the other way and how you fixed the issue. That is the most important…how you fixed the problem that you were presented with.

    • says

      Hahaha, it’s those moments that have us cussing that usually end up to be the best memories. That is so awesome that you son enjoys it, too. He can be our token male. 😉 Great point about being sure to post the little speed bumps and our solutions. Those happen all. the. time. Don’t they?!?! I really, really appreciate the comment.

  12. says

    I like your posts… You provide a wide range of topics and I think that is great. I just recently found your blog and super happy I did.

  13. Sandy Butler says

    Your posts are GREAT just as they are! It is so much fun to see all the changes and all the surprises you find while you’re renovating. It makes me want to run out and buy power tools and do something to my house – but then I take a deep breath and realize I can just read your blog without all the dust and upheavel. My dogs would not be as understanding as yours! Keep up the good work! (blog and house)

    • says

      Thank you so much for chiming in, Sandy! Maybe I should come to your house and read the blog to avoid the dust and upheavel myself. 😉

  14. says

    This question on a blog always makes it seem like it’s about numbers, and sponsors, and pulling the plug.

    When blogs I follow become: too recipe’y (i can get cookbooks from the library), too all about pets, too much in my face about their glam or fit body, too much gluing paper clips to popsicle sticks and spray painting for a quick makeover of CRAP, too many photos with the popular bloggers at some conference I’ll never be able to attend, then I unsubscribe.

    So, that’s what I think. Just be yourself. I haven’t unsubscribed yet.


    • says

      I LOVE this comment!! Oh my, can we talk for a second about all of the blogs that don’t feel like they’re talking about anything that they’re actually doing. Ay yay yay. You know where this is coming from … the Ana White opening session at Haven. I tell you, she was so inspiring on so many levels. But the one thing she said that just stuck with me was that her blog was there to serve her readers. She develops furniture plans, so whatever kinds of plans a reader wanted she would create it. So, this blog will always be a DIY blog, but it occured to me I wasn’t really sure exactly what it is the readers hope to gain by reading this blog. And the insight I am gaining through this comment thread is incredible. And I’m no chef, but it’s true, if all I post about are the long DIY days someone’s going to call husband services on me and report him malnurished. I’ve got a few simple go-to meals that maybe others in a similar situation with limited time (and desire) for hours in the kitchen could benefit from. I’m so thankful you took the time to comment!!

  15. says

    As a veteran of remodeling (seven years of construction while living in it) and two flippers (one a ‘here’s what I want’ and the other ‘you want me to do what? and active participant) with lots of curse words said along the way, I thoroughly enjoy your blog every day!!! Our four-legged baby also hides when the power tools come out. She looks very much like the pooch in today’s picture – gray hair and all. I love the before, after and all the in between photos and descriptions! I can sit back and laugh and shake my head ‘yes…I totally understand’! LOVE IT!

    • says

      This is awesome!! That is exactly the reaction I want, like I’m giving you my latest crazy adventure over lunch and you can just roll your eyes and shake your head at me and then we laugh all about it. :) And I feel like we need to hug it out over living in the remodeling … or maybe it’s just me. 😉

  16. says

    I think I’m pretty close to t day-one-er! Honestly, I love your blog and immediately became a follower after reading your first entry! Your instructions are great and I love your humor. I’ve enjoyed watching your blog grow bigger and bigger. You shouldn’t change a thing (unless you wanna throw a recipe out there now and again. No argument there — a girl’s gotta eat!!) Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re one of my all time favorites!

    • says

      Thank you so much, Vonda!! I always love your comments and I’ve been hesitant to do many recipes because I’m not all that inventive, and meals have to be pretty easy to prepare around here, but you’re right, we’re all looking for some simple tasty meal ideas so I’m going to start mixing that in!! Thank you so much for the continued support!

  17. Ellen says

    Love your blog and reading about your adventures. I don’t do much DIY myself, but I enjoy thinking about the possibilities. A good salad recipe is always appreciated! Thanks so much for all your hard work!

  18. says

    It’s kind of funny. I remember seeing lots of posts like this last year after Haven and BlogHer and such…it’s like, once you finally get to a conference and absorb all the incredibleness, you begin to doubt what you do. I’ll just bet its overwhelming to actually meet the amazing bloggers and sponsors that YOU admire. I know I would be, had I the blessing of attending Haven! I’d also start feeling a smidge (eh, maybe a truckload) of inadequate.

    What I’m trying to say is, we are all here because we like you exactly the way you are. I’m sure we all (you included!) follow several (or 80!) blogs, but we keep coming back because we like your vibe. Don’t ever change how you blog…that’s what sucked us in in the first place!

    • says

      You know what really hit home for me this year was the amazing opening from Ana White. She just emphasized giving her readers whatever they ask for, that her blog is to serve her readers, from a furniture plans perspective, anyway. But I just thought, I share what we’re doing, but I’d really like my blog to serve my readers from a DIY around the home perspective, but I don’t know exactly what types of things the readers are looking for. (blogger hangs head in shame) It’s so fun to read all of the insight!!

  19. Kim says

    I love your blog. I always wonder: What do you do for meals and how you manage the pets and kids when you are knee deep in renovations? How do you do your day job with all this work? Where do you sleep and eat and get some clean space? What does it all cost? How do you decide what you will do yourself and what you will contract out? How did you learn how to do this in the first place? What is safe for me to do and what will I mess up? How would I be able to finish/apply this project at home?

    • says

      I think I’ll actually write up a post to address all of these questions … because they’re all really good ones and deserve a thorough answer!!!

  20. says

    How funny. I just found this blog while googling ‘drywall repair’ and on my first day here, you’re asking what I want…how sweet. Of course, I don’t know, but thanks for the drywall tips (got a mess inside a closet) and I’ll be back.

    • says

      Hahaha, that is funny, Darlene! Clearly I aim to please. :) Let me know if you have any questions about the drywall repair, we’ve definitely done our share of that over the years. Good luck!!

  21. says

    Keep doing what you’re doing Karah! I’ll definitely still be here reading! You were one of the first bloggers to really reach out to me when I got started! :)

    I also still have that book page picture frame you sent me for the Pass It on Project! It’s part of my living room gallery wall!

  22. Lisa S says

    Karah, thanks for keeping it real! The dog, the nails and the sawdust…the perfect trifecta! You’re so unique; please don’t change a thing!

  23. says

    Karah…I am sorry that I cannot lend much help as I love your blog just the way it is..I love seeing your projects, your decor ideas, and your be be besties…love them…I am so loving watching the beautiful transformation of your home…I feel as if I am reading your “home diaries”…so keep it up…don’t change a thing…oh..maybe one thing…if you have a very simple wood project…”toot” it..maybe I can impress my hubby some day!

    • says

      I have a feeling you impress your hubby everyday!! I’m so glad we had a chance to sit and chat for a bit, you have always been such a bright spot in this blogging journey of mine. I am so thankful that our paths have crossed!!

  24. Barbara says

    Hi Karah-
    I came across your blog back in Summer 2012. I check in on what you two are doing every few days. The work you’re doing on the K W house is impressive. Your energy inspires me.

    I loved reading of your time in the Caribbean, lots of fun DIYs that you created back there, and your tours of the fun spots to play (cliff jump) and shop-great little snapshots of life in cool place.

    If you get a chance I’d love to see a tour of K W with your perspective, what does your neighborhood look like, the view from your front porch or kitchen window, your favorite beaches, and what the village looks like at night. I’m a former east-coaster (NY and NH) now living in So Cal, so would love to see how things look in your neck of the woods. Thanks for asking us readers for ideas, reading your blog is so enjoyable, I often tell others of your projects- you’re real and funny  Take Care, Barbara

    • says

      Barbara, thank you so much for the great comment!! I really do want to do a Key West post here and there, I’m still trying to get a lay of the land, but hopefully soon. When I graduated from college I went from New England to central Cali (San Fran), hopefully you’re enjoying So Cal. I really appreciate the kinds words. I hear I write how I talk so it seems like we could have a few laughs over coffee … unlike the people who just tilt their head and wonder what the heck I’m talking about. :)

  25. says

    I love your blog. Following you as you renovate is like reading a great book where every chapter is better than the last. My suggestion, more dog pics.

  26. says

    Hi Karah! I’m one of those first timers and ended up here thanks to your husband. I would certainly not want to see any mommy blog posts, I see my share of those every day and I am loving everything I’ve seen on your blog so far. That Christmas tree is pretty cool, pining that for sure. :) I would love to see steps by step instructions for some of the projects, more of a DIY for dummies approach as some of these awesome projects are intimidating for a DIY virgin. And may I suggest a “get over your fear of power tools” section? That would be really helpful. Thanks! :) BTW I am totally serious here.

    • says

      Yay!!! My husband is such a great support to me! So glad you like the tree, it was fun to do a local variation while we were living in Curacao, I hope to have it unpacked by the time Christmas rolls around this year. Wish me luck. :) And, I love your idea about a getting over your fear of power tools section …. hmmmmmm, now you’ve got me thinking.

  27. Jenny Mac Balllard says

    Your blog is always one of the first I go to when I get a chance to catch up with my favourite bloggers, so I can’t think of a single change that I would want to see. You’ve always got a good mix going on and you keep it real. I love that. I’m really enjoying following your journey in the new house. Your DIY videos are an eye opener, you make it look so easy. I’m looking forward to seeing the rooms come together.

    • says

      Thank you so much for commenting, Jenny!! Honestly, that’s why I decided to start making the videos, I think it’s hard to explain things in words sometimes and a video can really show how hard or easy something is. :)

  28. says

    I am a lifer around here, lately I have been a Blahker. Blog Stalker! I missed Haven, again, had my ticket and all and life got in the way. I love all your posts, We are heading deeper and deeper into DIY around here and I love your can-do attitude. Plus, I post sweaty, dirty pictures of myself and the mess around my house too. I like to keep it real, and you keep it so real, it is completely relatable and makes me feel like projects I once thought out my reach are attainable. I would love a recipe here and there too! My favorite still though is the spray painted purse from last year!

    • says

      hahaha, you have me laughing out loud with the ‘you keep it so real’, I read it as ‘you keep it too real’. Hahaha, showing too much paneling for you, am I. 😉 I’m happy people are interested in a few recipes, I’m no chef but we have a few staples around here that keep us from ordering pizza every night so I’ll need to start adding them to the mix. Which means pictures of my kitchen, yowza! :) I was so bummed you didn’t make it to Haven, but life does happen. Next year hopefully!

  29. says

    I like your posts the way they are–I think you have good ideas and your instructions are good, as well. I like the vibe you give when you show a project and I can tell it’s you. But you are thin and young, so maybe if you were a little older and chubbier. Like me. I could totally be your mentor.

  30. Carla Pennington says

    Karah, I’ve already answered once, in a post quite memorably full of typos and such, but somehow you figured out what I was trying to so. I think you divined it, to be honest.

    I wanted to write again to send you one more reminder that WE LOVE YOU, GURL! If you can’t tell by now that we like you just the way you are, well dang, I guess we’ll just have to keep the comments coming. If I get into my Made With Real Key Limes Margaritas, I could write comments all night long, each with a different author’s name. Ha, and full of even more typos!!

    Margaritas aside, I learned a little something reading these comments and that is that I think I’d like to be friends with everyone who replied. With you as the Reigning Pallet Lovin, Island Living, Sovereign Queen, of course, holding court. I think we could talk and laugh our ears off if a bunch of us got together. Iced tea for some, margaritas for others and let the jabbering begin!

    Thanks for a blog that is so well-written that we really do feel like we are one of your friends chatting (bemoaning, in some cases) about this project or that idea, or how great it is to know the love of a good dog. That’s a gift you give us, sometimes when at least one of us really needs it. And that is a wonderful gift to receive, so I’m sending all that goodness right back at ya, with much thanks!

    • says

      Thank you so much for commenting again, Carla! How awesome would that be if we could all get together to chat the day away. And Real Key Lime Margaritas … I might need to taste test one or three. :)

  31. says

    I enjoy your posts regardless of the topic or if my “wiifm” {what’s in it for me”} quotient is going to be met, cause you are an interesting, unique, an authentic person. I dream about island hopping, living in “new lands”, and all the intense hands-on remodeling you do,but I doubt I’ll ever be in any of those positions, so I get a little vicarious livin’ the dream fix via you. Plus you’re funny and kind. And friendly. And conscientious too. Probably were a girl scout. Anyway. Bottom line, what I love most about reading blogs is (1) connecting on any level with the author and (2) being surprised that I took something away from a post I really thought would have nothing specific for me … I guess that’s how I journey around the world, reading and going ah-hah, who would have thought, I’ve been inspired or now I understand something I wouldn’t have otherwise, and really, that happens so many times for me with your posts. Plus, I love how you love those girls. Just write from your perspective as you’ve always done, pls don’t feel as though there’s something you have to do for your readers. Robin :)

    • says

      Thank you so much, Robin!! I always plan to write completely from my perspective and about the randomness that we’re doing. Glad sometimes you’re surprised to have a takeaway from the madness. LOL :)

  32. says

    I think you’re in a really cool place to write this just like a diary. It doesn’t need to be pin-worthy, and in some cases I’d say don’t stress about making each post a pinnable tutorial, just keep tellin’ us what you’re doing and I’ll keep loving it! :)

    • says

      We’re curious how we’re going to make our windows bigger, too. lol And sweet tree!! I have so many random driftwood parts still in boxes, I’m hoping they’ll turn into something fun by Christmas. :)


Let me know what you think!