When they’re on the job, architects Lauren and Kyle Zerbey get designs approved by their clients, then pass off the construction process to professionals. Not so for their own Seattle home, which was built in 1910 and which they began fixing up in 2006. Before, during, and after shots humanize the process. "By struggling to do the work ourselves and then documenting it, we’ve become better architects," says Lauren.
2. The Brick House
Morgan Satterfield began chronicling hands-on renovations on her Hemet, California, mid-century pad in 2008. "Blogs have made living stylishly less intimidating and encouraged design-minded people at every income level to consider their space worthy of great design," she says. She’s since turned the site into a hub of easy DIY tutorials—from salvaging a fence to refinishing a set of Eames chairs—and isn’t afraid to share the inevitable bloopers along the way (be sure to check out the post about the slat screen structural snafu).
3. My Scandinavian Retreat
Vilde reports on the evolution of her Norwegian beach cabin from 1970s kitsch to modern-day classic. She shares eye candy from Scandinavian magazines, websites, and photographers that provide a wealth of ideas for her own space—and may very well give you the itch to make some changes of your own.
4. Door Sixteen
Anna Dorfman and her husband Evan are (still) fixing up their 1885 Victorian row house in the Hudson Valley of New York. For close to four years they’ve documented some heavy-duty transformations—including a complete bathroom gutting, which included a full price breakdown—giving a sense of what real-world home projects cost while encouraging readers against overspending.
5. Hollywood Renovation
Renovations aren’t just for homeowners. There are plenty of light alterations renters can do to customize a borrowed space. Linda Taalman, of Taalman Koch Architecture, tracks the improvements of her Southern California live-work rental on our very own dwell.com. The entries "illustrate the amount of time it takes to get things done," she says, "including redos and blunders."
Sonia Zjawinski is a freelance writer and editor who pens stories for Wired, the New York Times, and ReadyMade.