A couple’s passion for DIY leads to a stunning home makeover that rivals high-end designer houses
In a world where designer houses are often associated with hefty price tags and meticulous attention to detail, one couple has managed to blur the lines between DIY and high-end design. Renee Cusano and her husband, Brian Alexander, transformed their 1931 Tudor-style home in Sacramento into an elegant and well-detailed space, largely through their own sweat equity. From custom-built furniture to clever fabric embellishments, Renee’s impressive skills and creativity have turned their house into a designer oasis.
The Journey Begins with a DIY Remodel
When Renee and Brian purchased their first house in 2014, they had limited funds to fix it up. Determined to make it their own, they took on the challenge of remodeling themselves. This experience served as their practice house and ignited Renee’s interest in design. When they later moved to Sacramento and found their current home, they knew they had another opportunity to put their DIY skills to the test.
IKEA Hacks and Custom Details
The couple started their remodeling journey by updating tired features and incorporating affordable IKEA cabinets. However, they quickly realized that their furniture didn’t fit the new space. Undeterred, Renee decided to reimagine their decor. Using mirrors and trim, she transformed the IKEA pieces into high-end built-ins. This attention to detail and customization set the tone for the rest of their home makeover.
The Magic of Fabric
Renee’s love for fabric became the driving force behind many of the home’s stunning transformations. From slipcovering a headboard to using ribbon as trim, she discovered that fabrics could elevate humble elements into custom-looking pieces. Her sewing skills allowed her to create unique coverings for tables and cabinets, adding texture and visual interest to each space.
Clever Storage Solutions
The couple’s DIY prowess extended beyond aesthetics and into practicality. In the dining room, they incorporated hidden storage for small kitchen appliances, covering a shallow base cabinet with a tailored skirt. They also utilized IKEA wardrobes in the bedroom to compensate for the lack of a closet, seamlessly blending them with a dresser Brian built. Wood trim and acrylic handles visually connected the pieces, while crushed seashells added a touch of texture to a mirror frame.
Unexpected Architectural Details
Renee’s eye for detail extended to the ceilings of their home. When faced with awkwardly stopping ceiling beams, she and Brian decided to create a coffered ceiling by facing the beams with plywood and adding beams in a different direction. The result was a bright and visually stunning feature that added architectural interest to their space. Renee also used fretwork wall panels to hide imperfect plasterwork in their daughter’s nursery, turning a potential flaw into a design statement.
A Nursery Dream Come True
Renee’s creativity truly shone in her daughter Charlotte’s nursery. Instead of repairing the plaster ceiling, she designed a lattice-inspired overlay to cover the cracks, turning a practical problem into a stunning feature. The nursery’s tight palette of powdery blues and white, instead of the expected pink, created a soothing and cohesive space. Renee’s attention to detail extended to every corner, from the toile wallpaper to the oversize checked fabric used on the window seat cushion, pillows, and ottoman.
Renee Cusano and Brian Alexander’s DIY journey has transformed their Sacramento home into a designer oasis. From the clever use of IKEA furniture to the intricate fabric embellishments, their attention to detail and creativity have surpassed the boundaries of traditional DIY projects. Their home stands as a testament to the power of DIY and the ability to create a custom-looking space without breaking the bank. As Renee embarks on a new adventure as a decorator, she continues to inspire others with her stunning transformations and proves that with a little creativity and hard work, anyone can turn their house into a dream home.