The Brick House: Adventures in Home Design and DIY
Readers enjoy having someone else try out a crazy idea and mess it up, solve those unexpected problems and then show how it's possible to get a great outcome.
Once you're bitten by the home design bug, you're always remodeling – and we mean that in a good way. That's the story Morgan Satterfield's life as chronicled on The Brick House, a site where she shares her latest home improvement projects, DIY furniture restoration plans, vintage thrifting quests and other adventures in building a more perfect home. And it all takes place in real-time with a real budget in her beautifully real home in Hemet, California.
We checked in with Morgan to find out how she keeps her sense of humor in remodel-land, what her most popular posts are, and what the biggest challenges are for anyone new to the life of the eternal remodel.
Everything in your home has been thrifted, bartered, scored on Craigslist or found at a flea market – and all for $100 or less. Give us a tour of some of your favorite finds to date… It seems like most everything at the house has a strange story or was a totally great score. My cheaply thrifted rosewood Eames lounger (which funnily was donated by the singer from Mr. Mister) is always a hit, my latest obsession with fiber art wall hangings has proven to be pretty controversial, I go through sofas like tissue paper and I'm pretty proud of the early production Saarinen tulip table I found for $100 on Craigslist. It's been a slowly attained and ever-revolving collection of various vintage pieces, but because I'm so cheap and always looking for deals, I never can predict what I'll find next or what finds end up changing everything around the house.
What's been the hardest remodel project on your house so far? The exterior landscape has been the longest and most frustrating project we've tried to tackle. Four years in and we're still so far from finished that I get a queasy feeling and the night sweats just thinking about it.
Most rewarding? I'm not sure we've done it yet? I feel like the bathrooms or maybe the kitchen update may be the most rewarding once finished, but for now everything still feels very incomplete. It's been difficult deciding where to stop or start with bigger projects, since over-improving is a very real concern and the house has probably gone far beyond that point already.
What have been your most popular posts of all time? And why do you think they resonated? My DIY posts tend to be the most popular. I think readers enjoy having someone else try out a crazy idea and mess it up, solve those unexpected problems and then show how it's possible to get a great outcome. That way folks can avoid half the tears and frustration of DIY-ing by following along with some basic 'how to' steps.
Where do you go online for DIY and remodeling inspiration or eyecandy? Any soulmates in style? I've met tons of crazy talented people and have loved getting to know other design bloggers and remodelers over the years. It's been incredible to bounce ideas around and work with fabricators like Logan at OneFortyThree and Dusty Wheeler of Rael Wood as well as follow the progress and ask questions of remodelers like the Zerby's of Chezerby, Daniel Kantor of Manhattan Nest, Anna at Door Sixteen, Juli and John of Kitka, Justin Marr of Le Boeuf and so many more.
Summer's coming – yay? What's on your remodel project list for the next 3 months? Landscape and exterior stuff is always on the list, but I'd like to start finishing up the kitchen with some simple updates and clever materials as well as smaller interior DIY projects. I can feel overwhelmed by how much still needs to be done that it's difficult to focus on just a few projects to attack at a time; which is a terrible strategy for finishing anything.
You've been remodeling since 2008. Any plans to finish the remodel? Or is it about the journey? I don't think we'll ever be finished. Which is scary and fine at the same time. I see the house more as an experiment in design problem solving and a way to test things out. I know there will always be issues here that I can never solve, so it's sort of turned into a testing ground for what I'll do better at the next place.
How would you finish this sentence: If I had it to do over again, I would… Not worry so much? Or worry more? Maybe not do every single thing ourselves? Sometimes inexperience meant that we screwed up projects pretty spectacularly, but hey, it's been a great design experiment so far.
The Brick House is a SAY Media partner. Follow Morgan on Twitter @The_Brick_House.