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31 Days of Decorating with Junk: An 1840 House and Junky Projects from Another Iowa Blogger!

Finally, someone came to my rescue!  I think I'm about 7 posts behind on this "31 Days" series, so when Kelli from The Sustainable Couple asked if she could guest post some of her junky house projects, I jumped at the chance!
And now, Kelli....

Hey there! We're pumped to introduce ourselves and tell y'all a little bit about our home and junky DIY projects, but before we get to the good stuff, I’m Kelli:

I’m the woman behind the curtain at The Sustainable Couple, a blog that documents our efforts to live a self-sufficient lifestyle with a third of an acre in the city. We {er...I...} also write about fun and funky DIY projects around our home, and you'll notice that most of them involve JUNK. Holla!

Before I forget, this stunning male specimen is John, and he’s my life saver when it comes to all of these home projects. I mean, the dude is a construction worker, after all:

And he {an electrician by trade} does almost 100 percent of the construction legwork:

With us in this simple life are Bruce and Manny:

We live in Eastern Iowa in the historic district of a larger city. We’ve lived in our home, which was built in 1840, for just about five years. Isn’t she a beaut?

It would be an understatement to say that we enjoy renovating and writing about our home, and undertaking frugal projects. We’ve done it all when it comes to home renovations. 


Every room in this house has been touched by renovation - plaster walls that were days away from collapsing on our bed while we slept were no bueno, amigos. Safety was an issue when we moved in, as well as making it beautiful and cozy for us and our brood of pooches.

Most of our DIY projects are comprised of 100% upcycled - or repurposed - materials. For example, when we wanted to add some pizazz to our master bedroom, I used a few old doors that we had sitting around, and made a new headboard.

We gave our foyer a facelift by simply slapping on some paint and by upcycling decor from other areas in our home. Talk about easy and frugal!

Most recently, we renovated our bathroom on the cheap. We completely gutted this bad boy and rebuilt it for less than $2,500. Granted, we did 90% of the work, and our marriage is a bit stronger as a result *insert sarcasm*.

There are some elements of our historic home that didn't survive the many years of modernization. There was a big wood burning stove in the kitchen, and clearly that's not there anymore

We don’t have a fireplace in our home, but created faux fire place in the dining room using an el-cheapo fireplace front and, you guessed it, decor items repurposed from other areas of our home.

It gives the illusion of a fireplace, and when we have parties I write a special message to the guests on the chalkboard. I haven't decided if this is the permanent spot yet, so until then, this bad boy is just going to lean against the wall.

I feel like these photos don't do these DIY projects justice. Do you ever feel that way? You know, when you work so hard on a project and love, love, love how it turns out, but that quick photo to your sister doesn't capture the essence of your work. Me too. 

If I could invite each and every one of you over for a straw-ber-ita and show you my home, I totally would. And it wouldn't be weird at all.   

Since that isn't a feasible option, I think you should LIKE us on Facebook. Or follow us on Pinterest. Or just read our blog. Whatever blows your skirt up, sister. 

Thanks for reading! And a big, sincere THANK YOU to Katie, for allowing us to 'chat your ear off' {er, 'write your eyeballs out'...? I don't know what I'm doing}. My heart is just singing after this opportunity, Katie. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
This post is part of 31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Vintage, Antique and Unique for your Home and Garden.

decorating with junk

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See you tomorrow!

i'm doing it! 
31 Days of Decorating with Junk Posts:

31 Days of Decorating with Junk Introduction
Farmhouse Style Front Porch 
Modern Farmhouse Design 
Repurposed Upright Piano 
Our Exterior Makeover Reveal
Adjustable Game Table Makeover (In a Ballard Designs Whitewashed Style) 
The HomeShed's September Sale & Fall Decor Inspiration 
Proof that I'm a HardCore Junker
My Gallery Wall
HomeShed Sale Preview and Christmas Inspiration
Cute Green Dresser with Chalkboard Labels
My Favorite Paint for Antique Furniture
Kris's Cabin Tour
Essential Tools for Repurposing
Making a Custom Glaze
Fixing a Stripped Out Screw Hole
How to Make Your Home Your Own
Spray or Brush?
Five from the Archives
Owning a Junky Business Part 1
Owning a Junky Business Part 2
1840 House
Simple Vintage Halloween
Five (More) from the Archives
Crib Spring Repurpose
Owning a Junky Business Part 3
Quick Chair-Do
Pallet Wall Art
Not So Junky Basement
Owning a Junky Business Part 4
31 Days Wrap Up

Would you like to comment?

  1. What a great series!! I love her house; it's so pretty and she and her husband have been so creative with fixing it up and decorating it! These pictures really make me miss the beautiful old houses in the midwest!