AnnaMaria Stephens

10 Tried & True Tips: How to Make New Friends in a New City
A few years ago Jennifer wrote about leaving her friends behind because of a big cross-country move. I made a similar big move nearly four years ago, following my now husband from San Diego to Seattle when he started his exciting new career. The hardest part for me? Making new friends. It sure isn’t as easy as it used to be! Unlike Jennifer, I’m more of an introvert than a social butterfly.
May 4, 2022
Before & After: A Newly Modern Austin Bungalow
Just because I’ve come to terms with my home’s imperfections doesn’t mean I don’t obsess over my inspiration boards. The latest addition is this incredible makeover of an Austin bungalow. The owners, Britt and Dan, waited five years to tackle their remodel, and the result is a beautifully modern and calm home awash in white. And yes, I’m jealous much.
Jul 16, 2020
4 Ways to Get Rid of Your High-Maintenance Grass Lawn
You've got four options.
May 14, 2019
Quick Restful Remedy: How to Get the Most Efficient Nap (No, Really!)
You haven’t even read this post yet and you’re already poised to leave a comment along the lines of “What a first world problem.” I get it. I do. But for those of us who are napping challenged — unlike my dog, who regards afternoon snoozes as his birthright — the inability to doze during the daytime can be a real drag. There’s a whole lot of research documenting the many health benefits associated with napping. Did you know that most mammals nap?
May 6, 2019
Before & After: Dorie’s Dynamite Kitchen
This kitchen was a total disaster when owner Dorie bought her 1916 bungalow in Mesa, Arizona. The builder-grade cabinets and oven were fixed awkwardly in the center of the room while a huge custom wine rack took up the entire back wall — perhaps because it required serious wine goggles to look at that room without cringing? Dorie’s new kitchen is gorgeous even when you’re stone-cold sober.
May 6, 2019
Before & After: From Brass to Blue Lamp
As a frequent thrift and yard-sale shopper, I often come across brass or gold-colored objects. The shape and style might be perfect — like the classic set of heavy candlestick holders I recently scored for a couple of bucks — but the finish doesn’t match the rest of my decor. That’s why I love this simple lamp redo. It follows my thrifter’s motto: Spray paint to the rescue!
May 6, 2019
7 Tips for Sane Living on a Busy Street
thatBuying a house on a busy street let my husband and I live in an area we otherwise couldn’t afford. We are only a few blocks from the heart of the neighborhood, which means loads of walkable options for food, shopping, etc. We enjoy beautiful views of the mountains when we walk our pup on clear days. And it’s easy to get to downtown by car or bus.But what about all that racket, you ask? You get used to it, I swear.
May 5, 2019
Zach and Rachel’s Evolving San Diego Loft
Name: Rachel, Zach & Skye Location: Little Italy, San Diego, California Size: You’d think that we would know that since Zach’s dad is the architect, but we have no clue. Big enough for the three of us! Years lived in: 11 years If you want to live in one of the coolest concrete lofts in San Diego, it doesn’t hurt to be related to the architect.
Feb 20, 2019
Before & After: A Prank Makeover
Imagine your job takes you out of town for a couple of months. When it’s finally time to come home, you think about how you can’t wait to kick back in your own  bedroom with your own stuff. But here’s something you didn’t expect: Your roommates decided to give your tidy space a major makeover. And it’s not exactly your style …That’s what happened to Reddit user Twoverend.
Jun 26, 2013
Before & After: Ashley’s Pantry Makeover
My bi-fold pantry door is an eyesore. It has a fake woodgrain and blocks the left side of the shelves when it’s opened. But it’s an unusual size, so finding an off-the-shelf or salvage replacement has been impossible. I thought about converting it à la Jason’s closet-door hack, but then I stumbled upon Ashley’s attractive solution. While she didn’t have a bi-fold to begin with, her door replacement would work for just about any ugly door, including mine.
Apr 11, 2013
Before & After: Plain Curtains Gone Girly
There was nothing wrong with the plain silk curtains in Maegan’s ultra-feminine home office (which we profiled as a Tech Tour last year). But, when she spotted the luxe tassled curtains in Carrie’s apartment while watching old episodes of Sex and the City, she knew she could recreate the look for less.All it took was a few yards of elegant black tassel trim — as well as a few hours of patient pinning and hand-stitching — to really upgrade this window treatment.
Apr 5, 2012
Before & After: New Life for an Old Light
Fusty light fixtures are a surefire way to show that you haven’t freshened up your decor in a while. A long while, in some cases. When Kristine, the talented Aussie behind The Painted Hive, wanted to brighten up a little nook off her parents’ master bedroom (a “retreat” for her mum), she knew this fixture needed a serious makeover.It’s hard to believe it’s the same wall sconce!
Mar 29, 2012
Before & After: A Fresh Look for an Old Office Chair
This $3 Goodwill score didn’t beckon to me with its good looks — the beige body and stained corporate-blue upholstery weren’t exactly stylish — but it felt really sturdy and comfortable when I tested it at the store. It wasn’t much uglier than the chair I was already using in my home office, either, and when I flipped it over, I discovered it was made by Steelcase.
Dec 13, 2011
Before & After: From Wrecked to Airy White Kitchen
Lots of us have dreamed of designing fantasy kitchens with all the bells and whistles. Then our actual budgets deliver a brutal reality check. That’s the case with this “before,” which belongs to a house that was bought to be fixed up and flipped. The owners couldn’t spend a lot of money, so they made up for it with smart shopping and a barrel of elbow grease.
Nov 30, 2011
Before & After: Two Makeovers, One Month
These “before” shots above were snapped during the final tour we took of our house before buying it last year. The upstairs bath (left) was highlighted as a selling point. I thought it had potential. The basement bathroom, on the other hand, was composed entirely of bargain tile and fixtures and didn’t seem to have any potential at all. This past month, I gave them both makeovers on a mini budget.
Sep 7, 2011
Before & After: Old Door to Herringbone Table
I don’t think I’d ever be able to tackle this impressive DIY project, not unless my dad decides to take up carpentry when he retires. Luckily for Sarah, her father is a self-taught carpenter who was happy to help her transform an old oak door, some plywood and some wood strips into a herringbone-pattern dining table. Prepare to be jealous!Sarah details the entire project from start to finish over at Design*Sponge. The steps sound tedious, but not impossible.
Aug 31, 2011
Before & After: From Extra Room to “Artist’s Dojo”
I love it when readers leave links to their blogs in comments, which is how I found out about this project from Gloria at A Little Paint. She commiserated with my can’t-paint-another-stroke pain by showing a room makeover she took on earlier this year. The “after” is proof that a little paint can make the biggest difference in the world.I am so impressed by how Gloria transformed this once boring room, from the eye-catching detailing on the ceiling to the cool ombre cabinet.
Aug 19, 2011
Noa & Stuart’s Boho-Chic Bungalow (and Shed Remodel!)
Name: Noa Azoulay-Sclater & Stuart SclaterLocation: Spring Valley — San Diego, CASize: Home: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath. 1100 sq ft, built in 1951. Studio: about 300 sq ft. Shed-to-studio remodel in 2010.Years lived in: 2 yrs — owned A suburban corner of San Diego’s Spring Valley neighborhood feels more like Laurel Canyon in its bohemian heyday, at least at the midcentury house owned by Noa Azoulay-Sclater, a photographer, and her husband Stuart Sclater, a musician.
Aug 18, 2011
Before & After: The Chezerbey Kitchen
In case you’ve been missing out on Chezerbey, a blog chronicling a young architect couple’s ongoing renovation of a 1910 fixer-upper in Seattle, this reveal of their new kitchen is an excellent start. The chic “after” bears zero resemblance to the “before.”Lauren and Kyle Zerbey (their bathroom was featured on Apartment Therapy) saved cash with IKEA cabinets and put the savings into better countertops (lyptus butcherblock and silestone quartz).
Aug 3, 2011
David & Marta’s Simple Yet Stylish Loft
Name: David and MartaLocation: East Village, Downtown — San Diego, CaliforniaSize: 820 square feetYears lived in: 5 years — rented This loft in downtown San Diego has a soaring 35-foot ceiling and exposed rafters and pipes, which bring a raw edge to David and Marta’s pared-down style. The space also makes a stylish backdrop for the surf and California-themed prints David designs as Orange & Park.
Jul 18, 2011
Ben & Abby’s Art-Filled Treehouse
Name: Ben and Abby (and Lucy the pug)Location: Golden Hill – San Diego, CaliforniaSize: 700 square feet (1 bedroom, 1 bath)Years lived in: 2 years, rent In this light-flooded Golden Hill apartment, Ben serves as resident curator. By day, he’s director of La Jolla’s Quint Contemporary Art, one of the hottest galleries in San Diego, making him more than qualified.
Jul 15, 2011