Sarah Dobbins

Sarah is a freelance writer and photographer and mother of four boys. Her hobbies include writing emails at 4 am, fixing up her century-old home, critiquing superhero spin kicks, and trying not to kill her garden.
Ruthie & Will’s Eclectic Nashville Charmer
Name: Will and Ruthie Sayles Location: East Nashville, Tennessee Size: 1600 square feet Years lived in: 8 1/2 years; owned Ruthie and Will’s East Nashville home is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from some of the most unique little stores and cafes in town — I mean that literally; they can cross the street and buy a freshly brewed cup of coffee!
Mar 16, 2015
You Can Do It! First-Time Vegetable Gardening for the Black-Thumbed
Some of you may feel like no matter what you try to grow, it dies. Too much water, not enough water, too much sun, too much shade, or… it just dies for no reason at all. This has been my experience with gardening for a long time, and when I tried to grow a vegetable garden for a few years in a row, it was a total disaster. I fought a never-ending battle with weeds — and lost.
Apr 9, 2013
Mark’s Methods for Confidently Choosing Paint Colors
Mark’s home is fantastic with his (very) successful use of color. He very generously offered to take a trip to the paint store to share his knowledge and give some tips on how to choose colors that are right for you. • How to Choose Paint Colors Apartment Therapy
Feb 27, 2013
Before & After: Little Boy’s Room Gets a Creative New Look
I love it when kids’ rooms look like, well… a room fit for a kid! This is a great example of a clean, organized, yet creative space for a little one to flourish.Kara Rosenlund designed this room to be a cheerful, relaxed space perfect for a growing little boy. From the dramatic floor-to-ceiling chalkboard walls, to the sunny ceiling fan, to the “grass” rug on the floor, there’s no risk of mistaking this room for a serious grownup space.
Feb 27, 2013
Before & After: Creative Uses for Horse Stall Doors
Lucianna collects and refurbishes unique stall doors for projects around the house. Below are pictures of a liquor cabinet and a kitchen pantry that she created by hanging the doors on modern sliding rails. • Creative Uses for Old Doors Apartment Therapy
Feb 27, 2013
Tile Inspiration: 15 Beautifully Tiled Spaces
When used well, tile has the ability to warm up a space like no other material. Here are just a few inspiring ways tile can be used to create dramatic, engaging and delightful spaces: • Beautiful Tile Gallery Apartment Therapy
Feb 26, 2013
Before & After: An Organized Mudroom
I love before and after projects that involve a good afternoon of organization — no paintbrush, no tools… just some motivation, a vision, and some hard work.I recently came across this mudroom makeover and thought it was a great example of how a before and after doesn’t have to be a super-expensive or super-involved affair. It’s encouraging to see how little changes can have a big impact!
Feb 26, 2013
Before & After: Rusty Flea Market Stool Makeover
You might walk by this unassuming stool at a thrift shop, but Charlotte saw potential. See how she gave this flea market find a fresh facelift. • Rusty Stool Redo Apartment Therapy
Feb 26, 2013
Renovation Guide: 10 Quality Tile Sources
In kitchen renovations, you can use tile to bring a lot of style to a little space. So where should you get started when looking for tile for your own project? Start with our list of 10 quality tile resources! • 10 Quality Tile Sources Apartment Therapy
Feb 25, 2013
How To “Fake” a Gallery-WrappedCanvas Print
This tutorial is inexpensive, easy, and best of all: low-risk. I was in need of some art for our bathroom, and it needed to be rather large and until I can afford what I’ve really got my heart set on — rather cheap.I decided to take a poster that I liked (picked up at a craft store for around $10) and skip the large expensive frame. Instead, I made it look like a wrapped canvas, using a cheap old thrift store canvas I had lying around.
Feb 25, 2013
Renter-Friendly Solution: Install a Removable Tile Backsplash
Kitchens are one of the spaces that could use the most help when renting. While changing out the faucet and fixtures is the usual fix, imagine if you could add a tiled backsplash with just a few screw holes! • Removable Backsplash DIY Apartment Therapy
Feb 25, 2013
Smart & Simple Housekeeping: 5 Ways to Use Old Candles
The simplest helpful household tips are the ones that I value the most. I love finding new uses for humble objects, and it’s exciting to share these tips and learn some in exchange. • Put Old Candles to Work Apartment Therapy
Feb 22, 2013
Before & After: From Discarded Spool to Amazing Dining Room Table
When Cheltz’s husband, Woo, found this discarded industrial spool, he imagined a new dining room table… for free. Check out how the transformation went! • Spool to Table Transformation Apartment Therapy
Feb 22, 2013
Make It: An Easy, No-Sew Window Seat Cushion
If you read the January Cure diaries, you probably saw my window seats, both bare and then with cushions. If you’re interested, here’s how I made the cushions in about an hour. • How to Make a Cushion Apartment Therapy
Feb 21, 2013
Before & After: Gallery Wall of Kids’ Art in the Dining Room
Lauren Liess had clients with a bland dining room looking for a stylish and personal upgrade. The family had a bold, cheerful style (and some budding Picassos!), so she came up with the perfect solution: a kids’ art wall! • Kids’ Art in the Dining Room Apartment Therapy
Feb 21, 2013
Three (Free!) Things You Need for Your Home Office
Working from home and being productive can be both rewarding and a challenge at the same time. Here are 3 free tools so easy to integrate into your workflow that you’ll be wondering what you did without them. • 3 Things for Your Home Office Apartment Therapy
Feb 20, 2013
Before & After: Colorful Kids’ Art in the Dining Room
Interior designer Lauren Liess had clients with a brand-new dining room looking for a stylish and personal upgrade. The family had a bold, cheerful style (and some budding Picassos!), so she came up with the perfect solution: a kids’ art wall!She added some new curtains, a new overhead fixture, and some sconces in the middle of the gallery wall — but the focus is the kids’ art, which adds a lot of color and fun to the room!
Feb 20, 2013
Before & After: Boring IKEA Billy Bookshelf to Rad Reading Bench
The great thing about Ikea’s Billy bookshelf is that it’s an inexpensive, versatile storage unit for any age — the downside is when you’d like it to be a bookshelf for kids but the height and reach is too much for little arms.Leave it to Lisa Campbell to fix that! She just turned it on its side, so that it not only holds books safely, it doubles as a bench! She added some decorative trim, secured the shelves, and sewed a cushion for the top.
Feb 20, 2013
Battling Throwawayism: A Low-Carb Furniture Diet
You are what you sit on. At Apartment Therapy we are always working hard developing our philosophy and working out the talking points that underpin the healthy, beautiful, organized home. • A Low-Carb Furniture Diet Apartment Therapy
Feb 20, 2013
Classic Kitchen Style: A Vintage Look in a New Build
We’re fans of a good before & after, but sometimes it’s nice to see a new-build with all the charms of an older home. This new kitchen, with the skillful addition of old and reclaimed elements, precisely fits that bill. • New Vintage-Inspired Kitchen Apartment Therapy
Feb 19, 2013
Making it Work: Working From Home With Kids
I love the way our world is changing. Gone are the days where you were either a work-outside-the-home mom or a stay-at-home mom, when rare was the woman who didn’t fit into one of those categories exclusively. With the integration of technology and innovation into our work and home lives, there are so many possible combinations of working environments for moms (and dads!).
Feb 19, 2013
Before & After: Side Table Gets a Herringbone Top On a Budget
Is this “before” image intriguing, or what? Yes, you can see the top of the old crusty side table, but what’s the point of showing it with all those paint sticks on top? This is truly a DIY project I would never have thought of on my own, and I love it!Truly, the folks over at Thistlewood Farms gave this little table an amazing facelift — with paint sticks. They cut them all down to uniform size, applied some stain, and laid them in a herringbone pattern, and the result?
Feb 19, 2013
Brooklyn Kitchen Gets an Updated Look
This small Prospect Park kitchen didn’t have much going for it. It had limited storage, poor lighting, and some odd half-height walls that cut it off from the rest of the apartment. It was time for a change. • Brooklyn Kitchen Redo Apartment Therapy
Feb 19, 2013
Before & After: Kids’ Bathroom Gets Board & Batten Treatment
This bathroom isn’t terribly awful — but it isn’t terribly interesting, either. Come see what some new lighting, a framed-out mirror, and some board and batten walls can do for a rather ho-hum bathroom.Jenny from Project Maddox was determined to tackle her kids’ bathroom and make it just a little less “just moved in” and give it a more custom look.
Feb 18, 2013
Before & After: Quick and Simple Chair Makeover
A furniture redo doesn’t have to be drastic or especially time-consuming to make a big impact. This lovely chair had a lot of potential, but was a little drab — a few quick fixes made a huge difference!Lisa from All Things Campbell spotted this chair for $20. It had a few minor problems, but she was confident she could fix it up and make it work… and for only twenty bucks, she didn’t have a lot to lose!
Feb 15, 2013
Good For the Environment and You: Glass Water Bottles
A few years ago I made a concerted effort to stop buying bottled water and instead fill my own bottles. The problem with this is that plastic and metal bottles tend to leach flavor (and who knows what else!) into the water. The solution? Glass water bottles! • Glass Water Bottles Apartment Therapy
Feb 15, 2013
Before & After: Subway Tile Spruces Up a Brooklyn Kitchen
Ariele had been in her rental apartment for five years, her kitchen was dingy and not properly finished, and she finally decided it was time to do something about it. So she bought white subway tiles and some paint and got to work. • Kitchen Gets Subway Tile Apartment Therapy
Feb 15, 2013
DIY Wooden Coasters
I just ran across this great little DIY for wood coasters that can also be used for wall decor. It is a simple and stylish way to add a little something unique to your table. Follow me to find out more. • How To: Wooden Coasters Apartment Therapy
Feb 14, 2013
5 Ways to Use the IKEA VITTSJÖ
For years IKEA’s EXPEDIT has been a ubiquitous storage solution for homes everywhere. But recently the Swedish furnishing giant’s VITTSJÖ has been showing up more and more on my design radar. • The VITTSJÖ 5 Ways Apartment Therapy
Feb 14, 2013
Space Savers: Utilize Those Corners with Corner Shelving!
We all have corners in our house (lots of them!), but they are often left empty or aren’t used in a creative way. Let’s change that! Follow me for some great ideas… • Clever Corner Shelving Apartment Therapy
Feb 13, 2013
Before & After: Plain Brown Headboard Gets a Playful New Look
Tori was on the hunt for a new bed for her youngest daughter — her older daughter had a cool, unique bed, and she wanted to find something just as awesome for the younger one. So she found this plain headboard on Craigslist and gave it a playful new spin.A little paint, some stenciling, and some clever upholstering gave this headboard a totally new look! Now her daughter has a great colorful new bed, customized by her own mom.Thanks, Tori!
Feb 13, 2013
Before & After: Pallets, from Scrap to Sofa
The ubiquitous pallet — just when you think you’ve seen every pallet project under the sun, one comes along and surprises you! This clever little toddler sofa is the perfect height for playing, reading, or resting — and it’s super cute, to boot!Griffin Carrick says this about her pallet sofa project: I stumbled upon some abandoned wood pallets (once used to transport sod) in my neighborhood and jumped on the pallet bandwagon.
Feb 13, 2013
Before & After: Metal Stools Go From Grungy to Glamorous
These Lyon steel drafting stools are straight from the architecture school where I was an undergrad over a decade ago. Rusted and layered with spray paint, they were pretty well-worn even when I was in school. • Metal Stool Makeover Apartment Therapy
Feb 13, 2013
What Do You Think: Socks for Chairs?
I love the Japanese retail market. If someone can find a way to make a thing more ridiculously cute, they’ll sell it. The latest thing I’ve seen? Little itty bitty chair socks. What the what? • Socks for Chairs Apartment Therapy
Feb 12, 2013
Before & After: Metal Bar Cart Makeover
Angela scored this Cosco bar cart for $3.99 — it was, in her words, “covered in rust, dust, and who knows what else.” Lots of elbow grease and some steel wool prepped the cart for a mid-century modern finish that’s sure to drop some jaws. • Bar Cart Makeover Apartment Therapy
Feb 12, 2013
Before & After: Goodbye, Laminate — Hello, Butcher Block!
When she purchased her home, Lilly liked the neutral tile and cabinets, but that strange splotchy laminate had to go. Check out how she transformed this bachelor kitchen into a cheery country space. • Countertop Upgrade Apartment Therapy
Feb 11, 2013