Dana’s DIY Modern Casual Home

published Nov 9, 2010
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Dana & Steve Miller along with sons Layne & Everett
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Size: 2500 sq ft – 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home
Years lived in: 2.5 — owned

When Dana and her husband Steve bought their new construction home a few years ago, they were certain they could bring their own casual style to this boring builder’s home. And have they ever succeeded! With a limited budget but style for miles, Dana and her handy husband have transformed their home into a modern casual masterpiece.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I’ve been reading Dana’s blog for awhile now and I am absolutely smitten with her easy, casual style. In addition to her formidable sense of style, Dana also possesses mad DIY skills. Put the two together and you have the makings for a gorgeous yet simple home. I mean, just look at the border in her guest bathroom – created with a little paint and a toilet paper roll! The effect is gorgeous and it was completed on a limited budget.

Dana subscribes to many of the same home design tenets as myself. For example, I agree with Dana’s advice that just because it’s new doesn’t mean you can’t paint it. I can’t even imagine the cabinets in Dana’s kitchen being anything but white and yet they were only painted that color after she and her husband moved in. The builder had installed “orangey” oak cabinets that would have seemed completely out of place among Dana’s color palette. And even though those around her were shocked that she would want to paint something that was only just installed, Dana stuck to her guns – and with gorgeous results!

The other handy tip to take away from this house tour is that, even with two small children running around, Dana’s house remains clean and uncluttered. Much of this can be owed to the many baskets Dana uses in her décor. And that’s the trick – the easiest way to keep clutter at bay is that have places to stow necessary items.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Casual modern with a nod to nature

Inspiration: Nature, geometric prints, Canadian House & Home, linen, Young House Love, Yvonne Claveloux, Bonnee Sharp’s Studio Bon Textiles, imperfect perfection, typography

Favorite Element: The high ceilings and open floor plan

Biggest Challenge: De-builderizing EVERYTHING! We bought this house for the price, location and space but it was a spec home. We figured we could change all the boring finishes and make it more personal over time on a real budget.

What Friends Say: “Where are all the toys?” and “When can you start on our house?”

Biggest Embarrassment: The builder flooring and oak banister that we haven’t quite found the funds or time for yet. They’re on the to-do list. Also, it’s probably evident that we live less than 15 minutes from our local IKEA.

Proudest DIY: For less than $30, we designed, built and installed an open shelf kitchen island extension. We topped it off with an IKEA butcher block countertop and it makes a world of difference.

Biggest Indulgence: HIS: flatscreen plasma TV HERS: granite countertops

Best Advice: Don’t be afraid to change something just because it’s new and others tell you it’s fine just the way it is. {Case in point: We caught a lot of grief when we told people we planned on painting the orangey oak kitchen cabinets white but we are 100% satisfied with the results.}

Dream Sources: Any furniture/home decor outlet. We buy a lot of scratch-and-dent pieces because with 2 young boys in the house, most things are bound to get scratched and dented anyway.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


    • Valspar-Bonsai & Dry Riverbed {main living space, living room}
    • Glidden-Gentle Tide {mini mudroom}
    • Sherwin Williams-Greek Villa {kitchen cabinets}


    • Target
    • IKEA
    • JCPenney
    • Craigslist

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Dana!

Images: Dana Miller

To see more of Dana’s DIY projects, visit her blog: House*Teaking

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