This Outdated House Is Becoming a Dream Home One DIY Project (and Houseplant) at a Time

This Outdated House Is Becoming a Dream Home One DIY Project (and Houseplant) at a Time

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Name: Megann Gresham, Drew Gresham (husband), two children, and two dogs: a 100-pound American Bulldog and an 8-pound weenie dog
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Size: 2,472 square feet
Type of Home: Single family home
Years lived in: Two years, owned

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The weird part about our home is… we weren’t even really looking for a house when we found it. We had been renting for going on five years and had just started casually browsing from time to time. And out of nowhere, this house popped up on my app. We drove by it to see if it was in a location we would actually like—and come to find out, it was under contract. What a letdown. But as luck would have it the deal fell through and we were able to snag it up!

The first thing that truly caught my eye were the windows. Our last place was a dungeon with zero natural light—and after living that way for five years, I was ready for a change. It also sits on about an acre of land, on a dead-end street with just a few houses, and it’s the last house on the street. All wins in my book!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My style is ever evolving—a constant flow of how I’m feeling in each season of life. It has boho touches, some modern accents, a little industrial flair, and a whole lot of eclectic mixed together. And when I’m tired of something, I just bust out my tools and change it.

Inspiration: I find inspiration everywhere! Of course I browse the usual sources like Instagram and Pinterest. But I love shaping my spaces around colors and things I find in nature. Woods and greens are huge in my house and style!

Favorite Element: All the green! From the green on the walls and cabinets to the green in the excessive number of plants. Green plays a huge role in my style!

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge in our home has been how outdated it was—and the fact that we didn’t have a budget to do an actual reno. Actually, we didn’t have the budget to hire anyone to do anything for us. Every last room needed to be repainted, the flooring wasn’t great, the color of both of the massive fireplaces was absolutely not our style, and all of the cabinets (kitchen cabinets and both vanities) had terrible finishes. Of course it was “livable,” but looking at it didn’t make me happy. I really had no other option—I had to break out the paint brush immediately and repaint every wall, brick, and cabinet in the house. It took me a while to make my way completely through all the rooms, and it didn’t help that I went back and repainted several spaces a few months later! But I’m slowly making this house my dream home one DIY at a time.

Proudest DIY: That’s a super tough one to answer because there are so many! Painting both giant stone fireplaces with a roller and brush was grueling—but they totally made the rooms. Painting the kitchen cabinets took weeks and was a huge hassle. But now I don’t hate my kitchen. Randomly ripping old carpet out of the guest room in the middle of the winter and having no place to get rid of it wasn’t the best idea, but it kind of was the best idea. There’s not a single room in this house that doesn’t have a DIY I’m not proud of! BUT I think the handrail we built ourselves might be my favorite. It would have cost probably at least a thousand dollars to buy, and it completely leveled up the space. And of course it’s a custom design since my husband welded it together himself.

Biggest Indulgence: The great part about this house glow up is that every project has been completely affordable. And by affordable, I mean no project cost more than a few hundred dollars. I’ve redone entire rooms for $250-$500! The only thing I’ve splurged on so far has been furniture. I don’t care to replace the “big stuff” often, so I think it’s totally worth investing in quality pieces that can last a few years!

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Does using the entire house basically as a greenhouse count? Because we certainly do that!! I also use the guest room as a place to do finishing work on the wood pieces I make and sell… but I made it cute, so that I have pretty things to look at while I’m busy building other pretty things.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I literally think a cordless vacuum is clutch. I got one just a month or so ago and wow. Such a game changer! Oh, and also having a dishwasher. Our rental didn’t have one and I’m now not sure how we survived for five years hand-washing.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: The absolute best tip I ever have for this is to DECLUTTER. While our home is spacious, it also has very small bedrooms and closets—so using that space wisely is key. I go through our closets every few months and donate things we don’t use. I ruthlessly purge clothes, decor not being used, toys, coffee cups… All of it. It’s always amazing how much space you have when you quit hanging on to old baggage!

I also suggest evaluating any closet systems you have in place to determine if they are truly serving your needs. All of our closets came with them already in place, but they weren’t working for us in some of the spaces. I removed certain components to make them more functional. I always recommend not keeping things simply because someone paid a lot of money for it at some point. If it complicates your life, who cares what it cost?

What’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? I love updating spaces, making them feel like “me” and making them pretty. But I also don’t want to go into debt doing it because I want to have money left to live. So my best home secret is to find a way to get the look you want for less. I like to thrift things and remake them, or wait for Target to clearance things. Or just build it myself. The tools can be expensive, but they pay for themselves over time! And you don’t have to come from a long line of builders or have any knowledge of how to build things to be able to start doing it yourself! Trying things and messing up is one of the best ways to learn!



  • Kitchen cabinets — Behr’s “Laurel Garland”
  • Bathroom cabinets — Behr’s “Laurel Garland”
  • Accent doors — Behr’s “Laurel Garland”
  • Master bedroom accent wall — Sherwin-Williams’ “Raven Wing”
  • Fireplace — Sherwin-Williams’ “Rookwood Dark Green”


  • Bench — AllModern
  • Mirror — Target
  • Rug — Target
  • Blanket ladder — AllModern


  • Couches — Both from AllModern
  • Coffee tables — Both from AllModern
  • Frames above couch — Target
  • Floor lamp — Target




  • Mirrors — Hobby Lobby

Thanks, Megann!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

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