Creating a home from scratch isn’t ever an easy task. It’s why we love home improvement shows and before-and-after unveilings. They prove that gorgeous homes don’t always start out that way and give the viewers inspiration to uncover potential in their own houses. Jenni Radosevich is something of a professional DIYer. After moving to New York City after college to work at a fashion magazine, Jenni started creating things that she couldn’t afford to buy for her closet and her home. She was able to turn her craft into a column at InStyle Magazine, her own website, I Spy DIY, and a fashion book titled I Spy DIY Style. Her knack for creating beautiful pieces for herself led her to the biggest DIY of all.
Jenni returned to her home state of Wisconsin after eight years in New York and noticed the incredibly affordable housing market in Milwaukee. Two years ago, she purchased an 189os home for $24,000 that was in desperate need of renovation. With the help of her friends, Jenni set out to flip the house in four months for a pilot for HGTV. “The process was pretty [intense]. I was on a strict timeline because of the filming schedule for the HGTV pilot, so there was no time to second-guess decisions. And it’s no surprise that when dealing with a old house, as soon as we started opening walls, we found so many more problems: No insulation, animals had gotten in the walls and chewed the wires so they were exposed, the subfloor was rotting… the list goes on. Somehow I was able to keep the project on track, and made sure that I committed to every decision that I made,” Jenni shares.
This four-month flip is more than impressive. Jenni brought dark and grimy to bright and airy. The openness of the white walls and high ceilings allows the objects, furniture and accessories to stand out beautifully in her home. “I was so happy with how it came together and did not make many changes for about a year after I moved in. I was burnt out on the house. They always say the last 10% of a renovation is the hardest. And finally, over the last few months, I have been finishing the things I had originally wanted and it finally feels like it’s the home I envisioned,” Jenni says. The series wasn’t picked up for a full season, but the work was worth it. Jenni fell in love with her new home and neighborhood, and has turned this once uninhabitable house into a home. Jenni has used her DIY talent to create a career and a home for herself, and that is incredibly inspiring. —Lauren
Photography by Jenni Radosevich
Image above: The living room started out full of wood paneling and dingy carpet. Jenni gutted the walls and rebuilt, adding a floor-to-ceiling custom shelving unit to display her favorite accents and accessories.