Home & Garden

‘Chic Little House’ blog makes family and house a hit

Katrina Sullivan wanted to share every aspect of creating her dream home. So the avid do-it-yourselfer detailed her adventures as she transformed the family’s modest cottage. Decorated with thrift-store treasures, it became her “chic little house.”

That also became the title of her blog, “Chic Little House,” read nationwide by other amateur designers as well as DIY pros.

For three years, Katrina and Hasani Sullivan sanded, painted and saved while gently reshaping the 1956 suburban Sacramento house into a more modern home for themselves and their two boys, Tabari and Avery.

They refinished the oak floors and furnished the rooms with bargain buys, each given new life thanks to Katrina Sullivan’s clever touch. They filled the house with handmade art and color, then tweaked the lighting with fun chandeliers and vintage lamps. Eventually, they started a kitchen remodel with new counters and smart storage space.

During and after each step, Katrina Sullivan recorded their projects as personal DIY chapters in their Chic Little House’s life.

“I started blogging because I wanted to share our progress transforming our home with our family, many of whom are scattered around the country,” Katrina Sullivan wrote. But others checked in on her progress, too, including staffers of HGTV magazine and DIY experts at The Home Depot.

Then the family’s journey took a nightmarish turn. A fire that started in the vacant house next door in July 2012 nearly destroyed their house and almost everything they owned.

“It was a double whammy,” said Katrina Sullivan, who put her blog on hiatus after the disaster. “We had fire and smoke damage; then they found asbestos. We lost 90 percent of everything we owned.”

So the couple started over, rebuilding their “Chic Little House” into a better family home. The October issue of HGTV magazine devoted nine pages to their rebuilt house.

Although the house is still small by Sacramento standards, it looks much bigger. Working with contractor Frank Gospodnetich of API Construction & Restoration, the Sullivans found a lot more space while increasing their home size just a little. It grew to about 1,100 square feet with the addition of a laundry room and second bathroom. They also added windows to bring in more light and tweaked the floor plan to increase elbow room in the cozy kitchen.

The family lived in an apartment for a year while the house was taken down to the studs and oak floor, and the couple refinished the floors a second time.

Eventually, Katrina Sullivan started blogging again. “I really love it. It helps me get my ideas (worked) out, especially after the fire.”

Throughout the house, the couple used soft dove gray as a neutral, sparked with bright accents in chartreuse, her favorite color.