...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Everyone knows that I wouldn’t be the person I am or have the family and home I do without HH. He’s my support system and my partner in crime. I have the vision; he brings it to life. I think it’s high time HH had a voice on House*Tweaking, don’t you? HH has graciously agreed to field one ‘Ask Handy Hubby’ question a month. You can ask him about anything from DIY to what it’s like living with me. {Surprise! I’m not always easy to live with.} Just leave your question in the comments section below.

Q: We all know how Dana feels about the surround sound speakers you insisted on installing. Are there any design decisions she’s made that you wish she wouldn’t have? – Giordi

surround sound 4

{The dreaded boob speakers.}

A: So yeah, this was supposed to be a once-a-month thing but you can see how well that’s worked out so far. It’s not due to a lack of questions. You guys rock.

Hi, Giordi.  Thanks for the question.

To be very honest, there haven’t been many design decisions that Dana has made that I wished she hadn’t. Anything questionable, I’ve come to really like over time. A recent example of this was Mabrey’s room.

mabrey kids

I came home from a work trip and Mabrey’s room was BLACK – or so it appeared to me! I absolutely detested it. I kept having visions of my sweet little daughter growing up to be a goth teen with black fingernails, locking herself in her cave and listening to The Cure all day. {I hope I didn’t offend the large portion of goth H*T readers just now.} It reminded me of a room one of my fraternity brother’s had that was painted completely black, furniture and all. When you walked in you felt your soul slip away. This was the same guy who would order chemicals used to make plastics off the internet for “personal experimentation.” But I digress. I wasn’t fond of the color.

mabrey nursery 2

Once we started adding all the light elements though (mirror, wall stuff, white changing table, floating shelves, etc.), the room really took shape. Now I love it. Dana knew what she was doing after all ;) and I’m learning that’s usually the case. She has a gift in the ability to see things in their entirety before they’re done.

I’m going to elaborate a bit further since I think it’s especially pertinent given a recent post. While there haven’t been many design decisions she’s made that I’ve ultimately disliked, there have been MANY design decisions that I’ve questioned “WHY?!” I’ll let you in on a little secret about Dana. She changes her mind. A lot. Maybe that’s not a shocker. I often shake my head in frustration and say “I can’t keep up with you, woman.” Dana alluded to one of these times when she repainted over the stenciled area in the laundry room. She felt I was disappointed because I thought it was a mistake. That’s not the case. I make mistakes constantly. Sometimes the same one twice.

laundry 1

I think the fact that we approach projects from completely different perspectives is at the core here. The reason I bring it up is that I think you’ll find this is common in a lot of relationships. Dana approaches things from an asthetic perspective. She wants things to look and “feel” effortless and natural. And while it often takes several tweaks to get there, she always does. While asthetics are important to me as well, I approach things with more of a focus on functionality, time and money. A perfect example of this conundrum was the boys’ bedroom.

boys room

Dana wanted to repaint the bedroom a few weeks ago from a light gray-blue to a taupe. When she told me this, all I could think of was how less than 7 months ago I was painstakingly prepping and painting that room at 9pm on a Thursday. And I could not help but run through the laundry list of tasks that I felt were a higher priority {finish second bathroom, fix the front door, fix the garage door, cover the opening to the attic, put the baseboards back on in the hallway, complete the area above the TV, etc.) We liked the gray-blue. Was the improvement really going to be worth the effort?

painted boy room

{A sneak – albeit messy – peek at the boys’ freshly painted room. Yes, that is an “I love you” note taped to the bunk with painter’s tape.}

In this case, yes, it was worth the effort.  The color is much better in the room and I’m glad we did it. In the end, I think these different perspectives actually complement each other, as long as we recognize them. I keep her honest and somewhat focused, making sure she pauses to consider all the implications. She doesn’t allow me or our home to become stagnant. She enables our house to reach its full potential – something I wouldn’t be able to come close to on my own. – HH

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle

I don’t think about death in a romantic way anymore.” – Robert Smith of The Cure

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



My walls were gray with black trim at 15. I loved The Cure. My husband liked metal, so I’m told, he heeee. You’re a balanced team, as is me and my husband. I hope we’ll see ‘Ask Handy Hubby’ more often.


Did you consider painting the rooms white and wait until you would have lived in them long enough to pick a color ? Take care ! It looks greater and greater post after post !

It’s nice to hear HH’s perspective! I wish my boyfriend was as compliant (not to say that HH doesn’t have any saying in all of this, I’m sure he does) but my bf tends to want the opposite of everything I want in our tiny little house. Don’t worry still love him to pieces! Anyway, I’m rambling! Thanks for this peek into the mind of HH! Love

Love this! I’m going to share with my husband. This totally justifies my wanting to repaint our kitchen. There is nothing wrong with *tweaking* a space. Thank you…both!


You quoted Aristotle and Robert Smith in the same post. I think I love you.


I LOVE The Cure but, thankfully, left my goth days behind in the early 90’s (which really consisted of me wearing all black and being “depressed”, much to my mother’s dismay, ha ha). I think what you’re describing is common in a lot of relationships. We’ve had the same discussions in our house. I constantly want to “tweak” and my husband always questions the practicality, especially when it comes to relatively fresh paint jobs. I’m really not happy with the color I chose for our stairwell that was a major pain to paint and my husband says “tough cookies”. It will get repainted but it’s back-burnered right now for other more important projects. In the end, though, we keep each other balanced and that’s what it’s all about.


lol cute Penny – perhaps we all have a special place in our hearts for HH. What a guy! Not only are you an amazing tweaker HH, you are kind, patient and a really good writer.


Wow. I can relate as well. A room is never finished here, I’m always thinking of the next step. My poor husband has gotten use to just trusting me, since he can’t imagine the finished product. It just took a few good projects for him to understand it’s worse before its better. But somebody has to keep me in tow, like when I’m at IKEA and I want everything.

Love this little HH segment! We want to hear more about Dana :)

I like that she changes her mind. Makes me feel better about changing mine!


Great post, you guys are sweet together! Mind if I ask the name of the taupe you used in the boy’s room? I tried to find it in a previous post but didn’t have any luck. It looks like the perfect mix of gray/brown!


what color did you repaint the boy’s room? did i miss that?

I like the guy’s perspective. I’m the same way. Engineer. My wife, while not a designer, tends to him and haw over projects ideas. I’m the do-er she’s the project picker.

I’m hoping to be starting another wainscoting project this coming weekend in our daughter’s room if my wife makes a decision. I’ll be listening to the Flyers stomp the Penguins too (I understand HH is from Pittsburgh, my sympathies ;) ).


was it originally camoflauge BM?


Reading the Robert Smith quote at the end actually made me laugh out loud. Thanks, HH.

My boyfriend and I have a similar dynamic in our relationship, sounds like it is not uncommon!


Wow, I have never thought of using black in a child’s room. I always felt it was something you did when you were a teen, but the matte black you chose has real warmth and sophistication. A total head turner! Good job!


What color is the boys’ room painted?


The boys’ room is now painted Lowe’s dry riverbed. It’s one of Lowe’s American Tradition Signature Colors.


Is it sad that I can remember that black room at the Delt house and know exactly who HH is referring to? Ahhhhh, the good ol days…!


Oh, loved that Robert Smith quote at the end there. My handy hubby TOTALLY goes through the same process as HH when I say I want to tweak something that we just spent time and money on. Sometimes I get to repaint, like the bedroom, and sometimes I don’t, like the living room. It makes for extra pressure and agonizing to pick right the first time, but it’s also forced me to learn a lot about undertones and proportions and fixed finishes.


Thank you so much for sharing this post! I showed it to my husband, his response – “that is totally us!” I’m glad we’re not alone with our different perspectives and that they can come together to create an amazing home.