Jennifer Gizzi- DIY Dynamo

The relentless, powerful Jennifer Gizzi of Making Pretty Spaces is a perfect example of a fearless female DIYer. Jennifer has been a follower of the principle of DIY and she re-designs her home for six all by her own. Along the way of creating a stylish, functional and aesthetic home she has tried many things, even made a few mistakes but she encourages those experiences as they ultimately lead you to a place which you call your own. Jennifer relentlessly applies her passion for DIY, and has made it her mission to instill that same spirit in others.

Jennifer is an extremely driven and talented individual. She runs between a super busy schedule, of regularly posting content for her 145k+ followers and tending to her bright four children. We were lucky enough to get some of her time and she shared the most basic and important tips for a beginner DIYer, her two most recent projects completed in collaboration with Kohler, and her own advice for alternate-universe Jennifer.

Beginner DIY Basics

What would you say are the most basic tools every DIYer should own?

To create or change anything, one must have a drill. One can never be complete without a drill. So, an investment in an impact driver can relieve a lot of frustration for beginner DIYers. The advantage of an impact drill is that it has more torque and can make working on a project easier. I would also suggest adding a miter saw, nail gun, caulk gun and basic bit set to your arsenal.

Where would you recommend a beginner DIYer start?

One of the simplest and fastest ways to create a change in your room is to repaint it. Even if you do not like the paint, you can always repaint it. In addition to this change, one can add some trim work like shiplap or board and batten can really help elevate the space too, and most people can begin with this as a first step.

Change the old

Can you talk about the process of upgrading your guest bathroom shower?

Redoing the guest bathroom was not in my budget and also I didn’t have a lot of guts to create full changes there. I just wanted to change a few things that made the place more usable and enjoyable. So, for my go-to response, I decided to use and replace the old showerhead with the Hydrorail shower kit from Kohler. I did some research and I found out that the easiest and only solution to upgrade my showering experience without having to do some heavy construction. I just secured the column to the wall, then added the rainhead and handshower—it was super easy.

Bathroom Shower

What else was surprisingly easy to replace?

One thing that people hold a certain misconception about is that changing the toilet is difficult. It is actually an easy thing to do, if done the right way. I posted a video to highlight that fact when I installed Kohler’s Corbelle® toilet. It is better to take some help in creating the changes and that is because the toilet is usually heavy. If you are new to this stuff, it would be advisable to take some extra hands for this work.

The full Refresh

Aside from the shower system and toilet, what other aspects of your guest bathroom got a refresh?

To create more noticeable change in the space, I had to go from the faucet to the floor. Because I couldn’t change out the chrome bath spout without going behind the wall, I chose the Artifacts sink faucet in the same finish—and it’s just so pretty. After this, I did some changes in the hardware and did the lights. The accessories also needed an upgrade as well. I believe that you would never want one metal in a room and then have everything else in a different metal. It is better to repeat something.

Sink Faucet

I also painted over the old tile floor. I started off with practicing on a sheet of plywood first. I started with a base coat of white. Six hours later, I taped out the pattern, applied a couple coats of each paint color, then pulled up the tape. I was able to transfer the whole floor within two days. It was an easy, simple and minimalistic improvement for which I continually get asked for.

Revamp Realized

Let’s talk about a more complex DIY project—your full kitchen remodel. What were some of the joys and challenges of designing a kitchen?

Well, talking about the joys, the biggest joy is to be able to create a space and renovate your home with your own hands so that you and your family are able to spend quality time together. The best part is that I was able to think and implement what I actually wanted. Talking about the challenges, I would say that the hardest part was the permanence of it. It’s a big investment of time and resources and I wanted nothing more than for it to work the way I envisioned it.

At what point did you start thinking about your color palette, materials, etc.?

It all started about a year ago, when I was looking around, seeking inspiration to execute some changes in my home. While my ideas changed in the process, there was one constant thing and that was the apron-front Whitehaven® sink—after seeing it in the KOHLER Showroom [ ] knew there was no other option. And when I learned about the Smart Divide® feature, which converts it from one big basin to a divided sink, it was a no-brainer.

Talking about the color-palette, I had already decided that I would go for black and white kitchen. But I kept thinking about something which includes green cabinetry. So, I decided to do something for this and tested every green paint color before landing on a gorgeous, warm shade.

You installed an Artifacts faucet in both your kitchen and your bathroom. What drew you to this particular collection?

I like a good blend of modern and classic and traditional all in one- and for me this was done by this collection. In the kitchen, I went with the Artifacts pot filler as well as the faucet, and I couldn’t be happier.

Looking back, what part of the kitchen remodel was the hardest, and what was the easiest?

The concrete countertops were a little difficult in terms of their design, as they had to be put around the Whiteheaven sink. It was not very difficult to pour them in. I stressed out the most for these because I would not get any second chances to attach them and they just had to be perfect. I probably planned and replanned, thought through and measured fourteen different times.

Conversely, the construction and hanging of the cabinetry was relatively easy. Once I had a plan, putting it together, leveling it all and then attaching it to the walls was easier than I thought it would be.