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12-Year-Old Renovates and Redesigns Her Family’s Home On a Shoestring Budget

Mural Painting on Wall

The initial COVID-19 lockdowns were easier said than done. Staying home sounds great in theory, but what is a kid to do when they’ve exhausted the activities around their house? For a 12-year-old named Bea, that meant sprucing up parts of her family’s abode in Kent, UK. With her DIY-expert mom Susie Levache as a guide, Bea helped transform areas of the home into chic spaces on a budget. Over the course of a week, they spent just about $125 to renovate parts of the house by largely repurposing items and using supplies they had on hand.

Some of Bea’s additions include wood paneling placed in her mom’s office and making upgrades to hardware on cabinets. Susie taught her to use tools like a handsaw, electric drill, and tile cutter, giving Bea the confidence to take on her own DIY tasks while helping her mom, too. “I’ve pretty much been trucking through our house renovation solo,” Susie tells My Modern Met, “so when I had help and Bea took a very active role in the room updates, it was wonderful to go from solo to a team!”

Despite teaching her some serious power tools (that many adults would be apprehensive to use), the most challenging lesson that Susie has taught her daughter is all in her head. “The most difficult thing was to get her to believe in herself and let her know there was no jeopardy and that if something went wrong we could fix it together,” she says. “Once this was overcome there wasn’t any work or project that she didn’t want to tackle.”

Bea is already developing her own decorating voice. “Her style and the way she goes about the physical work is far more precise and clean than mine,” Susie explains. “I’m very slapdash and do things impulsively—she thinks and plans because she wants to get things right the first time. She will also start with a color and build from that whereas I want to ‘see’ the whole picture.”

Working together and chronicling it on Susie’s Instagram has gained admirers throughout the world. “We’ve been over the moon at the responses and the messages we have received from as far and wide as China and Australia with photos of other people’s first-time projects, and we hope to add more ‘how-to’ videos on our Instagram in the next school holiday.”

While at home during COVID-19 lockdowns, Susie Levache got a helper for her DIY home renovations—her 12-year-old daughter, Bea.

DIY Panel in Home DIY Panel in Home DIY Panel in Home DIY Panel in Home DIY Office

After teaching Bea how to use some tools, she's been able to help spruce up the family home.

DIY Tiling DIY Tiling Outdoor Lounge Space Floral Mural Floral Mural

Many of the projects use materials they have on hand, making them low-cost but effective DIYs.

DIY Home Renovation DIY Home Renovation

Susie Levache: Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Susie Levache. 

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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