About Us

Welcome to Level Up House! We’re glad you’re here.

I started this blog in 2010 shortly after the purchase of our second home, mostly to chronicle our DIY “before and after”s. If you dig through the archives, that’s what you’ll find.

Back then, we just wanted a place to call our own, pack full of our stuff, and make up exactly the way we wanted.

Sure, the house we got was bigger than we needed, rather worn out inside (heck, the front door didn’t even properly lock), and a little dated, but we arrived with sleeves rolled up, full of enthusiasm, hopes, dreams, and rainbows. We made it beautiful – thanks in no small part to my own tireless dad, an endless stream of contractors, and a decent financial investment in everything from new appliances to interior finishes to even things like a new roof.

But a lot can happen in four years.

Three years ago, the company my husband and I worked at 5 miles away from home went under. Now in new jobs, every day starts with a 45 minute slog into the city in which we work. Seattle’s public transit infrastructure is weak – we don’t have the trains or subways like Chicago, so for most commuters it’s the bus or a long sit behind the wheel. Worse, Metro (our bus service) lost some funding this year, cutting bus lines to our part of town. Feeling trapped behind gridlock and worsening commutes, we’re now second-guessing our choice to own when we could be apartment hopping with each change in employment. Ownership increasingly feels like a relic of the old economy, one where you could be reasonably assured of working for one employer for several years or even decades (or even your entire career, start to finish, like our own parents did).

Unlike a lot of home blogs, this one’s not so much about the house as it is about making our lives better, wherever that may be.

Follow along as we make home the best place on earth – wherever that may be.

The LevelUpHouse Cast


Mandi likes fake fish, comfy couches, and the demolition part of home improvement. Mandi is the author of LevelUpHouse.


Jim is Mandi’s husband. He likes food and comfort. He does not like airplanes.


Mandi’s dad (aka “Dad” on this blog) represents the forces of wisdom and – occasionally – destruction. He visits twice a year and Mandi and Jim work him to death.


Gadget is our 3 year old Chi. She doesn’t say much, but likes hiding under beds and eating.


Wy is a grub. He likes couches and has become something of a surrogate child.  His full name is “Wyatt Machine Gun Grant”. We let him pick his middle name.


Our house. Nicknamed “Wallace” because of that’s the name a previous owner engraved onto the door knocker.


“The Subie”, our new Subaru Forester. Shown here in its natural habitat: waiting to receive groceries.


“The Taurus” – renamed from “The Car” when “The Subie” joined the family. Still very much beloved. Possibly a world-record holder for most Nine Inch Nails album plays.

You should also know…

We’re total weirdos, and things can get pretty informal here (potty language!), so if you’re looking for a lovey-dovey blog written by a stay-at-home-wife with a perfect house and loads of time to bake organic crap and craft handmade party favors, keep looking. :P

We are not professionals, nor do we aspire to be. This blogs isn’t our day job or our moneymaker. Our decorating tends to be functional (rather than fashionable) and we hate twee chalkboard labels. :P


We are also super srs about minigolf and have no shame whatsoever.