Even if you don’t recognize her name, you’ve likely seen her house or maybe one of her DIY projects. In the relatively short time she’s been documenting updates of her Minneapolis Tudor on Instagram, Heena Gardner (@homebyheena) has also been featured on the pages of the Pottery Barn catalog and online at Domino, as well as in other publications. We recently caught up with Gardner to find out more about her and the house she shares with her husband and their two kitties, Poutine and Biscotti.
Q: I love that your work includes so many pretty yet practical DIY projects. Have you always been into DIY?
A: I dabbled in furniture flips while renting, but things really started clicking when we purchased our home. It was a blank canvas for me to experiment and create in, and it has seen many changes over the years as my style has evolved. DIY projects were a huge part of the process. If you can’t find a piece you’re envisioning and/or if it’s outside of your budget, DIYs are the way to go.
Q: Your range of projects varies, too—from adding architectural elements to a simple plant stand, right?
A: I strive to create spaces that are both beautiful and functional, even if it takes several tries. It’s always a work in progress! We actually have a handful of projects going on right now, but the one I’m most excited about is the built-in bench in the dining room. It’ll fill in the awkward space in front of the window and give us the extra storage space we desperately need.
Q: Tell us a little about your house.
A: My husband and I wanted an old house with character. After touring many around the Twin Cities, this one [a 1930s Tudor] just felt like home. I love blending the classic Tudor details with modern décor to highlight the historic charm in a new way. There’s the original fireplace and beautiful arches throughout, but I always joke that my favorite detail is the laundry chute!
Q: You also talk about how good design doesn’t have to break the bank.
A: I’m a big believer in creating beautiful spaces, no matter where I’m living or what my budget is. Thrifting is a great way to find affordable décor. I look for pieces with good bones and focus on the potential. An ugly vase with a cute shape can be painted. An old marble table with outdated legs can be covered up with MDF [medium density fibreboard] and quarter rounds. Otherwise, building from scratch is always an option.
Q: What are some of your secret sources to find treasures?
Q: What’s one of your favorite repurposing hacks?
A: That has to be painting old vases with baking powder and interior matte paint to give them a modern look. The vases you see in my home are most likely painted.
Q: Do you have any advice for readers who are just dipping their toes into DIY or outfitting their first home?
A: Gather inspiration from Instagram, Pinterest, and design books to find styles that speak to you. I refined my style by experimenting over and over again. As for DIYs, don’t be afraid to pick up power tools, and paint is your best friend.