Hi! I’m Karen. Welcome to Dogs Don’t Eat Pizza (formerly The DIY Bungalow)! Here, I write about DIY, home decorating, repurposing and upcycling, and organizing projects that are easy, fun, and totally customizable to your style. There are also some random posts about life, too. So, grab a cup of coffee (or whatever your favorite brew is!), sit a spell, and dig in!
Since you’re hanging out here for a bit, let’s get to know each other, shall we?
I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and was bitten by the DIY/home decorating bug early, even if I didn’t know it at the time. I was the kid who might stay home on a Friday night and redecorate her room – moving the furniture around, moving the posters around, or “styling” (that’s what it’s called, but I didn’t know that then!) my desk or night tables.
I went to Duke (and yes, that makes me an insufferable Duke basketball fan) and, as I was planning my career path, nearly everyone in my life said, “You’re logical. You think like a lawyer. You should go to law school.”
So I went to law school. What I learned, pretty quickly, is that I didn’t really like law school. I did well, though, and landed a job at a firm in Atlanta.
I worked as an employment and human resources lawyer for almost six years. I didn’t love being a lawyer. I liked writing and researching – it was almost like a puzzle or logic game for me. The problem was I found the constant conflict inherent in litigation stressful and, while I loved the people with whom I worked, I spent WAY too much time at the office with them.
So I left lawyer life and got a job at Emory Law School, teaching legal writing, research, and advocacy to first-year law students. This seemed like the perfect job to me: I could teach budding lawyers the parts of the job I actually liked, while having a flexible schedule and being able to walk to work. It worked, until it didn’t.
When I started, teaching was a joy. But – as many teachers will attest – it’s easy to get burned out. And there was this whole other side of my brain SCREAMING to do something. I had used the left, logical side of my brain for so long that the right side finally screamed, “HEY! You! Over here! Could we paint something already?”
For more about my journey from being a lawyer/professor to being a creative DIYer/blogger, see this post and this post.
I started this blog in 2012 because many of my lovely friends encouraged me to write about all the projects I was doing in my home. I had been doing DIY projects since I got my own apartment after law school, and many of my friends asked me to write tutorials for the projects so that they could do them, too.
I started the blog, and then broke my leg. Ugh.
I started again. I wrote about projects, but also about what we were having for dinner and ten million other things. Finally, I recognized what I had known all along:
My passion is DIY and home decorating.
And so that became the focus of this blog. Sure, you can still find the food and menu posts and the “real life” tips, but the focus is on DIY, decorating, repurposing and upcycling items for your home, decorating on a budget, paint and color, and organization and storage. Those are the things that (happily) keep me up at night.
Why did you change the name of your blog…twice?
From January 2012 until January 4, 2017, this blog was called “Dogs Don’t Eat Pizza.” Then I rebranded it as The DIY Bungalow, because it sounded more like what I was writing about (and I was tired of getting emails from pizza oven companies!).
I decided to change its name from Dogs Don’t Eat Pizza to The DIY Bungalow because I wanted DIY as the central focus of the name of this blog, because it is the focus of the blog. And I live in a 1929 bungalow. Because this is a blog about projects I do to decorate and improve that bungalow, I wanted it in the title. Also, I wanted you to know that I don’t live in a fancy mansion or palatial estate. I live in a drafty, musty, old, lovely bungalow, and I’m trying to improve it and decorate it beautifully but also on a budget.
And that was great…but then life changed a little (a lot) for me, and I decided that I really wanted the blog to reflect me and my personality. I’ve always loved the name “Dogs Don’t Eat Pizza,” and so I switched it back.
Want to know the story behind “Dogs Don’t Eat Pizza”?
The #1 question I was always asked: “Why is your DIY blog called ‘Dogs Don’t Eat Pizza’?”
With two kids and a husband whose favorite food is pizza, we eat a lot of pizza in this house. Bear always thought she should get some, too, even though we gave it to her once and it made her sick (Hank never was fed people-food in his former life before we adopted him, so he’s clueless about people-food. He’s also not the brightest bulb on the porch.). So, about once a week, I had to say, “No, Bear. Dogs don’t eat pizza.” It became such an integral part of my life that I thought it’d be a good title for a blog about what’s going on in our home. That, and it’s shorter and more mysterious than the other thing I said routinely: “Bear, get out of the dishwasher.”
Introducing the people who put up with me daily…
Dear Husband is my rock. We started dating while working at the same law firm. We dated in secret for TWO YEARS. No, I’m not kidding. After I left the firm, we got married, and it’s been a fun and wild ride ever since. He is my loudest cheerleader. He picks me up when I fall down. He listens to me go through the 87 reasons a project isn’t working just so I can work it out for myself.
If you want to read the best engagement story EVER, click HERE. Trust me. The best.
I have two kids – my son is 11 and my daughter is 9. My daughter is a DIYer-in-training:
She loves to help me with my projects, which makes my heart explode with happiness.
The one on the right is Bear, the dog who didn’t eat pizza. You can find her story here. She passed away at the ripe old age of 14 1/2 on August 10, 2015 (my post about that is here – bring tissues, though).
The one on the left is Hank, and you can read his story here. You will also see Hank in many of my posts because he tends to stay underfoot and, thus, photobombs all my project pics.
The newest member of our family is Elvis Parsley Dog Cooper:
We adopted him in November of 2015. You can read his adoption story HERE and an update on how he’s settling in with our family HERE.
So that’s me. And my blog. And my people. I’m so glad that you’ve come to visit. Please email me if you have any questions about anything. And don’t forget to follow me on social media:
If you want to see my projects around the internet, I am so proud to say that they’ve been featured here (click on the photo or the hyperlink to go to the feature):
My daybed from old doors was featured in This Old House Magazine!
Our home was featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday Home and Garden section:
For the text of the article, click HERE.
For a link to the post about the projects and rooms featured in the AJC article, click HERE.
And you can find me every couple of months at the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity ReStore, teaching classes on repurposing and upcycling materials for your home!
Now that we’re friends, a good place to start on the blog is HERE, which will give you the latest post, or in the project index HERE, where you can search the different categories of posts! Have fun – and let me know if you have any questions!
Debi Carser says
I LOVE your website. Stumpled across it looking at one of your posts at a link party. LOVE your sense of humor – too funny! Question: Why are there so many lawyers turned DIYers? Decorators? Designers? etc. etc.
Karen Cooper says
Thanks, Debi! Welcome! I think lawyers turn into DIYers and decorators because, as a lawyer, you use the left side of your brain so much that the right side is craving some action! Those creative juices have to keep flowing and I think they often flow into the home! Thank you again – so glad you found me!
Karen, I feel cheated not finding your website until now. Actually Ic did save your kitchen on pintrest but did not know the rest of the story.
Your writing is wonderful and will brighten my days.
Karen Cooper says
Jane, you are too kind! Thank you so much! I’m so glad you’re here – welcome!!
Mickey Wood says
I have communicated with you by email responses to your newslettetrs (think I was impressed when you started the Friday 5 & listed 5 trends that are so off putting if not totally over, that I knew we were kindred spirits. Then I started following you on instagram, but for some reason never actually got to the blog. I love it. Feels like home.
Karen Cooper says
That is so sweet, Mickey, and I’m so glad! Thank you!
I have only just discovered your blog – via one of your projects – and now I have spent the whole afternoon reading about you, your beautiful home and your amazing creative skills. Thank you for rescuing me from the ironing. I now feel like I’ve known you for years!! I too am a keen crafter and DIYer but your enthusiasm and inspirational ideas put mine to shame. I look forward to following your future creative adventures
All the best to you and yours.
Karen Cooper says
Thank you, Frances, and WELCOME! First of all, I’m so glad I saved you from ironing! But second, and more importantly, I’m so happy you found and have enjoyed my blog! I’ll keep the projects coming! It’s so nice to meet you!! Best, Karen