Hi! I am Jenni Yolo (formerly Radosevich)! Welcome to I SPY DIY, a do-it-yourself website where I show you the process of our home renovations here in the city of Milwaukee, one step-by-step project at a time!
I live by the motto “Process over Perfection” as my hub, aka Mr. Yolo, and I buy neglected homes built in the 1800s and give them a new life! Mr. Yolo and I each renovated our own homes (now both Airbnb’s) before getting married, and diving into renovating our 1875 built home, The Barnhouse. Our latest project, the DIY Duplex, is now complete, and you can always find our latest endeavor over at @ISPYDIY on Instagram.
You can book any of the AirBnBs here.
A little about Jenni: My love for DIY style started at a young age with an obsession for fashion magazines. High fashion wasn’t something I could find in Midwestern department stores, so I began to sew, thrift, and embellish my own versions. My fascination with magazines eventually turned into a career. Living in New York and working at InStyle magazine, I recreated—in an affordable way—some of the gorgeous styles I saw in the magazines. I started documenting the DIY steps online and ispydiy.com was born!
My projects scored me a monthly do-it-yourself fashion column in InStyle. Next up was writing my book, I Spy DIY Style, a go-to guide for girls who want to “get the look” on a budget. Once my book was released in 2012, I transitioned into working on the site full-time, hosting DIY events, and doing on-air segments spreading the DIY word (check me out on Good Morning America and Rachael Ray).
After eight years in NYC, I moved back to my home state of Wisconsin. I started a creative studio in a warehouse space and found myself loving DIY home decor. This led to my most significant undertaking: buying a rundown 1890 built-home for $24K and doing a full gut renovation (in four months). And to up the ante even more, a camera crew documented the whole process for a pilot on HGTV, called My Flippin’ Friends. The pilot aired a handful of times, but it never got a full season.
It all worked out because I found my true passion: taking old forgotten homes in Milwaukee and bringing them back to life!
My husband and I now manage our four Airbnbs in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point and Bayview neighborhoods, work on projects in The Barnhouse, thrift for decor, and document the whole process for you all at @ISPYDIY on Instagram and right here on ISPYDIY.com!
A little about Mr. Yolo: I have been managing commercial construction projects my entire career (12 years). After graduating from Milwaukee School Of Engineering, I moved to Las Vegas to experience life in another part of the country. I spent eight years managing construction projects there, then had the epiphany that being close to family mattered, and I could work in Milwaukee just as easy as out West. I moved home in August of 2015 (met my future wife within 30 minutes of pulling in the driveway — see below) and, after a short retirement, jumped back into project management while simultaneously gutting my first house in Bayview.
The renovation process on my house proved to be the gateway into my current life. It not only made me realize how much I love working with my hands, but it also got me to convince others (cough, cough, Jenni, cough) to take on home renovation projects. I watched Jenni do the ISpyDIY Abode. I bought a rental property. Jenni took on the Barnhouse.
Once Jenni and I wed in November of 2018, the idea of working side-by-side with my wife on house renovations was too appealing. I left my job a few months later. For the last few years, we’ve been doing just that. Room makeovers in the Barnhouse to a full gut renovation in the DIY Duplex, they’ve been incredibly fulfilling. I love what I do on a given day, and the best part, I keep getting better working with my hands, which makes me want to take on more projects. Jenni’s design eye rivals the best architects I’ve worked with, and her skills keep getting better too. We are always looking forward to the next project.
Our Story: Ah yes, I (Mr. Yolo) remember the day like it was yesterday. I pulled my Chevy Silverado, which contained my dog Big Papi Yolo and my most prized possessions, into my parents’ driveway after a 7-day road trip from Las Vegas. I said hi to my family and then took Big Papi down to the lake. Within seconds Papi had taken off through the neighbors’ yards in pursuit of a new dog friend. We ended up three houses down where I reintroduced myself to the neighbor and her younger sister, who I felt was very attentive to my arrival. We talked for 15 minutes or so, and I excused myself to get back to my family. As I walked away, I thought, “I bet I’ll see her again.” Little did I know how right I was.
Jenni: I remember sitting in the backyard at my older sister’s house when this majestic dog came galloping into the yard, all attention was on him, until I saw the most handsome man running (I swear in slow motion) behind him. He introduced himself as “the eldest Yolo son.” I was smitten. We chatted. He and his dog returned to his home a few of doors down. Then came the part where my sister came up with a plan for me to see him again while I sat blushing, just listening at first, then finally agreeing.
Mr. Yolo: About five hours later, the front doorbell rang. I was in my old bedroom in the basement, and I hear my mother yell, “Son, the door’s for you!” Did I just time warp back to middle school? I checked my face to make sure the beard was still there. I walked up the stairs, and there, at my front door was my neighbor and her younger sister Jenni. They invited me out to a local lake bar where their friends were playing music that evening. I went and Jenni and I hit it off, and the rest… is… history.
I have always been a crafty girl, growing up in Wisconsin I always created my own style: thrifing clothes, making friendship bracelets, and covering everything I owned with tie dye and puffy paint (I was not afraid of multiple pops of color). When I moved to New York, on a tight budget, I continued to make the trends I was seeing in magazines and on the runway. I got a great response from my coworkers atInStyle, which lead to a story in the mag, then a column, and then a book, I Spy DIY Style! Now I run www.ispydiy.com full-time and create DIY kits for my readers to recreate my project and teach craft classes at I SPY DIY Studio.
Start with a simple one. Build your confidence and then start tackling larger projects!