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Glow-up: noun. an instance of becoming more mature, confident, and attractive. 

Example: The kitchen in this Philadelphia rowhouse got a modern-yet-homey glow-up when mom-daughter house flippers Lacey and Audrey Soslow set out to create a different kind of flip.

In fact, they “kind of hate using that word. We’re really trying to up the quality and aesthetics of your ‘typical’ flip,” says Lacey, the second-generation Soslow. 

Lacey founded Matriarchy Build, an online DIY platform for down-to-earth renovation advice and 1:1 pro consultations, but it’s her teamwork with her mom that inspired the business venture in the first place. 

“It’s a nice way to spend time together but also have fun over a shared project and common goal,” explains Lacey.

Beyond the Cookie Cutter 

To their dismay, the Soslows saw that “a lot of houses in the Philly market were being totally gutted to the studs and then flipped in these really cookie-cutter ways,” notes Lacey. 

They knew they could do a better job, and their opportunity came when they snapped up an in-need rowhome in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood of Philadelphia. They “absolutely loved the location—it’s a charming, tree-lined block.” 

With the house closed on, the vision fell into place: First, “design something that felt really refined and modern.” Next up? “Honor the original architecture and layout and materials,” and third, “preserve the quirks and spirit” of the neighborhood.

An Eyeline to Ivy 

The first order of business was opening up the kitchen. The original closed-in room became an open plan, with the Soslows adding in an island and a big picture frame window in the wall leading to the living and dining rooms. 

“Now when you walk into the house you can see into the kitchen and out to the backyard,” thanks to glass doors that offer a striking view of an old brick church covered in three stories of ivy. 

“We wanted the kitchen to feel modern and neutral so that the green from the ivy in the background would really pop and the light would fill the room.”

Picking the Pieces 

To fulfill this aesthetic, Lacey and Audrey partnered with BOXI, Semihandmade’s fully assembled cabinet line. 

Grey BOXI Mushroom Shaker fit the bill as the cabinet base for the room, a cool neutral they knew they could build off of. 

“The team was attentive and communicative. It was super helpful to get full design renderings to get a sense of what the project would look like with our other finishes and fixtures,” says Lacey of working with BOXI. 

There are other ways to get the classic grey look—on any budget. Pick from Semihandmade Light Grey or Desert Grey styles to top either Ikea cabinets or get cabinets right from Semihandmade.

The Décor Details 

Thanks to Lacey’s Matriarchy Build connections, she “knew there were all these fun collaborators that we could work with to really jazz up the tile and cabinetry and fixtures.” 

In addition to BOXI, the Soslows brought in tile from HAUS Tile, fixtures from Schoolhouse Electric, and decorative hardware from Rejuvenation. 

“One of our bathrooms has this wavy check tile from HAUS that is totally trippy and our primary bathroom has these oversized blob mirrors.” 

The pops of whimsy and color don’t end there. In the kitchen, custom fluted oak lines the back of the kitchen island, painted in the same mushroom grey of the cabinets. 

“It’s a fun little detail and a great example of the attention to detail that we put into the project,” raves Lacey. 

Plus, the natural stone black countertops with dramatic veining make a statement that complements the soft gray color of the cabinets.

How To Do It DIY 

Lacey and Audrey know, as DIYers, that things aren’t always going to go to plan. And the things that didn’t are a laundry list: Timelines got backed up, a sewer had to be unexpectedly replaced, a brick wall crumbled and was completely rebuilt, items went out of stock, and colors didn’t look as expected. 

“You adapt and make it work. And sometimes quirks or mistakes end up being such a big part of the originality and character.” 

Lacey’s advice? “Whenever you’re taking on a full remodel you need to be prepared for some unplanned expenses to pop up.” 

She’s even planning to get her general contracting license so she and Audrey can have even more control of the process in the future. 

But even with more control, the Soslows know there’s never just one right way to complete something as big as a renovation. It’s not only the “fun design side of things,” but also the solving of problems with clever solutions, that makes creating a new home worthwhile. 

At the end of the (blood, sweat, and tears) day? “We’ve both learned so much throughout the journey.”


What’s the best paint color for my kitchen cabinets? How do I personalize my rental without renovating? Which interior design trends will stick around beyond 2021? How did marble become so popular in kitchen design (and should I splurge on my dream countertops)? Our interior design journeys are filled with questions which we at SemiStories attempt to answer every week through expert interviews, inspiring home tours, and trend reports. “Do As a Designer Does,” our monthly advice column, takes us behind the scenes of kitchen and bathroom design (and beyond) by spotlighting the best brains in the business. Here, we turn the microphone over to you to ask all your burning interior design, trend, and renovation questions to your favorite experts, from Sarah Sherman Samuel to Bobby Berk. Have a question? Shoot us a message on Instagram, or email us at for a chance to be featured! Have you ever wondered why certain details exist in your home? Maybe you’ve questioned who came up with the idea for forks, or perhaps you’ve contemplated how pantries have evolved over centuries—after all, both can be intriguing in their own right. The truth is, most of what we surround ourselves with at home has an interesting story to tell. In our monthly series “Design History” with (actual) design historian Amy Azzarito, we’ll explore the backstories of your favorite things. Home tours are intriguing for a reason: they give us a rare glimpse into the way other people live and inspire us to improve our own spaces. Maybe it’ll motivate you to paint your laundry room a bright sunshine yellow, persuade you a stacked teal backsplash is the way to go, or convince you the entryway is the perfect place for a gumball machine (hey, why not?). Whatever you take away, we have no doubt you’ll get tons of kitchen and bathroom design ideas to bring home. Are farmhouse islands here to stay? What will be the biggest interior design and hardware trends in 2021? Will the pandemic affect what homes of the future look like? Our weekly trend stories will keep your finger on the pulse of interior design, renovating, and more.