Family history hits prime time TV on ‘In With the Old’

Brittany Jepsen, design juggernaut and internet celebrity, and her husband Paul star in the latest episode of “In With the Old” on Magnolia Network.

In the TV hour, Brittany and Paul are renovating the exterior of their home in Provo, Utah, as well as the kitchen, their son’s room, staircase, and kitchenette in Brittany’s basement studio.

In With the Old, now in its third season, is typically about old home renovations. However, the Jepsens’ home was built in 1992. It’s not new, but it’s younger than most millennials, so not old, right? TO THE RIGHT?

What qualified the house for the show’s title is the style in which it was built – Federalist Revival. The original owners built the home to replicate the early Latter-day Saint pioneer homes in Nauvoo, Illinois.

During conversations with the show’s production team, Jepsen mentioned that her great-great-great-grandmother, Patty Sessions — a renowned midwife — crossed the prairies from Maine to Nauvoo and eventually to Bountiful, Utah, giving birth to thousands of babies along the way. For Jepsen, who grew up hearing stories about her pioneer ancestors both at home and at church, this information felt little newsworthy. But for the producers, it felt like coming full circle.

“We made everything an ode to her,” says Jepsen, explaining that many of the design decisions in her renovation honoring Sessions were made after she recognized the importance of the home and the connections to her ancestors. The Jepsens also incorporated a range of Scandinavian designs to honor Paul’s Danish heritage. Her staircase, for example, is a Scandinavian-inspired flat baluster, common in Denmark and Sweden, carved into each family member’s birth flowers.


To bring in some of her family history, Brittany had her friend Jill DeHaan carve traditional Scandinavian flat-sawn balusters into the birth flower of each family member, including her ancestor Patty Sessions, for whom the house holds a personal meaning.

The house that Lars built

says Jepsen. “This felt like a very big personal hike, for lack of a better word. Like a trip to represent our family.”

The Jepsens had a very tight time frame and budget for the renovation. Due to ongoing supply chain problems and a lack of contractors, Brittany and Paul did much of the work themselves with the help of their nanny, Pat, and friends and neighbors.

Filming began in February 2022 and ended in July. There were moments when it seemed impossible to finish everything on time. But Brittany is no stranger to using creativity to get the job done.

She started her blog, The House That Lars Built, when she was a student at Corcoran College of Art and Design, where she was studying interior design. She used the blog as a portfolio and wrote about her life and projects. She married Paul and they moved to Denmark in 2013. The blog became popular and brought her enough income to pay off her student loans. When she and Paul returned to the States, sponsors began reaching out. She looked for what she calls a “real job,” but nothing came of it. Her blog continued to grow and generate income, so Brittany made it her full-time job. “Looking back, I see it as a guide to do what I’m doing,” she says.

Today, The House That Lars Built is a craft and design website for tutorials and project inspiration, and Brittany has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. “When you do things with your hand, you get in touch with your soul. That’s why I think it’s really important to make things with your hands,” says Brittany. But she understands that not everyone is a handyman. So she set up a quirky online shop. “If you don’t want to make something, maybe you can buy it,” she says. The store includes collections of phone cases, diaries, planners and so on.


Brittany and Paul Jepsen wanted their home to feel more like a traditional Danish home by painting their Federal Revival-style red brick home white and adding drought-tolerant flowers that represent the local Utah landscape. The home was modeled after one in Nauvoo, Illinois, where some of their own ancestors, Patti and David Sessions, came from.

The house that Lars built

In addition to running a shop in the basement studio, Brittany is also raising her two boys, Felix (5) and Jasper (2). As any work-from-home parent can attest, there are ups and downs when it comes to having a workspace in their home, and Brittany has faced some obstacles with that arrangement. But the in-house studio has given her the flexibility to see her kids and get work done, sometimes by working nights when her day has been unproductive.

Brittany has blazed her own trail both as a mother and as an entrepreneur, much like Patty Sessions did generations before. “She did what she did not because people told her to, but because it was her nature,” says Brittany. Then, with tears in her eyes, she says, “I just see them as a strength. I come from Patty Sessions so I can do whatever I want.”

It took an outsider to connect Patty Sessions’ story to the Jepsen home renovation. “I wonder what other bonds are out there that I don’t see or that other people don’t see in their own families,” says Brittany. Many of us are reluctant to delve into our own family history, Brittany explains, due to lack of time or a perception that genealogy is for the elderly. “But I feel really empowered by my own family’s story,” she says. “And I hope it’s something I can give to my kids.”

It’s a story she channels into all of her work and that she has channeled into her home project to create a place for her family to gather, remember those who came before, and the beauty of good design enjoy.

“The storytelling aspect of family history is something I can stand behind,” she says. “I think there’s a really transformative quality to that.”

You can find this transformative power used in “In With the Old” on Discovery+ and HBO Max.

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