before & after: modern bungalow renovation

Sometimes a Before & After home renovation comes along that makes me want to up and move immediately, and this Austin, TX, bungalow from Britt and Dan is one of them. Can I live here, please? The amount of light and the use of space are amazing; like Grace, I am a fan of knocking down walls and opening up spaces, so this open living room/kitchen/ dining room floor plan strikes me as genius.

I guess it should come as no surprise that this home is so well planned and artfully curated, since Britt is a space designer and runs Broken Arrow Designs. Thanks to Britt’s artistic sensibilities and the wonderful services of RubyAnne Designs, this home is now more spacious, efficient and modern, while retaining the beautiful features that existed in the original interior. Amazing job, Britt and Dan! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read the full post after the jump!

Time: about 8 months

Basic Steps: We picked our simple little 1927 bungalow for several reasons: great central location, redone longleaf pine floors, newer heating and AC and a newer roof, but most of all for its unspoiled original character. Some of the home’s inherent charms included intact wooden shiplap walls, handcrafted doors and original hardware (including a clawfoot tub). The house was an awesomely workable canvas for creative types like us.

After five years of drafty winters, paint experiments and compulsive furniture rearrangement, it was time to renovate! These were our objectives: make the place more efficient with insulation and new windows, open up the floorplan from the overly segmented series of tiny rooms and create a clean, modern feel.

We chose white to open the space and let the light from the 20 windows provide natural brightness without relying on lighting during the day (we both work at home). We completely opened the front side, removing three walls, adding a giant island/bar in the center and preserving and reconstructing the original wood shiplap all the way down the center interior wall. On the other side, we converted the middle guest bedroom into a spacious master bath, complete with the home’s original, refinished clawfoot tub (my favorite).

RubyAnne gave us cool touches like a master bedroom wall made from the home’s original wood teardrop exterior siding, with custom barn doors made from the same material. They also fabricated ceiling-mounted closet doors using the same wood shiplap as the center wall. Other one-of-a-kind elements include custom gunmetal steel countertops; galvanized steel pipe as cabinet legs, island/bar supports and a shower rod; and original antique doors finished and reused as pocket doors.

Our advice is to source all of your finish outs (e.g., drawer pulls, cabinetry, plumbing supplies) beforehand so you have them ready when your contractor needs them. Keep in constant communication with your work crew so that you’re happy with every detail and you learn from the process. Be ready and available to answer your contractors’ questions and deal with the inevitable issues that come up. Lastly, don’t stress, enjoy the adventure and don’t second guess yourself. There’s no substitute for trustworthy, skillful contractors. The guys from Rubyanne Designs were both. Plus we could joke around with them and we ended up being friends to this day. — Britt


Kitchen counters & island: Custom fabricated by Spillar Custom Hitches Welding Shop, Austin, TX
Fixtures for kitchen & bath: Danze
Cabinets & Sinks: IKEA (kitchen cabinet exteriors wrapped with surplus wood shiplap wall boards)
Furniture & Accessories: Goodwill, state surplus auction, Austin Craigslist, Hog Wild Vintage and Room Service Vintage
Windows: JeldWen double hung, wood interior, vinyl clad
Doors: Pella
Tile: Daltile
Stove: NXR
Photography by Britt Mottola, Jake Holt and Leah Polkowske

  1. Eliza says:

    Do you mind specifying WHICH Ikea cabinets? We’re planning our kitchen remodel!

  2. Eliza says:

    Also, hubs (an architect) wants to know about your bathroom grout. Is it white on the floors and gray on the walls?

  3. What a beautiful washroom! Our company loves taking on any type of custom glass shower and mirror projects! Check us out at , we’re located near Toronto, ON.

  4. Kirsten says:

    This is gorgeous! I love the kitchen with the long island, and each room has it’s own unique style. One thing I would suggest is a good set of window treatments such as curtains or blinds that would go well with each room. Window treatments can add wonders to spaces like these!

  5. Katie says:

    Looks awesome. Is that a painting of harking murakami on the wall. If so, who is the artist…

  6. Wow! Absolutely beautiful – and definitely an inspiration!

  7. Sorry I haven’t replied lately!

    Cindy- thanks soo much for the compliments! :) Email me I would love to see your project!

    Kimberly- the light fixtures are inexpensive white hollywood light with sliver top bulbs. They cost $9.99 and look great.

    Eliza- The Ikea cabinets are AKURUM series. The tile grout is all grey. The tile contrast makes them look different.

    Rajat- I will check you guys out!

    Kristen- Thank you. We do have great up and down cellular blinds that are great for letting natural light in. The way the photos were shot made them disappear.

    Katie- The painting was done by a friend for my husband and I’s 30th birthdays. The man in the painting is Hiroshi Ishiguro

    Thanks so much for all your comments!

  8. Jo Kin says:

    Wow, and that bathroom, wow! I am speechless at the beauty of that space!

  9. Gini says:

    Is the bathroom cabinet from Ikea? It looks glossy. Love to know where you got it. Great job.

  10. Margaret says:

    It just looks so much better and brigher!

  11. Michael says:

    The kitchen is spectacular with lots of cupboard space for all of your kitchen utensils.

  12. Tia says:

    I’m wondering the price range for the entire Reno?


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