before and after

before & after: modern bungalow renovation

by Kate Pruitt

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

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  • Check out the”Satellite Chandelier” at Design Within Reach. It may be the same as the one used here…or very similar.

    Amazing renovation!

  • STEEL COUNTERTOPS? Genius! My dad owns an irrigation business and is a superior welder. I bet he’d make these for me for just the cost of the materials!

  • that is unbelievably beautiful. white subway tile always makes me feel so calm. although i don’t gravitate towards all white, the older i get the more i love it.

  • I’d love to know what exactly the window treatments in the bathroom and kitchen are. Do they provide privacy at night?

  • Looks beautiful, but I always wonder about the functionality of an open floor plan. One loud family member and one quiet is all it takes to make that a nightmare.

  • love it! i’m in austin, too. could you share where you got the glass and related hardware for your shower and who installed or put it together? congrats on the reno; must be wonderful after planning for 5 yrs.

  • LOVE the openess and brightness. AND that chevron rug! Any thoughts to where that was purchased?

  • Love it! I live in an old 20s bungalow too, and all the details really pop with white walls.

    Where did you get your simple white blinds?

  • Wow! Can we see more photos? I’m curious about the custom made doors in the bedroom. This would be a fabulous Sneak Peek entry!

  • I like the bathroom, but I would definitely add color. Orchids, green plants etc…
    LOVE the kitchen.

  • Really love it. For these kinds of stories, I would LOVE to see a floor plan to really understand the relationships of the zones/spaces.

  • This is my perfect home… of all the amazing houses I’ve seen on Design Sponge, this is th eone I want to live in the most! I agree with Kristin, floor plans would be a great addition!

  • The bathroom! Oh! This place is beautiful. Also, Hog Wild Vintage and Room Service Vintage are the absolute best.

  • You listed the tile as Daltile, but could you specifically tell us what tile you used on the bathroom floor? It’s gorgeous.

  • Thank you all so much for the amazing comments!! Thanks to Kate and the Design Sponge team for this opportunity!! I want to answer all your questions. I hope this helps :)

    The sputnik light was purchased from a store no longer around called Austin Modern. I believe the DWR light Matt suggested is close if not identical to ours.

    -Stephanie and Nia
    Yes it is always a disco in our bathroom :)Here is the bathroom tile link (the sample they have does not do it justice)

    -Head Smaker
    The countertops are cheap (beautiful) and indestructible. If you can get your dad to do them I absolutely would :)! We used a gun metal blackening agent.

    -ZenDot Studio
    Yes the cabinetry from the kitchen and the bathroom are Ikea. I practically lived there for a while :) Thanks

    The fan is from Home Depot. Here is the link:

    We used the same blinds throughout our space. The blinds are from: http://www.blindschalet.com/window-shades/cellshades.html

    They provide plenty of privacy at night and also allow natural light in during the day.
    Best of both worlds :)

    Thank you! All the doors were custom made by Rubyanne designs (http://radhomz.com/). Email me and we can chat doors and photos.

    We love our rug! It is from Ikea.

    Our house was so segmented before and we always entertain so we love our open floor plan. It is just my husband, me and our two dogs, and sad to say I’m probably the loudest family member.

    -Holly, Anni, Kristin
    If you’d like to see our floor plan, email me :) (http://www.brittmottola.com/#contact)
    Anni thanks for you sweet comment!!

    Good to hear from a fellow Austinite! The glass is from Binswanger Glass and the fixtures are by Danze. Prices vary but I’ve found online companies are cheaper for most fixtures. Rubyanne did all the installtions. Email me if you would like more info.

    Layne is right I could spend my days wandering through Hog Wild and Room Service! They are great resources!

    -The Farming Man
    Email me for more info (http://www.brittmottola.com/#contact)

  • This house is breathtaking in person and you should see the backyard! Love it, great job Dan and Britt!

  • Your place is amazing. Dreamy, in fact. Could you please let me know the exact paint that you used? Thank you!!

  • Love this bungalow! Everything flows really well and the mix of white, grey and wood is just perfect. Is the record holder an Ikea Billy bookcase on it’s side? I’m looking for something similar at the back of my sofa and was thinking of stacking one of top of the other. Thanks!
    – Siobhán

  • Fabulous! Love the white space, but, I have to admit, that painting near the dining table is just downright creepy…don’t like it at all. Otherwise, its fab!!

  • Beautiful, tasteful design. Thank you for sharing. Do you ever use consignment furniture on your jobs?

  • Wow! I’m so flattered! Thanks again for all the kind words!

    Your welcome Tricia!

    Denise you are a sweetheart :)

    – The paint is Sherwin Williams- Harmony- Zero VOC- Extra White 6502-59104-in eggshell
    I really liked it because it has a grey undertone and reflects the light in a calming way.

    -Thank you so much :)

    Sarah Moses
    -You are too kind! Thank you!

    – :)

    Origin Interiors
    -Thank you!! Yes! It is the Ikea Billy bookcase on it’s side. It is an awesome sofa table/storage. I say go for it!

    -You crack me up. :)

    -The majority of our house is consigment/craigslist/thrift store finds. There is something satisfying about assembling a room with special finds you come across. I love finding a great deal!

  • this turned out beautifully! Britt, I got a little sneak peek when you guys were still under construction – Michael walked me and my client through when we were interviewing him for our project. I love the way it turned out. I think you used some economical materials in a really classy way (IKEA, subway tile, and porcelain tile floor in the bath). Those old wood floors and shiplap walls are beautiful too. We’re both lucky to work with RubyAnne, eh?

  • Great reno! Any info about the light fixtures above the bathroom sinks would be much appreciated.

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

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

  • 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!

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

  • 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 http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/humanoids/hiroshi-ishiguro-the-man-who-made-a-copy-of-himself

    Thanks so much for all your comments!

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