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
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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
Photography by Britt Mottola, Jake Holt and Leah Polkowske