Interiorssneak peeks

A Bright and Airy Home in Central Texas

by Grace Bonney

The older I get, the more I truly believe that you can learn a lot about people by spending time in their home. Sometimes that home tells a story about world travels and bold colors and exciting finds brought back from far away locations. Sometimes the story is closer to home and expresses how much family, history and a local area means to people. No matter what the story is, I like getting to see how much care, thought and love people put into their spaces. Because when someone really loves where they live, you can tell, and today’s home tour in Central Texas is a perfect example.

Bethany and Mark Douglass moved into this nearly 100-year-old home just over eight months ago with their children (Liam, Burke, Blythe and Olive) and the family’s guinea pig, Squeak. Mark is an educator and writer who works just a mile down the road from their new home and Bethany is a writer, photographer and home-educator who is passionate about creating spaces at home that inspire self-initiative, creativity and reflective moments for her children. Together, Bethany and Mark turned a once-dilapidated house into a bright, comforting home for their family and friends.

This 1,900-square-foot shotgun-style home was just what Bethany and Mark were looking for last year when they decided to downsize and find something smaller in their existing neighborhood so they could have more space in their budget to travel together as a family and invest toward retirement. Though the home needed a lot of work, the couple knew that, along with help from their family and friends, they would be able to restore this space to its former glory. Their DIY skills, combined with a real knack for spotting great yard sale finds, created a truly welcoming family home that houses all six people comfortably and leaves plenty of room for creativity, learning and lots of fun. Thanks so much to the Douglass family for welcoming us into their home. xo, grace

All photos by Bethany Douglass

Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
Bethany and her family like to gather near their living room fireplace to chat, draw or play games at the coffee table. The mantel changes its look with every season, decorated with florals that Bethany brings in from the yard or a nature walk.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
Bethany knows a good find when she sees one. The family's living room sofa used to belong to a friend, but the fabric was tattered and torn. Instead of buying a new sofa, Bethany had this one reupholstered. The living room rug was a great vintage shop find. Bethany had to haggle to get the price into her budget (something she says she always struggles to do well), but in the end she got her rug and it really completes the room.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
This vintage dresser was originally purchased to be used as part of the kitchen renovation, but it ended up in the living room where it is now used to store music and DVDs and display framed art, like a picture of Mark as a young boy, flirting with a college student (one of Bethany's favorite pictures).
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
Bethany saw this oversized screenprint of Steve Mcqueen in a store years ago and knew Mark would love it, so she asked the store manager if she could buy it from them. Luckily they said yes and Bethany gave it to Mark for an anniversary gift almost a decade ago. Each time they move, Mark and Bethany always consider, "where will Steve go?"
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
The dining room is a cool, calm space accented by Lindsey Adelman's DIY lighting kit. Bethany purchased the kit and put the light together herself.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
The dining table is the heart of many families' homes, and Bethany's home is no different. This farmhouse table is her favorite piece of furniture they own and it's been the epicenter of delicious family meals and great conversation. The poster on the wall is from an Austrian underground artist in the late 90s and the framed art is an antique illustration of Trafalgar Square, a piece from the couple's honeymoon and a tribute to Bethany's husband's family lineage.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
The family is proud of its sizable book collection, so they decided to build shelves using wood collected from a nearby historic building's restoration. The old wood means the lines aren't perfect, but Bethany and Mark love the way it looks and how it highlights the family's simple and innovative way of dealing with space and storage.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
Bethany loves her vintage-inspired fridge, but it didn't fit in the current built-ins. So she cut into the existing cabinets to make room!
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
Bethany tried to stay true to the spirit of the original home when she started renovating the kitchen. She chose a farmhouse sink and wooden countertops, but modernized the space a bit with open shelving. Her plan is to eventually replace the wooden counters with natural stone.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
Open shelves can be tough to keep dust-free, but Bethany loves that they showcase her favorite plates and dishes. "It makes them feel like art," she explained.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
This desk space is in the kitchen so the whole family can have access to the computer in a common area. Behind the computer screen are pieces of framed artwork and antique maps from a map shop in London.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
The guest room's bed was originally a wedding gift to Bethany and Mark. Since this photo was taken, it has moved on to the girls' room.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
Bethany attached a small rope along her daughters' wall to hang their favorite artwork and pictures together. The rolling chest, an affordable IKEA find, used to be a hiding place for toys and now serves as a dress-up station for the girls as well as a suitcase stand when visitors stay with the family.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
Bethany's boys' room was so large, they chose to "divide" it with bookshelves to create a little school area. Bethany's father and Mark built the closet to create a bookshelf for all of their children's books and then painted the wall with chalkboard paint for anything from lists to silly drawings.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
This work table was a garage sale find from years past, but it has a new life now as a play station, Lego zone and worktop for the boys.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
Bethany decided to keep the boys' room clean and simple so they'd have plenty of space to play.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
Bethany and Mark's master bedroom is Bethany's favorite room in the house because of all of the light. There are SEVEN windows in the bedroom, so even on the cloudiest days it's bright!
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
The photo above the master bed was taken by Bethany's brother-in-law. It's a favorite building of the couple's before it was restored.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge
Bethany and Mark bought this dresser in their master bedroom at a vintage shop early on in their marriage. It needed a little love, so they painted it and replaced the hardware for a quick makeover.
Bethany Douglass' Texas Home Tour | Design*Sponge

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  • This home is absolutely perfect! The kitchen inspired me to put some work into mine to restore it back to it’s original glory. Love your home, Bethany and Mark – it’s wonderful!

  • I love everything about this. The house is gorgeous, Bethany’s handwriting is beautiful, love that they downsized so they could travel more, so impressed that they manage to have an awesome house, homeschool four, and travel. My dream! Also, Grace, I completely agree about knowing people from their home. We home exchange in part because it is so fun to walk into a “stranger’s” home and piece together a life by looking at their photos, furniture, and books.

  • Love the restraint and focus in the design of this home. Everything seems perfectly placed and harmonious. It’s hard to believe that the family fixed their house up in only 8 short months! Super people.

  • What you said is my favorite thing about exploring homes. Walking into a place and getting an immediate feeling of the person or family that lives there is so special. i could spend all my days exploring the personalities of homes…

  • Bethany!! It is beautiful:) you’ve always had an amazing gift at making any space feel like home and you have certainly done it again this time. I have loved watching you work together as a family and strive to simplify and create a beautiful home!

  • Thank you all for so many generous comments, and thank you Grace for having us here to share our space with everyone. Bridgette, we bought the fridge at the Home Depot! It’s bigger than most vintage fridges and a fraction of the price. Such a steal.

  • There are many things I love about your house, for instance, I wish I could have your kitchen but I can’t. However, can you please tell me the name of the IKEA chest that your girls use for dress up? I need something just like that. It doesn’t seem to be available any more at the store but I am hoping I can find it used somewhere if I only had the name. Thank you!

  • Love it !

    I’m currently searching for the perfect white to repaint my living room. Bethany, what white did you use ?

  • love the idea of creative simplicity! I can totally see how this home inspires those who live inside. i love all the posters and casual artwork everywhere, and i think the painted wood walls are really lovely.

  • Thank you so much, Laurie! My husband took our kitchen down to the studs last summer, so I know he’ll be pleased to hear your enthusiasm for the new space. I bought the chest at IKEA about 10 years ago–shocking, right? The center rolls out and leaves the bench frame. It’s the most versatile piece, but I cannot remember the name of it. I’m so sorry. I would check Ebay or Craigslist. Good luck!

  • Audray, we used Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace throughout the entire house. It’s a really balanced, clean bright white. Another favorite white with grayer tones is BM White Dove. Have fun! White brings so much possibility.

  • Your space is so fresh and beautiful! I recently have been inspired to paint my house white as well, came across BM white dove in another blog. I love accenting with color so I’m excited to see how the walls turn out. Your home is inspiring, thanks for sharing!

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