“The biggest challenge with an older home is the unexpected discoveries that complicate and delay a project’s timeline,” explains homeowner Lauren Daniel, summing up the lessons learned from every renovation project ever. She would know, because along with husband Chase, she just finished a six-month renovation of their first home in Austin, TX — which was built in 1960 and not updated since. They purchased with the intention of doing a complete cosmetic overhaul, but ended up fixing much more. A cramped bathroom, awkward built-in garage, and inefficient 1,200-square-foot layout needed to go. Two layers of flooring under the carpet had to come up, some of the main bathroom’s studs were rotted through, and old wallpaper that had been painted over several years ago bubbled and flaked.
The Daniels both enjoy a modern minimalist look that still feels warm and inviting, but the original state of the home was anything but. Chase, an architectural project designer and freelance photographer specializing in travel, commercial, and architectural work has a strong aesthetic point of view. Lauren also works in the design field as a manager of marketing and graphic design at an ethical fashion brand in town, so she contributed to the look of the interiors as well. Within their new white space they incorporated lots of antique and homemade furniture, plus cozy hardwood flooring throughout.
Because they did the renovation themselves, the couple worked on the house after nine-hour days at the office and every single weekend. From the vintage clawfoot tub Chase restored, to the 100-year-old barnwood kitchen backsplash Lauren nailed into place, to the invasion of carpenter ants upon replacing a sliding glass door, “Every piece of our home has a story, which is all we could ask for.” The couple solved each piece of the puzzle themselves — along with some friends and family — and are most thankful for the hands that came out and helped. They scraped tile, taped and floated drywall, sanded wood finishes, painted walls, helped to lay floors, and installed fixtures. “I love that our house was put together with help from the people we love,” Lauren concludes. “It makes it a home.” —Annie