Mike and Lauren Prater have a great story. When they met, Lauren was in law school, living in the apartment above Mike. They would leave each other little things by the other’s door, like maybe a craft beer that Mike loved and wanted to share with Lauren or an album from a new band that Lauren heard and wanted Mike to hear. As they soon discovered, they had a very similar aesthetic, a love of travel, a fondness for the same music, and the list went on and on. They were married in Mike’s old apartment, with Lauren entering the space from the steps that connected the two apartments.
When they decided to buy their own home together, they were patient until they found just the right place. On their list was space for Mike, a Fed Ex driver and artist, to have an in-house painting studio, and a room for daughter Mallory when she comes home from college (where she’s a senior at Arizona State). Of utmost importance was a place for them to build on all the things they love together: books, music and art.
The couple knew they wanted to stay in the Mid-town neighborhood of Memphis, TN and that getting a fixer-upper was not out of the question. They settled on a 1931 bungalow, just blocks from the fast-growing Broad Street area of Mid-town. “Our home is a never-ending project,” Mike and Lauren tell us. “We’re far from finished, even though we’ve done so much to it over the past two years. When we moved in it had gold carpeting, gold walls, and gold linoleum. We ripped the carpet out first, then painted and eventually had the linoleum torn out and wood floor restored. We’ve filled the space with pieces that are personal to us — art created by family and friends, furniture we inherited, and treasures we’ve picked up while traveling. We also LOVE music and books, which are an important consideration in our design decisions.”
From the looks of it, what is complete is fully worth the effort. The kitchen, bathroom, and upstairs are still a work in progress, but I hope you enjoy this beautiful bungalow and all the love that has gone into the DIY renovations so far. —Erin
Image above: Mike and Lauren’s living room is a blend of inherited pieces, treasures gathered together, and art. Mike shares, “The sofa was inherited from my grandparents and we had it reupholstered when we moved into this house. The sconces are from World Market and the coffee table is from Rip It Up, a little vintage shop in Water Valley, Mississippi. The aluminum chair is also vintage, from Flashback, here in Memphis. We found the cowhide at Tandy Leather Co. with a [stash] of found and inherited quilts stacked next to the chair. I painted the Ignuition painting and the blue hand painting is by Lauren’s sister.”