Thursday, September 6, 2007

House Voyeur: Terrific in Texas

My fellow blogger Joslyn Taylor posted a comment here last week with a link to some photos of her home. Of course, I couldn’t resist clicking through them -- and, suffice it to say, my jaw was practically on the floor when I did.

Joslyn, her husband, Bryan, and their two young daughters, Audrey and Amelia, have been in their Dallas, Texas home for only about a year -- and had a major Seventies time warp on their hands when they bought the place. But you’d never know it, given that the house they now call home is as cozy, fresh, and lovely as can be.

You’d also never guess that Joslyn and Bryan aren’t in the design business. In fact, both actually work in the high-tech industry. “I love all things related to décor and design and Bryan loves woodworking and gardening,” Joslyn says. “Since we’re in slightly unlikely careers, our house is really a place for our creative outlets."

And what an incredible showcase for those talents it is. Here, Joslyn fills us in on their home and the gentle transformation they’ve shepherded it through:

“Our house was built in 1978 in a sort of ‘Boogie Nights-meets-Brady Bunch’ style. It definitely has some ‘ranch’ elements, but also a strong midcentury feel with lots of natural materials like stone and wood. The original owner’s son was an aspiring architect, so when the house was being built he sketched a different ceiling for every room.

When we moved in last year, we gave the house a major facelift: We ripped down dated wallpaper; painted EVERY surface with Benjamin Moore’s Decorators White, to which we then added accent colors in every room; laid new maple hardwood floors throughout; and added stained concrete floors in the bathrooms.

We also put in new fixtures, installed new lighting (from Design Within Reach, West Elm, IKEA, and Pearl River), hung new window treatments (from West Elm and Target), and installed custom built-in bookshelves. We hired professionals for the big stuff, but did some of the painting ourselves and hung all the new light fixtures, changed every outlet cover to stainless, and made several pieces of art.

Retaining the spirit of the house while making it modern and family friendly has been a challenge. Our biggest project in this vein by far was the paneling in the living room: It’s beautiful, custom, tongue-in-groove ash -- but when we first saw the house, it was stained dark walnut and was really depressing. We had it completely stripped and re-stained much lighter, which was quite an undertaking.

While I’m much happier with the new color and how it really highlights the midcentury feel of the room, I’m still exploring ideas on how to ‘evolve’ the paneling. I’ve experimented a bit with liming wax on a few hidden boards and I’m really intrigued by the results.

My own style is ‘organic modern’ with a little ‘glam’ thrown in, and that’s the spirit in which we’ve approached the design of this house -- although my guiding principle for any home-design decision is always comfort and functionality for our family. Creating a home that’s warm, unique, inspirational, somewhat whimsical, and a place where my girls can create lifelong memories is incredibly important to me. The things I love most about this house are that it’s all one story -- there are no ‘off-limits’ places for the girls -- and that it feels really unique and homey.

My inspirations include the Hotel San Jose in Austin, the lobby of the Highlands Inn in Carmel (and Northern California in general), Terence Conran’s Easy Living, nature (I’m crazy about rocks, fossils, moss, shells, etc. …), and Kelly Wearstler, among others.

With two small children at home, it’s hard for me to spend a lot of money on furniture. Ours comes from local independent and vintage stores, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, and IKEA. Likewise, our area rugs are mostly woven sea grass from West Elm -- though we do have some vintage rugs and a couple of others from Anthropologie and Pottery Barn. (The things I don’t mind splurging on are items that add to my family’s well being, like great beds, good food, art, and books.)

Some of our favorite bargain finds include chalkboards from salvage yards, paper lanterns, wall decals, and fun accessories for the girls’ rooms from Urban Outfitters and the sale table at Anthropologie, great midcentury pieces from thrift stores, and of course free stuff from nature.

We find accessories anywhere and everywhere, but I love a hefty dose of vintage and found objects to offset the new stuff. Our art is mostly homemade, photographs, friends’ art, and pieces from vintage stores and estate sales.

If we had it to do over again, we probably would’ve done less to the house before we moved in and instead lived in it for a while before tackling any major design projects. (I tend to be in a hurry to get a house decorated.) Luckily, I still have a long list of things I’d like to do here.

The lessons I’ve learned: Don’t rush, and never be ‘finished’ -- a house needs to evolve over time. Don’t be afraid to copy ideas that you love (I’ve blatantly copied several ideas from one of my closest friends, who has amazing taste). Look for inspiration everywhere. Finally, design for the life you actually live (with a little of the life you aspire to thrown in).”

Click here to see Joslyn’s slideshow. (And be sure to check out Joslyn’s blog, Simple Lovely, too.)

Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous and inspiring home, Joslyn!

Want to share your own home -- or simply show off a room or a project you're proud of? Please let me know!

3 comments:

{RNVL} said...

This place is really stunning--it's hard to believe they're not in design! There's so much attention to detail--it's really quite inspirational.

katiedid said...

What a great house! They have truly done a wonderful job without spending a fortune. It LOOKS like a fortune!

becky said...

"Boogie Nights meets Brady Bunch style" I LOVE IT!

 

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