Tips and a Tour From Expert Renovators

Katie and Jeff Bullard, who revamp homes for a living, are pros at maxing out potential. HGTV Magazine found out how they rejuvenated their own house.

By: Kathleen Renda and Jennifer Berno DeCleene

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Photo By: Kim Cornelison (styled by Kate Jordan)

Meet the Owners

Katie and Jeff Bullard own Avenue B Development, an Austin, TX, firm that buys, renovates, and sells properties. He’s the contractor, she’s the designer, and together they’ve rehabbed 53 Texas homes. After purchasing their 1,200-square-foot bungalow in 2013, they embarked on a gut reno, nearly doubling the home’s size with a second-story addition.

Take a Risk in a Hallway

Katie crafted the paneled wall using leftover pine flooring nailed in place. Most of the strips are painted shades of gray, blue, and white, but she left a few untouched. Salvaged Floors Mean Mega Charm: The couple replaced the worn-out oak floors with 100-year-old heart pine boards, buffed with wax only. The look is similar to what the 1927 Austin home would have originally had when it was built.

Keep Furniture in Proportion

The 14-foot-by-14-foot room needed pieces scaled for its size, like the petite Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams sofa, upholstered in a mini black-and-white houndstooth pattern. It’s OK to Paint Woodwork: While the couple are fans of preserving the past, painting the 1920s woodwork white (Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore) immediately made the living room feel younger.

Go All in With Tile

Although the gas fireplace is decorative, it’s still a focal point, thanks to attention-grabbing black-and-white glass tiles from Material Marketing. Say Something With Lighting: The Bullards installed personality-packed lighting—including this gleaming crystal pendant from Restoration Hardware—throughout the 2,200-square-foot house.

Spend Extra on the Showpiece of a Room

Since the 3-foot-by-7-foot island is on constant display—it’s even visible from the front door—the Bullards splurged on a statuary marble top. It’s whiter and brighter than Carrara marble, which is often used for island tops and counters.

Hand-Me-Down Appliances? Sure!

The mint green 1950s Chambers gas stove once belonged to Katie’s mom, who bought it a decade ago, restored it, and eventually let her daughter nab it for her own home. Streamline a Kitchen With Shelves: Katie passed on traditional upper cabinets in favor of 2 3/4-inch-thick stainless steel floating shelves. “Having everything visible forces you to pare down,” she says.

Be Right on the Verge of Clashing

Instead of a matching dining set, Katie mixed a rustic table on wheels from Restoration Hardware with pink velvet World Market chairs and two acrylic chairs from local store Collectic Home. An Expensive Rug Isn’t Worth the Stress: Chocolate, salad dressing—nothing fazes this durable sisal carpet from Pottery Barn. Blotting with a damp rag spot-cleans most spills.

A Little Wallpaper Goes a Long Way

It was pricey, but Katie didn’t need much Phillip Jeffries grass-cloth wallpaper to hang above the wainscoting in the dining room.

Busy Floors Can Work in Tiny Rooms

Combined with simple subway tiles in the shower and white walls, the hexagonal marble floor tiles from Mission Stone & Tile aren’t overwhelming.

There’s No Such Thing as a Too-Opulent Mirror

To make the first-floor bathroom feel special, Katie hung a curvy black lacquered mirror from Jonathan Adler above the pedestal sink.

Pair Quiet With Rowdy

A neutral wood and marble Crate & Barrel dining table and white leather chairs from Collectic Home get dialed up with cabana-stripe cotton drapes from Half Price Drapes and a cowhide rug. Repeat Colors for Continuity: Deep gray (Graphite by Benjamin Moore) on the office’s French doors not only sets the home office space apart but also connects it to the adjacent living room—which has the same color on the accent wall.

Don’t Go Office-y in a Home Office

At more than 2 feet high, the chunky glass and plated steel Horchow pendant is dining room–worthy but feels right at home in the couple’s untraditional workspace.

Give a Shout-Out to The Home’s Heritage

During the downstairs reno, the Bullards discovered rough-sawn shiplap hidden beneath sheetrock. For the master bath addition, they decided to line the walls with similar-looking horizontal planks.

Choose a Vanity That Resembles Furniture

Modeled after an antique pharmacy cabinet, the marble-top metal vanity from Restoration Hardware has twin sinks for rushed mornings.

Embrace Low Ceilings

Because of restrictions on the size of additions to Austin’s historic homes, the ceiling in the new master bedroom dips down to 6 feet 8 inches along one wall. Rather than downplay the height, the Bullards emphasized it by painting the walls and ceiling two different colors (Tranquility on the walls and Chantilly Lace on the ceiling, both by Benjamin Moore).

Try Sconces Instead of Lamps

Hardwired lights mounted to the wall free up surface space on the nightstands while still providing plenty of illumination for bedtime reading. Mirrored Furniture Looks Light: Completely covered in mirrors, three-drawer chests from Collectic Home “have a ton of storage but don’t take up much space visually,” says Katie.

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