Magazine article Sunset

Diy Dream House

Magazine article Sunset

Diy Dream House

Article excerpt

It started with a FaceTime tour. Anna and Austin Smith, who were living in Washington, D.C., but planning a move out to Colorado, watched as their realtor virtually ushered them through a 1972 ranch house in Denver. "It was dark and cramped, with brown shag carpet everywhere," says Anna. "But the price was right."

So without ever seeing the place in person, Anna and Austin put in an offer, moved out West, and got to work. Remodeling on a tight budget, the couple- he's in finance; she's an interior stylist-purchased construction materials, tools, furnishings, and even plants secondhand. "Craigslist is our silver bullet," says Austin.

The Smiths also saved money by tackling most of the work themselves, a twoyear-long process that Anna chronicled on her blog, annabode.com. They spent hours on YouTube and Google learning how to do everything from framing doorways to plumbing sinks. At eight months pregnant, Anna even took on the laborious job of tiling the shower, while Austin removed mismatched ceilings.

But for the most part, the couple, now parents to two young children, discovered they make a solid DIY team. "I appreciate working with my hands, and Anna is really design minded," says Austin. "But she runs the table saw better than I do."

STYLE TIPS FROM THE SMITHS

1 BE RESOURCEFUL

The dining room table (previous page), moved from the couple's former home, was missing a leaf, so Anna replaced it with leftover marble from their new kitchen counter. Against a muted (and affordable) landscape from online art source Minted, Anna created a dramatic moment over the table with a contemporary brass chandelier in a finish that's repeated throughout the home.

2 LIGHTEN THINGS UP

"This space had big fauxwood paneling that was really, really dark," says Anna of the living room (above). "And the fireplace brick was a horrible orangey color." In addition to painting the walls and fireplace with Benjamin Moore's Simply White, the Smiths replaced the shag rug with low-cost engineered pecan wood flooring.

3 SAVE TO SPLURGE

Staying on budget involved a series of compromises and calculations. To save money in the kitchen (above) the couple did without upper cabinetry, instead repurposing shelving from their previous home. And by paying less for a lightly dented refrigerator, they were able to pony up the cash for something else they wanted: "We splurged on a nice, quiet Bosch dishwasher," says Anna. "It's worth it with kids."

4 KEEP AN OPEN MIND

The home's original shared spaces were made up of several small rooms. …

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