Bill Humphrey and Maria Garuti’s North Carolina bungalow had great bones and a fantastic design but wanted a little design adore. Dark walls, a outdated bathroom, an uninviting entry and an awkward kitchen obscured the joys of the 1918 home.
Garuti, a freelance decorator, and Humphrey, a guitar pick maker, both have a knack for DIY jobs and devoted the past two and a half a year to renovating and upgrading their home’s aesthetic. The Asheville couple reconfigured the design of the bloated kitchen, gutted their toilet to give it a fresh new look, and outfitted every room with a Scandinavian-inspired mixture of rich fabrics and soothing grays combined with secondhand locates and family keepsakes.
“I think, at its finest, a home reflects the stories and passions of the men and women who reside in it,” says Garuti. “And I believe this house does that for our loved ones.”
at a Glance
Who lives here: Maria Garuti, Bill Humphrey and their son, Noah
Location: West Asheville, North Carolina
Size: 1,500 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Year constructed: 1918
Garuti’s love of style, with its light colour palette and layered textures, influenced lots of her decorating decisions. She painted the brick fireplace and changed the green walls to a neutral grey. “There is something relaxing and silent around (Scandinavian design), and it seems really dull and relaxed in a manner that I find comforting,” she says.
The best way to paint a brick fireplace
Interior color: custom blend Much like Revere Pewter, Benjamin Moore; chair: Oddfellows Antiques; rug: Color-Bound Seagrass Rug, Pottery Barn; bunny hide: World Market; brick paint: Pure White, Sherwin-Williams
Vintage frames displaying family keepsakes decorate the corner nook, along with antique observes, architectural salvage and a plate from the couple’s wedding. Luna the dog looks right at home.
Couch: Karlstad, Ikea
Inspired by a tutorial she saw on a TV design series, Garuti made this ottoman from memory using Madeline Weinrib fabric.
Originally, the front door led guests directly into the living room staircase. The couple resolved the problem by purchasing a reclaimed doorway from Old World Architectural and installing it to swing the opposite manner. “Today you’re directed toward a foyer of sorts, created by adding a small dresser and a bench with hooks over it,” Garuti notes.
The formal dining room shares the home’s eclectic mixture of modern and antique finds. Stools and white scoop-back chairs flank a wooden farm table resting atop interchangeable carpet tiles.
The kitchen’s size restricted the couple’s storage space, so Garuti relocated their dishes to the dining room. Pieces are currently exhibited in a timeworn hutch next to the table.
Interior colour: Wool Skein, Sherwin-Williams; seats: Scoop-Back, West Elm; rug: FLOR; stools: Frosta, Ikea; pendant: Maskros, Ikea
As a guitar pick maker, Humphrey owns a number of guitars, which he exhibits on the dining room wall. The instruments harmonize with art along with a scalloped mirror garland on a vintage sideboard.
Mirror garland: Dennis Smith; art: David Palmquist; buffet: Oddfellows Antiques
The little kitchen was upgraded to enhance its functionality and visual appeal. “We changed things around so the kitchen now has a very simple galley design, together with the sink and refrigerator on one side along with the stove on the other — each one of which makes a lot more sense because of its size,” says Garuti.
Countertops: Ikea; cupboard color: Bone White, Benjamin Moore
“The kitchen was really cramped, with a giant refrigerator penetrating over the stove and a great deal of top cabinets,” recalls Garuti. “The configuration made things really tight in there.”
The couple made the kitchen more functional by altering the location of the cabinets and incorporating thinner storage units. Humphrey and Garuti saved money by doing all the labor themselves.
The cupboard above the stove was rescued from a Dumpster. The couple stripped and painted the bit, and now use it to store cooking essentials.
‘Short Orders’ hint: Oddfellows Antiques
The kitchen connects to a small hallway leading to the living room, guest bathroom and studio.
Interior colour: Pure White, Sherwin-Williams; mounted antlers: Just One Kings Lane
The first-floor toilet underwent a comprehensive renovation shortly after the family moved in. Originally, the door opened into the bathroom, stopping at the edge of the toilet. The couple solved the problem by purchasing a door that was slightly wider than the entry and mounting it on sliding barn door hardware that they bought online.
Sliding barn doorway: Oddfellows Antiques; chalkboard paint: Chalk Paint, Annie Sloan
The couple is most proud of the renovations that they made to their toilet. “We gutted it down to the studs, doing all the work, such as electrical, plumbing, the shiplap (siding) and adding a window,” says Garuti. “It turned out really well, I think.”
The walls are clad in painted 1-by-6 shiplap planks. The sink and black claw-foot bathtub are both Craigslist finds.
Interior colour: Montpelier Madison White, Valspar; pendant: Filigree Sphere, Terrain; tiles: Mosaic Basketweave Stone, Lowe’s
The family room offers a cozy and chic spot to watch TV. Layered rugs and fabrics dress the sofa and floor in a variety of colors and patterns.
Framed photos of Humphrey’s grandparents hang along with vintage maps and a few thrift-shop finds. Garuti discovered the side table at Target and upgraded its appearance by spray painting gold.
Interior colour: Intellectual Gray, Sherwin-Williams; sofa: Karlstad, Ikea; cushions: Just One Kings Lane
Next to the family room sits a shared office dedicated to the couple’s creative jobs. Strips of patterned fabric, little keepsakes and pages from design publications decorate every wall.
“I choose what I love, whether it is a textile picked up while traveling, a painting from a buddy, or a pillow in a pattern that makes me happy,” says Garuti. “It works in the long run since there’s a frequent thread to the things I adore.”
Desk: Parson’s Desk, West Elm; framed print: Super Rural
Garuti made the tufted headboard at the couple’s bedroom using a drop cloth from Lowe’s and some online instructions. An otomi embroidery fabric panel, brought back from visiting family in Mexico, adds pattern to the wall next to the cupboard. A wooden apple crate is reinvented as a nightstand.
Shams and curtain: Madeline Weinrib fabric; toss: P/Kaufmann Fabric; vintage Hmong pillow, One Kings Lane; wall colour: Seapearl, Benjamin Moore
The L-shaped master bathroom features a vintage dresser and simple, classic beadboard.
Noah recently sailed his bedroom to the next floor. The daybed is layered in quilts, stuffed animals and various pillows. A side table corrals his books.
Interior colour: Seapearl, Benjamin Moore; vintage kantha quilt: Etsy; cushions: ABC Carpet and Home, Madeline Weinrib, World Market
The little secretary was passed on to Noah and is now his favorite spot in the room. He picked the clear acrylic chair to pair together with the desk.
Cabinets: Stockholm Blad, Ikea; desk: Alve, Ikea
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