Before and After: A Historic Home is Thoughtfully Remodeled

Before and After: A Historic Home is Thoughtfully Remodeled

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Minette Hand
May 12, 2017
(Image credit: Courtesy of Amanda and Chris Covo)

Amanda and Chris Covo spent eight months renovating their 1920s bungalow, also known as the Sallie Johnson House. Johnson was a freed slave and her home is now a historic landmark in East Austin, Texas. (You can listen to Sallie's narrative here.)

When the couple first saw this house, it was completely run down. As they write in their house tour survey:

"We love the original wood floors — if they could talk, they'd tell us a lot about Sallie Johnson, the freed slave who built the house in the 1920s, and the storied east Austin neighborhood that's built up around it. At one point during the renovation, the house was without a roof — as in, exposed totally to the sky — for two weeks during a freak 10-day downpour. We were devastated, thinking we may need to replace the floors. Luckily, the wood dried. We sanded the floors down and added a red stain that makes the wood pop against the white walls."

(Image credit: Images provided by Chris and Amanda Covo)

They respected the home's original foot print, but did remove a wall between the living room and dining room to create a more open layout floor plan, and to make the home feel bigger than it is.

(Image credit: Images provided by Chris and Amanda Covo)

Fresh paint on all the walls allows the gorgeousness of the original wood floors to make a beautiful visual statement. The crisp white walls also help the home feel bright and full of light.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

A sliding barn door was installed to save floor space and add an architectural element to the open plan living area. And though the home is filled with affordable new furnishings from popular stores, there are plenty of family hand-me-downs that imbue the space with the couple's history, as well. The teak wood dining table, for instance, came from Chris' parents; it was their first table as a married couple 30 years ago in New York City. The top was water stained, so they painted it white in order to still be able to use this great piece of personal history.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

And although there's certainly a contemporary, modern feel to the space (the pop of yellow on the door is particularly fun!), Amanda and Chris made sure to incorporate reminders of the past. The shelves in the living room are a DIY project made of repurposed pine shiplap wood that was once an original interior wall in the living room. And a framed photo of a woman on a porch hangs in the living room; it's Sallie Johnson, the house's namesake, on the front porch of her home (this very house) circa 1935.

The couple also occasionally rents the house on Airbnb. See their entire home in their house tour.

Thank you, Amanda and Chris!

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