Tom & Sam's True DIY

House Tour

Name: Tom Young
Location: Lindenwood Park — St. Louis, Missouri
Size: 1250 square feet
Years lived in: 3 — owned

A lot of people can't even fix a toilet, let alone renovate an entire house. Fewer still can then make all the furniture. Tom Young, an architect in Saint Louis, is not a lot of people. Over the past couple of years, he's transformed a brick bungalow into a simple, yet sleek home for himself and his young family. The space is filled with custom pieces that he designed and built in his basement, using skills picked up while working in the architectural wood shop during college. You point at it, and chances are, he made it.

Tom's personal mantra is that it doesn't have to be expensive to look impressive. He bought the 1250 square foot house for its affordability, then made smart choices to update each room. Structurally this meant removing an arch in the doorway, installing a skylight, and knocking down a kitchen wall. The overall effect is a modern light filled, open space that belies its origins.

Cosmetically, everything is quite simple, with an emphasis on materials and function. He poured a concrete kitchen countertop (not his favorite project) and welded the counter bar to include a footrest. The bar is tiled in an inexpensive ceramic, but mimics high end corten steel. Frosted plexiglass is a cost effective substitute for glass in the bedroom door, and looks just as good.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Contemporary

Inspiration: Natural Materials, Simplicity, Function

Favorite Element: Entry / "Green" Room.

Biggest Challenge: Doing something that is quality/contemporary with little money.

What Friends Say: It's unexpected.

Biggest Embarrassment: The entire house and much of the furniture. Couldn't afford to pay anyone.

Proudest DIY: The entire house and much of the furniture. Couldn't afford to pay anyone.

Biggest Indulgence: Entry room Windows

Best Advice: If you need some help with form, wall placement, cabinets, etc. Hire a design professional. We can put together concepts, 3d views, and pricing documents for you so that you can send it out to multiple contractors, get the best deal! If you start with a contractor, they may just do what is easiest for them, not what's best for you and your home/condo. Without drawings, it's difficult to compare bids. Modern/Contemporary-It's all in the details and how they're executed. Also, a good design professional should be familiar with construction techniques, labor costs, so ultimately they are able to design based on a budget.

Dream Sources: Design Within Reach

Resources of Note: I'd say what makes my space interesting is that it was done with little money. Bamboo Flooring everywhere, $2.50/sft. Material cost. Yah I could have spent $20,000 on kitchen cabinets, but opted to go with some simple ones that cost $5,500.

Thanks, Tom & Sam!

Images: Ann Manubay, Dabney Frake

• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE Check out past house tours here
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.

36 Comments