Before and After: A 1920s Bungalow Gets a Groovy, Earthy Update Fit for a Family of 3
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Name: Jacki, Jacob, and Benji Warren-Bullard
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Size: 1,100 square feet
Type of Home: Single-family rental bungalow built in 1922
Years lived in: 6 months, renting
We were looking for a bigger rental and our friends told us that their landlord owned a neighboring house that had been sitting empty since right before the pandemic. We got in touch with the landlord and he told us that the house needed a lot of work before it was habitable but we saw that as an opportunity to be part of the renovations to make it more our style. We’ve only lived here for six months so there’s still a lot of nesting to be done. We spend a lot of time fine-tuning the space and trying to find a better flow here.
We spend a lot of time cooking, eating, and hanging out in our space. We also work from home so we are both kind of constantly in multitask mode. I have a desk but I end up answering a lot of my emails from the breakfast nook or on the couch. I’ve recently taken up sewing, which has become a big hobby for me and has sort of taken over the entire dining room. We also have a basement (not pictured) where we work on music.
My partner Jacob and I are musicians and artists. We started our band, Major Murphy (@majormurphy), right after we began dating in 2015 and a year later, welcomed our child Benji into our lives. We just released our new album “Access” on April 2nd. I also play bass in my friend’s Katie’s touring band called Waxahatchee. When I’m not working on music, I’m a photographer and beginning to take on interior design projects for others.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Eclectic, vintage, cozy, earthy, kitschy
Inspiration: My grandma’s house, nature, summer cottages, Europe, Latin America, the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. There are also a handful of designers who I am deeply inspired by at the moment — Reath Design, Meta Coleman, Matilda Goad, and Heidi Caillier.
Favorite Element: I love that we have both casual and formal eating areas. I love the tall ceilings and the trim. I love having a fireplace.
Biggest Challenge: My biggest challenge has been being a renter, moving often, and having limited control. I think I’m pretty good at making a space on a very small budget but there’s only so much I can do as a renter. I still improvise though! I wasn’t allowed to paint the dated cherry stained cabinets so I just used removable black contact paper instead! Where there’s a will!
My other biggest challenge is having a four-year-old and the accompanying debris. JK! I actually love the warmth and energy in our home now that we have a child, but I’ve subsequently shifted my style to be a little more “lived-in” and eclectic. Through the process of creating a home with a child, I’ve learned that I’m not a minimalist and never was despite my best efforts. I’m slowly leaning into my true style. This is the advantage of having rented so many different spaces. It’s taught me a lot. Now I think when we are ready and able to buy a home, I will have a much clearer vision.
Biggest Indulgence: I am pretty proud to say that almost everything in our home was secondhand/thrifted. The only non-vintage items are the rug in the living room, the curtains in my bedroom, and the pendant shade in the breakfast nook.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? We are super lucky to have two eating areas — a casual breakfast nook in our kitchen AND a formal dining room. I always thought we’d use the dining room a lot more but the breakfast nook is so cozy and the dining room table has kind of become my craft table for my new sewing obsession.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Everything vintage I own is so special to me. The thrill of the hunt for each piece and the history that they contain bring a really special energy to the home. I also see it as an important attempt to minimize trends and waste. I especially love my couch, which I bought for $80 on Craigslist about six years ago.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? The power of black and white! Our main rooms are north-facing and our yard is shaded by two huge oak trees so we don’t get a ton of natural light. I find that strategically using white and pops of black bring depth and create some dynamic and drama in an otherwise flat space. My other decorating advice is to move beyond the image saturated Instagram and Pinterest, as useful and fun as they are, listen to your home, and stay true to what you love. I’ve regretted so many house projects or purchases that were trying to copy someone else’s home style.
PAINT & COLORS
- Vintage Henredon Sofa — Vintage via Craigslist
- Painting — Nicholas Szymanski
- Rug — Novogratz Delmar wool checkered rug
- Coffee table — Vintage via Craigslist
- Side table — Vintage via garage sale
- Table lamp — Vintage via Goodwill
- Floor lamp — Vintage via Goodwill
- Henredon armchair — Vintage via Facebook Marketplace
- Candle Holders — Vintage via Goodwill
- Table — Vintage via Facebook Marketplace
- Chairs — Vintage via Facebook Marketplace, reupholstered by me with vintage checkered fabric from eBay
- Pink console table — Vintage via Facebook Marketplace
- Lamp — Vintage via Goodwill
- Artwork — Vintage via Goodwill
- Oak Pedestal table — Vintage via Facebook Marketplace
- Wicker lamp — Vintage via Facebook Marketplace
- Corner hutch — Vintage via Facebook Marketplace, Painted “Northern Air” by Benjamin Moore
- Chairs — Vintage via Facebook Marketplace
- Pendant Light — Etsy
- Tapestry — Bought in Ecuador
- Artwork — Print from Etsy and frame from Target
- Island — IKEA via Facebook marketplace
- Bedframe — IKEA
- Dresser 1 — IKEA
- Dresser 2 — Vintage from an estate sale
- Nightstand — Found on side of the road in Northern Michigan
- Macrame made by my friend Sally England
- Vintage Sesame Street lamp — Gift from Benji’s godmother
- Vintage Sesame Street poster — eBay
- Wool rug — Secondhand Novogratz rug from Facebook Marketplace
- Rug — Vintage via Facebook Marketplace
- Light fixtures — Etsy
Thanks Jacki and family!
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
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