How the Hommeboys DIYed Their Way to a Gorgeously Eclectic Dream Home

published Jul 1, 2018

We’re endlessly inspired by the Hommeboys (aka Austin Carrier and Alex Mutter-Rottmayer) and their creative design DIYs. Their Sonoma, CA, home is the definition of #stylegoals, packed to the brim with texture, pattern, and color.

Now, that is.

When Austin and Alex found their house—with the help of a real estate professional and Realtor®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®—they saw a space that was dark and dingy, with gross carpeting and rust-colored walls. But their real estate agent saw something else. Knowing both the region’s market and this property’s potential—he was a native of Sonoma and knew its unique real estate scene—he steered them toward an affordable area with great resale values. Then, he used his creativity to help them imagine the possibilities hiding under all that grunge.

And what possibilities! Austin and Alex take DIYs to a new level. Here are five of their favorite before-and-after refreshes from their home…

In a house full of accent walls (Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Shou sugi ban in the bedroom

A time-tested Japanese technique, shou sugi ban is a charring process that weatherproofs wood against the elements, but its dramatic effect makes it a dreamy choice indoors too—especially in the bedroom. Austin and Alex’s first project was to create this high-key variation on popular rustic wood accents. They tested various woods before finding the right one for their room, which they treated with a weed burner they already owned. (We told you…new level.) Then they sealed the planks, screwed them into the wall, and filled the holes with black putty. “People say, ‘I love your black painted wood boards,’ and then when they get closer they’re like, ‘Is that burnt?'” Austin says.

Note: Shou sugi ban is not a beginner’s DIY, but it is totally DIY-able. See this post if you’re thinking about it.

The new bedroom wallpaper in the foreground; the living room’s take-two in back. (Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Wallpaper on wallpaper…on wallpaper

The couple had never wallpapered, but they fell hard for this comeback look in fresh, modern patterns, going the traditional paste-and-paper route with prints from a friend’s company. They’ve now redone the living room twice and added wallpaper to the bedroom. “After the first time we did it, we were totally hooked,” Austin says. “It gives that really unique look that we like going for, and it creates a background for all these little vignettes we like to make in our place.”

The castoff tiles from Heath Ceramics look like a beautiful (Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

From misfit tiles, a beautiful backsplash

It’s a huge difference—new tile backsplash, new cabinets, new countertop—but Austin and Alex insist this project was pretty simple. The best part? The tile backsplash, which actually remained unfinished for months when the couple ran out of money to finish the project. Then they hit a gold mine: Reject tiles from the stunning (and pricey) Heath Ceramics. What the factory saw as defects, the Hommeboys saw as a patchwork of potential—one that cost a fraction of what it would have otherwise. “We went through their archives and picked out this blue tile that has all this variation in color, which gives this really cool mosaic of blue,” Alex says.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Bespoke built-in seating

This six-by-four-foot window lets in buckets of natural light, but it also opens inward, which makes using the space around it tricky. So when Austin and Alex added built-in shelves, they added a seat to make the space more useful (and still allow clearance to let in warm California breezes). Since they used scrap material to make the cabinetry, they were able to splurge a little on a custom cushion. “We use it more than we ever thought we would,” Alex says.

Note: This is one of the keys of DIYs. You can outsource elements beyond your skillset (or timeline) to the pros and still own it as your DIY.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Reclaimed bathroom vanity

Most of Austin and Alex’s bathroom budget went to the two shower heads, so by the time they got to the vanity, the funds were looking dry. Redwood to the rescue: They had extra wood from old fencing around the property and used like-new four-by-four posts to build a base for a pre-made stone top. “It was pretty much zero cost,” Alex says. “We had old bench material that was supposed to go to the dump, and now we have our vanity!”

Thanks (Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Austin and Alex always intended to find a property and make it theirs, using their DIY know-how and finely tuned aesthetic. With the help of a Realtor®, they were able to see the full potential of a great property that they’re happy to call…homme.

This post is sponsored by the National Association of Realtors® and was created by Apartment Therapy’s Creative Studio. Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors®.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make Apartment Therapy possible.