Jeff's Resourceful Remodel

Jeff's Resourceful Remodel

Chris Perez
Apr 18, 2012

Name: Jeffrey Lamb
Location: Travis Heights, Austin, Texas
Size: 1650 square feet
Years lived in: 0 years; still looking to live here someday

Jeffrey, who currently lives in New York with his wife and two children, is accustomed to living small and smart. A self-identified DIY'er, he's also not afraid to get his hands dirty and involved in projects of all sizes. As he started getting things in order for a relocation back to his home state of Texas, he knew he had to put trust in a professional. See how they brought this mid-century style home up-to-date in a format suitable for his growing family.

Jeffrey's feeling the call to 'come back to Texas' so his children can grow up near the rest of his immediate family. He purchased a place in Austin with hopes of transforming it into a home they all can enjoy. Jeffrey had a vision for the space but needed help realizing it while still working in New York. A longtime friend recommended his brother, Erik Gonzalez, of design-build firm Sago International. In five short months they transformed a well-worn space, with old tile floors and awkward bathroom spaces, into the large and open floorplan you see here today.

Jeffrey felt really lucky to work with Erik and appreciated the relationship he developed with him. "He asked my opinion on several ideas he had, and I would tell him what I thought...but I also told him to be honest with me if he disagreed. I'm not a designer, so I wanted his professional opinion and guidance so I didn't mess this up." Erik used his resourcefullness to stay on budget, repurposing an old kitchen cabinet for use in the laundry room, as well as sourcing several items from eBay, such as the Starck toilet and Grohe shower hardware in the bathrooms. Jeffrey did a little smart shopping himself, gathering two large aluminum mirrors, featured in the hallway and bathroom, from a Gap store closing sale for only $20 a piece.

To maximize living space the floorplan was re-thought and configured. Bedroom closet space was traded in for a wider kitchen walkway, and an unusually large utility room was shrunk to accomodate a full-size bath and larger bedrooms. The main living area and kitchen showcase clean all-white walls and counters. Jeffrey mentions he was initially skeptical of that design decision, but now that he's furnishing the space he sees how well the motif lends itself to posters, art and other decor. On the walls are photos from New Zealand and China, and sculpted masks from the Caribbean. Jeffrey is still thinking of ways to infuse the space with more decorative elements and midcentury colors like avocado green, saffron orange, and powder blue. It's a work and dream in progress but the fit and finish of the space is something Jeffrey is proud of and realizes he couldn't have done himself.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern, clean, simple, tropical.

Inspiration: The inspiration for this house comes from its midcentury modern heritage.

Favorite Element: Open layout and large rooms.

Biggest Challenge: Changing the floor plan to make the kitchen bigger and move the second bathroom across the house.

What Friends Say: Why don't you live here yet?

Biggest Embarrassment: The backyard grass

Proudest DIY: The built-in wooden bench around the deck.

Biggest Indulgence: The large Caesarstone countertop and cherry wood floors.

Best Advice: Alan Gonzlez, owner of Papi Tinos on E. Sixth, said "call my brother (Erik Gonzalez of Sago International), he can help you!"

Dream Sources: Any modern design store.

Resources of Note:





    • Flight of the Concords Poster


    • Eames-style Shell Chair
    • Desk from Organic Modernism
    • Original photos of the Māori - native New Zealander's


    • Mask sculptures from the Caribbean
    • Drawings from Bali
    • Starck Toilet
    • Grohe Hardware

Thanks, Jeffrey and family!

(Images: Chris Perez)

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