A Tampa Townhouse Has Rooms That Do Triple Duty for This Family of Five
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Name: Kim Bui, husband, and three kids (two boys and a baby girl)
Location: Tampa, Florida
Size: 1650 square feet
Type of Home: Townhouse
Years lived in: 4 years, owned
When we were on the market for a home, I narrowed it down to a specific street that I wanted to be on! It had to be on this street, and only this street, which meant I had to wait for one of the 30ish houses to go on the market. I had to be flexible with timeline, even though I was ready to move out of our 1000-square-foot condo. It came down to location, location, location for me. I was chasing a very specific lifestyle that I had envisioned for our family since we moved from Toronto to Florida. I wanted to be in a family-friendly neighborhood, where my kids could play with other kids on the street. I desired to be walking distance to the gym/coffee shops/restaurants but also to the community pool and playgrounds for the kids. I also needed to be a quick drive away to local beaches and to the airport for my husband’s weekly work travels. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long. Once a house popped up on the market, I contacted the owner immediately (it was sold by owner). We went to view the house the night it was listed and put in an offer the following morning. The house was definitely not done to my taste and honestly, not something I would have considered in the past. However, I was determined to make it work as it was in the exact location I wanted.
Our house is just over 1600 square feet and is home to our family of five. It also serves as office space for my husband and I. For most of 2020 and the start of 2021, it also served as school for our children. Although it’s not exactly small, it’s definitely not a large home. As a result, we faced challenges of ensuring it serves all the purposes we required, so we had to get creative. We love our home! We spend a lot of time in it and it’s the home that my kids have spent most of their lives in. I am thrilled that I was able to deliver the lifestyle that I wanted to give them.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I am definitely someone who loves to mix different styles. I like a little modern and a little boho, all while keeping it feeling minimal. I like to have a neutral base but add subtle pops of color throughout the house.
Favorite Element: I chose this house because of its location and we have really made it a great home for us. I love the tall ceilings and all the natural light we have, making it feel larger than it really is. Most important, I love the community feeling and the people that surround our home. We have great neighbors that we trust and that we now call friends.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge we had was budget and size. This home was only meant to be temporary for us. We had no intentions of staying here for longer than two years, as we were going to return to Canada. We knew we wanted to renovate the house so we could enjoy it during the time we were here, but we also didn’t want to put a significant investment into it.
The other challenge was size. We are a family of five. We each need a space to sleep at the end of the day. Both my husband and I require an office. We need a guest bedroom as we often have visitors from Canada. We also require a playroom to keep toys away from common areas for the sake of my sanity. Therefore, we had to get extra creative to ensure each room serves multiple purposes.
Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY is definitely our third bedroom. We turned a 100-square-foot bedroom into a nursery, a guest bedroom, and an office. We turned the closet into a cloffice, a working space for my husband. We purchased a day bed that can convert into a king-size bed for when we have guests. We created a built-in wardrobe around the day bed to store our baby’s clothes. We also managed to reserve a corner of that room as the nursery for her crib.
My favorite DIY is my IKEA Kallax hack. I turned a basic IKEA Kallax shelf in a beautiful fluted console that I absolutely love.
Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest indulgence is definitely our kitchen renovation. We gutted the entire kitchen, extended cabinets into the pantry area, and added a waterfall island. It was absolutely worth it.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? The closet in our third bedroom is an office space. Our linen closet in our hallway serves as our shoe closet.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I love many items in our home. First, I love my Monstera plant. I do not have a green thumb and so getting this plant was a bit of a stretch for me. I loved the look of it but was terrified it was not going to survive like many other plants before it. I have had it for a year now and it is still going strong so I feel very proud of myself.
Another item I love is our keyless entry. It is so practical and convenient. I love not having to worry about forgetting my keys or misplacing them because it is something I do often. I appreciate the things that just make life a little simpler, given our busy lifestyle.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: When you live in a smaller home, you really have embrace the “less is more” concept. Everything needs to have a purpose and a place. If it doesn’t have a purpose or a place, then it needs to go. Maximizing storage is key so you have to get creative. My office doubles up as a dining room (office by day, dining by night). Closets turn into a desk space. We planned it so our streaming devices are hidden behind our TV and the wiring behind our wall. Therefore, our media console is actually used as storage for our baby girl’s toys. It is aesthetically pleasing, functional, and helps keeps the house feeling neat and tidy at the end of the day.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Creating a home takes time. You can’t rush the process. If circumstances permit, it’s always better to wait so that you can find that right piece of furniture/décor item than settling for something that you may not love. You don’t have to renovate all at once if the budget does not allow for it. You can make simple/budget-friendly changes that can be impactful. This allows you to enjoy your space a little more before you are ready for a full renovation. Do not underestimate the power of paint!
PAINT & COLORS
- Bedroom — Sherwin Williams “Pure White,” on walls; Barn Door is Behr “Sculptor Clay”
- Office — Benjamin Moore “Wrought Iron” and Benjamin Moore “Edgecomb Gray”
- Living Room — Benjamin Moore “Cushing Green,” Benjamin Moore “Shoreline”
- Main Bathroom — Shiplap wall is Sherwin William “Pure White,” Walls are Benjamin Moore “Shoreline”
- Kitchen walls — Benjamin Moore “Shoreline”
- Jensen round table — West Elm
- Prescott/Jones bedroom set — Inmod
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
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