Cody Warren and Ellie Bork know how to make a home.
In fact, they’re gonna do it all the time now.
This, their first collaboration together, but collectively their fifth German Village project, not only served as the spark for their new renovation company, Buck & Oak, but also served as inspiration for us to find tips and tricks for your next home makeover—however big or small.
What they thought would be a 4-6 month “slow-walk” renovation, quickly turned into a that six-week, total-gut-passion-project-remodel.
So, with Buck & Oak, they’ve decided to take on a handful of similar projects per year for clients, serving as navigator for the choppier waters that come with an accelerated timeline.
“There are so many things to consider when beginning a remodel or renovation: finding a contractor, mitigating costs, how to translate your “Pinterest” ideas into fruition … the list goes on and on,” Bork said. “Our goal is to work with people that crave living in a beautiful space but don’t have the time, energy or vision to create it. That’s when we come in—we are the workhorse.”
Here, the list goes on, too! While they gear up for their next client, we walked through the fresh paint on their newest remodel, picking up a free consultation along the way:
His, hers and theirs: Like many 30-somethings we found challenges when merging our two homes and bold personality styles together. I consider what we’ve created to be an eclectic mix of 1920s glam with classic and modern elements throughout.
Plant your roots: I think plants bring life into your home. They have a very softening way to fill deep space. Plants in the indoor setting gives me a feeling of balance. It makes the home feel more welcoming while still creating a connection to nature.
Classically modern: It’s important to have more than one style present in your home because it creates a ton of interest and actually tells the story of the people that live there! A good example is in the different tiles we chose in the entire space. We took classic subway tile throughout the home to create a cohesive look. However, in the downstairs bath we chose a dark gray, very modern subway shape from floor to ceiling to create an edgier space. We mixed the subway tile on the walls, a black and white penny-tiled floor, and a modern chandelier to create the perfect marriage of modern and classic.
Heavy on the metal: We made the decision to keep any traditional hardware pieces that were original in the home. For example, the brass door knob and plate on the front door and the iron register returns are all original. There was a desire on our part to blend new pieces with the original pieces to produce a cohesive look. Fortunately, we did not want a monochromatic look so it was easier for us to match the old with the new when making purchases during renovation. In the kitchen you will see brushed brass hardware on the knobs, a soft gold pasta filler, and a hammered copper sink that adds a touch of radiance. The contrasting differences in the metal pieces are purposeful; it is a great strategy for adding visual interest to the space.
The trick with brick: Let the detailed beauty of your old home speak for itself. Crumbling brick walls, perfectly imperfect floors, and original fireplaces don’t need anything over the top. There’s beauty in that level of craftsmanship that just can’t be replicated today.
“Palette-able”: Color theory is a science! We are adventurous, so the bold color in our dining room and the matte black up to the ceiling in our bath worked perfectly for us. We fell in love with the deep navy blue color for our dining room and wanted the richness to stand out by also painting our bookcases instead of landing on the traditional white. We started there and chose more subdued colors for the next rooms. Don’t be afraid to go for the dramatic.
Something to talk about: It’s all about balance, harmony and rhythm in a space regardless of its particular style. The goal was never to match things—but to create conversation.
Kids crave creativity: I am an early educator and Montessorian at heart! I believe children’s spaces should be just as beautiful as adults’ and they crave pretty, organized spaces just like we do. Children are naturally creative and expressive and having a cluttered space can detract from that. Give children quality materials and they can not only blend but add to your design style.
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