We’re so excited to debut our new Home Tour series, where we step inside the spaces of some of our favorite design-world friends to chat all things decor and learn how they’ve turned their house into a home.
First up is Katie Bowling of One Delightful Home. We’ve been fans of Katie’s style for awhile now, and love how she’s decorated her 1960s Virginia fixer upper with tons of color and a mix of traditional and modern designs. She lives in the home with her husband Philip, who helps out on the renovation projects, along with their three young kids—plus any Airbnb guests that book the attached rental property!
In the two years they’ve lived in the home, the Bowlings have tackled a long list of transformational DIYs—and we are seriously impressed! Between that feat and the gorgeous decor, we knew we had to get all the details from Katie. Keep reading to get the lowdown, and prepare to be inspired!
Tell us about your style! How would you describe the look of your home and aesthetic?
I could say my style is classic, colorful and eclectic. The home itself is a traditional colonial home so I rely some on that to inform how we decorate. I love mixing old and new. My grandmother was an only child that lived in a large farmhouse and her dad was a woodworker. We have lots of pieces that were hers. I will usually choose color and pattern over neutrals.
What made you choose to move into this home? What were you looking for?
We wanted a home that had an income property attached to it because we wanted to run an Airbnb or have rental income. My mom had heard there was a house that might go for sale on their street. We got a chance to look at it and it had hardly been updated since the 1960s, and that made it a resounding yes for us! We LOVE fixer uppers and this is our third so we knew what made it a good candidate. The house had seven bedrooms in the basement that had been used as college student rentals. Basically, this house blew away our expectations for what we were looking for.
We have to ask about your rugs! What rugs do you have from Rugs USA, and what made them the perfect fit for your space?
I did not expect for the Center Medallion rug in orange to work so nicely in our formal living room. We brought it from our last home in Massachusetts, but it works very well with the dark walls. We have a Jute Braided rug for our family room and I love its durability with little kids being on the floor a lot.
What has the process been like designing your space and making your house feel like a home?
My husband is the king of efficiency and he can do most projects we need to do ourselves. He usually tries to get me to make a quick decision on things, but I have realized so much of the design process is living in a space and analyzing how we use it to figure out how it would work best for us. I also find that sometimes a random object or color will give me inspiration for a space. I like to use a program like Canva to create a moodboard to visualize the space together.
When we first moved in, much of what needed to happen was just to get the home livable and safe for children. Now that we have been here for over a year, we have been able to go back and add even more personal touches to the home, which makes it so special.
It’s not always smooth sailing when it comes to decorating older homes. Can you talk about any weird design quirks you came across?
Oh so many! The lady that designed our house had very high-end tastes, down to her toilets. She used wall-hung toilets which are much more expensive than the average toilet, and we would have to re-plumb to switch them out. When renovating our mudroom, we thought we could tear out several walls, but one of the walls had a steel beam to support these wall-hung toilets upstairs.
We also found the original home plans and it was interesting to see the changes they made overtime. The previous owners also put an elevator in the house because they thought they might need one someday.
Let’s talk projects! What DIYs or renovations have done in your home? What’s next on your to-do list?
Our house was not very livable when we moved in. We took down wallpaper in almost every room and painted every room of the house to cover the lead paint. My husband refinished the hardwoods on the second floor. We renovated one of the bathrooms immediately to have one clean bathroom to use. We tore out dirty linoleum in the hallways and put down peel-and-stick tile to use until we redo the hardwoods on the first floor. We replaced lots of light fixtures. I wallpapered a couple rooms. We also gutted two apartments completely in the basement that we now use as rentals.
This year we are hoping to tear down a wall between the kitchen and the family room. We hope to renovate our kitchen and redo the hardwoods on the first floor. This is all after we finish our next Airbnb, an airstream we hope to put on land in the mountains.
What are your favorite things to do at home with your family?
We waited awhile to renovate our “family room” because we could use the formal living room in the meantime. This fall we finished the family room and got a sectional we love. One of my favorite things to do is make pizza on Friday night and watch a movie in our family room.
What is your most treasured item in your home?
Any of the furniture from my grandmother’s childhood home is very special to me. Along with her quilts that she and my grandfather enjoyed finding at flea markets. I have realized everything else could be replaced as far as items in the home go.
Do you have any design tips you’ve discovered while decorating that you’re willing to spill?
One of the simplest decorating tips is do a moodboard. I used to think it was a waste of time, but if you just grab images of items you are considering and put them in one image together, you can get a feel for how it works together.
My other tip is don’t be afraid to go with the bolder choice. I went very simple when we moved in. White walls, white trim in the majority of the rooms. I have been slowly updating those rooms to have more personality.
What do you love most about your home?
I love how there are limitless projects right now. It’s hard to wait and not finish them all, but we don’t have time and budget anyway. It will be fun to keep chipping away and see where we are a couple years from now.
All photos courtesy of One Delightful Home.