One of my favorite Sneak Peeks of 2015 was Lindy and Travis Johnson’s home in Tacoma, WA. Their home is classic, comfortable and uncluttered. As my husband and I are on the search for a craftsman home for sale needing a little love, I think about the amazing house Lindy found with coffered ceilings, thick trim and tons of natural light — and I’m encouraged to hold out for something amazing to show up on the market. The Johnsons make the process of restoring a home with good bones doable. Everything is DIY and paid for with sweat equity and a confined budget. “I didn’t even know we were in the market to buy a home, and neither did my husband. But sometimes I like to browse Zillow, find old houses and dream of all the things I could do to them. In the first 5 minutes of one of these browsing sessions, I found it. [The house] was a complete disaster, (animal-peed carpet, fake dropped ceilings, plaster holes, dark dungeony kitchen etc.) but I couldn’t look past the coffered ceilings, staircase and molding,” Lindy says. “This house was made for us. With his skills and my ability to make things look pretty, this was the one.”
Things have changed for Lindy, a maker and designer, and Travis, an engineer, since their first Design*Sponge feature. While the work on the main level was done, things upstairs were in a bit of a standstill. “We worked so hard and so fast in the beginning that we got a little burnt out, to be honest. [We became] busy with other things and we needed an opportunity to recoup financially for the second phase of renovations upstairs,” Lindy shares. “In March of last year we found out we were pregnant! And in April we were completely shocked to find that there were two babies in there! That gave us the kick in the pants to get back at it and finish up the upstairs.” The rush of adrenaline helped them finish their goal. “We worked and worked up until the day my water broke. I have some really funny photos of me heavily pregnant with twins, a ventilator mask and a paintbrush (no VOC paint of course). Somehow we pulled it off; it was ready for them to come home to.” When Lindy reached out to us that the upstairs was finished, we jumped at the chance to see before and afters of this transformation.
The house is almost unrecognizable apart from the charming features that originally drew them to this home. “We love a good clean, modern design but sometimes for me that feels too cold,” Lindy shares. “I love to throw in classic and traditional styles with the modern to create the essence of home. I think we’ve finally nailed it. It feels really good to be home, and that’s saying something. Up until this point, (and maybe because the entire upstairs was untouched and needed renovations badly) something didn’t feel quite right. I was able to really design our family living space to suit our needs in those renovations upstairs, and clarify my design style. I’ve finally found my personal aesthetic and what feels right and like home for our family. And now with that done, I started redesigning the downstairs, making small changes like reupholstering the sofa, purchasing a new rug and finding the sweetest Danish dining chairs on Craigslist to complement the newly finished upstairs living space.” Travis and Lindy have given new life to their home with their own hands and sweat and can feel like it is finally done, at least for this life stage. Their hard work has created a space that can handle their growing family for years and years. –Lauren
Photography by Lindy Johnson