This Cramped Cottage Got an Amazing Contemporary Makeover
The homeowners of this West Lake Hills, Texas, home loved their location—just not their home. After struggling to find another home that could match the privacy, convenience, and natural beauty of their current space, the couple decided to renovate and update the outdated decor and layout. Frequent hosts, they wanted an open and inviting layout for entertaining, a reconfigured kitchen, and a modernized master bathroom.
With one homeowner preferring a clean, crisp aesthetic and the other wanting warmth and wood, the style compromise is a subtle blend of natural colors and modern materials. Architect Marsha Topham with CG&S Design-Build in Austin helped the couple strike the right balance of styles. Overall, the home feels airier and far more contemporary—finally befitting of a location that is too good to let go of.
Before: Cramped Cottage Style
Muted yellow built-ins with cottage-style trim didn't suit the homeowners' style and left the kitchen with little counter space. The oversize island was an attempt to compensate as a work area but contrasted the traditional vibe of the existing decor. The island cut into the walkway from room to room and made the open space feel squished.
After: Lofty Look
Ariel nebula silestone was used for the kitchen countertops and backsplash, creating a sleek, modern backdrop for the new stove. A new island and cabinets, both made of bamboo, add warmth to the clean lines and neutral color palette. Blue pendants over the kitchen island add a touch of color and a sense of division between the kitchen and adjacent sitting area.
A new built-in wine bar with bamboo cabinets adds to the entertainment space in the kitchen and offers spacious storage for glassware and dishes. Clean lines and sleek silver cabinet hardware make the bar look contemporary and luxurious. The same white countertops are repeated from the kitchen to tie the areas together.
Before: Hitting A Wall
The original front entry left guests in a narrow hallway, which wasn't exactly inviting. A variety of urns, console tables, and accessories left the space feeling cluttered. Guests needed to travel all the way down the hallway to reach the kitchen.
After: Open Entry
The entryway, now visible from the rest of the kitchen, makes a statement with a new steel door and beehive light fixture. The hallway wall was removed to create a more open floor plan, and the vaulted ceiling was extended, making the small space look larger. Large-scale glass door panes complement the room's great heights. The worn tile flooring was replaced, and a careful edit of accessories cleared floor space.
Before: Secluded Fireplace
On the other side of the kitchen, a seldom-used desk area blocked the view of the woods and creek outside sliding glass doors. A corner fireplace lacked seating space, limiting its function. Placing the TV up so high made the vaulted ceiling look shorter.
After: Cozy Gathering Place
The illogical kitchen layout was flipped in the renovation, allowing the entry-blocking wall to be removed to create a view into the kitchen and woods beyond. A new contemporary fireplace (made from limestone and stone mosaic) and seating area now reside where the fridge used to be, along the same wall as the dining room entrance. The redesign is more welcoming and inviting, and doesn't leave guests feeling cut off.
Before: Incomplete Dining Room
A rarely-used sliding door between the dining room and the deck interrupted the dining room's decor. A long table (with very few chairs) left the layout feeling unbalanced and cold. A rustic chandelier and country accents felt out of place with the homeowners' modern vision for the home.
After: Room To Entertain
The sliding door was removed, and a larger doorless frame continues the open floor plan. A matching dining set around a smaller table makes the space feel airier, and the light wood mimics the hue of the bamboo cabinets in the kitchen. A geometric light fixture with white shades reduces the heft above the table. White walls in the dining room and kitchen reflect the natural light from large windows.
Before: Dark Powder Room
The main level powder room felt dark and outdated with eggplant walls and the home's distinctive orange D'Hanis tile. White baseboards and fixtures couldn't lighten the space enough to make it feel contemporary and breezy. A modern round mirror and glass shelf were overpowered by the dark walls.
After: Freshened Up
After a much-needed redesign, the powder room matches the natural and contemporary look the homeowners wanted. A sunburst etched mirror provides a bold focal point and breaks up the clean lines of the vanity and tile accent wall treatment. Silver hardware and a light wood cabinet repeat the style found in the kitchen.
Before: Disaster Master
The master bath was plagued by deep green wallpaper and the same orange tile from the main floor. A walled-in shower enclosure featured an outdated framed door and looked dark and dreary. A curved double vanity emphasized the abnormal shape of the space.
After: Clean-Lined Design
While the original tile was removed from the main floor, the homeowners gave it a makeover in the master bath. Wallpaper was replaced with 12x24-inch porcelain wall tiles in an elegant earth tone to balance the restained D'Hanis tile. Silestone countertops and stained white oak cabinetry on the double vanity lighten the color palette.
Before: Untapped Potential
The master bathroom had a huge tub that the homeowners didn't use and a large window over it that was kept closed for privacy, preventing any natural light from coming in. White trim and cabinetry contrasted with the dark wallpaper. Light grout between the tiles showed dirt and wear.
After: Sleek Storage
An almost-frameless corner shower enclosure gives the master bath a contemporary spalike vibe. Mosaic tiles on the shower floor complement the backsplash tiles above the vanity. Built-in cabinetry where the tub used to be adds plenty of storage space for toiletries and extra linens. High, narrow windows keep the bathroom private while still letting in natural light.