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The Wall Street Journal

His Decision to Go Remote Called for a $180,000 Library Remodel

The year 2022 was one of many firsts for 59-year-old entrepreneur and hedge-fund manager Mohnish Pabrai. It was the year he celebrated one year of his company’s relocation from California to Austin, moved into his new home in Austin’s West Lake Hills, and made the decision to work exclusively from home. “During Covid, I was forced to work remotely and I found that I was actually more productive. That carried through when we moved to Austin,” says Pabrai, who purchased the Austin property in 2021

A California Couple Poured $118,000 Into Creating the Speakeasy of Their Dreams

As people who like their coffee strong and their cocktails stronger, one California couple had a home with a speakeasy on their wish list. That is why the couple, a commercial real-estate broker and a professional organizer, both 42, say they felt like it was fate when a 1930s Spanish Revival with a speakeasy in Redwood City, Calif., came on the market in the winter of 2020.

“We wanted a place where our friends and family could gather to unwind and celebrate. It wasn’t just about the drinks, wh

[Print] Washington: A Kitchen for the Grandkids

One couple in the state of Washington, a lawyer and an IT professional, both in their 60s, never could have predicted that their daughter’s home remodel would sow the seeds for their own. Yet, a chance encounter with her interior designer, Richard Landon, one half of KIRIC Collaborative Design, inspired them to consider the possibility. The couple had purchased their Bellevue, Wash., home for $227,500 in 1990 and had remodeled it twice since. Now, as seasoned grandparents, they hoped to overhaul the home once more to create space for their growing brood. Soon after, they enlisted Landon and KIRIC Collaborative
Design’s other half, Kirsten Conner, for the redesign, with a special focus on the kitchen.

Their Growing Family Kicked Off a Third Home Remodel, Including This $550,000 Kitchen

One couple in the state of Washington, a lawyer and an IT professional, both in their 60s, purchased their Bellevue home for $227,500 in 1990 and had remodeled it twice since. But now, as seasoned grandparents, they hoped to overhaul the home once more to create space for their growing brood. So they enlisted interior designer Richard Landon and his partner, Kirsten Conner, of KIRIC Collaborative Design for the redesign, with a special focus on the kitchen. The designers had recently done a hom

They Left the Gym With a New Friend—And Plans for a $125,000 Bathroom

For one California couple, a financial consultant and an endocrinologist, both in their late 40s, a visit to the gym in the summer of 2020 yielded more than just a satisfying workout. Somewhere between the barbells and the bench press, they became acquainted with interior designer Christine Vroom and her eponymous Los Angeles-based interior-design studio.

“We became friendly and they mentioned they were rebuilding their house. It was a perfect match,” says Vroom of the couple, who paid $2 milli

[Print] They Spent $244,000 Turning Their Basement Into a Chic Hideaway. This Is the Result.

Since buying their Hinsdale, Ill., home for $1.7 million in 2018, one couple—a physician and a healthcare project manager, aged 36 and 37 respectively—had made many changes. The only thing left on their checklist was a basement refresh. They decided to tick that task off the list in 2022, tapping interior designer Laura Chappetto Flynn of Element Design Network, with whom they had previously collaborated on other areas of the home. She helped them turn the lackluster 850-square-foot space into an entertainment haven.

[Print] They Spent $244,000 Turning Their Basement Into a Chic Hideaway. This Is the Result.

Since buying their Hinsdale, Ill., home for $1.7 million in 2018, one couple—a physician and a healthcare project manager, aged 36 and 37 respectively—had made many changes. The only thing left on their checklist was a basement refresh. They decided to tick that task off the list in 2022, tapping interior designer Laura Chappetto Flynn of Element Design Network, with whom they had previously collaborated on other areas of the home. She helped them turn the lackluster 850-square-foot space into an entertainment haven.

They Spent $244,000 Turning Their Basement Into a Chic Hideaway. This Is the Result.

Since buying their Hinsdale, Ill., home for $1.7 million in 2018, one couple—a physician and a healthcare project manager, aged 36 and 37 respectively—had made many changes. The only thing left on their checklist was a basement refresh. They decided to tick that task off the list in 2022, tapping interior designer Laura Chappetto Flynn of Element Design Network, with whom they had previously collaborated on other areas of the home. She helped them turn the lackluster 850-square-foot space into a

[Print] A 1920s-Meets-'Mad Men' Office

When he bought his Akron, Ohio lakefront home for $450,000 in 2006, the homeowner, a real estate investor, now in his early sixties, intended to use it as a weekend getaway. Wary of spending too much on an occasional-use property, he decided to put off making any changes. It was a decision he stood by until 2019, when the fading interior coupled with a desire for a primary residence prompted him to reconsider a design refresh. Soon after, he tapped interior designers Tanner Morgan and Jennifer Laouari of Morgan Madison Design to helm the redesign, albeit with a very specific brief. “It was to conjure a 1920s meets Mad Men vibe,” says the homeowner. While the scope outlined the entire home, there was one space in particular that needed special attention—the library, which the homeowner recalls had dated wall-to-wall carpeting and dingy plaster walls. “It hadn’t been touched in decades and was far from an inspiring place to work,” says Morgan.

A $210,000 Home Library Renovation Over a Decade in the Making

When he bought his Akron, Ohio, lakefront home for $450,000 in 2006, the homeowner, a real-estate investor, now in his early 60s, intended to use it as a weekend getaway. Wary of spending too much on an occasional-use property, he decided to put off making any changes. It was a decision he stood by until 2019, when the fading interior coupled with a desire for a primary residence prompted him to reconsider a design refresh.

A Minnesota Couple Welcomed Two Bundles of Joy: A New Baby and a $185,000 Kitchen

When a young couple—an actuary and a manager in technology transformation, both in their early 30s—purchased a circa-1970 home in Minnetonka, Minn., for $450,000 in 2019, they knew they’d struck a real-estate jackpot, at least in terms of location. The interior, however, tempered the win. It was cramped, dated, and lacked energy. Recognizing that they needed help, they turned to Instagram.

[Print] A Great Room as Entertainer's Paradise

When the homeowners—executives based in Austin, Texas—bought their 10,000-square-foot Wolcott, Colo., home in 2020, it was special in more ways than one. The husband—an investor who works in construction—had grown up in Chicago, and still had friends and family there. Now, as an adult, Wolcott, situated around 116 miles west of Denver, served as the perfect halfway point between Illinois and Texas for him and his wife, an executive at a commercial real estate and property management group, to host friends, family and clients. To help them transform the home into an entertainer’s paradise, they reached out to interior designer Meredith Owen, who previously worked on their Austin home.

A Colorado Great Room, Designed From the Rug Up

When the homeowners—executives based in Austin, Texas—bought their 10,000-square-foot Wolcott, Colo., home in 2020, it was special in more ways than one. The husband—an investor who works in construction—had grown up in Chicago, and still had friends and family there. Now, as an adult, Wolcott, situated around 116 miles west of Denver, served as the perfect halfway point between Illinois and Texas for him and his wife, an executive at a commercial real estate and property management group, to ho

[Print] A Long-Overdue Reno in Louisville

On a leafy lane in Audubon Park, Louisville, sits a house that looks like it could have once belonged to Rapunzel. With a fairytale turret and Dutch Colonial Revival architecture, the home stands apart from its neighbors. But when Heather and Stefan Rumancik, both 43, purchased the 1930s home in 2009 for $225,000, it was a far cry from its present-day avatar. "We bought the house from its second owners, who had owned it since the 1940s, but the home itself hadn’t been updated in thirty years," says Mrs. Rumancik, a competitive intelligence executive at a pharmaceutical company, who shares the home with Mr. Rumancik and their eleven-year-old daughter, Adrienne.

Louisville: Their Home Renovation Was Almost Complete. All That Was Missing Was a Turret.

On a leafy lane in Audubon Park, in Louisville, Ky., sits a house that looks like it could have once belonged to Rapunzel. With a fairy-tale turret and Dutch Colonial Revival architecture, the home stands apart from its neighbors. But when Heather and Stefan Rumancik, both 43, purchased the 1930s home in 2009 for $225,000, it was a far cry from its present-day version.

“We bought the house from its second owners, who had owned it since the 1940s, but the home itself hadn’t been updated in 30 ye

[Print] Towson, Maryland: Their Dream Renovation

When they purchased the modest-sized, woodland house from an interior designer in 1999 for $570,000, businessman David Watts and his wife, Nancy—aged 59 and 58 respectively—fell in love with its natural wood finishes, especially the hewn cedar walls and beautiful chestnut beams in the family room. Over the years, they complemented the rustic elements with additions of their own, including naturally shed elk and deer antlers from their property, repurposed as cabinet hardware. “Yet, while the other spaces largely echoed the woods around, the white kitchen stuck out like a sore thumb,” says Mrs. Watts of the Towson, Maryland property.

In Maryland, a White Kitchen Goes Au Naturel

When they purchased the modest-sized, woodland house in Towson, Md., from an interior designer in 1999 for $570,000, businessman David Watts and his wife, Nancy Watts—aged 59 and 58, respectively—fell in love with its natural wood finishes, especially the hewed cedar walls and beautiful chestnut beams in the family room. Over the years, they complemented the rustic elements with additions of their own, including naturally shed elk and deer antlers from their property, repurposed as cabinet hardw

[Print] This Kitchen is a Calming Oasis

When clinical psychotherapist Elizabeth McIngvale and her oil-and-gas financier husband, Matthew Mackey, both in their 30s, decided to construct a 6,000-square-foot home in Houston’s historic Houston Heights neighborhood, they knew their priorities. “We wanted the interior to be a tranquil haven far removed from the city,” says Dr. McIngvale. Soon after, the couple enlisted interior designer William W. Stubbs, in his 60s, who had served three generations of Dr. McIngvale’s family, and who had known her since she was a little girl.

This Houston Kitchen Isn’t Just a Place to Cook—It’s a ‘Calming Oasis’

When clinical psychotherapist Elizabeth McIngvale and her oil-and-gas financier husband, Matthew Mackey, both in their 30s, decided to construct a 6,000-square-foot home in Houston’s historic Houston Heights neighborhood, they knew their priorities. “We wanted the interior to be a tranquil haven far removed from the city,” says Dr. McIngvale. Soon after, the couple enlisted interior designer William W. Stubbs, in his 60s, who had served three generations of Dr. McIngvale’s family, and who had kn