Jennifer and Tony Latto, and their two girls, have a 1970’s vintage home in a very nice neighborhood of Austin. Jennifer, who is a registered architect and interior designer, has made some interesting updates to their home.
Jennifer, first of all, thank you for sharing your ideas on the asphalt nitro hack ios ongoing remodel of your home. What have you done so far that has made a difference?
We arrived from Boston just over two years ago and moved into a 70s home in Bee Cave Woods. We loved the open floor plan, the private yard, the existing trees, and the location. The home was smaller than those we’ve had in the past but we recognized the potential!
We tackled items that were relatively inexpensive first, just to get the house to where it felt like “ours.” Since I earn a living improving environments, I have a hard time staring at the ordinary or run down! This trait drives my husband crazy because I constantly seek upgrades!
Most of the work we have achieved thus far was outside and the work inside was mostly paint; however, one of the biggest impacts was to reface the stone fireplace with gradient glass tile on the vertical surface and a quartzite slab hearth to match the kitchen. This is a focal point for our living area and always extracts comments! I’ve included a photo (even though we have yet to grout it!).
I’m glad to hear that you are like most folks – remodeling is something that does not get done all at once. It can go on for years – and that is OK. Shaping a home takes time.
Tell me a little more about gradient glass tile. I can see that is goes from a more intense color at the bottom to a lighter shade. Where did you find this tile? And, quartzite slab? What is it, and where do you find it?
This is our fourth home remodel in ten years. We’re a bit tired but there’s still always a project around here and we attack them when finances and schedules allow! It’s really a lifestyle!
There may be other resources for this but the tile on our fireplace is from Hakatai. I loved their program for customizing the blend from their glass tiles. You can select the tile colors used. By adding the same color twice, the intensity of that color is increased. A minimum of two colors is required but a maximum of ten can be used. Their custom design tool will allow you to preview the design and it generates a price. The same tools are available for a custom “blend” which are popular for kitchen backsplashes and bathrooms.
The slab is quartzite, which is a man-made material composed of about 90% quartz combined with pigments and polymer resins. It is stain, scratch, and heat resistant and doesn’t require sealing like natural stone. It can cost just as much, or more, than granite and marble but I love the modern monolithic look and you can’t beat the durability. Vivid colors are also more readily available than in natural stone as well. CaesarStone and Silestone are two brand names.
Your backyard is amazing! I remember when you bought the house, I was pleased with the big back yard – but it was pretty boring. What a difference now!
Tony and I both grew up in the Southeast. We have been corporate gypsies landing in Raleigh, NC, Portland, OR, and Boston, MA. When Tony received an offer from Dell, we couldn’t wait to get back to the South and found Austin to be everything we were looking for with the weather, people, and lifestyle. We gave away our snow shovels and made a commitment to a better life outdoors. We agreed that the backyard was our favorite place and we were lucky that it was a “blank slate”.
We evaluated joining a local pool versus building our own. In an ideal world, we’d have both but having our own pool was more attractive because it would make our backyard the private escape and social place we wanted. And when those temperatures soar, we gather outside and enjoy our investment (although Tony still calculates the dollars per dip)!
This spring we added a limestone patio with a fire pit. This is used a lot, especially in the fall. Tony was an Eagle Scout and loves to make fires and even cooks in a dutch oven out there!
The kid’s trampoline and swing set is in a mulch bed and disguised behind palms. This area serves a more durable space for our pets too. There is a storage area where pool supplies and equipment is kept. We hid this behind a wire fence and flowering vines. We stained the existing wood fireplace a dark brown for a dramatic background. The Tiki torches, string lights, and pool light liven the atmosphere and show my passion for lighting. Essentially, our outdoor space has been subdivided into comfortable “rooms”. Each area has casual seating in groups perfect for entertaining.
Are there parts of the interior that you want to tackle in the future?
The next steps are refinishing the hardwood floors with a darker stain and a glossier finish to go with our décor. boom beach hack tool Then, we are replacing an old sliding glass door to the pool with a window and a bar counter for serving food and drinks from inside. I hope these will be done in the next six months.
Here’s my wish list (Tony rolls eyes):
I’d like to expand our kitchen. We usually eat at the kitchen island table and when the kitchen has all four of us and two big dogs nearby, navigating the room for the forgotten condiment proves challenging. We have an enormous pantry that is great for storage but by expanding into this and a garage workroom, we gain about 7 more feet of floor space and another window in the kitchen.
We would like to replace the ceramic tile in the kitchen and baths although my husband and I have not agreed on a material yet. We own some basalt and granite slabs and copper sinks for the bathrooms and are just waiting on funds for the installation! We would like to replace the standard fiberglass tubs with something more modern as well.
Eventually, we plan to add a master suite over the garage to gain a guest bedroom. This addition will serve to modernize the ranch exterior as well. We’d like to build a pool house that serves as an office and bathhouse. The entry will be off the limestone fire pit patio. This is our forever home so we’ll build as we need instead of moving!
As an architect and interior designer, are you open to helping others who are thinking dominations cheats hack tool of remodeling?
Although I specialize in commercial work, specifically corporate and medical offices; during these times, I’m finding residential work is more readily available! I used to think that the residential market is so different from the commercial world; and in way they are: different codes, materials, and client approach. But it’s all still design and it’s what I love to do! I’m working on a kitchen remodel and overall facelift for a neighbor now. My website is reddesignstudios.com. I’m new to the area and am still building my practice, so I think I offer a great value on consultations.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of undertaking a remodeling project?
I have found that many people may overspend on a project if they don’t have a professional partner. Not “overspend” like they’re being overcharged but “overspend” because they spend money on things that don’t give them the biggest impact. Many people are also missing out on real estate bargains or investment possibilities because they cannot see potential in the available property. Having a professional shop with you can help the buyer understand how easily their goals and style can be obtained.