A Cost-effective DIY Home Transformation

A little imagination, creativity and thrift store shopping can go a long way toward creating one-of-a-kind decor

Credit: Darryl Bueckert

A Cost-Effective DIY Home Transformation

Jodi and Darryl Bueckert transformed their townhome from bland to exuberant, while saving thousands of dollars

An interior designer and photographer husband-and-wife team revamps a Langley townhome with one-of-a-kind pieces and DIY know-how

When Jodi and Darryl Bueckert bought their three-level Langley townhouse in 2003 it was typical of many properties in the neighbourhood. 

From the start, the couple saw the potential to personalize their 1,800-square-foot home located on a large 2,300-square-foot wrap-around corner lot.

The 30-something couple lived in the space for a year, then over time gradually transformed it from bland into an exuberant blend of traditional, modern and industrial design. By employing Jodi’s interior design skills and Darryl’s do-it-yourself expertise, the couple estimates that they saved thousands of dollars.

Reclaimed Furnishings

In the warm and inviting living room, not only did Darryl build the bookcases filled with whimsical family treasures, he also constructed the coffee table out of three antique CN Rail file boxes. “That piece has been so popular on my website despite it being one of the projects in our home that has been the easiest,” Jodi adds. (Photo: Darryl Bueckert)

“The home is mostly traditional, but we both love spaces that are minimal, with really unique furnishings added in,” says Jodi.

Over the years, Jodi accumulated furniture and decor items from garage sales, salvage yards or small shops.

“Some of my most unique pieces are reclaimed or repurposed and then mixed with a few striking statement items (a splurge item),” she says. “Also, I believe thrift stores are not given their due . . . they are great places to find inspiration.”

Among the jewels: the unique pendant light fixture above the kitchen table, the living room mid-century white pouf and the bar cart, which doubles as an end table.

Custom Kitchen Decor

(Photos: Darryl Bueckert)

At the epicentre of the home, which the young couple shares with their eight-year-old daughter, Emily, and five-year-old son, Ben, is the kitchen.

The husband-and-wife team loves to entertain, and when they do, there is plenty of room for everyone to sit around the teak kitchen table or at the kitchen island.

To create a truly custom island, Darryl simply added some mouldings and trim to an Ikea find. One of the couple’s favourite pieces is the hood fan above the range. Darryl took an old, metal fireplace cover, painted it antique white and voilà.

“The room is airy and not too serious,” says Jodi of the kitchen.

“The white on the walls is a blank canvas for just about any pop of colour that I want to introduce. My daughter is very artistic so I thought it would be neat to have a simple art gallery feel.

“We can then change out the art on the wall at any given time and the colours always work.”

Despite a strong interest in decor, Jodi believes that the beauty of a room should stand on its own when stripped of art and furniture.

“I feel that because we have two small kids in our home doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice style,” she says. “Proper function and storage are key to keeping the space enjoyable and practical without being overwhelmed by your stuff.

“I believe in spending your money (investment) in the hard surfaces of your home, which then leaves you freedom to change out some of the smaller more cost effective items.” 

Backyard Cabana

(Photos: Darryl Bueckert)

Jodi and Darryl transformed a large, neglected backyard into a chic entertaining nucleus that has become a favourite place to gather family and friends. Here’s how:

  • They started by adding custom granite stonework around the perimeter of the yard.
  • The do-it-yourselfers wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere with separate seating areas, an actual bar with a sink, a bar fridge as well as storage for pantry items and tableware.
  • Modern cedar lattice provides privacy and, during the summer months, is covered in clematis blooms.
  • To the left of the cabana, a hammock provides a perfectly cosy spot for a summertime read. For extra seating, Darryl built a dining table out of salvaged mahogany and stained it black. Twelve can sit comfortably on an iron bench and chairs.
  • Pillows in sky blue, white and green add punch to a grey sofa while the gas range fireplace provides warmth on cool nights.
  • White and charcoal-grey drapery panels frame the space and soften the otherwise hard lines of the wood, making the cabana feel more contained.
  • The couple found everything for the project at Surrey New and Used.

“With a little imagination and creativity, anyone can do what we did,” says Jodi.

Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. For regular updates, subscribe to our free Home and Garden e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the magazine.