This Century-Old Bungalow Gets A Stylish Transformation

The 1920s Greenville, South Carolina, home gets a charming new look.

New styling
Photo: Brie Williams; Styling by Kate Malpeli

House hunting skewed more toward window-shopping for designer Taylor Hill—at least when it came to the 1920s Greenville, South Carolina, bungalow she purchased with her husband, Durham. It was the original windows that hooked the designer (who holds a master's degree in historical preservation) on the 2,000-square-foot gem. So with one eye on the past and the other on the present, she homed in on a plan that suits the couple now while allowing for changes in the future. She calls it "adaptive design," and it's a term that could just as easily describe her style. With thoughtful renovations and an extensive collection of art and antiques, Hill created a home that's layered, meaningful, and primed for its next chapter.

Highlight Existing Elements

The lure of the original windows drew Hill here from the start, so restoring them to their former glory was a primary focus. "I did have to scrape them all off down to the wood and reglaze a couple of areas because they were in such disrepair when we bought the house," she says. "They add so much flavor to the exterior and the interior that you really couldn't get from new windows, no matter what." Brightening up the front facade and darkening the window frames added a fresh perspective while helping the historic details really stand out.

Pair Modern With Traditional

When Hill spotted the 18th-century English hutch, she had to have it, but finding a dining table that played nicely with it proved to be a challenge. "Brown wood or vintage pieces have a reputation for feeling stuffy and overly formal," she says. "I really believe that antiques have the most success when combined with newer accents in the same space." She eventually found an original 1960s Eero Saarinen tulip table in an upscale-furniture consignment shop and knew it had the contemporary flair needed to contrast with the hutch. Even the scuffs and scratches on the base were a bonus for Hill, who loves furniture that's had a previous life.

Outdated dining set
Before: The classic dining set and light fixture would have felt too old-fashioned with Hill’s antique hutch. Courtesy Taylor Hill
Dining room
After: Hill’s eclectic style is evident in the dining room, where mid-century modern and Southwestern pieces join forces. Brie Williams; Styling by Kate Malpeli

Know When To Save

Instead of ripping out the cabinets, Hill added new drawer and cabinet faces and painted the walls Farrow & Ball's Cornforth White (No. 228) to revitalize the kitchen. A wood backsplash provided more savings, plus it serves as a canvas for another jewel from her art collection. "A lot of people think you shouldn't have precious things in the kitchen, but that's where you spend most of your time," she says.

Outdated kitchen
Before: A cluster of appliances was previously the kitchen’s main focal point. Courtesy Taylor Hill
New kitchen
After. Brie Williams; Styling by Kate Malpeli

Choose Flexible Furnishings

The coffee table, an English coal cart, was one of Hill's first antique purchases. It's heavy but on wheels, which makes rearranging the small room for gatherings easier. Rattan chairs also contribute to the portable design, whether they're moved out for additional seating elsewhere or shifted for better viewing of a football game. The hand-me-down sectional is another pretty but practical piece, providing ample room to sit in a limited space. And while Hill says it's still in sound shape, she'll have no qualms about reupholstering when it starts to show its age.

Old living room
Before: Dark shades on both the furnishings and walls didn’t quite match the bright disposition of the home’s entry and living areas, so Hill opted for a palette refresh. Courtesy Taylor Hill
New living room
After: Simple wood paneling brought the fireplace into the 21st century. To save money, Hill painted a concrete-tile design over the ceramic hearth. Brie Williams; Styling by Kate Malpeli

Embrace The Hidden Potential

The small dresser in the primary bedroom was painted black when Hill noticed it at a roadside antiques shop. A hint of burled wood peeking out from a scratch in the paint was all the incentive she needed to bring the piece home and strip it herself. "It doesn't take a lot of skill, just some elbow grease," she adds.

Lean On Soothing Hues

To create an extra-restful ambience, she enveloped the suite in a warm gray paint, Farrow & Ball's Cornforth White. Complementary neutrals (like white bedding) and simple patterns support the chill vibes.

Old bedroom
Before: The bedroom had deep, moody walls and dark wood furnishings. Courtesy Taylor Hill
New bedroom
After: Woven textures, from the shades to the stools, cozied up the Gray-and-white backdrop. Brie Williams; Styling by Kate Malpeli

Keep It Grounded

The savvy homeowner had the trim and vanity in the bathroom painted a deep chocolate brown to keep the pink wallpaper from seeming too fussy. "It added this depth and richness that I probably wouldn't have been able to achieve if I had done a typical white trim," she says. For the mirror, Hill repurposed an old frame from a local shop.

new bathroom
Brie Williams; Styling by Kate Malpeli
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