Meet the Team Behind the 2018 Idea House (Our Biggest Before and After of All Time)
Meredith and Hunter Ellis
Film set designer (her); Navy fighter pilot (him)
Designer and founder of James Showroom (her); director of operations for the James locations in Austin and Dallas (him). "She's form, and I'm function," says Hunter.
They celebrated their 10-year anniversary at the Idea House photo shoot.
Renovations Done Together:
"I grew up on a Texas ranch, and my mom was a decorator," says Meredith. "I initially didn't want to be one because I saw how hard she worked." Hunter grew up in coastal Virginia. "We both love blue and white and the indoor/outdoor way of living that's so common in the South," he says.
Austin, Texas; sanders-architecture.com
Renovations or New Builds?
Both. The unknowns keep remodels exciting, which can be good or bad.
Consider these two things—how you want to live and what your budget is. Then maintain the happy medium between those throughout the process.
Houses built before 1950 tend to be made of long-lasting, beautiful materials.
In remodels, huge improvements can be made with small gestures.
You'll never regret replacing your windows. It makes such a big impact.
Catherine and David Wilkes
Austin, Texas; davidwilkesbuilders.com
They have been married, working, and carpooling as a couple for 16 years.
"Before starting a remodel, look outside for any cracks in the foundation and the masonry. Check that floors and doorways are square on the interior. If there are issues, the house may need structural repairs," says David.
"Plumbing and electrical work is less expensive on a house built on a pier and beam foundation as opposed to one that's built on a slab," adds David.
Term to Know:
Scope creep. Catherine defines this as when a project starts small but grows to be a much bigger job.
"Set aside 5 to 10% of the project budget for the unexpected," advises Catherine.