Texas Designer Kim Wolfe Appreciates Minimalist Design In Her Own Home Remodel

After competing on the grueling reality series Survivor, the Texas designer geared up for another formidable test: flipping a house.

Kim Wolfe's San Antonio, TX Home Kitchen Island
Vintage soda fountain stools (attached to the floor) and durable counters can transition from craft station to dinner table. “The brass bar footrail makes the stools much more comfortable for kids and adults,” says Kim. Photo: Becky Kimball

Spending weeks on an island in Fiji competing on Survivor: Winners at War inspired interior designer Kim Wolfe's next challenge after returning home to San Antonio. "One of the hardest things about Survivor is how slowly time ticks by, but it also gives you an opportunity to think. I'd been doing a lot of interior design and realized that I wanted to start working on houses for myself. When I got home, I needed an outlet, so I poured my energy into flipping a property," she says. A rundown ranch in her neighborhood caught her attention. "The home was in horrific condition. It had been hit by a tornado and still had tarps over the roof. It was the worst of the worst, but I fell in love with the mid-century style," says Kim. "I could totally see the potential." Here's how she gave this Texas house a complete turnaround.

Own Your Style

"I'm a nature girl—Survivor speaks to that. I looked for ways to bring the outdoors in—like installing skylights. I wanted our home to feel organic and laid-back but also modern and special."

Designer Kim Wolfe's San Antonio, TX Home Entry Hall
A built-in hall tree is an easy spot to stash shoes and bags. A set of doors by the dining table hides Kim’s design closet. Becky Kimball

Be A Minimalist

"We downsized from almost 3,000 square feet to about 1,800. I had pared down during the minimalism trend around five years ago, but this was another opportunity to take an honest look at what we really use. Now I keep one nice version of each thing."

Look For Inspiration

"A hand-painted ceramic Beaumont Mood light on the front porch was one of the only salvageable things in the house. These antique fixtures are now collector's items. I worked the home's earthy color scheme off of it."

Designer Kim Wolfe's San Antonio, TX Home Kitchen with Minimalist Design
The brass sconces from Lighting Connection and black hardware from Emtek ground the airy kitchen. Becky Kimball

Prioritize Durability

"I spent years figuring out what makes things bulletproof. I put marble in the first house I ever renovated and learned my lesson. These countertops (in Coast [MV514] by HanStone Quartz) are durable and easy to clean. Since we have kids coloring with markers, this is really a no-brainer for me."

Kim Wolfe's San Antonio, TX Home Dining Area with Wood Table and Benches
Becky Kimball

Add Natural Elements

"I found Douglas fir floors from an old milking barn during a trip to Round Top. My friend and carpenter Attie Jonker (of local Green Wood Milling Company) constructed the dining table, benches, and kitchen shelves from that wood."

Designer Kim Wolfe's San Antonio, TX Home Living Room Seating
Becky Kimball

Design For Grown-Ups

"I wanted an adult sitting area close to the kitchen and dining space. The vintage leather chairs are sturdy and tough, so I don't even worry when the kids are jumping on them."

Designer Kim Wolfe's San Antonio, TX Home Daughter's Room with Pastel Rainbow Wallpaper Mural
“A daybed is a good choice for transition because you can later put it in an office and style it as a sofa,” says Kim. Becky Kimball

Simplify Kids' Spaces

"My daughter, August, loves everything rainbows, so I chose this mural from Anewall. We want our kids to have spaces where they're free to create, but we want them to look good. We picked things that flow together, like a play kitchen that's white instead of red. Sticking with a simple color palette has made all the difference for me in their rooms."

Kim Wolfe's San Antonio, TX Home Guest House Bedroom with Colorful Tile Floor
Becky Kimball

Experiment With Fun Finds

"I wanted the guesthouse to feel funky and like a surprise when you open the door. When I was at a warehouse sale for the Austin tile shop Clay Imports, all they had left was a bin of these matte hand-painted cement tiles, so this concept was born. Underneath the white Ikea bed is where I store Christmas decorations."

Kim's Top Renovation Picks

For Interior Paint
Simply White (OC-117) by Benjamin Moore

For Kitchen Sconces
Lighting ConnectionF

For Kitchen Countertops
Coast by HanStone Quartz

For Kitchen Hardware

For Skylights
Velux Solar Powered "Fresh Air" Skylight

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