Today we are excited to share Morgan Trinker’s beautiful bungalow with you! We got our first peek at her space via Instagram and fell in love with the hand-stamped strawberry wall in her laundry room (so cute!!). Morgan and her husband, Jamie, renovated this home to make it super bright and inviting, and that’s exactly what it is. 🙂 Ready to see more?
“My husband, Jamie, and I purchased this 1925 bungalow in Birmingham, Alabama in 2013. When we first stepped foot inside this particular house, though, I was not completely sold. It was decorated nicely but just not in my taste—so many shades of brown, very dark walls, and a couple of 90s builder-grade renovations that had stripped the home of some of its original character. But what I was able to see was the incredible amount of windows and natural light coming in. So I tried to use a little imagination and think about how we could use what we had to make something more true to us. I liken my personal style goals to Dolly Parton—a little bit flashy and colorful and over the top on the surface, but full of Southern warmth and hospitality and true-to-selfness at heart. Everyone laughs at this metaphor, but I grew up in East Tennessee where Queen Dolly reigns supreme, and since there are some kindred spirits around here (yay!), it seemed as good a place as any to throw that out there. 🙂
“My favorite room in the house is for sure the main living room because of the wall of windows that look out onto trees and receive the most glorious golden sunset light in the evening. There’s no better spot for curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee and waving at neighbors walking their dogs or kids playing right outside.
“Within 18 months of living here, I had painted nearly every surface of this house, including, but not limited to, every wall, ceiling, beam, cabinet, trim, door, and, yes, even a light fixture or two. That alone made the whole space feel so much brighter, more open, and cheerful. I also became somewhat obsessed with shelving and adding built-in character, so I learned how to use power tools (thanks to our friend Will!) and actually constructed the wall of built-in bookshelves in the living and dining room by myself. I’m still kind of in disbelief that this actually happened, since I’ve never considered myself to be a particularly handy person. Lesson learned: there’s a first time for everything, and we’re capable of a lot more than we think we are most of the time. Emboldened by my newfound DIY prowess, I went on to construct shelves for my office and for the kitchen, as well as two picture ledges for all the framed photographs in the dining area. One can never have too many places to display one’s treasures, after all.
“One of the things that bummed me out the most about the house when we first bought it was the bathroom. It had clearly been remodeled sometime in the 90s, and every ounce of 1925 charm was replaced with beige tiles and a walk-in shower and contemporary fixtures. Determined to restore it to its original glory, we took it down to the studs and brought it back in classic finishes like the white hexagon tile floor, shiplap walls, a claw foot tub found on Craigslist and refinished, and schoolhouse fixtures. One of my favorite projects in the bathroom is actually the ledge I built to display pretty bottles of nail polish and hang towels to dry. All in all, the space is just so much brighter and happier!
“Even in our relatively short time in this house, there have definitely been lots of things that changed and that I had to figure out through trial and error along the way. For example, I clearly love color and am not afraid to use it, but with such open spaces and being able to see into many of the rooms of our home at once, I had to adopt more of a whole-house color palette and make sure that all the rooms played nicely with each other, which sometimes meant owning that I had made a mistake with a color choice and being willing to repaint or recover or swap it with something else. Also, because we had a lot of large white wall space to contend with, I had to learn about scale and how to fill space without causing visual clutter and chaos, which is how, after going through a couple of different gallery wall configurations in the main living area that just never looked quite right, I landed on the idea of the long ledges to display photographs of friends and family.
“In the kitchen, we replaced hunter green laminate countertops with butcher block, painted the raw plywood cabinets a perfect shade of mint green, switched out the hardware, and removed a lot of the upper cabinets in favor of open shelving, subway tile, and clean white walls.
“I think the thing that makes me so proud of this home is all of the love and manual labor that’s been poured into it. From dyeing the white slipcovers on our IKEA Karlstad sectional a beautiful shade of turquoise to hand-stamping cheerful strawberries on the walls of our laundry room (using A Beautiful Mess’s tutorial!) right down to the less glamorous updates like polishing and restoring the wood floors, I don’t think there’s an inch of our space that hasn’t been touched and (hopefully!) improved upon during our time in this house. I hope that I continue to push myself to learn new skills and take risks and create spaces full of love and life and really, really good memories.”
Credits//Author: Morgan Trinker. Photography: Graham Yelton.