Ricardo and Daphny Ainslie occurred upon the home that will turn out to be their house whereas strolling the North College neighborhood of Austin, Texas, in 2009 and noticing a dejected-looking man exterior a compact Nineteen Twenties bungalow.

“There was a realtor sitting, actually with head in hand, on the entrance steps,” stated Mr. Ainslie, 72, a psychology professor at College of Texas at Austin who can also be a author, filmmaker and musician.

After hanging up a dialog, the agent informed them {that a} potential purchaser had simply canceled a contract to purchase the home. “The explanation ended up being that they discovered so many issues,” Mr. Ainslie stated, together with points with the muse, plumbing and wiring.

“It wanted the whole lot,” stated Ms. Ainslie, 42, a forensic psychologist.

However, the couple was in search of a brand new place to reside, so that they requested for a fast tour. After they stepped inside, they have been smitten with the 1,800-square-foot, two-bedroom house.

“There was one thing about the home that had this very natural spirit,” Mr. Ainslie stated. “It had plenty of allure.”

They purchased it for about $370,000, then employed a contractor to make the much-needed repairs, for about $125,000.

Years later, because the couple had kids and their home started to really feel cramped — they now have two boys, Jorge, 10, and Joaquin, 6 — they realized that there was an answer for that predicament, as nicely: They may increase by build up.

In 2017, the couple started working with Ryan Weekley, an architect and the managing accomplice of the PFA Design Group, on a second-floor addition of about 600 sq. toes that would come with two bedrooms. And whereas the home was underneath building, they determined, they might take the chance to overtake the bottom ground, too.

For assist, they started speaking with Liz MacPhail, an inside designer whom that they had met at their sons’ preschool, which Ms. MacPhail’s kids additionally attended. The venture started when the Ainslies received a design session with Ms. MacPhail at a college fund-raiser public sale, and continued when that preliminary assembly developed right into a yearslong relationship.

“I’ve to say, I used to be just a little skeptical,” stated Mr. Ainslie, who puzzled in the event that they actually wanted a designer’s assist. “However the minute she got here in and began displaying us her concepts, she received me over. I assumed, wow, she’s bought such an incredible aesthetic and nice eye.”

Earlier than lengthy, Ms. MacPhail had devised a plan to maintain as many unique particulars as attainable, whereas transferring a couple of partitions and doorways to make the bottom ground really feel much less awkward.

“My ardour is basically previous properties and saving them in order that they’ll work actually onerous for the following hundred years,” Ms. MacPhail stated. “We take into consideration how we will get these properties to help the methods we reside now, whereas touching them minimally. It’s discovering that steadiness between change and preservation.”

After they determined, for instance, to chop a brand new doorway from the lounge to a hallway and to cowl up one in every of two doorways that led straight into the kids’s bed room, they disguised the modifications by retaining and reusing the house’s shiplap paneling, which already had a cobbled-together look. They usually expanded the kitchen by pushing into an area that was beforehand a screened porch.

Realizing that the household needed loads of coloration — however aiming to stop it from trying overwhelming — Ms. MacPhail really useful coating partitions, ceilings and moldings largely in white paint, with a couple of black accents, to function a backdrop for vibrant furnishings and equipment.

“It’s a clean canvas, a really impartial house, that has this actually enjoyable expression by way of its furnishings and artwork,” Ms. MacPhail stated. “We knew that we have been simply going to layer on coloration and sample.”

Within the eating room, they created a round desk by inserting a big piece of glass on high of an outsized ceramic pot painted with multicolored flowers and leaves. To furnish the sunroom, they put in a rattan couch discovered on Craigslist and added a seat cushion upholstered in cloth with rainbow-hued stripes from St. Frank. And within the new mudroom, they put in grass-green built-ins.

Ms. MacPhail additionally dug by way of the couple’s storage containers seeking ornamental treasure. In a single, she discovered a small assortment of Mexican masks. She instructed Mr. Ainslie, who was born and raised in Mexico Metropolis and incessantly travels there for work, to purchase a couple of extra so she may create a hanging set up within the entrance corridor. And on the wall of a brand new music room, they added a neon signal that Mr. Ainslie salvaged from the unique location of Antone’s, a storied Austin music membership.

Building started in early 2018, and the renovation and addition have been largely full in about 9 months. However the couple continued to tinker with the interiors for an additional 12 months. In all, they spent roughly $300,000 on the overhaul.

Even after the expense and inconvenience of two renovations, the Ainslies contemplate themselves fortunate to have discovered this specific home. “I really feel like we simply received the lottery,” Mr. Ainslie stated. “All of the issues that have been listed as issues ended up being issues that had an answer.”

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