After years of living in San Francisco, industrial designers Rachel Gant and Andrew Deming wanted a change of pace. They found it on the coast of Florida, where the small city of St. Augustine (pop. 13,679) lured them with its “historic architecture, cobblestone streets, and beautiful beaches,” says Deming.
The couple (co-founders of Yield Design—we’ve featured their Mediterranean Planters) bought a rundown, 1,500 square-foot house with a large garden. The natural setting was what sold them: “We have cypress trees, ferns everywhere, lots of birds, and sea breezes,” said Deming.
They got a loan to buy the property but had to pay out of pocket to rehab it, and “it was in terrible shape,” says Deming. In the end they spent $20,000, including $5,000 on exterior upgrades. (See the interior rehab today on Remodelista.) Let’s see how they did it:
Photography by Kelsey Heinze courtesy of Yield Design.
Above: The 1/3-acre lot had lush, mature plantings when Gant and Deming purchased the property. One of the couple’s strategies to keep costs down was to do most of the work themselves. “We prioritized hiring skilled labor on projects that could go very wrong without expertise, and took on the tasks that we could learn or which would be more forgiving if we had to take two passes to get it right,” said Deming.
Above: A key takeaway they learned from overhauling a home on a tight budget: “Work with the house you have,” Deming says. “We chose our house because of its bones and have tried to work with the existing qualities of the house rather than modifying everything to the extent that it’s practically a new home.”
The exterior doors and windows are painted in Sherwin-Williams’ Extra White, the same color as the walls inside the house. The entryway floor is the original concrete slab that came with the house, finished to match the interior concrete floors.
Above: When the couple bought the house, it had an overgrown front garden and a dated color scheme. Note the gutter down pipe at the entrance to the house; it was falling apart and needed to be replaced, so the owners wisely relocated it to a more concealed location.
Above: Rehab in progress. The couple already had stained and sealed the front entryway’s concrete slab.
Above: In the back garden, “our yard looked as if it had been left largely untouched for most of its existence,” said Deming, “so the natural growth was a little out of control.”
Above: In the back of the house, the homeowners replaced a neglected lawn with a wraparound poured concrete patio.
Above: The outdoor dining set is from World Market, and the planters are by Yield Design.
Above: Deming and Gant embraced an unfinished sunroom that came with the house, shown behind the outdoor dining set, and left the profile of the house completely unchanged.
Above: The couple replaced an unkempt entry patio and lawn with a small planting bed edged with painted brick. They built a permeable path of concrete pavers (from Home Depot), set in gravel to aid drainage.
Above: In the covered entry the owners replaced a rusted filigree window screen with a slatted cedar screen they built themselves; it provides privacy without closing off the stoop completely.
Gant and Deming replaced the aging mailbox with a simple design, painted black.
Above: Another task that Gant and Deming hired out: all poured concrete work, including a small front patio, an extended driveway, and a large back patio.
Above: “The natural setting of the house was one of the few things it had going for it when we bought it,” said Deming. “We aimed to leave the ferns and all of the growth as intact as possible.” The patio furniture is from GloDea.