If you are lucky enough to find the home of your dreams straight out of the gate, something that fulfills all of your practical and aesthetic needs and then some, you are most certainly in the minority. For most, the “perfect” home isn’t so much found as it is created, the product of an indeterminate mixture of time, trial and error, and “making it work.” For Anna Tovar, an artist and stay-at-home mother in Denton, TX, finding her own brand of perfection meant learning to go with the flow and accept that things take time.
Anna and her husband Luis came to Denton as students at the University of North Texas. They stayed, however, because of the town’s laid-back charm and creative energy. As far as their home search went, a good neighborhood — something with trees, parks, and a good elementary school — took precedence over things like square footage or amenities. “When our house went on the market,” Anna says, “we just jumped on it.” The home itself is a decidedly simple postwar construction. Built in 1962, it had what Anna describes as a charmless, “boxy” feeling. “There wasn’t any inherent detail that made each room interesting,” she says. “It was all sort of bare bones, and not in the great, minimal-Scandinavian way, but in the this-actually-feels-like-a-box kind of way.”
Faced with a small budget and the arrival of two children (a son, Axel and a daughter, Eden), Anna and Luis knew that getting things to where they wanted wouldn’t happen overnight. “We’ve lived here for five years,” Anna says, “and I feel like we just really started liking our house this past year.” The couple tackled most of the (numerous) home renovations almost entirely on their own, gaining quite a bit of DIY knowledge along the way. Furnishings were thrifted, acquired as hand-me-downs, or purchased on the cheap. White walls and inelegant accents were spruced up with color, bits of collected artwork, and thrifty strokes of genius (like wall decals made from paper). The half decade of hard work and diligence has most definitely paid off, though — the house today is a fabulously personal family home, one that can sustain the rambunctious activity of two kids, two dogs, creative parents, and the occasional picnic on the living room floor. —Max