Published on May 15, 2019

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Photo by Madeline Broderick Photography

As with almost every storied home they take under their wings, Claudia and Chris Beiler—the husband-and-wife renovators behind The Chris and Claude Co.—jumped into their Walnut Street project completely blind. “We broke our backs bringing this home back to life,” recalls Claudia. “It had been abandoned for a few years and needed some TLC, and by that, I mean it needed everything.”

The couple has spent the better part of the past four years transforming historic row homes in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, into stylish, soulful retreats for young families and local artists. The term “house flippers” need not apply: The pair puts as much love into replacing an HVAC unit as they do adorning the living room with tufted seating and tapered candles.

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“I mostly just want to inspire people to create homes that reflect who they are as a person,” shares Claudia. “Sometimes that means you have to dedicate some solid time to painting, sanding, staining, or ripping out cabinets. Other times that means you’ve got to hop online and catch a good sale at Urban Outfitters.”

Even after refinishing the 100-year-old floors, replacing the electrical and plumbing, and adding new structural supports, the Beilers’s all-in budget after three months of renovating came in under $100,000. Ahead, Claudia takes us inside this restored, sun-filled abode and shares a few wallet-friendly decorating ideas along the way.

Test out your color theories in the kitchen

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There’s something comforting and safe about a white kitchen that makes it a tempting choice during a renovation. After all, not having to pick a bold paint color is one less decision on your plate. But think of the kitchen as an opportunity to set yourself apart as opposed to a blank canvas better left untouched.

“I mostly just want to inspire people to create homes that reflect who they are as a person.”

“I have this internal voice that I often try to silence that screams, ‘Don’t do anything anyone else in Lancaster has done before,’” says Claudia. A matte forest green was her chance to be daring and different. “It was a risk at the time, but looking back, it was the obvious choice. I like to think that the green cabinets are what sold the house,” she continues. The saturated shade reads as cozy, while the additions of the black hood and subway tile bring in a more contemporary feel.  

Turn a nightstand into your dream vanity

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When you’re short on bathroom storage, a custom vanity can often seem like the next best solution to troves of open shelving. But, of course, storage built from scratch doesn’t come cheap. To skirt the cost of a fully custom look, Chris and Claudia converted West Elm’s Penelope nightstand into a functioning vanity, sink and all. The mid-century-inspired piece warms up the black-painted tub and two-toned Quiet Town shower curtain (another steal from West Elm).

Think like a museum curator

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The Bielers don’t just design with a potential buyer in mind when they go out of their way to salvage a maroon toilet from the ’80s or, in this case, worn bathroom wallpaper. Every quirky fixture or wall treatment they save is their way of paying homage to the original homeowners and their unique aesthetic choices.

“We did our best to make it a beautiful museum piece that was also functional.”

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“We had originally intended to tile the bathroom all the way to the ceiling, but I just knew we couldn’t do that,” recalls Claudia. Instead, the pair decided to stick with the speckled black-and-white tile on the floor, paint the exterior of the tub jet black, and preserve remnants of the original wallpaper and plaster with a glass surround. “We did our best to make it a beautiful museum piece that was also functional,” she adds.

Pull off a low-low decor budget with high-contrast

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To anyone with a sharp eye and online shopping obsession, many of the pieces in this home will look familiar. Why? Claudia loves big-box retailers as much as we do.

“I’m always mixing and matching various brands with items sourced from auctions and yard sales.”

In the bedroom, both the tufted headboard and matte black sconces were sourced from Urban Outfitters Home, a brand which can give off strong college dorm room vibes if you’re not careful about mixing styles. By steering clear of one set aesthetic (the minimal, modern fixtures couldn’t be more different than the pink cushion), the space feels fresh—not first year.

Mix up your go-to brands

The magic of this home is that it’s 100 percent attainable. Downstairs, you’ll find Urban Outfitter’s green Rohini daybed (one of the most versatile cushions you’ll ever meet) across from a West Elm dining set. Elsewhere, shibori-inspired prints from Target hang near a woven swing chair.

“I’m careful not to incorporate too much of one store into a space,” says Claudia. “Personally, my style is very eclectic, so I’m always mixing and matching various brands with items sourced from auctions and yard sales.”

Draw inspiration from your childhood bedroom

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Some of the best design ideas are ones you’ve been hanging on to all along. At least, that’s how this artful collage corner was born. “I wasn’t allowed to do much to my room [growing up],” says Claudia. A coat of paint was off the table back then, which called for a clever solution for covering her walls. “Because I couldn’t paint it, I pasted pages from old musicals that I had collected at thrift stores.”

The ultra-cheap DIY turned out to be a sophisticated arrangement thanks to a muted palette of grays, blacks, and pale pinks. The book nook is topped off with UO’s Reema floor cushion—a cozy addition that the home’s current owner had good reason to keep.

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“This particular home was transferred to a dear teacher who pours out her heart for her students,” shares Claudia. “She gets to have a restful haven to come home to every day after school. She gets to cook a meal in a beautiful green kitchen and slide a live-edge door every night before she goes to bed. Home is where it’s at and home is why we do what we do.”

See more stories like this: 
This Hamptons Home Starts With a Pink Sofa and Only Gets Better
This Marin County Home Proves That Dark Paint Colors Are Anything but Gloomy
This Spanish-Inspired Home Features a Secret, Sun-Drenched Courtyard

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