Markus and Lilly Neubauer were expecting their adoption process to take months — maybe even years — when they received a call on Christmas Day in 2013 announcing the arrival of their daughter, Heidi. “We went from zero to baby in 24 hours,” says Lilly. “It was a wonderful surprise.”
While the Neubauers had remodeled much of their home, which was built in 1952, Heidi’s arrival caught them a bit off-guard and without a nursery. When the couple returned home with their daughter, they immediately began work on her bedroom. “Designing Heidi’s room over the past month has been my dream for our house realized,” says Lilly. “It was our way to welcome her and make her feel like she has a very special spot in our family. I have sketched and daydreamed about her room for years, and to put it all together her first week home was a dream come true.”
Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Markus and Lilly Neubauer, daughter Heidi (6 weeks old) and dog Little Child
Location: Midway Hollow neighborhood of Dallas
Size: 1,400 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 1½ baths
Year built: 1952Sarah GreenmanLilly describes her eclectic design aesthetic as “Gypset” — a mix of Gypsy and jet set. “I love Jonathan Adler for his humor and color in decorating,” she says. “And I check my two favorite blogs, Young House Love and Little Green Notebook, every day and admire their problem solving and ambitious DIY projects.”
The home is filled with local art. The exclamation-point piece hanging above the vintage bar cart was created by artist Ted Cantrell, using matchbooks from Dallas restaurants.Sarah GreenmanTexas ramblers built in the 1950s are notorious for being short on storage and closet space. So the first order of business for these do-it-yourselfers was to create a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit and window seat in the dining room. “Built-in storage was essential to our sanity,” says Lilly.
The room features an eclectic collection of found objects and secondhand furniture. The cane-back chairs and table are Craigslist finds, and the orange Herman Miller chairs came from a local vintage shop.Sarah GreenmanOne of Lilly’s favorite pieces is her yellow bamboo hutch. She purchased it at the Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store in Lubbock while still in college. “I got it for $125 — very, very expensive, since that was almost my whole paycheck from Domino’s Pizza,” she says. “But I am glad I ate saltines for it!”
The blue and white Spode platter was a wedding present from Lilly’s sister. “I use it every time we are entertaining, but I love keeping it out to see in between then,” Lilly says.Sarah GreenmanThe couple has thoroughly enjoyed doing the work themselves and curating pieces for their home. In the first year of living in the house, they pulled up all the carpeting and painted every room.
“Markus loves an adventure and a project, so he is down to rip out some countertops with me or carry a skateboard deck through Central Park because I saw it at the Met and had to have it,” Lilly says.Sarah GreenmanA bright red sofa and large-scale art take center stage in the main living area. “Take your time and let things tell you how it should be before you decide,” says Lilly. “The best ideas come after living with a home for a while.”
Original art: Clay Stinnett; sofa: Sofa Mart; lamps: HomeGoods; coffee table: The Family Place Resale; area rug: Cost Plus World MarketSarah GreenmanComfortable seating is key for the Neubauer family. Baby Heidi, shown here with Lilly, spends many hours cuddled up in the arms of her parents for feedings and naps. Cozy blankets, soft lighting and transitional furniture, like the ceramic garden stool, keep everyone comfortable.Sarah GreenmanThe hallway is lined with concert posters and prints designed by Dallas artists. “Markus has a great sense of humor and taste in music, and so I love focusing on that for the common areas of our home,” Lilly says.
The couple enjoys shopping for their home at thrift and vintage stores. Favorite local shops include the White Elephant Antiques Warehouse on Riverside and Dolly Python.Sarah GreenmanLilly’s biggest splurge was the curtain rods in the bedrooms and living room, from the Antique Drapery Rod Co. “They employ over 60 people in Dallas, and the CEO will hire homeless men and women off the street to begin working for her,” says Lilly. “Their products are beautifully designed and completely environmentally conscious. If I am going to spend money on a home item, they are exactly what I am looking for: high design and impact, environmentally safe and impactful to artisans.”
Paint color: Green Fig, Anna Sova Healthy Milk Paint; bed: Edland, Ikea; bedding: Jonathan Adler for JCPenneySarah GreenmanLilly found her midcentury desk on Craigslist and painted it a bright coral pink. A glass top covers a collage of images, postcards and mementos. “I love collecting what I like and finding ways to make it all play together — lending mementos from my life that are important to me,” Lilly says. “I’ve lived in rural Kentucky and South America, and I see both influences as I walk through my house.”Sarah GreenmanCloset space is practically nonexistent, so the couple fashioned pipes into an impromptu clothes rack.
The Neubauers are conflicted about how much time and money to invest in their home, considering that it is not their “forever house.” Lilly says,
“Knowing what will enhance resale, what will enhance our lives here and what is an added luxury we should save for the next house is always a mental battle.”
A small vignette consisting of jewelry storage, special objects and local art sits atop the couple’s dresser.
Art: Read Between the Lines, NeighborhoodSarah GreenmanA small but tidy nautically inspired powder room adjoins the couple’s master bedroom. The Neubauers remodeled this space top to bottom, doing all of the demolishing, painting, tiling, plumbing, painting and beadboard and trim installation themselves. Their proudest homeowner moment was having their DIY powder room remodel featured on the blog Young House Love.Sarah GreenmanThe newest makeover effort in the Neubauer home is Heidi’s sweet mint-colored nursery. Moroccan textiles, midcentury furnishings and two enormous prints of Markus and Lilly as children make for a unique space.
Paint color: Sea Glass, Martha Stewart Living; daybed: Amazon; bedding: Biscuit; Moroccan pouf: The Gypsy Wagon; curtain rods: Antique Drapery Rod Co.Sarah GreenmanThe nursery is Lilly’s favorite room in the house. The couple purchased the midcentury dresser (also used as a changing table) from a local estate sale. The pink elephant print and the papier-mâché elephant head hanging above Heidi’s crib pay homage to her adoption process. “Elephants are one of the only other animals that adopt babies that are not their own,” says Lilly.Sarah GreenmanThe cane rocking chair was purchased through Craigslist. “When I rock Heidi in the corner, I see the vision I had for my future when I first walked into this house is really happening for us,” says Lilly.Sarah GreenmanThe Neubauer family on the front porch. Lilly says her home is the happiest place on earth. “Home is where we start and end together and where we have the real moments the outside world doesn’t get to see: the big laughs, the sweet kisses and the hard times, too.”