Hi there! We’re Dave and Carrie, and we are the husband and wife team behind Wildwood Home Designs. Before we start sharing client projects, I thought I’d take a minute to introduce ourselves and tell you a little bit about how we ended up here. If you’ve landed here from Instagram or Facebook, you know that we have a design and remodeling studio in the little storybook town of Zionsville, Indiana. About 10 years ago, in the middle of the horrible recession, we packed up and moved our young family from California to Indiana. We had just had it with the crazy high cost of living and the never-ending traffic. So, we found a place that was literally the opposite. Where I had only visited one time. In the dead of winter. I know, it sounds crazy!! Well, we had been dreaming of a life that didn’t seem possible in So Cal. We wanted a house for our kids. A HOME for our kids. Maybe with room for a dog and even a little yard to mow! So we closed our business and loaded up all of our belongings. We put our 5 and 3 year old in the car and hit the road. And we’ve never looked back. Okay, I’m lying. I look back every winter when it’s 10 degrees outside. ;)

All of that to tell you that we started over from scratch. Dave had come to town without us before the move and rented a townhome for us to start in. He kept talking about this little village in Zionsville where Main Street is lined with bricks and cool old buildings with little shops. He had found his “Mayberry”. He was so excited and filled with hope for all of the new possibilities this town could hold. He started house shopping online found the perfect house to pitch to me on. Actually, the only house because it was the only one in this town that was in our budget. He took me for a drive to show me this amazing opportunity he had found. And this is what he brought me to:They turned out gorgeous and like they’ve been there forever. I hope you enjoy the photo tour!


Now, if you showed me that house today, I wouldn’t even hesitate. Hand me the keys and let’s get to work! I love the opportunity to transform a home and I LOVE small houses! They can bring some unique challenges but there is so much opportunity to get creative and add charm on a small budget.

But, at the time, I had not one ounce of experience with a fixer upper. It wasn’t even on my radar as a thing that people did. We both grew up in rentals and you can’t really do much since someone else owns the property. Most of the time you can’t even paint! Dave grew up surrounded by people that made, built and fixed things. Poor guy had just been dying to get his hands on something of his own to build. And it didn’t take him long to convince me. Although, for the record, I thought he was nuts. As we walked through the house, he was telling me all of the things he wanted to do…take out that doorway, repair that sagging wall, make that doorway bigger, change the flooring, re-trim the house. You know, the cosmetic stuff.

This house had been foreclosed and vacant for a couple of years. It even flooded while we were waiting for the deal to close! We had been checking on the house almost daily and thankfully caught it early. (Highly recommend you keep an eye on it if you’re buying a foreclosed property). As soon as we closed, we started on Phase 1; new carpet, and engineered wood installed and a coat of paint on the kitchen cabinets. Dave got to work on all of the craftsman trim he’d been dying to do! It was truly eye opening for me. I started painting things and finding old furniture and antiques that I could transform to fit our very small budget. I had subscribed to several home magazines and would sit and clip out all of the pictures that inspired me and save them in actual file folders in our office! Yep, that was old school Pinterest!

A couple years and a dozen projects later, we’d outgrown this house and it was time to house hunt. We had our wish list that included a basement, an office and larger kitchen…but after some searching realized we’d be better off to remodel and get EXACTLY what we wanted… I am so glad we made that decision!

As we planned, we realized that a lot of things that we spent time and money on would be torn back out. Actually, I think we’ve removed almost everything except for the hall bathroom. But even that will go this coming year in our final phase. We don’t regret the costs and time of Phase 1 at all. Those are the things that got us by while we grew a business and saved. So, if that’s where you are right now, don’t be afraid to make your home feel like you! There are always economical options you can choose and a ton of things you can DIY. Set a budget upfront that you will allow yourself to spend on your Phase 1 and stick to it. I’m all for doing projects that get you by while you save.

We chose to add on space-coming forward with an entry, mud room and office, turning the garage to be a side entry and adding a great room in back. We added a basement under the addition and some of the existing home. Our old living room and dining room became our master suite.

It’s important when planning a large addition to evaluate how all of the spaces flow together. You don’t want to end up with an obvious addition and it’s an opportunity to re-create the floorplan. This is an approach we’ve chosen to adopt in our client remodels and it allows so much creativity while still being a lower cost alternative to building new.

This house is what fueled our passion and led us to our design and remodeling business. Where we really discovered our love for creating home! I’ll be sharing some current photos and projects of our own house as we go forward and finish spaces as well as project recaps from our client remodels and designs. But, for now, I will leave you with my favorite before and current pic of our exterior.