Home Offers a Hint of Tuscany, a Touch of Uniqueness
Very little of the house in west Norman that world travelers Michael and Jim Pullen bought in 2001 remains. And that suits them just fine.
Michael, a landscape architect and interior designer, and Jim, who manages a Norman law firm, bought the house with the idea of flipping it themselves.
Their decision on where to buy was based on several factors, including the size of the lot, the neighborhood and the house’s layout. Plus, says Jim, since it had sat empty for a long time, they were able to get an “amazing deal” on the house.
They began by ripping out the wallpaper and pink tile flooring, then gutted the kitchen. Over the years, they have reworked some of the rooms numerous times as they came up with new ideas. Four years ago, they added on a two-story master bedroom suite with en suite bathroom (complete with steam room) and a library. Their latest project was the addition of a foyer.
Their home today also features two themed guest bedrooms, four bathrooms, a climate-controlled wine-tasting room, and a Tuscany-themed kitchen with six ovens to accommodate their frequent gatherings. In addition to their other guests, the Pullens often host neighborhood parties and also open up their home for charitable events.
At the completion of the flip, the house’s footprint had almost tripled.
Michael and Jim carved time out of their busy schedules to perform the majority of the work themselves. “What we haven’t done, we have been blessed with amazing painters, carpenters and electricians who could see our vision of what we wanted,” said Michael.
Their vision was of a place that is masculine, yet comfortable. Tuscan, with touches of uniqueness. Many spaces offer a juxtaposition of modern with traditional.
During their travels, the two had, piece by piece, gathered fine art and antiques with which to add their unique stamp–but they were careful not to give the home a museum vibe. “We want our guests to be relaxed and feel at home,” Jim said.
Their collection is an eclectic one, ranging from Native American pottery to European stained glass art. An example of the latter serves as a focal point of the foyer; backlit more dramatic effect, it features St. Catherine in her little-known role as dragon slayer. Also in the foyer are two gigantic figures weighing 7,000 pounds each (they were moved by crane to their present location and the foyer was built around them). Before finding their new home in Norman, they held up the entrance to a department store in France.
Several ornate fireplaces (one outside in their cabana) also add a touch of elegance. Two of them came from a house in northern Italy that was built between 1680 and 1692 and was slated to be torn down.
Their efforts have drawn not only the interest of neighbors, friends and clients, but the national media. Their home has been featured by Home and Garden Television and the Fine Living Network.
While pleased with their flip, neither Michael nor Jim are likely to rest long on their laurels. “As designers, we are always looking at new designs and changes,” Michael said.
Their advice for homeowners considering a major remodel or flip? “Don’t get frustrated and rushed. Make the project fun, and then you will enjoy it far more.”