Their House on a Sugar Hill


written by LINLEY MOBLEY | photos courtesy of ALAN BROOKS; JODI BOND

“This was our two-year house,” Tim Bond said with a laugh as I sat with him and his wife, Jodi, in their living room. The Bonds bought a two-story colonial house in Sugar Hill in May 2014 and have been slowly working toward remodeling it into a fresh, modern farmhouse.

Tim, 35, and Jodi, 32, lived in a small house in Dacula for nine years. After growing to a family of six, the Bonds felt the need for more space, so the hunt for the perfect new home began.

After exhausting the listings in Gwinnett County, the Bonds were feeling discouraged about finding a unique home with character, and the pressure to find something quickly because their house in Dacula was under contract certainly wasn’t helping.

“I had seen this house on the listing, but I refused to go look at it because it just didn’t look like us,” Jodi said of their current home. “But the clock was ticking, so we decided to at least check it out.”

As the Bonds looked at the house for the first time, they felt extremely drawn to it. It had a beautiful back yard with a vegetable garden and space for chickens and rabbits, and though the inside of the house was outdated, they had a clear vision of what it could become.

“Even though the house was so closed-in and uninviting, I still wanted it,” Jodi said. “We’d finally found a house that had some character and felt like home.”

film strip“WE’VE GOT THIS!”
The Bonds always knew they wanted to fix up a house, but it was never their intention to do so this soon, especially with four very young kids. Still, Tim and Jodi bought the house and started making plans to open it up and give it more life.

At first, they intended to get a home renovation loan in addition to their mortgage, but as the loan officer started breaking down the numbers and explaining the requirements, the couple didn’t feel right about spending so much money on something they could do themselves. With no previous experience in anything related to remodeling homes, the Bonds decided they would tackle the project and learn some new skills along the way.

“Jodi has a ‘We can do it!’ mentality, but I didn’t grow up that way,” Tim said. “There has to be a huge mental shift from, ‘I’m going to break everything,’ to ‘We can really do this and nobody is going to die.’”

Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, the Bonds decided to start there. They ripped out cabinets, replaced the countertops, put in a new stove, got a new sink and painted walls. What once was a clunky, dark, heavy space was transformed into a light, airy kitchen with subway tiles and open cabinetry.

After feeling good about the kitchen, they moved on to knocking out a wall, opening up the entryway and living room. During that time, their living room ceiling had to be ripped out, so they took the opportunity to install recessed lighting, which gave the room a fresh, open feel.

In addition to scraping off the popcorn ceiling on the main floor, the Bonds have also put some work into the staircase by ripping up plush carpeting and partially staining the wood underneath.

“Since the staircase is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door, we want to do something really sleek and modern with it,” Jodi said. “We’re just waiting to finish that until we put our flooring down.”

Installing hardwood floors throughout the main level of the house is the newest project for the Bonds. Once they’re done with that, they’ll move on to installing crown molding and remodeling the bathroom.

“I’m just looking forward to getting everything finished,” Jodi said. “I haven’t really been able to decorate the house, and we’ve been here for a year and a half!”

After they get the main level finished, the Bonds plan to take a nice, long break before they get started on the second floor.

While listing all the things they’ve accomplished on their own is impressive, it doesn’t give any credit to the amount of time they’ve put into this project.

“We quickly realized that we’d started this at an inconvenient stage of life,” Tim said.

They moved into the house with young kids, a toddler and a 5-month-old, and Tim beginning a new position at work.

“In the midst of all the renovating and remodeling, we still have to live life,” Jodi said. “We probably had the stove pulled out into the middle of the kitchen for a month before we were able to put it back in place.”

Still, the Bonds have stayed positive about the whole process. They’ve learned that even spending 20 minutes here and there scraping ceilings or ripping up floorboards is ultimately going to get them to their final goal.

“The other night, I needed to cut Tim’s hair, we needed to put the kids to bed and we still needed to work on ripping up the floors,” Jodi said. “We were getting flustered, so the kids said, ‘Let us help!’ I thought about it for a minute, and was like, ‘This might actually work.’ So there we were, after bedtime, the boys ripping up flooring in the kitchen while I cut Tim’s hair.”

“We’ve truly learned to live in upheaval and just embrace the chaos,” Tim said. “Or at least take the chaos and focus it toward something productive.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 8.38.22 PMHEART OF THE MATTER
Remodeling a house on your own is a huge learning experience in many ways. Not only have the Bonds picked up new skills, they’ve also learned more about life and each other.

“Seeing the positive traits that each of us bring to the project has been helpful,” Tim said. “If the project was left to either of us by ourselves, the whole thing would be off balance.”

Tim and Jodi know there have been times when the work they’ve done wasn’t perfect, but they find value in the imperfections because it’s something they’ve created as a family.

“I’ve found that it’s so satisfying to do your own work,” Jodi said. “But if you take something of this size on, you have to be willing to take risks and be okay with making mistakes.”

While the Bonds have gotten a lot done on their house, there is still much more they want to accomplish. You can watch their progress by following their Instagram account, @houseonasugarhill.

The Bonds’ style is simple and realistic. They feel pulled toward creating a space that is full of life and character, and from what I was able to see, they’re accomplishing just that. “When people walk into my house, I don’t want them to see something grand and perfect,” Jodi said. “I want people to see our life and our story. I want them to see our heart.”


  1. amanda myers01-07-2016

    I LOVE this! I know the Bonds personally and what wasn’t mentioned was Jodi’s keen sense of style! I’m absolutely in love with Joanna Gaines modern farmhouse design on HGTV’s Fixer Upper and every time I see a picture of the house’s progress, I swear it could be Joanna’s! (Who also goes by JoJo, I might add.) I so wish we could do something like this with our outdated house and I would totally consult with Jodi & Tim before we would do that. Great article!