• amy wright

Architecture: Ruckus & Romeo Design

Amy Wright discusses the work she and her husband, Ben, put into their home design.

Considering a home renovation these days? Maybe a global pandemic has you thinking about buying, selling, or flipping a house to mimic those “reality” shows? WARNING: That reality is misleading. My rosy glasses are off this morning as I invite you into my world. Maybe you will learn from my failures and successes.

When Robert invited me to write a column, I had two basic thoughts, besides the fact that I don’t see enough of this human: First, “I can easily write 500 words in my sleep" and second "I might possibly drive the editors insane with my verbiage and habitual run-on sentences.” Some people might call my wording Pennsylvania Dutch. Here. We. Are.

Over a decade ago, if a fortune teller would have forecasted that I would have styled more than 10 homes, I would have laughed, sipped some absinthe (neat), and gone back to writing angsty music in a dirty basement. This Ruckus And Romeo “path” protested in my face as a means to save a young, imploding marriage and cue putting on my big girl panties to help clear away some of our debt. I’ve been debt-free twice in my adult life (I’m currently holding this title. If I can do it, I know ANYONE can! This is perhaps for another day).

Ruckus And Romeo began slow and steady in 2012 as we rode the appealing seller’s market wave that rolled through Nashville after the bottom dropped out of the economy in 2008. Trying to buy a first house seems IMPOSSIBLE to many of us. If you haven’t found buying the first house difficult, I would like to meet and give you a very intense high five.


We have lived in 5 of the 12 houses that we’ve either flipped or built. Expect dust on clothes and every unthinkable surface, waking up with a grumpy partner, and a coating of dust on the skin. Good luck trying to make a simple cup of dustless coffee. Is the scenario stressing you out a bit? Imagine fighting insomnia, because the paint color has too much of a 1990’s “hotel sick” yellowish hue. This was the name I gave to the color the next day as I painted over it with a cool tone that would no longer be magnified by the sunlight (#truestory). Tackling renovations will challenge your existing relationship(s), your hobbies, the balance of your social life and define the determination to find the good things in life… outside of the house.

If you’re skeptical that one couple can build five homes and renovate seven in eight years, you’re correct. Here’s our basic village. Let me introduce: a general contractor, an architect on top of the ever-changing codes, a framing crew, plumbers, electricians, inspectors, and me. Consider the list of pulling permits, delivering dumpsters and a port-a-potty on-site, waiting longer than expected on the city’s approval for projects, and countless trips to grab those forgotten items. Let me reiterate here. Villages make dreams attainable.

2020 VIBES

We were surprised at how quickly the 2 new builds sold this spring in the middle of masks and economic uncertainty. Never judge a year by its terrible non-stop news. Oddly enough, we are knocking on the door of lucky house #13 at this very moment. Of course, #13 is happening in 2020. I wouldn’t expect anything less. Guhhhh. Why is #13 so different? We are considering this house as our first acquired rental space. This design must be fashioned to uphold wear and tear while holding true to my twofold Ruckus and Romeo intention plan.

1. A peacefully styled space as an empty room. I’m a believer that the rooms need to speak before being staged.

2. If I’m not full-throttle desiring to move into the empty place, I missed the mark.

In this house, my budget is smaller than that of a discounted tire. My role is usually incognito until closer to the finish line. Everything has been framed, walls are next, we’ve got to drain an old septic tank and the wonky foundation needs attention. This limited budget feels like I should use crayons on the walls and twigs for flooring. However, in this real-life, we see parameters as the main sequence for creativity to bubble up. To be continued...


If you’re considering a renovation, allow 10% over the projected budget and 10% extra time beyond original deadlines. Don’t let fear keep you from buying, selling or trying a new renovation project. Put old bedsheets over those doorways to slow the spreading dust. Schedule sanity time doing something unrelated to your project. Consider purchasing a bottle of absinthe. XO.

If you’re in the middle of a renovation, I would LOVE to see what you’re doing! Tag me on IG #ruckusandromeodesign

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