Our first impression of the kitchen was that it was heavy, dark, and restrictive. The combination of the dark wood cabinetry all the way around the room, the yellow ceiling, the small doorways to the living and dining rooms, and the small window also contributed to how intensely confining the space felt. The layout of the kitchen itself wasn’t too bad but it was completely cut off from the rest of the house. So we knew we had to open it up!
Our first thought was to remove the wall between the kitchen and living area to create an open floor plan. This included structural beams and a new header for the opening and rerouting the plumbing stack and electrical into that same wall.
We changed the entire footprint and layout of the kitchen, reversing the wall where the stove and microwave were, taking out the small window above the sink, putting all the appliances on the far wall and adding a large center island. We inserted a modern wall oven and microwave and a cook top and large vent hood where the sink was originally. We added all new modern and classic style cabinetry, beautiful stainless steel appliances, a gorgeous farm sink and finished everything off with STUNNING granite counter tops in Fantasy brown. The light grey cabinets add a pop of color and compliment the counter tops and white hexagon back splash.
For the other two walls, one we put in a large (8ft) sliding glass door that opens up to the back porch and for the otherwall, we widened the opening to the dining area to 10 ft tall and 6ft wide. These walls also had the same exposed horizontal beams with plaster filling on the walls similar to the rest of the house. So, we removed the beams and plaster (which proved to be extremely hard since they had 3” iron nails and were actually part of the original wall structure from the early 1900’s!!!) Lastly, we painted all the ceilings white and added canned lights and over the island we hung 2 large beautiful pendants for a focal point. Another one of my favorite things about this kitchen remodel is that we re purposed the old office door and used it for the pantry door! I just LOVE how it turned out!!
The once dated, dark and confined kitchen has now been transformed into a bright, open and modern conversation place that is truly the hub of the home!
Wow, what can we say about the old stairs? . . . nothing good, I assure you. They were extremely narrow, dark, heavy, bulky, steep, and very dangerous. The treads of each stair actually hung over the stair underneath by 3” so you could barely stand on them properly. They were extremely narrow (only 30″ wide) and VERY steep!
They had to be torn out immediately and completely redone. We wanted the stairs to be a focal point and wanted to make them look beautiful especially since they are the first thing you see when you walk into the house. The old stairs were very bulky and heavy. So one of the major things we wanted to do was make them open tread to not only bring in more light to the house but also to make the entryway feel larger.
They were widened and lengthened which meant we had to both come out further into the living area and into the upstairs to accommodate the new rise and run. The wall to the kitchen from the living area was extended to accommodate the new length and the upstairs landing was cut shorter. The ceiling of the first floor had to be cut at a 45 degree angle to allow for more head space as you walked up the stairs. We also had to move the doorway leading into one of the upstairs bedroom which was directly in front of the top of the stairs, to create a safer and larger landing area. We designed the stairway with semi-open risers and, for the handrail system, we used ½” gas lines with custom newel posts. We also removed part of the upstairs hallway to make for a VERY DRAMATIC two story entry and put in a matching railing. All of this combined made for a VERY beautiful and impressive first impression on the home and entryway. It opened it up SO much and made the entire entryway feel MUCH lighter, brighter and open. The stairs was one our favorite improvements of this house. They are definitely much more beautiful, safer, and so much nicer to use. Even more significantly, all of this created a more unrestricted feeling both downstairs and upstairs and opened the top floor up to make for a much more cohesive flow of the house.
When we first walked into this house, we saw that this dark and outdated home had the potential to be something wonderful. As we toured around, we instantly fell in love with all the natural character… like the wood beams in EVERY room, the high ceilings and the large spaces. We knew the first and most important thing we needed to do was take the wall between the living room and the kitchen down ASAP!!! The stairs were also not safe and didn’t pass code so they needed to be expanded and opened up to make the entryway feel much larger. We had to figure out how to lighten everything and open everything up as well. The kitchen was COMPLETELY gutted and a fresh new layout, new cabinets, new appliances, new granite counter tops, a stunning new island, etc. The stairs were also completely redone with a new railing system and open treads which made them feel light and airy.
We ended up having to drywall over the wood walls in the living room and throughout because they were the ACTUAL walls and not just decoration! We removed all the old and dated paneling in a few other spaces, removed all the old shutters on the windows (which were making it SO dark!), and painted all the ceilings a crisp white. We lightened up all the walls with a cool light grey throughout ( Behr Tinsmith 50% darker) The bulky, old and ugly ceiling fans and light fixtures were all replaced with more streamlined, modern and classical fixtures. The tile floors were removed throughout the ENTIRE downstairs and new hardwood floors were installed to make it feel more spacious and cohesive.
This transformation was SO fun to witness and definitely brought new life back to this classic Texas home!!
This month our DIY Homework Station was featured in the October 2017 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine!!! Eeek!!!! It was an amazing experience you guys!!! And I’m so EXCITED to FINALLY be able to tell you all about it!!!
For years I have been inspired by other DIY-ers and projects that have been featured in this magazine… so being chosen to be featured was quite an honor for our little family!!
We thought it might be interesting for others to see the “behind the scenes” of the set-up and shooting of the family event.
When we were first contacted by Better Homes and Gardens magazine about being featured last March, we couldn’t believe it!!! We had just finished up the homework station and posted it on the blog and pinterest only a few weeks prior. So to be contacted so quickly was a surprise!! After emailing back and forth for a couple weeks we found out our article was going to be a two-page spread!!!!! Say WAAAA??!!!! We were over the moon with joy!!!
Early May a large crew of five (editor, photographer, photo assistant, stylist and stylist’s assistant) showed up at our home to prep for the next day photo shoot. They were here for a few hours prepping the space, checking lighting, getting outfits together, setting up shots and seeing what other props they needed…. then they went shopping. BOY oh BOY you guys!!! The next morning they came back bearing all sorts of brand new art supplies and super cute clothes for all of us!!!! (which, by the way, we got to keep.) Each and everyone of them were incredibly friendly, laid back, and also managed to keep our spirits high the whole day! My children absolutely adored the crew and I was thrilled they stayed true to my style and added only a few minor touches of their own. They were at our house shooting for 8 hours!!!! When they left, we had felt like we made some new friends and were sad to see them go! But it was SO much fun for all of us and this experience will definitely be remembered forever!!!
The surprising excitement and extreme joy of this event was in no way over yet though!! The BEST part came months later yesterday when copies of the magazine were delivered to our door and we ripped through the pages with pure excitement until we came to our article and then we screamed!!!!!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!!! I can’t believe we are in a magazine!!! We can’t begin to tell you all how extraordinary and surreal this experience has been for our family and how happy we are to share it will all of you!!
This was a dream come true for us and as always we want to remind all our readers. . . Don’t give up on your daydream!!!!