There are really 2 ways to approach a major home renovation. You either:
Tackle it bit by bit, room by room, marching your way through the house and making it yours. OR,
You save and save and dream and plan for YEARS until you finally have the reserves to do it all at once, and do it right.
This, my friends, is what happens when you go route #2.
Let me be clear, there is no right or wrong way about this. Many people choose Option 1 (I’ve done that myself many a time) to be able to slowly transform your home and get quick wins along the way. It’s a solid method and keeps you from waiting for “one day” and then ultimately never do a thing to your house and then you move.
But oh man is it satisfying to transform a whole house in one fell swoop!
Our clients bought this home nearly a decade ago and did a basic Phase 1 Renovation. By that I mean paint, some backsplash swaps, replace the carpet in the living room, etc., to make it tolerable.
They (and by that, I mean she, because often one half of the couple SUPER cares about how a space will look and feel, and the other is happy to be along for the ride) had a really solid idea of her style and how she wanted the space to look and feel, and brought a mountain of Pinterest images and magazine pages to show us what she was after. Our job was to find the common threads in her inspiration and bring it all together, combined with our expertise with a major home overhaul to create their dream home.
This is what we live for.
There are 2 versions of The Before. This is the before before. What the house looked like when our client’s purchased it originally:
Then this is the TLD version of before; what the house looked like the day we arrived on the scene, several years after their Phase 1 surface updates were complete:
The biggest obstacle is definitely the 90’s 45˚ angled kitchen peninsula situation, with a tiny second “island” that is mostly just in the way. It chops the entire space in half and makes the traffic pattern really awkward. We had a column to contend with that was, of course, load bearing.
Pro tip – we get asked all the time whether or not walls are load bearing. As a general rule, if you want to move it, it almost always is. Such is life. But it can nearly always be solved with a beam.
The only major layout changes happened in the Kitchen and the Master Bath.
First order of business, remove the column and peninsula double island situation and rework the corner pantry into something less 90’s (translation, no more 45˚ angles). Work in some large dream appliances and overall make the layout more useable and functional. Add built ins to the breakfast area to make it feel like an extension of the kitchen.
In the master bath, take a sledgehammer to the corner garden tub. Get the 2 vanities close together and work in a beautiful freestanding tub. The shower and water closet (toilet room) actually didn’t change in size or location at all, but would get a major glow up.
Style-wise, our client wanted a fresh southern new traditional vibe. They grew up in East Texas and wanted something that felt classily southern, but updated to be fresh and airy and a bit younger. Light, subtle, filled with natural wood, soft patterns, and muted tonal colors, plus a few show stopping features.
THE FINAL PRODUCT
WOWWIE WOW WOW. This transformation is so huge. Where to begin?!
Entryway makes sense.
We updated the stair railing, added wall paneling and sconces, and replaced the carpet with wood to completely elevate this previously mundane stair. Oh the prom photos that will be taken on this staircase!!
The fireplace paneling and mantle itself actually stayed the same but received a fresh coat of paint. The built ins on either side were reworked for more display space, and the TV was relocated from the cabinet and replaced with our favorite Art Frame TV over the fireplace. Goodness that TV has become a designer’s best friend. No more staring at ugly black boxes!!
Art lights at bookcases are one of our favorite moves. Instant sophistication.
The fireplace brick surround is also original. Our goal was for a mason do to a limewash to the brick, but after coming up at loose ends trying to find someone who was willing to do it for us (for some reason, this terrifies people) our homeowner’s MOM did it. And it’s amazing!
Since then, I now know how to do this, so in the future we won’t have to employ our client’s parents. Team TLD – protecting your parents’ retirement since 2022. 😂
A fun renovation surprise (usually the surprises are less fun and come in units of $2500) was that we were able to remove the columns from the upper railing above the living room to open up that view. This made a huge difference, as did the amazing chandelier.
The furniture in this space MUST be discussed. While we wanted the space to feel tailored and put together, we also wanted it to be relaxing and comfortable, so we opted for a sectional. This is a high quality performance fabric (no need to stress about the light color!) with a pair of similar toned swivel chairs. Low contrast between the colors creates a calm, relaxing vibe. We lovingly pushed our client a bit to go with a more contemporary coffee table which makes a big statement in the room.
Pro tip: Mixing contemporary things (coffee table) with more traditional things (gold lantern kitchen pendants) enhances what’s special about each other and makes for a more interesting, layered space.
It’s finally time to talk about my VERY favorite feature in the whole house – this wood arched pantry door!
We had to fight tooth and nail to make this happen. Our clients were totally on board, but our contractor had major hesitations and continually pushed us to simplify it, especially after we found out that the pantry was a load bearing wall (because of course it was) and they wanted us to keep the dang 45˚ angled pantry. NOT TODAY.
We knew it would be an incredible show stopper and found a solution that allowed us to keep the door off an angle and not have the house fall down. Interior Designers are nothing if not problem solvers.
It is so critical in any design project to know what your must haves and top priorities are, and to not lose sight of them through the process. If you don’t fight for them, they have a way of getting altered, diminished, or disappearing altogether. Fight for what you love most about your future space.
With the peninsula gone, we now had room for a mega jumbo kitchen island. The lanterns were a splurge but they (along with my favorite door) make this space.
The layout is now much more functional without the double island situation. We have a giant fridge and freezer which is perfect for this family, as they meal prep, eat most meals at home, and live for fresh fruits and veggies.
Also, we worked in a nugget ice maker. Who wouldn’t want a built-in ice maker?!?!
Another special feature – adding wood planks and faux beams to the ceiling for an extra dose of southern charm to an otherwise boring flat drywall ceiling.
As the island got bigger, is stands to reason that other things would need to get smaller. The space has to come from somewhere! To pick up a couple of extra feet, we leveraged the existing window seat to become part of the breakfast area. Scooting over that table gave us the extra space we needed to extend the island.
ALSO IT’S SO DAMN CUTE. Pass me a croissant.
More cabinets, two beverage refrigerators (cans organized in ROYGBIV order by our client, I might add), plus display space make this area insanely charming. Don’t forget to add art to your kitchen!
This is maybe the most hardworking space of the house – the command center. Located under the curved staircase, it’s a bit of leftover area that was working hard-ish before with a more standard base cabinet/counter/upper cabinet configuration that was a magnet for clutter. We added doors to tuck away all of the mail, cross country registration forms, grocery lists, and STUFF.
Up next, the laundry room. A small space that we made a BIG change to.
We optimized the space by stacking the washer and dryer and shifting the sink to create more counter space.
The soft blue paint color is the stuff of laundry dreams.
Wall paneling and peg rails add function to an otherwise under-utilized side wall. Adding a window to bring in some natural light also brought a huge boost to the room. Anytime you can get more natural light in a space, DO IT.
Onto the master suite. We added wood detailing to the ceiling, a lovely light fixture, and wood flooring to update this space.
On the furniture side we started from scratch with a new canopy bed, chairs relocated from the living room, rug, nightstands, the whole she-bang. End result – restful and hotel-like comfort.
In the master bathroom, we rearranged the tub and vanities to maximize the layout. The view is now much more inviting.
Before the small arched window didn’t make sense with the vanity layout. Now the sinks are mirrored on either side of the window, which created a great spot for a tall linen cabinet to the side.
The water closet also got a nice facelift. You can also get a good look at the marble tie we laid in a basketweave pattern.
The shower stayed in the same location. We updated it with a handmade look tile and added trim details plus the Trifecta of plumbing fixtures (wall shower, hand shower, rain shower) for a more luxurious shower experience. Speaking of luxurious…
The freestanding tub. SO MUCH BETTER than the corner garden tub!
We added a window here (more windows!) to bring additional daylight into the space. The plan had been for a larger window to the side of the tub, until we learned that the pesky gas line that served the entire house was directly inside that wall cavity. It would have cost many thousands to relocate, so we opted for Plan B and shifted the window.
Now it’s onto the Bathroom Show! We renovated the 4 additional baths in the house, each having a different personality.
The show stopper is definitely the powder bath.
The console sink + wallpaper is a winning combination.
The next 3 bathrooms are all very similar, with slight differences in cabinet colors, hardware, and tile to give them each a unique spin.
First up, the downstairs guest bath.
We swapped the tub for a walk in shower, with a handheld faucet to make dog washing easier!
Up next, the guest bath.
This one is still very neutral in all of the permanent finishes, but went a bit more feminine with art and accessories.
And another spin in their daughter’s bath.