Maybe it’s a millennial thing, but I’m such a mover at heart. I could move into a new home every two years. And for the last ten years, we basically have. Moving doesn’t faze me. I love doing it. It energizes me. It energizes my husband, too. I hardly understand people who dread moving. A new space; a change of scene; what’s not to love?!
But then there’s my mom. Her parents remained in the same house where she was born until they died. Some 60+ years in the same home! People, c’mon – that’s nuts! Well my parents have picked up on that same gene, though not quite to the same extreme, and I have only ever known two “childhood” homes. The first was in Old Sagamore and I’ll forever love it. The other, where they live now, is equally special as it’s where my husband and I were married.
It’s a few of the rooms from that home that I’m going to share with you today.
I’ll never forget one day in high school when my dad said he’d found a new house to buy (hello! I didn’t know we were even looking!). One problem. Mom was out of town. Well what did he do, but buy that sucker without her ever seeing it! Imagine my mom coming home in the picture above and seeing this classy combo in her newly purchased master bathroom:
The transformation of the house only gets better. In another stroke of genius, my dad managed to turn this living room/family room split into an incredible “open concept” room with raised ceilings before “open concept” became the trend of the decade (century?). Keep in mind, while I only just had the house photographed this past week, this house was actually remodeled way back in 2003! Here was the living space before and then after.
Side note: I still remember when they got the television mounted to the wall with a bracket that allowed it to extend out and turn from side to side, and everyone thought the television was going to fall down at any moment. Articulating TV mounts were fairly “new technology.” Funny how some things do change.
But last year for my parents’ (ahem) 40th birthday, John and I got our paint on and covered the entire room in three – yes, three not at all quick – coats of Benjamin Moore’s Navajo White while the ‘rents were on vacation. Did they ask for this you may be wondering. Not really. Did they want it painted? Maybe not. But I’m certain that they’re happy now….right, mom and dad??
The color change completely transformed the feel of the space. To say that I was ‘over’ feeling swallowed by the green ceilings and walls in that room would be a bit of an understatement. I’d been biding my time for years to bust out a brush, and anyone that knows me knows I don’t necessarily have an over-abundance of patience stored up in me. So the fact that I waited as long as I did to sneak in and repaint shows great discipline!
Along with the salvaged chicken coop wood floors from New York and the custom alder doors throughout the house, one of the most notable features of the remodel are the numerous built-in, arch-topped bookcases, backed in a stained wainscoting. And this wet bar – with it’s granite top and slab backsplash. That’s a hard working bar lest you be fooled by the paneled appliances. It’s complete with wine cooler, ice maker and a dishwasher drawer for wine glasses. That bar throws a party like a boss. But hopefully you yourself are the kind of boss party thrower who remembers to unload this discreet dishwasher the next day. I won’t tell you just how many times wine glasses have been left in there for weeks post-bash. But it’s a lot.
It was such a rarity to not have a formal dining room in 2003. When my parents told people they were eliminating it in favor of one open room, people thought they were nuts. Now, if only I had a nickel for every time someone called our office wanting to do the same.
The new kitchen remained in roughly the same location as it had been previously, but we essentially started from scratch in terms of relocating plumbing, reorienting the flow of cabinetry, moving walls, moving stairs, etc. To give you a frame of reference, the double ovens in the before and after are basically in the same exact spot. The original stairwell was positioned just behind the wall on the right side of the before picture. By relocating the stairs, the kitchen grew another 4 feet in width.
Tired of the same ol’ countertop materials he’d seen over and over again in homes, my dad also opted to go a little outside the box and use Indiana Limestone for their kitchen countertops on the perimeter. And beadboard for the backsplash.
I may or may not have set a Stroud’s cinnamon roll directly on the limestone the very first night we moved into this house. It may or may not have left a stain. And it may or may not have been one of the most devastating moments of my dad’s year. Luckily, I made him a grandpa and he has thus forgiven me all my grave countertop-staining transgressions. Plus the tops were sealed, and thank the good lord, the cinnamon roll silhouette buffed out.
I bet that we’ve duplicated this porch in more homes in Kansas City than any other remodel we’ve been known for. From the vaulted ceiling to the mason fireplace, it’s like a slice of mountain life right in the midwest. 7.5 years ago on a very cold, snowy January night I got married on this very porch.
Ok, the requisite throw back pic of my dad and me.
Ok, let’s hop back inside the house and I’ll show you a couple other favorite before and afters.
The master bedroom in all its glory the day my dad bought the house, sight unseen by my very trusting mother.
This whole house remodel was so transformative that a few things don’t even have ‘befores’ because so, so much has changed, it’s unrecognizable. Take for instance the back hallway. They relocated the stairwell in order to accommodate the new kitchen, and in a light bulb moment of creativity, they designed a bookcase-clad half wall to house the stairwell. I’d show you the before, but frankly, you wouldn’t know it was the same house. Plus I can’t find the before….just imagine a teeny tiny guest bedroom and bathroom.
If you head down the stairs, you land in the home’s finished lower level. I know it well. Very well. My husband, my kids and I lived down there for a solid 9 months while we remodeled our home last year. And I’ll tell ya – it’s a nice basement! And that rent price of zero dollars can’t be beat. Landlords were a bit of a pain, but we survived.
Let’s jump outside to wrap up this tour. Here we are circa 2003 and then this past week.
I’ll end it with a pic of my little cousin, now a grown college-aged man, putting a hammer to a wall at the pre-demo party my parents hosted at the beginning of this journey in ’03. The house came quite a long way.