As part of the Fab Five, I’m use to creating dramatic home transformations through design. But when it came time for my most recent makeover, things were a little bit different. I wasn’t just designing a few rooms, I was renovating a whole house for my most important clients yet-my parents.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to give my parents’ house a major update. Growing up in this house in Mount Vernon, Missouri, some of my earliest design memories were dreaming up ideas of how I could improve it. Not because it necessarily needed improvements back then, but because I needed a canvas for all my wild decor ideas. From tearing down walls, to removing carpet to changing up paint colors, I had a lot of big dreams for that little house about an hour outside of Springfield. Flash forward to a couple decades later, and I finally got the opportunity to make those dreams a reality.
What started as a plan to renovate just the kitchen quickly turned into a much larger project, and after a lot of planning (and getting my parents to agree to move out for a few months), I was able to partner with Target (a brand that I love and support), to give my parents home the makeover it so desperately needed.
Since the home hadn’t been touched since the 1970s, my first goal for the makeover was to give every space a modern update. I also really wanted to create a comfortable and uplifting home that my parents could truly enjoy for many years to come, and a space that worked with the simple, farmhouse style architecture.
So… are you ready to see all the dramatic before and afters? Keep scrolling for a room by room breakdown, and to shop all the Target product you’ll need to bring the look to your own space. And click here to see all the details on how we made this makeover come together.
For the living room, it was important to me to make things feel bright, open and comfortable, bringing in a modern farmhouse vibe to go with the original architecture of the house. There are a few windows on the front of the house, but other than that there isn’t much natural light that comes into the room, so I went with a bright and light color scheme for everything, and painted the walls Pure White by Sherwin Williams. At the top of the to-do list in the living room was replacing the old wood floor. It hadn’t been replaced for quite some time, and by adding a lighter-toned wide plank wood floors from Build.com, it tied all the spaces together and brightened everything up. The wood tone worked perfectly with the colors that I was bringing in through the new pieces from Target, and also served as the perfect connection between all the spaces in the house. Up on the ceiling, I removed all the texture and resurfaced the existing ceiling beam (which was covered with a popcorn texture) to make it feel as if it had been there forever. Then throughout the space, I brought in soft, neutral colors and textures through pillows, draperies and woven shades . The woven wood shades from SelectBlinds helped soften the harsh lines of the black window casings, and also brought some additional texture to the space. To keep it from feeling boring or bland, there are black accents throughout that help create some contrast and bring in a modern touch, including the doors, trim and fireplace painted in Tricorn Black.
I also completely reoriented the room and created a defined living space for them, where they can hang out with family or friends, or watch TV. By placing the two matching sofas in the corner of the room, it opened up the entire living room to the rest of the space and made it feel much bigger. Because it is a small space, rather than adding a lot of different elements, I repeated the same elements (the sofa, chairs, and side tables) throughout to keep it cohesive. Speaking of coffee tables, once the room was reoriented, it called for one large coffee table to fill the space, so I used two of the same coffee table and stacked them next to each other to create one large square table. It’s something that we do a lot in design projects when we want to create one large piece and we can’t find just the right size. Opposite the new sofas, I added two chairs to give another area for people to sit and hang out in. By going with an option that has legs and was more linear vs upholstered all the way to the floor, it allows the room to still feel connected to the dining room and doesn’t block the visual flow of the space. These chairs were the perfect solution and look great in the room. Hey Mom and Dad, you might be seeing a lot more of me and Dewey now that you have all this new seating!
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DINING ROOM & KITCHEN
The most dramatic change in the home came in the kitchen and dining room, where the wall that separated the kitchen and dining was completely removed. Before, the spaces were split up by a long wall that cut the kitchen off from the rest of the living area, and by ripping it out, we were able to create one seamless open space for my parents to enjoy, no matter what room they were in. Come back Monday for more on all of the structural changes were made and the construction that we did, but for now, let’s talk about the dining room before we all admire that brand new kitchen.
With the new layout of the space, the dining table now became a focal area in the middle of the room, so I kept it minimal and echoed the color palette of blacks, browns, whites, and creams that was used elsewhere. These cafe style chairs from Target brought the black from the kitchen into the dining area, and then to create a focal wall, we added two tall bookcases which gives them a place to display a few items. In between the bookcases, we hung a circular mirror which pulls the same wood tones from the beams in the living to the dining area, and also helps bounce the light around the room. And because there is no such thing as too much versatile storage or seating, we brought in a pair of ottomans between the two bookcases. They can be pulled up to the dining table when needed for the grandkids, and provide a spot to stash things away when not in use.
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When I first started the project, this kitchen was actually the only room that we had planned to do… but you know me, I can’t just do one room. So we ended up redoing the entire house. Leave it to me to turn a single kitchen reno into a full house reno, but hey, what better project can you work on then one for your parents in your childhood home? But back to the kitchen- my mom loves to cook and I really wanted to give her somewhere that had everything she needed at arm’s reach, while maximizing storage so that it didn’t feel cluttered. I reworked the layout and floor plan of the kitchen, which then allowed me to add lots of additional storage. Because the house is an old farmhouse (really, there are cows across the street), I went with something that would complement the architecture of the home, and brought in a combo of solid and glass front lehryttan shaker cabinets from Ikea. We were able to customize every single cabinet to make it work for her, and I have to tell you, I am pretty jealous of this new setup she has. The team from Ikea could not have been more wonderful to work with and they really made sure that every inch of this kitchen was maximized for functionality while still staying to the look that we wanted. For hardware, we used a combo of brass knobs and pulls to bring some brass accents into the kitchen, and then to complement the black cabinet color and keep it seamless, we went with all cast iron black appliances with a matte finish from Maytag. For the countertops, we used an engineered stone which is virtually indestructible (AKA grandchild proof), and a brand new farmhouse style sink and faucet from Kohler. There will be lots more on all the kitchen details tomorrow, but in the meantime, bring on the cooking!
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On the opposite side of the house, and just off the living room, is the master bedroom. For the master, I wanted to create a calming and serene spot for my parents to be able to relax and unwind. I reconfigured the layout by moving the bed to the opposite wall, so that you see it as soon as you walk in, you see a mirror above the bed that reflects light and showcases the artwork on the opposite wall. (It’s a designer trick that can instantly help a space look and feel bigger, and in a small space like this, it really did open up the room visually.) On the walls, we added all new beadboard to create some architectural interest and painted it in Tricorn Black up to chair rail height to bring even more interest to what was a totally white box. This room was one of the only rooms that got a slight dose of color, which we brought in with those soft blue nightstands and the mix of patterned and floral pillows on the bed. (After all, it is a house in the country, so a few florals are a requirement.) When we rearranged the bed to the other wall, it opened up the corner which leads into the closet and it gave us the perfect spot for a little reading nook, complete with a horse photograph (my mom’s all time favorite animal- next to her dog Jasper of course).
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Next up was the bathroom, which honestly is pretty unrecognizable now. I was especially excited to say goodbye to the former lime green walls, replacing them with this beautiful glazed white tile from Bedrosians, which we did all the way from floor to ceiling. By carrying it all the way from floor to ceiling, it brightened up the space and bounced around so much light. On top of the tile we added two wood framed mirrors and three sconces which gave the bathroom a boutique feel and plenty of light. You might also notice that new vanity area that we created by using more Bodbyn drawer fronts from Ikea and a small space to the left of the sink, which gave my mom a little place to sit and do her makeup that is out of the bedroom. But the real showstopper is the all new brass plumbing fixtures from the artifacts collection by Kohler, and that new clawfoot tub that we tucked into the corner creating a separate tub and shower area for them.
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Upstairs is the guest bedroom, which was formally known as my childhood bedroom. Because baby Bobby no longer resides there, I wanted to give it a little bit of a grownup makeover and make a welcoming and well-appointed space for any guests that they have over. We kept the walls white for the small space to feel bright, and then brought in warm wooden elements, textural bedding and an upholstered headboard to keep it neutral yet inviting. Just like we had done throughout the rest of the house, we added some black touches to bring in some contrast. Opposite the bed, and in that little window nook, we added a seating area with a rocking chair and side table for a cozy spot to relax, and near the door we added a leaning mirror and a few hooks for a guest to keep their items. Baby Bobby would have definitely loved this room.
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LAUNDRY ROOM AND MUDROOM
Back downstairs, and just off the kitchen, are the utility areas. Making things more functional and adding lots and lots of storage was the main priority for the laundry room and mud room. I added a door to separate the two spaces, moving the new laundry area (complete with a powerful new front load washer and dryer from Maytag) to the far end of the space, and built a long counter with the bodbyn drawers from Ikea with a large farmhouse sink and faucet from Kohler. The walls also got painted in a soothing grey color- Knitting Needles by Sherwin Williams. Now my parents have lots of extra storage that can keep things out of sight- and also a place to drag the dog in and give him a bath every once in a while… sorry Jasper.
With the long passthrough hallway we didn’t have a ton of room to add a big piece, but I did want to give them a space to take their boots on and off, as well as throw a coat, scarf or (cowboy) hat. So we added this windsor style bench just next to the door and then installed hooks above, which created an instant drop zone, and a functional spot for them to use everyday while still keeping the hallway open.
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Last but not least, the guest bathroom got a facelift as well. Since this room has no windows, it was important to keep things as bright and clean as possible, so we used the same glazed white tile as the master that helps to bounce light around in the space, and then a dark slate tile on the floors to balance it out. To give the guest bathroom a bit of storage, we added a new vanity from Kohler (which gives them much more useful storage than they had before) along with an oil rubbed bronze faucet and circular mirror.
Well, it’s taken two months, multiple dumpsters, lots of trips to Target and many MANY long hours from my team to pull this together, but I could not think of a more exciting project to start the new year off with. Click here for even more details on all the construction and how it came together, and be sure to let us know if you have any questions below in the comments. But before I sign off, I have to take a moment to thank first and foremost thank Target for being such a wonderful partner to work with on this renovation. When I went into this, I wanted to create something for my parents that was beautiful, comfortable and inviting, and thanks to the creative freedom they allowed us and all of their amazing product, it turned out even better than I could have ever imagined. Secondly, a big thank you to Bedrosians, Build.com, Emtek, Ikea, Kohler, Maytag and SelectBlinds for partnering with me on the project and for sending out product in exchange for inclusion in this content. I would not be what it is without all the many hands that helped pull it all together.
I love you so much Mom and Dad. Welcome Home!