Patti Baker was looking for a cozy home in a quiet Waco neighborhood. After losing her husband to colon cancer, Patti wanted to move to this area to be closer to family. Patti wanted the focus of this home to be centered around family, so creating a nice gathering space for hosting and entertaining loved ones was high on her wishlist. Also on her wish list was a home office, a comfortable master suite, and moving the laundry room from the garage, to the inside of the home.
This little 1950s bungalow “needed a hug” as Patti liked to say. It was already a charming house with good bones and located in just the right spot. By reworking a few things to make the layout functional, and by infusing her primitive style, we were able to turn this house into her dream home.
The inspiration materials I used to interpret the style of the family’s home
When designing Patti’s house, I wanted to make sure the finished home was classic and timeless with unique patterns and unexpected design throughout. I focused on familiar patterns with neutral hues and soft color balanced with consistent wooden tones. I also mixed in bold black interior doors, white tile flooring laid in a unique pattern, and a lot of genuine antiques to bring in that primitive look Patti loves.
ENTRY + LIVING ROOM
Objective | Create a welcoming retreat focused on family and hospitality.
One of the most distinctive elements of Patti’s style is simplicity. This living room is simple and refreshing with neutral colors, natural light, warm details, and interesting textures. The white wood of the bifold shutters on the windows incorporate the primitive element that Patti loves, and gives the room an extra detail that doesn’t detract from the rest of the rooms simple design.
One of Patti’s first requests when we did the walk through was to add a coat closet right off of the entryway. The new layout of the room provided a natural area to bring in the addition, and we used a unique skinny black door with a doorknob that was original to the home. I love the interest that the black interior doors brought to this home—especially in this space.
Rather than removing the wall that separated the living area and the kitchen and completely opening up the floorplan, we opted to move the original cased opening and make it larger. This allows you to see all the way through the home to the back den. Originally there was a fireplace along this wall, but Patti said from the beginning that it either needed to be functioning or it had to go. The cost of making the fireplace functional was outside of the budget, so we took it out. This actually freed up wall space for more seating for family and friends.
Something that was important to Patti was incorporating family photos. Including personal details, like pictures, helps make your house feel like home, so we used the wall in the living room to do exactly that. We built this set of photo ledges ourselves (They are easy! Learn to make them here) and displayed some of Patti’s favorites right here in the front of the home.
KITCHEN + DINING ROOM
Objective | Rework the original layout to create a kitchen and dining room combination that is large enough for the whole family
We relocated the kitchen to the opposite wall to be able to open up the layout a little bit more making room for this dining room. We kept the color palette pretty neutral with a lot of wood tones. (Be sure to read a few of my favorite design tips from this space here!)
Instead of using a traditional island, I chose to use a refinished antique working table in this kitchen. Combining the refined cabinets, patterned tile, and sleek drawer pulls with the unfinished feeling of the table struck a perfect balance between old and new. And in this case, using a table helped to make the room feel bigger because you have an unobstructed view all the way to the back wall.
Chip and I wanted to make sure Patti’s new house felt just like home, so our friend, Jonathan, handmade a set of dishes for entertaining that has her last name, “Baker,” stamped into every piece. The open shelving created a perfect place for her to display this beautiful set right within reach. I hope these become treasured family heirlooms that are passed down through generations of Bakers.
The backsplash is one of my favorite elements in the kitchen. The soft blue shade adds interest, while the pattern feels timeless and nostalgic.
Using concrete countertops stood out to me when designing this primitive-style kitchen because concrete is a material that weathers well and doesn’t look too sleek or new.
We carried in the black color from the interior doors to the wood paneled wall in the dining area. This created a dramatic focal wall that grounds the nook area as a dining room. The shelf at the top was the perfect additional space for Patti to display her collections of woven baskets, her entertaining pieces, family photos, and plants. Because we knew we wanted this shelf in here, we used it as a visual stopping place for the wood paneling to keep the wall from feeling too heavy or dark.
BACK DEN + LAUNDRY ROOM + HOME OFFICE
Objective | Carve out three separate spaces in one room without overcomplicating the layout
This back den also had to function as a laundry room and a home office. It was a good sized room, but in order for all these things to work together in one, we needed to add definition. To solve this, we built a pony wall with two-sided open shelving up to the ceiling. I love shelves like these because you have a clear line of sight to the other space, so the two areas can share natural light and the room still looks large.
Originally the washer and dryer were located in the garage, but it was on Patti’s punch list to move them indoors. Believe it or not, they’re actually behind those lower white cabinet doors! They’re perfectly tucked away, so Patti’s home office right beside it can still be a relaxing place where she can focus on her work or her projects.
The tile in this room is made to look like whitewashed wood, which brings a great texture into the space. And by laying them in a unique pattern, it really makes them stand out even more. With this room being right off of patio and combined with the laundry room, I wanted to use a flooring that was really durable.
Objective | Create a retreat for Patti that is functional, but also feels relaxing and comfortable
Because so much of this room is tonal, subtle design elements make a big statement. I knew Patti loved wallpaper, so I went with one that would create a great feature wall while still keeping the master bedroom calm, neutral and peaceful. So much in this space plays on texture—the wallpaper, the rug, the roman shades, and the bedding—and when it all comes together, it feels really cozy and calming.
To ground the light neutral colors we incorporated darker pieces of furniture and a dark stain on the refinished hardwood floors We also went with black interior doors at Patti’s request, which I loved.
By installing a mirrored glass into the closet double doors, we were able to make the space feel larger.
The home originally had two small bathrooms, but in order to make the home work best for Patti, we turned the hall bath into a powder bath and used the extra square footage to create a larger master bathroom.
Even though we enlarged the master bath, it still isn’t huge. We maximized it by having our cabinet maker, Marvin, build a beautiful custom vanity that didn’t take up precious space. It has a classic design, and its size helped the bathroom feel roomy without skimping on storage space.
Objective | Give the exterior of this cottage curb appeal that catches your eye and draws you in
One of the first things Patti was drawn to in this home was the front porch. Before the renovation, the porch, posts, and railings were very easy to overlook and lacked interest. To make them stand out, we added an interesting railing that helped to visually draw you in. We also replaced the windows, installed and painted new siding, installed new landscaping, and a brand new door.
To add a fun, cottage-style focal point to the exterior, we decided to add wooden shingles to the left side of the home. The stain of the shingles tied in with the front door and really gave this home some character.
It was an absolute pleasure getting to work with Patti to create her fresh start here in Waco, Texas. Patti, we hope your new home marks the beginning of a beautiful new season close to friends and family. Welcome home!
Interview With Homeowner
Q: What was your favorite part of the new house?
A: The magnificent curb appeal! The size, quantity and quality of the windows, the exterior facelift and the amazing front door. And I love, love, love the front porch and the cedar-shingled accent wall! Oh...and then of course there’s the remarkable master bathroom.
Q: Which part of the new design is the most functional for you?
A: The ability to display my family photos, Moss artwork and basket collection. The picture ledges and the divider display shelves between the den and the office/laundry area are brilliant. For a small house, with lots of windows, they were able to maximize the limited wall space. Our previous family homes were all much, much bigger than this little ‘Baker Bungalow’. I continue to be stunned that I am not lacking for space or functionality in my cozy, comfy new home.
Q: Was there a part of the renovation process or reveal that surprised you?
A: It took my breath away to walk in on Reveal Day and see my precious family photos on display. I think I had given them over 100 pictures and somehow they nailed it. They managed to select, frame and display the best of the best.
Q: What advice would you give families who are renovating their home?
A: If I could make any recommendations to someone considering a major renovation, it would be to do your homework and know what you want. Try to define your style and know your priorities and budget. Most people are very specific about having an amazing kitchen, but I was looking for a lot of storage, natural light, a front porch, and a cozy home.