Episode 10 - The Copp House February 5, 2018 It was so evident that we were in the right place at the right time for this project. We had just started the process of launching our Magnolia Foundation when our director, Lyle, met the Copp family—who lived right in the heart of Waco. Jody and Melissa Copp are parents to two boys, Calan (9) and Lawson (5), who were born with an extremely rare genetic condition that affects the mitochondria in the body. It is life-threatening and hinders their ability to stand and walk on their own, causing them to rely on wheelchairs for their mobility. The condition is so rare, that there are no other known cases with their exact presentation and no known cure or treatment. Lyle was immediately impacted by their story and kept them in the back of his mind while we sorted out the logistics of our foundation. A couple of months later, Tim Tebow reached out on behalf of his foundation, hoping to join forces to fix up a home for a local family—specifically, the Copps. We immediately jumped on board. This is one of those homes that sincerely came together as a labor of love and as a true team effort. The Tim Tebow Foundation, Make-a-Wish, the American Residential Services, members of the Waco community, and the Magnolia Foundation all came together to design and renovate a home that was 100% wheelchair accessible for these two boys. DESIGN ELEMENTS The inspiration materials I used to interpret the style of the family’s home When I asked Jody and Melissa to explain their personal style, they focused primarily on functionality for the boys. With this in mind, I wanted every design choice we made to create peace of mind for them so that they would know their kids would be able to thrive independently in this home. They loved the traditional style and colors in the blue, green and gray family which gave me a great starting point to create this traditional-style home with calming colors and thoughtful functionality. ENTRYWAY Objective | Create a bright and functional entrance into the home and give the boys a place to do homework This home started out as a blank slate after being taken down to the studs by the previous owners. Because of this, we were able to customize everything from the ground up, which saved time and money, but was also a unique opportunity that gave us the freedom to dream up what would work best for the Copps. The goal here was to ensure that the boys’ wheelchairs could easily fit and move freely through the entryway and throughout the rest of the home. We incorporated traditional details like crown moulding, tray ceilings and sophisticated hardware to give this entryway a polished feel. The vibrant color of these books played an important role in bringing in character and creating some visual interest to the neutral tones of the home. This desk area in the entryway gives Calan and Lawson a convenient place to work and study, while also incorporating a lot of really useful storage. The built-ins here give the Copps additional space to tuck away anything from games and craft supplies to coats and umbrellas in a place where it’s easy to grab and go on the way out the door. KITCHEN Objective | Carve out a place where Melissa and Jody can cook, while Calan and Lawson are comfortably in the same space There were so many opportunities to add practical adjustments and intentional design to make the kitchen functional for the boys. We installed the microwave in the lower cabinets instead of the upper cabinets—where it traditionally goes—and then added in features like a lower oven and a roll under sink to give Calan and Lawson the freedom to work alongside their parents preparing meals. We had our carpenter, Clint, build this custom dining table attached to the kitchen island. I think this piece perfectly showcases the balance of function and design that we included throughout the home. We measured it out to be the perfect height for Calan and Lawson to be able to roll under easily, and then Clint made these really beautiful, intricately turned legs to turn this piece into more of a design element with a nod to the traditional style. This roll-under sink was a simple addition to the kitchen that makes a big impact for the boys. Providing the opportunity for the boys to feel independent with tasks like washing their hands on their own was a big priority for Melissa and Jody. LIVING ROOM Objective | Create an inviting space for the whole family to be able to spend time together The traditional feel of the room is really highlighted with the built-in lower cabinets and hardware, the black chandelier and the tray ceiling. The natural wood upper cabinets on either side of the TV bring some warmth to the room, while their unique pulls add more style and definition. To bring a little visual diversity to the floors I typically add in a rug. In this home, a rug wouldn't be practical because it makes getting around in a wheelchair a little tougher. Instead I opted to lay the flooring in this room in a rug pattern which still accomplished the design goal I was going for, but with so much more practicality for this family. Chip found these diamond leaded glass panels just laying in the house and had the idea to install them in the sidelights and in the window that looks into the home office. This ended up being one of my favorite details in the house, because I felt like it really pulled in the classic and traditional style of the home. Plus, the fact that they were original to the home made them a seamless addition. HOME OFFICE Objective | Give Jody an office space that looks out into the backyard and into the living area At Jody’s request, we built this home office to look out to the living room and the backyard, so that he can help keep an eye on the boys while they play. This space ensures that he has the privacy necessary to get work done while also being in-the-know. Other small details like extra storage and lots of countertop space make this office really functional. KIDS’ ROOMS Objective | Create functional rooms that encourage independence, learning and creativity We wanted to ensure the design choices we used could grow with them as they get older. The blue trim is playful, but it is also a color that can transition with their age. And then to give the space a more masculine feel, we added in the the wood chair rail which doubled as a unique storage opportunity. When designing the boys’ rooms I wanted to make everything really interactive. Installing the Lego wall, cork and magnet boards provided a blank canvas that will allow for lots of fun and creativity. This barn door leading to the closet was an easy choice, because it is one of the most practical door options for ease of use. KIDS’ BATHROOM Objective | Combine inspiring design and useful functionality for a wheelchair-accessible bathroom This side of the bathroom functions as the washroom. We installed these antique lockers into the wall to preserve valuable space and provide adequate storage to the boys. The striped floors carried all the way to the back wall elongate the bathroom and give the whole space a fun twist, but with an overall classic feel. To balance out the bold stripe pattern, we used a larger subway tile for the rest of the room. One of my favorite features in this room is the Jimmy Don sign above the towel hooks. Because this is a phrase the Copp family uses to encourage each other, I wanted to put it in a place that offered the boys a daily reminder that they can do whatever they set their mind to. High on the list functionality-wise for the Copp boys was a handicap-accessible bathroom vanity. Tilted mirrors, lowered countertops and roll-under sinks allowed this space to be 100% operational for Calan and Lawson. For continuity, we painted the vanity the same blue tone as the lockers. We also brought in the same striped tile, but chose to install it diagonally to change things up. Black countertops, hardware, and fixtures provided the classic, masculine details that finished off the space. BACKYARD Objective | Work with the Make-a-Wish Foundation to grant the Copp family’s wish of having a handicap-accessible backyard The boys asked for a backyard that allowed them to really play so we made sure to make this space 100% theirs. The turf grass allows their wheelchairs to roll easily, and I know that the race track around the perimeter will host countless “ready-set-go” challenges and the clubhouse gives them a place to hang out in. This little storage cottage is a mini version of the main house. We incorporated some of the same design features and added in similar details—like the pitch of the roof, shingles and color of the door. EXTERIOR Objective | Create a warm, welcoming exterior with traditional elements and subtle ramps for wheelchair accessibility The high pitch of the gable gave the exterior a lot of architectural interest. The porte-cochère not only pulls the front of the home out visually, but also provides a covered entryway, making their morning routine much easier—no matter the weather. We also installed a circular driveway to allow their van direct access to the front door. Subtle ramps on either side of the front porch allow the boys to get in and out of the van and into the house independently. To keep the facade from feeling too brick-heavy, we resurfaced the gable with shingles and added a window with a shingled eyebrow to break it all up. We painted the exterior a soft gray, framed it with creamy white trim and then added in a muted blue for the shutters and front door, we also added new columns with a rock base that gives the exterior a more traditional look. My favorite little detail on this exterior is the trim work on the bottom of the gable—this subtle detail helps gives the house an established, polished feel. It was pretty incredible to see the whole community come together to donate their time, skills, and materials to help make this family’s home come together. During the reveal Melissa Copp commented that the boys had already connected with this house—and we couldn’t have been happier to hear that. From start to finish Chip and I had so much fun designing this home with them in mind and imagining little ways that we could surprise them. Thank you so much to everyone who came together to make this happen. And, of course, welcome home Copp family! Photo courtesy of HGTV Interview With Homeowner Q: What was something that surprised you about the design process? A: We were most surprised by how easy it was for accessibility to be incorporated into the design, something others had told us would be difficult. The attention to detail with every single component that was discussed really blew us away. The questions asked by Chip and Jo let us know they were as concerned about the function of the home as we were, but also wanted to bring out the hidden beauty of the home, something we had not been able to focus on before. Q: What is your favorite room in the house, and why? A: While we love every room in our home, the open living area that leads into the kitchen is our favorite. We had a laundry list of items to make this space extremely functional for our family and the room exceeded all of our expectations! So much thought was put into the design, like an accessible kitchen dining table, lowered microwave and most importantly, an accessible sink with an automatic faucet so the boys can just wheel up to it and wash their own hands! Not only is it large enough for the boys to move around in, it will ultimately give them the freedom and independence to cook their own meals as they grow older. It’s definitely a dream kitchen for our entire family. Q: What is your favorite feature in the house, and why? A: Our favorite features in the home are definitely the areas that allow our boys the ability to roll up to and access like never before. The exterior ramps going into the front and rear doors allow them to come and go as they please for the first time ever in a home. The ramps were blended into the design of the home so beautifully that you would never even consider them as an accessibility feature. We also love that the pocket doors allow for more room inside the home for their wheelchairs and easier access to every room! The roll-under sinks and the “locker room” style roll-in shower is absolutely fantastic. It will allow them the independence they have longed for. The grab bars inside their bedrooms were perfectly placed to allow the boys to transition themselves more safely while they draw and play their favorite activity – building with legos! Q: How did your home balance design and functionality? A: The balance between design and functionality is absolutely beautiful and totally blew us away. When we first sat down with Joanna at our design meeting to see the plan for the very first time, we couldn’t believe how well the functional components were incorporated into the design. In fact, the design was so well done that we initially didn’t even realize ALL the wheelchair accessible components were even there! When we finally got to see it in person, we couldn’t believe our eyes. All the barriers that have always been issues for us were completely removed. No more steps or thresholds to deal with. Even the light switches were lowered in every room to give the boys the chance to be even more independent. It brings tears to our eyes just thinking about how beautiful accessibility can be, all thanks to everyone that made this possible. Q: How was getting to work with the Tim Tebow foundation through the process? A: Getting to meet Tim Tebow and those that support his foundation was an absolute dream come true. His foundation’s purpose is all about spreading “Faith, Hope and Love” which mirrors how we live our life. We couldn’t think of a better role model for our boys and the special needs community as a whole. The Tim Tebow Foundation is doing great things highlighting those with special needs on a global level so we are honored that they supported our mission to bring accessibility and independence to our boys. Tim Tebow and his foundation have impacted our lives forever so we can truly start living life as a family. Not only was Tim a joy to be around, but all those that supported his mission of inclusion and we can never thank them enough for what they have done for our family. Q: How did you decide on the design of the house? What inspired the choice? A: We started out just focusing on the function of the home and what tasks we wanted the boys to learn on their own. Before now, they had never been able to be independent due to severe barriers in previous homes, so it was important to us that it be extremely functional. We knew we wanted ramps incorporated so they could access the front and back doors, roll-under sinks so they could wash their hands and brush their teeth…all things they had never been able to do independently before. Our style is simple, clean and traditional, but we completely left the actual design up to Joanna. We knew the home was in good hands and we loved that we didn’t have to worry about every detail because they are amazing! When we finally got to see it in person it was perfect in every way. Q: Did you get the rest of the house renovated, or what was shown on the show? A: With the support of Chip and Joanna and their Magnolia Foundation, as well as Tim Tebow and his foundation, every square inch of the home was not only renovated but made to be 100% accessible. Every single functional element we wanted incorporated was installed, and so much more. Not only was the inside of the home renovated, but the front and backyard was also redone. Many months before we even knew we were going to be on Fixer Upper, we were collaborating with Make-A-Wish for our son’s wish, which was a play area in his backyard for friends of all abilities to play together. We knew going into this project that Make-A-Wish was going to facilitate having his dream wish come true. Just like we did for the home, we suggested functional and play ideas for the backyard but we never saw the end result until reveal day. We were totally blown away by the design of the backyard and how the boys reacted when they first saw it. They immediately began to race around the track, play soccer and wrestle in the play area just like any other kid. It was a dream come true to see them finally enjoying their first backyard! Q: How was your own personal style revealed in your home? A: Our personal style is classic with traditional and rustic elements that can stand the test of time as well as be functional for our needs. Up until now, we haven’t been able to focus on home design because our focus was raising two medically fragile boys. When we first started having discussions about what we wanted to see in the home, we were at a complete loss! It was amazing how our functional needs turned into a beautifully crafted design. It helped to start with a color palette we knew we liked which was blues, greens, and grays. The entryway, kitchen and living room is exactly a reflection of us with the neutral color palette, classic design and touches of rustic. We love that the boys rooms and their amazing locker room bathroom is an exact representation of them. With pops of color representing their bold personalities and the phrase “I Can and I Will” on the bathroom wall, it was perfect. Our home is a direct representation of us and we couldn’t be happier.