Matt and Leigh Ellen were interested in a spacious home with easy access to Lake Waco, where the family likes to spend their summers, so they were immediately drawn to this home in the perfect location. Their wish-list included an open floor plan for entertaining, updating the exterior to give it a more interesting curb appeal and creating an indoor-outdoor style living space. With three kids, having four bedrooms was a top priority, and they also wanted to carve out as much intentional family space as possible.
The inspiration materials I used to interpret the style of the family’s home
The family loved the French country style, which gave me a great starting place for my design. I loved mixing traditional elements, like subway tile, with more unexpected shapes and textures, and then infusing that French country style into the details. I also had fun with using different kinds of tile in this home. I used it to add an unexpected look to places that were otherwise very traditional in design.
Objective | Design an entryway that makes a grand impact and sets the tone for the rest of the home
To give the entrance an interesting element, we installed white oak wood floors with a tile inlay. This timeless tile pattern gave the home the sort of old-world, stately feeling that perfectly matches the rest of the home.
We kept the original wainscoting in this entryway. Wainscoting goes a long way with making a home feel established, and since it was already present in this home, it makes for a really authentic detail.
FORMAL LIVING ROOM
Objective | Create a multi-purpose space with an elegant French country feel
The formal living room had so much natural light flooding in through the beautiful floor-to-ceiling window. All of the light combined with details, like white oak flooring and marble accents, made for a formal living that feels like the perfect spot to land with family and friends.
For a more dramatic transition into the dining room, we incorporated sidelights instead of a traditional cased opening. This elongated the living room and made it feel larger. Plus, it makes the dining room and living room feel integrated, which I love—especially in gathering spaces like these
With three kids, we knew extra storage was a must so we added built in cabinets flanking both sides of the fireplace to store toys, games, books, and any other odds and ends.
The original design of the fireplace made it easy to overlook and didn’t showcase the grandeur you’d expect from the living room of this house. We added in a detailed paneling, simple lights on either side, and a marble surround.
Objective | Design an inviting room for the family to entertain family and friends
The dining room in the family’s house is the connecting room between the formal living room and the kitchen, giving it an ideal layout for entertaining. The chandelier is my favorite part of the room.
The renovations in this room were mostly cosmetic. We kept the original wainscoting, like we did in the entryway, and added a soft texture to the walls with this really subtle grass cloth wallpaper.
Objective | Open up the kitchen to the family den to make it one large, open room
The kitchen needed a new layout to make it feel more connected to the rest of the home. It was tucked away behind the family den, so we removed the wall separating the two to open it all up. We also vaulted the ceiling and added in white oak beams to match the floors.
To give a central focal point to the kitchen, we brought in a dramatic stucco vent hood that went all the way to the ceiling, which draws your eye to the height of the room.
These two doors on either side of the vent hood lead into the pantry. The stain matches the beams and the shelves which gives the room a lot of warmth and balance.
This hand-painted tile is just neutral enough to be classic and timeless while still tying in an unexpected detail. Because this entire vent hood feature the first thing you see when you walk into the great room, I really wanted to make it stand out, and I think this handmade tile is the perfect finishing touch.
Objective | Add on a room for the family to spend quality time together in the mornings
To help define these rooms as their own individual space, but still have an open feel, we installed a double-sided glass cabinet between the kitchen and the sunroom. This allowed the light from the sunroom to come into the kitchen while giving this sweet nook its own space—plus, it added in extra storage to display dishes.
I talked about this in the design blog, but my favorite thing about this room is that it was designed with the purpose of enjoying the slow, intentional time found in the mornings or on the weekends. Their backyard was pretty large, and because the home was on a corner lot it gave them a lot of privacy. Installing a room with this many big, beautiful windows gives the space and indoor/outdoor feeling, and it gives Matt and Leigh Ellen a room to enjoy watching their kids play while they cozy up by this stone fireplace.
Objective | Brighten up the family den with white oak wood accents and plenty of natural light
I immediately felt inspired walking into this room. The vaulted ceilings enhanced by beams, the shape of the existing built in shelves, and the fireplace were all details that I knew I wanted to preserve. We just needed to brighten them up a bit.
Matt and Leigh Ellen wanted this den to feel light and bright so we sanded down the original built in shelves, painted them, and updated their hardware. We did the same thing with the existing fireplace mantel. This immediately brightened up the whole room. To keep a consistent, neutral color palette, I switched the antique books around on the shelves to expose their pages instead of their colorful spines. This worked well with all the white oak elements in the room.
To give everything a unified feeling, I used the same wood grain throughout this whole space. The white oak floors, beams and furniture pieces warm up the white walls and gives the room a more antique feel.
This large coffee table that our carpenter, Clint, built for this space might just be my favorite set of turned legs he’s ever made. When I told him I wanted the table to look “found,” he came through. This piece looks like it comes with a good story.
Objective | Create a functional and beautiful master bathroom to match the rest of the home
I used all marble tile in this bathroom. To break it up and add in a little interest, we laid smaller marble tiles in a rug pattern in the center of the room. The result is almost spa-like.
Objective | Accentuate the existing French country style
The home’s original exterior design didn’t showcase its best features, so that was number one on our list. To ensure the front of the home didn’t fall flat, we added a darker trim and painted the shutters a light grey to give them contrast against the cream paint. Painting the brick this color drew out the beautiful arches and existing brick details surrounding the windows and doors, and gave the whole exterior some much needed curb appeal.
The landscaping for this home is centered around the trees. When you have trees this big and stately, you make them an integral part of the design. We added in some smaller plants, trimmed down the hedges and added in a few newer trees to round-out the look.
To give the exterior one more French country detail, we decided to surprise the family with this fountain in the front.
Getting to help this family renovate their dream home in such a beautiful area was so rewarding for us. The design of this home was beautiful and every corner of it had hidden character and charm just waiting to be drawn out.
Interview With Homeowner
Q: What was the deciding factor that attracted you to choosing this home over the other two options?
A: We chose this home because it had the best potential for an open floor plan and the largest yard for the kids to enjoy. We were also drawn to the seclusion afforded by the lot and how the house sits away from the street. It feels like our own little retreat!
Q: How did your home balance design and functionality?
A: Joanna and the design team created the perfect family space that functions as well as it looks. Throughout the house, Joanna added thoughtful details such as the new pocket doors in the kitchen that save space and a china cabinet between the kitchen and the sunroom that gives us much-needed storage space.
Q: Did you get the rest of the house renovated, or what was shown on the show?
A: Our entire home was renovated. We wish more could have been shown on television because Joanna’s incredible style transformed every room into the perfect space for our family.
Q: How was your own personal style revealed in your home?
A: It is hard to believe that the formal, dark interior of the home could be transformed into a comfortable and bright space for our family. But we had faith in Chip and Joanna and they delivered! Our home is inviting and every room is livable – which is exactly what we hoped for.