This episode started out with me at home, getting ready for the day, and feeding my bulldog, Nala, her breakfast. I think Nala is a PERFECT intro to this episode since she’s an extremely weird dog, and this family really touched me with their amazing mantra of, “Have a kind big heart and stay weird.”
So, don’t tell anyone, but I am a total, bonafied, card-carrying weirdo. My sister read Dr. Seuss’ poem, “We’re All a Little Weird,” at Brett’s and my wedding ceremony. I have weird dogs, a weird husband, and a weird sense of humor, and I felt instantly connected to this sweet, kind, and quirky family.
(Hey girl, hey!)
Before I get too far, you should really watch this episode if you haven’t already. It’s one for the books. (This is a pun, and if you watch the episode, you’ll understand the reference!) You can watch it on iTunes HERE and on Amazon HERE.
Now, meet Meghan and Liam, the owners of this week’s Hidden Potential house.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet on this cool, young family:
- They have two young sons.
- They love books and she’s a school teacher with access to ALL THE BOOKS.
- They have a family mantra, and it’s actually REALLY good.
- They have an $80,000 budget
Once I felt like I had really gotten to know enough about the family’s hopes and dreams…I kicked them out of their house and started tearing it down! (Please refer to obligatory demo pics below, lest anybody say this job is easy.)
And when you work that hard, you have to find a nice, quiet spot to lay your head every now and then.
Just kidding. We actually worked major overtime on this house, with a ton of special projects. We wanted this house to stand out in the crowd. Like Doctor Seuss said, “You have to be odd to be number one.” And I wanted this house to be the best on the block! The best in the whole neighborhood! I wanted it to be weird in all the best of ways, and we all put our hearts (and backs) into making that happen.
And suddenly, it was time to show Liam and Meghan their new home!
Let’s play the Who’s More Excited Game:
It’s really a toss up. But the fact that I’m this excited when I’ve basically been living and breathing this house for the past six weeks is definitely a testament to my weirdo factor.
Are you ready for it?
Here’s the rundown on the exterior design:
Paint Color: Most people shy away from choosing a dark exterior paint color, but I think there is something so grounding about it. The white trim and turquoise accents keep the dark siding from taking itself too seriously.
Fencing: We took down one fence and put up another in order to create more usable space in the front yard.
Shutters: Aren’t these so pretty? They’re a small, understated addition to the design but pack a major (turquoise) punch.
Community Book Exchange: I mean, if you didn’t love this family already, be prepared to fall hard for their home-grown community book exchange. We took their original idea and ran with it, by doing what I do best: building a super cool fort…for the books. (Add that to my list of weird proclivities: Fort Building.)
Source: Book Exchange
Landscape: Artificial turf was the perfect solution for this family. We softened it up with a whimsical, slightly wild landscape design.
Something Meghan said before going inside for the first time really struck me, and I want to share it again here, in writing:
“I’ve been pestering him for years to find our dream home, and it’s been here all along.”
(Hold on a minute, let me wipe my tears away before I continue.) I mean, that just makes me feel so SO happy. It’s what this show is all about. Hearing things like that make every late night and early morning, every blister and back pain alllllllll worth it.
Okay, let’s go inside now
Basically, we kept the four exterior walls standing and totally reconfigured the layout inside. By removing one pesky wall, we were able to totally rework the kitchen and give this family the open concept floor plan they both wanted and needed.
Want to know all the deets on how we went from a “One Butt Kitchen” (when only a single “butt” fits in the kitchen) to a bonafide twenty butt kitchen? Check it here, on the full Kitchen Intensive post from this episode.
Throughout the rest of the house, I went for a boho, cottage, library vibe. I wanted the design to feel lived in, comfortable, and deeply personal. And functional. Did I mention functional?
As for a few other particularly cool special projects, we:
1.) Added a library wall-slash-work-station, branded with the family motto (watch a DIY video on how to do this yourself HERE), along the ENTIRE back wall of the dining room.
2.) Installed custom made built-in bookcases and a custom murphy bed, to turn “The Forgotten Room,” into a quiet, multi-tasking office/guest room.
3.) Incorporated a peaceful, lakeside photo mural on the living room wall.
Finally, we added layer upon well-considered layer of quirky accessories, nuanced pops of color, and a healthy dose of natural textures.
And just like that, it was time for us to go. I mean, if Liam and Meghan had invited me to stay in the guest room for a few days, I wouldn’t have said no, but I guess they wanted to get back to their normal lives with their family or something. Sheesh.