Welcome to Season 2, Episode 2 of Hidden Potential. This was a really special home for a very sweet family, and the results turned out pretty spectacularly, if I do say so myself. It doesn’t even look like the same house on the outside. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s the most EXTREME EXTERIOR TRANSFORMATION yet. We took this place from boring beige in the blink of an eye. (Well, not really the blink of an eye. Maybe more like six weeks of very little sleep.) Let me introduce you to the homeowners and give you a rundown of the project.
The Home Owners: John and Anh
The Budget: $100,000
The DL: John and Anh have been living with Ahn’s parents for the past SEVEN YEARS, saving up to buy a house and then to renovate. They’ve also had two children. This home is perfect for them because it’s within walking distance of Ahn’s parents and her sister. They love the neighborhood, but the house is exactly the same as all those around it; it’s actually exactly the same as her sister’s house, just down the street! John and Ahn are so excited to make this neighborhood their home, but need help making this house feel like it’s theirs. Right now, the dark, “doomsday” entry-way and beige color palette do nothing for this young, fun family, and neither does the closed-off interior floor plan.
The Plan: We’re going to totally reface the outside of the house with new siding, a new patio, and all new landscaping. Inside, we’re going to open up some walls, install all new flooring, double the size of the kitchen, and add custom, #sexystorage wherever we can fit it.
As always, we started our exterior design with a Pinterest Board, and a carefully considered Color Story. (So carefully considered, in fact, that when the owners showed up on reveal day, their clothes matched the design scheme PERFECTLY.)
The outside of this home was dated, and said absolutely nothing at all about John and Ahn and their lifestyles and personalities. The oversized beams, dark and dingy entry way, and underutilized front yard all had to go.
The exterior inspiration for this house was a combination of farmhouse and craftsman influences, two classic styles that blended really wonderfully. I couldn’t think of a catchy, clever combo of these two design styles, however. #farmsman? #artsandfarms? #barncrafts? All terrible, I know. LMK if you can think of something better.
The overall transformation of this house really was nothing short of spectacular. It doesn’t look anything at all like the original house, which in this case is a good thing:
- Closing in the beams and creating a unique entryway was a great way to differentiate the architecture from all the surrounding houses.
- Painting the garage door Bolero Red gave the house warmth, curb appeal, and personality.
- You won’t see the custom fence design anywhere else, and not just in the neighborhood, but not anywhere else at all, since I hand-sketched the concept for it myself.
- And, the crowning jewel of the exterior: the Organic Obstacle Course that is integrated INTO the landscape. Honestly, you wouldn’t even know it was there, unless you’re a five year-old and are able to sniff out a good obstacle course from a mile away.
You’ll see in the photos above that we also addressed the issue of the “doomsday” front door. (FYI, the homeowners called it that, not me.) Just by adding a fresh coat of white paint to the walls and switching out the black, uninviting, windowless front door for a friendlier door with a lovely gray color and some privacy glass made a HUGE difference in the house’s Welcome Factor. (If you don’t know, the Welcome Factor works on a sliding scale from 0-10, with 0 being “Run Away Screaming in Fear” and 10 being “Come On In, All Are Welcome, It’s a Party.”) I wonder what you would rate your own home’s Welcome Factor? I wonder what I would rate mine?
Shop Front Entry and Patio Accessories and Decor:
This dining room feels more inviting, don’t you think? It’s just so full of warmth and character. When we refaced the fireplace, I thought it was going to look good, but I didn’t think it would be my favorite feature in the entire house, which it ended up being. The emerald green, handcrafted fireplace tiles, soft gray porcelain hearth (using the same tiles from the entryway flooring), and simple craftsman style wooden mantle bring all of the interior design elements together into one shining centerpiece. And then the original artwork above the fireplace that seems like it was commissioned for this space, even though artist (and my sister-in-law) Heather Roth, just happened to have it on hand in her studio–it’s like some fireplace fairy godmother had my back on this project the whole way through.
Also, these dining room chairs just happen to be my absolute FAVORITE OF ALL TIME. Classic spindle chairs just kill me with their simplicity and beauty. And then, opening up the wall to allow for an open-concept into the living room made ALL the difference. Now, this is a soothing, colorful, light-filled, spacious room in which this family can gather and host. It’s warm without being formal. It’s what dining room dreams are made of. If you happen to be the type of person who has dining room dreams, which I do happen to be, and I’m assuming you might be, too, if you’re reading this blog.
Shop Dining Room Accessories and Decor:
This living room before was dark and closed off from the rest of the house. Removing the weird pony-wall opening thing, and then opening the entire back wall up into the dining room created an entirely open floor plan that allowed light to just POUR into the living room. And who ever said, “No. I do NOT want light pouring into my living room. I want it to barely trickle in and I don’t want to be able to see my beautiful backyard or pool from inside, either.” Probably SOMEONE has said that, I guess, but no one I’ve ever met.
Before, one of the biggest eyesores, not to mention safety hazards, in this house was the staircase. Thankfully, it went from being eye-catching in a really bad way to being eye-catching in a really good way. I used antiqued wood (new wood made to look old) for safety reasons, wanting to make sure there were no splinters or compromised boards in my design. Then, I used a pigment dyed stain and sprayed a light coat onto the wood to tie in some of the green and blue hues from our design. It subtly ties in the barn door feel that you get when looking at the front of the house, but in a totally different, unexpected way.
And now it’s time to talk about what’s happening UNDER the stairs. All that #sexystorage. You know you love it, too!! Brian went all out for this one, building a legit storage fortress, with space for jackets, shoes, and even toys. And the best part? It all disappears and the entry can be kept clear of clutter.
S2, E2 Staircase
Shop living room accessories and decor:
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, this project could not have been made possible without our amazing vendors as well:
But that’s not all! Make sure to read about this episode’s kitchen in the Season 2 Episode 2 – Family Space and Storage: Kitchen post. I would write about it here, but then the post would be 497 pages long.
And you should really check out the episode specific Pinterest board. And join me for next week’s blog post as I share all the BTS details of Season 2 Episode 3: House for the Girl Gang. AND, of course, tune in on Monday nights, 9pm ET/PT (8pm CT) on HGTV for ALL NEW EPISODES OF HIDDEN POTENTIAL!!