Help! I Wrecked My House, Season 3 Episode 10October 29 2022
Audrey and Darin
Audrey and Darin had been in their home for 10 years and had a story that many of my clients have — they’d taken on small renovations themselves, didn’t have time to complete them and the decisions involved in a home renovation had left them stressed, exhausted and living with unfinished projects, all with an element of safety concerns. There were visual reminders of projects gone wrong everywhere. From living with holes in their walls, to destroyed tile in their kitchen, to an entire side of their home that sat unused, the couple knew that they needed to take action and hire a professional. That’s when I got the call.
With two young daughters, Audrey and Darin both work full-time and Darin’s schedule is often unpredictable. This meant that they needed to protect their free time as a family and make sure that time was quality time. Of course, this left little time for completion of any of their DIY reno projects. I wanted to help make their home comfortable, safe and most importantly, give them time to enjoy their family life without the stress of unfinished projects looming around every corner.
This home needed a new layout that Audrey and Darin couldn’t even envision because they were so busy and so stressed about their half-completed projects. When I walked in and the first thing I saw was a huge pool table, I knew that reworking how this family lived in this space was going to be a challenge. Luckily, I love a good challenge.
I planned on expanding the kitchen and taking down a few walls to give them a line of sight to their children from several angles. I also wanted to make sure that Audrey had a few comfortable spots to work-from-home and that their staircase was brought up to code for safety’s sake.
Finally, I wanted to make their dining room a dual purpose space for both meals and recreation, complete with a new statement fireplace that brought some warmth and style to this multi-purpose room. I wanted it to feel like a family dining room, but I wanted to design it so that it could be transformed into a billiard room at a moment’s notice. Kind of a tall order, right?
With Darin’s unpredictable schedule working as a union pipefitter while training to be a longshoreman, there was never enough time for him to step in and help finish Audrey’s DIY projects. The pattern became that Audrey would watch a renovation video and then attempt it herself, hoping that if she reached a snag, Darin could step in and finish the project.
After years of this pattern, it was time for some serious progress. I had seven weeks to take this house from wreck to dream home and Audrey and Darin were definitely ready for this huge step. The biggest priority for this kitchen was to enlarge it and create a line of sight that would let the couple keep an eye on their young daughters. To accomplish this, I took out the wall between the kitchen and dining room so I could expand the new kitchen all the way to the former dining room wall.
Because I was doubling the size of the kitchen, I was able to move the existing ceramic stovetop that sat right where the countertop seating was and was a huge worry for these parents. A lot of time was wasted making sure the stovetop was out of reach to their girls while it was in use or even just cooling down. With the expanded kitchen, I was able to add not one, but two islands, and make a beautiful butcher block peninsula with additional countertop seating for casual meals or a comfortable workspace for Audrey.
It took some skill to make sure that the stone countertop and the butcher block surface were flush, but we did it! Using a vacuum seamer, we were able to merge and seal the two surfaces together so that they were absolutely seamless.
I had taken Audrey with me to pick out their countertop and was excited because she definitely knew what she didn’t like. That made finding her ideal countertop material easier and, in the end, she went with a very lightly marbled porcelain countertop because of its durability and easy-to-care-for surface. I added a clean and simple white subway tile backsplash that would contrast beautifully with the dark-stained floating shelves. The floating shelves mimicked the darker tones in the butcher block peninsula so there was a design continuity throughout.
When it came to the second largest part of the kitchen reno, after the expansion of the kitchen of course, I knew I wanted to completely overhaul how Audrey and Darin prepared meals. That meant a statement range that would be a safe, functional splurge. Thinking about how to make the range area its own “pod” so to speak, I designed an area that incorporated a dark-stained wood custom hood vent. It was part of a wood surround that had hidden shelves tucked in on both sides of the range. This dark-stained surround matched the open shelving on the opposite wall and provided the design continuity I think every room should have.
The Dining Room
Since the family rarely used the side of their home that housed the original living room (where the pool table was) and dining room, I decided that using a custom top for the pool table to convert it into a dining table was the way to go. I also decided that tucking the dining room/billiard room in the rear of the home opposite the kitchen was the layout that would work much better for this family. This way, when you walked into the home through the front door, the first thing you saw was a warm, inviting living space, not an awkwardly placed pool table.
The new dining area/billiard room felt rich and warm with the new fireplace we created and the deep wood tone of the table base. Check out how we added more hidden storage to make this room transform at a moment’s notice.
We were able to adjust the height of the Palm Dining Chairs from my shop to the height of the converted dining table by simply adding a thick and comfy chair pad to each seat. As I mentioned earlier, Audrey had attempted to reno the fireplace in this room, but stopped when she saw what lay beyond the drywall. This became yet another unfinished project that the family had been living with and, boy, was it an eyesore.
My team and I resurfaced the fireplace wall with wood planks that had a beveled edge that added a visual line on the dark stained wood. This provided not only visual interest, but carried that moody, dark wood look throughout the home. For the surround we used a black leather granite that had a texture perfect for contrasting the smooth wood above it. We also took out the unused wet bar to the left of the fireplace and added a built-in that provided extra storage and that filled an awkward corner.
I commissioned this custom bench to provide seating at the new dining table, but I also wanted it to do double-duty and provide a hidden spot for all of the billiard essentials. And there you have it — the secret to going from dinner party to pool tournament in 2 minutes flat!
For dining in this multi-purpose room, I added light tablescape touches to really bring the focus to the meals served and to encourage some light and bright conversations around the dinner table. The natural, woven placemats from my shop set the tone for off-white glazed ceramic dishes and I brought it all together with the black finish silverware – a nod to the black fixtures and darker wood tones throughout the house.
Once I flipped the layout of the home and provided sightlines from the kitchen to where Audrey and Darin’s children would be, I wanted to create a special space for the girls to hang out and get creative. The sunlit nook across from the kitchen, opposite the new dining area, was the perfect spot for this area. Adding a circular rug and their own little table and chairs, I knew that the girls would be busy hosting tea parties and making masterpieces, all within eyesight of Audrey and Darin.
The Living Room:
Since I flipped the layout Audrey and Darin had lived with for 10 years, having the living room closest to the entrance gave me the opportunity to create a warm, inviting space that literally welcomed you when you walked through the door. That’s exactly what I wanted for this family. Playing off the natural light streaming into this room, I was able to match some of the darker tones in the other rooms and place some statement art and a dark coffee table here for contrast. Don’t forget that this area is now in the line of sight from the new, expanded kitchen so if the girls are watching tv or reading on the sofa, their parents can keep an eye on them. The neutral Edinger Sofa from my shop worked well here because it’s durable and easy on the eyes, so it’s perfect for a family with children. Adding in two accent chairs that mix metal, dark wood and a textured neutral upholstery allows the room to feel more ‘grown-up’ when guests come over. With my Kendra Rug underfoot, the round Agean Coffee Table takes up less space than a square or rectangular one so that the soft gray of the rug keeps the room vibe elevated and put-together. All in all, this living room brings both the family room and living room concept together because of its functionality, durability and stylish look and feel. I loved it and Audrey, Darin and the girls loved it even more. Mission accomplished.
And that’s a wrap! I’m so grateful I was able to bring some fresh eyes to this family home and create a finished and functional space for Audrey, Darin and their girls. I know how precious family time is so being able to jump in and complete all the unfinished projects felt so good. Now this couple’s free time is actually free. No stress, no holes in the wall and most importantly, no safety issues weighing on their minds.
I hope you’ll tune in next Saturday for the final episode of ‘HELP! I Wrecked My House’ Season 3 at 9 p.m. ET. Our last episode is so good and really shows off what a professional reno can do for your peace of mind and comfort level. This episode is definitely ‘comin’ in hot’ and you won’t want to miss it! Thanks for following along and I’ll see you next week.
I love this transformation, especially the kitchen! Can you share the paint color used for the cabinets?
I have watched every one of your episodes in every season whatever the title of the show is I’m there. I love everything you do, I love how you work along side your team and I love how excited you get at the end when the homeowners are overwhelmed and amazed at their new home that you created for them. This is the first time I’ve written a comment, I wanted you to know that I look forward to watching your show and it’s always on my DVR schedule so I never miss an episode.
This episode, as always was Jasmine gorgeous, THAT KITCHEN WOW! It was outstanding everyone who likes to cook would love THAT KITCHEN. One thing which I’m sure had to do with the budget and the cost of plumbing there was no pot filler which I’m sure it would’ve been there if it was up to your design and didn’t have budget restrictions. Again, love the show and your team.
I love your design decisions. The home turned out so beautifully. The accent chairs in the living room are gorgeous and I was wondering where they are available? Thanks, Jacqueline
What did you do with the microwave? I have an open concept house and when you look at the kitchen the first thing you notice is the microwave over the stove. I want to remodel my kitchen and would love to move the microwave somewhere without it being on the counter. Thought about a hood over the stove but my ceiling is slanted right to left. I’ve never seen a hood in a kitchen with that configuration. Any suggestions? Thanks. BTW, I’ve enjoyed your shows since you started and love your hidden ideas.
I love the flooring. What is the brand and color?
While I truly appreciate you covering the pool table to be used as a dining table, there is no way anyone sitting on the bench or on those chairs can get their legs under the table. There would have to be some significant height taken off of those legs in order for anyone to comfortable sit and eat.
What is the brand and color installed in Audrey and Darin’s house?
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