Help! I Wrecked My House, Season 3 Episode 4September 17 2022
Jessica and Alwyn
Jessica, Alwyn, and son Liam moved back into Jessica’s childhood home six years ago. Before Jessica’s father passed away, it was his wish for them to take care of his wife when he was gone. With three generations under one roof, the family hired a contractor to come and do work on their house that was built in the 1960s. But unfortunately, the contractor they hired basically took their money and ran, leaving them with a mess of a house, added stress, and more work than what they started with. Their home was in construction chaos for six years. From unfinished projects to holes in the walls, it was clear that this family needed professional help—from someone they could trust this time. Plus, Jessica’s mom has an arm injury that made it difficult for her to access certain parts of her home. Jessica and Alwyn were eager to give her an accessible kitchen that functions so she can enjoy cooking her beloved Filipino dishes and not strain her arm.
At first sight, it was hard to tell this home was in need of renovations as much as it actually was. But with an exposed gas line in the kitchen, windows installed that were the wrong size, a cramped living room, no counter space, and an upstairs bathroom that was a full construction zone, this home actually needed some serious help. Being a multigenerational home, it needed to be updated and modernized, and it needs to last at least another generation.
Jessica wanted a home that was clean and pretty with wood accents and plenty of plants. I came up with a design that would install new LVP floors, new lighting, make the front room a multifunctional space, create a much bigger kitchen, and give them a totally new upstairs bathroom. Their home has been a reminder of tough times for the past six years, and I wanted to make the family’s day to day lives easier and allow them to come home to a house that is all theirs. I had six weeks to complete this project and a lot to get to work on!
I came up with a design plan that was California Casual at its core, with some luxe surfaces and finishes to give this family an element of comfort and style that the home lacked for six long years. I wanted their home to feel light and airy, with an intuitive functionality that satisfied their needs for zones that they had carved out before I arrived. I went with a palette of soft neutrals for the walls and custom built-ins, along with a dramatic dark green zellige tile that would turn the kitchen into a space the family loved to cook in.
When it came to outfitting the home with furniture, I chose to add some anchoring custom built-ins that would provide a cohesive look for the multi-purpose living room. I designed the rest of the living room around soft neutrals with intentional details like tufted sofa and architectural chairs to make the “relaxing” part of the living room feel like its own little oasis inside the larger space.
Jessica and Alwyn wanted Grandma to have a functional kitchen to nurture her love of cooking. Plus, they often had family over for gatherings, and enjoyed cooking all together. We needed to switch up this kitchen layout in order to make this happen. We extended a wall and got rid of a doorway with the goal of creating a U-shaped kitchen to install cabinets on and a peninsula that would incorporate additional seating (almost like an island, but attached!). We added in all new white shaker cabinets and quartz countertops.
The couple loves plants, so I wanted to incorporate a deep green into the kitchen by installing a unique, custom tiled backsplash. For another standout feature, we did a custom white oak wrap on the side of the peninsula and hood. In addition to the bigger projects, I wanted to include some thoughtful details for the family throughout the kitchen—like a pull out spice rack that Grandma could easily access, a custom wood insert for kitchen organization, and additional storage for appliances. Oh, and plenty of counter space for cooking as a family.
This living room not only had to be a living room but an entryway, family room, office, home school area, place for storage, and spot for relaxing—phew! There was a lot to do to make this home multifunctional, and the design needed to encompass everything they needed out of this space. Incorporating built-ins in the space would be essential for this home.
I wanted to redo the fireplace, especially since you wouldn’t quite know they even had a fireplace with the TV blocking it before. By re-grouting it (filling it all in, scraping it off, then covering it with a cement and lime mixture), the fireplace would have a brand new, textured look. And now with a mantle above the fireplace, there was a dedicated spot for the TV, allowing it to feel like a cozy living room.
Special Project: Side-By-Side Work Spaces
This area was previously used as a crowded workspace for both Jessica and her son. While a workspace was still a necessary part of the room, it needed to fit seamlessly into the living room without feeling out of place. I decided to go with light, built-in desks on the wall with drawers for storage. Now, Jessica and her son each have a dedicated, clean, organized space for their work.
By adding a thoughtful built-in shelf across the room, it would make this main room feel bigger. Extending from above the desks, over the fireplace, and to the other side of the wall, this 15 foot white oak shelf is an important feature of the home. By extending this over the fireplace, it creates a mantle that didn’t exist before. The shelf would be a space for both storage and decor items!
Special Project: Plant Wall
Since Jessica loves plants, I decided to create a special spot (and a new entry area) where she could add her own plants and objects to make it her own over time. I met her at a local plant shop to pick out some of her favorites, along with some neutral planters and vases. Jessica never felt like this was her own house since it was her childhood home so I knew it was time to change that and add in things she loved to the space. Plus, it was a great way to carve out an entry area that felt distinct from the rest of the living room.
Special Project: Wood Beam
Since this home had a fairly open layout, I was looking for ways to carve out distinct areas within the main space. Looking from the living room to the dining area, I was excited to outfit the existing wood beam there because it would help create a visual separation between the two areas. We added a rustic dark stain on the beam to create that wow factor when you walked into the home. The contrast between the newly stained wood beam and the light walls created a one-of-a-kind design moment.
The Dining Room
By adding in a built-in banquette to the dining room, we could create more space for a larger kitchen. Plus, who doesn’t love a little dining nook? We decided to use their existing table, add new seating, and put a new statement light above the table to help the area feel a lot bigger than it actually is. With two tall storage drawers next to the banquette and storage below the banquette seating, Jessica and her mom could store a few small kitchen appliances and anything else that needed a home.
While we were keeping the layout of the upstairs bathroom the same, everything else was going to be brand new. Since this shower previously had a bad leak which led to holes in the walls, it was super important to me that it was now going to be 100% waterproof. By waterproofing underneath the shower pan using tar (a method called hot mop), the shower would be durable and totally waterproof for years to come.
With a modern and clean design, I wanted to add in an element of fun with black and white graphic tiles. Behind the door would be the important functional element of the bathroom, organized shelving for towels, bathroom supplies, and a hamper for dirty clothes. While the bathroom was now renovated and beautiful, it was just as important that what you don’t see right away, like the plumbing, was installed correctly and reliable. After six years of not having a working shower upstairs, the family would finally be able to utilize this room.
And that’s a wrap! I’m thrilled that Jessica and Alwyn’s home is now a functional, safe, and beautiful space for all three generations. I’m so thankful Jessica and Alwyn trusted my team and me with this project. I’m excited to welcome them back into a home that is all theirs, and a home that they know is accurately renovated on the inside. Thanks so much for following along!
Beautiful, functional & livable! You are by far the easiest going, down to earth person & it makes watching your show a joy!! Your daughter is a doll!! Loved the shoes you were wearing during the reveal. Brand? Thanks!!
love the storage idea for the kitchen for all your bags, foil, wraps can you give the plans to make one thanks
Beautiful job! The tile for the backsplash was gorgeous!
Loved this episode! I missed the info on the gorgeous flooring 🥲 Fell in love with the wooden beam in the living room!
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