Fixer Upper: Designing a Home for a Designer

The pressure's on when Chip and Joanna agree to take on a home makeover for friend and fellow designer Kristen Bufton, and her husband Brett. Not only is there a time crunch (Kristen's expecting, with the baby due in two months) but, when one designer is faced with matching the tastes and aesthetic of another designer, things are likely to get interesting.

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Simple Elegance

When Joanna agreed to help her friend and co-worker Kristen and husband Brett redefine the interior of their new home, she wanted to stay true to Kristen's design style. As a designer herself, and one who had worked closely with Joanna, Kristen's preferences (not surprisingly) included  an emphasis on balance, clean and simple spaces and an affinity for white surfaces.

Kitchen Dreams

Joanna has a professed love for opening up spaces. The kitchen in this remodel was no exception. A wall separating a kitchen and breakfast/dining room was removed, making way for a massive kitchen with a double island and integrated bartop.

Redefined Dining

A former brick-enclosed wet bar was sacrificed to create this quaint and completely new dining space just off the kitchen.

BEFORE

The Straight-'80s House. Clients Kristen and Brett Bufton purchased this 1987, four-bedroom house in the Woodway area near Waco for $232,000. The house was in good shape generally but had never been updated. Kristen wasn't wild about the brick exterior with pink undertones or the arched-top windows. Inside they wanted to update the interior and open up spaces to make the home more functional, family oriented, and something their growing family could grow into.

AFTER

It was Kristen's suggestion to paint the brick exterior white for a fresher look, but neither she nor Brett envisioned just how different the house could look. Dramatic wood elements, gables and a new door package were added, as well as fresh landscaping. The windows were squared up and the arched-top windows replaced with transoms for a cleaner look and to let in more natural light. In general, the house was given a much cleaner and more classic look. "It's beyond what I could have imagined," said Kristen once she saw the completed renovation.

BEFORE

AFTER

"I feel like I've learned everything I know from Joanna," said Kristen, "so the fact that she's going to put her personal touch on our home is great." The front entrance gets a more classic look with white brick, black sconces and a beautiful new door in natural wood finish.

Foyer, BEFORE

The home's entry had a dated look with wood paneling, carpeted stairs and tile flooring.

Foyer, AFTER

The railing and wood paneling were painted in bright white to help freshen up the space, and the bannister columns replaced to give a more timeless look. Carpeting was removed and replaced with new wood flooring, and a rustic wood foyer bench added.

Foyer, BEFORE

Foyer, AFTER

Foyer, Detail

Foyer, AFTER

The remodeled foyer, with warm wood tones and a contemporary chandelier, provides the home with a much more eye-pleasing and welcoming entrance.

Living Room, BEFORE

The living room was already open and came with high ceilings so, other than reworking the windows, the modifications to this space would be mostly cosmetic.

Living Room, BEFORE

Living Room, BEFORE

Joanna's initial recommendations for the living room and entry included removing the tile and carpet, updating the stairs and railing and add new hardwood flooring.

Living Room, AFTER

Freshly painted walls, high windows and dark hardwoods give a clean, crisp look ito the new living room.

Living Room, BEFORE

Living Room, AFTER

For a distinctive feature piece, Joanna added a custom built-in unit flanked on either side by antique style doors in raw wood finish.

Living Room, BEFORE

The biggest challenge in the living room was the massive brick fireplace just inside the entrance. Behind the brick wall is a mechanical room, so the structure needed to remain in place.

Living Room, AFTER

The fireplace brick was painted bright white for a cleaner look and to provide a more balanced appearance in the room, in keeping with the client's design aesthetic. 

Living Room, BEFORE

Living Room, AFTER

A simple, long wood mantel above the fireplace ties in visually with the antique wood doors and the new chandelier and adds dimension and depth to the space.

Living Room, AFTER

Living Room, AFTER

The built-in unit accommodates a large screen TV but has classic lines and the matching wood doors are the star of the show and add warmth to the space.

Living Room, AFTER

"It feels like this is what was supposed to happen 30 years ago, when this house was built," said Kristen after seeing the completed renovation. "This just feels natural."

Living Room, AFTER

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Before

This breakfast room would be sacrificed to facilitate a major expansion to the kitchen.

After

With the kitchen pushed out into the former breakfast room, this new dining area was added in a space roughly where an enclosed wet bar had been. The kitchen now opens onto the new dining space.

Before

Dining Room, AFTER

The new dining area is painted in soft gray and gets a larger dining table and contemporary chandelier. 

Dining Room, Detail

Dining Room, Detail

Dining Room, Detail

One of Joanna's favorite additions is this antique mantel installed to provide extra shelf storage as well as a feature accent.

Dining Room, Detail

Kitchen, BEFORE

For the large size of the house, the original kitchen was surprisingly small and confining.

Kitchen, After

The newly expanded kitchen is bright, open and ideally suited to entertaining as well as cooking.

Kitchen, BEFORE

Kitchen, AFTER

The new kitchen features large windows for plenty of natural light, lots of upper and lower storage, white marble countertops and gray subway tile backsplash.

Kitchen, AFTER

Kitchen, AFTER

Kitchen, AFTER

 

Kitchen, AFTER

Opening up the space made room for the addition of the massive twin islands, large sink and bartop, and still left plenty of dining space.

Kitchen, AFTER

The kitchen contains lots of stylized detailing — like the twin chandelier sconces and wooden pantry door with frosted glass insert — but still retained the clean, classic look that the clients wanted.

Kitchen, AFTER

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Before

After

The new kitchen office nook provides a handy work area and ties in visually with the rest of the kitchen.

After

There was room in the kitchen to add this quaint child's dining table with a view that overlooks the backyard.

Kitchen, Detail

Bonus Room, BEFORE

This room, which had been a back den, becomes a multipurpose space that can serve as a secondary living area as well as a play and craft space for the kids.

Bonus Room, AFTER

"This was a fun room to design," says Joanna, "because of all the fun elements we got to incorporate." A custom scalloped-metal awning was added above the new windows, in addition to sofa seating and a play tent for the kids.

Bonus Room, Detail

Bonus Room, Detail

Joanna found this vintage chicken coop in an antique store and converted it into a hanging storage unit for children's books.

Bonus Room, AFTER

Bonus Room, AFTER

Bonus Room, AFTER

A custom built-in painted in muted blue, dark hardwoods and wood panel backing for the new sconces help warm up the space. The standard doors to this room were replaced with pocket doors.

Bonus Room, Detail

Bonus Room, Detail

Bonus Room, Detail

One of the more fun features in this room is this distinctive windmill-style ceiling fan.

Bonus Room, Detail

Before

After

In this renovation Joanna and Chip were able to mix old and new elements in a way that delighted her designer colleague and surpassed the expectations of clients Kristen and Brett. With its fresh exterior and new wood features and accents, the updated home is both stately and stylish.

If you liked this Fixer Upper project, we think you might also enjoy this one: A Big Fix for a House in the Woods.