Fixer Upper: Freshening Up a 1919 Bungalow for Empty Nesters

The clients wanted to downsize and simplify, and to find a period home with charm and original detail. Chip and Joanna Gaines helped them find a turn-of-the-century gem and update it to suit their needs while retaining a successful balance of the old and the new.

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

Redefined Space

The kitchen was the space most radically altered in this Fixer Upper renovation. A wall was removed, opening the kitchen onto the dining room and effectively increasing the kitchen's footprint threefold.

Soft Hues and a White Canvas

Joanna and new homeowner Stacie are on the same page in their affinity for white. Stacie asked for a color palette that emphasizes rich blues and white. In the living room, going with white walls and white slipcovered furniture provides an opportunity for the subtle accent colors to stand out.

#shiplap

The cozy master bedroom is finished clad in Joanna's favorite material, the home's original wood shiplap, here painted in fresh white and offset with unpainted wood ceiling and exposed beams. As with the selection of white wallpaint, Joanna and homeowner Stacie are in sync in their love of shiplap.

Economies of Space

The master bathroom, like the bedroom, is relatively small but is made to feel roomy and inviting through a judicious layout and simple fixtures.

Dining Almost Alfresco

The new dining room is located in what was formerly a screened porch. Large windows wrap around the space and new exterior French doors opening provide an outstanding view onto the backyard. A second set of French doors, seen here leading into the newly remodeled kitchn, are the original doors that openend onto the porch.

Meet the Homeowners

Ben and Stacie Childers are soon-to-be empty nesters with one daughter enrolled at Baylor University and a second likely to be enrolled there soon as well. Moving from California, Stacie and Ben were eager to downsize and simplify, and were hoping to find a home in the Brookview neighborhood close to the Baylor campus. They were looking for at least three bedrooms and two baths in an older style home that had character and original details. Their all-in budget: $175,000.

BEFORE

This house -- dubbed by Chip the "Beanstalk Bungalow" because of the plenitiful seedpods from the catalpa tree in the front yard -- was built in 1919, has five bedrooms, three baths and 2100 square feet. The listing price was $100,000 which would leave approximately $75,000 for renovations before moving in.

AFTER

Exterior improvements included patching the stucco, all new paint and trim, a new roof, fresh landscaping and a new unpainted wood door in an arched profile. "This house is just simple and sweet but it really makes a statement," said Joanna after the renovation was complete. "The house had the character built into it. It just needed to be exposed."

Exterior Detail

The new door is highlighted with arched trim painted in gray-green, twin sconces and a pair of matched urn planters. A bonus addition, from money left over after the major improvments, is a new brick-paver front porch.

Exterior Detail

Ironwork window boxes on either side of the front door, and greenery in terra cotta pots, help to soften the facade.

Front Foyer, AFTER

Living Room, BEFORE

The living room had original pine wood floors as well as a brick fireplace with built-in bookshelves on either side -- a feature common in bungalow and craftsman style homes. Joanna recommended sanding and refinishing the hardwood floors and opening up the cased opening into the adjacent dining room to create a more open feel in the main living space.

Living Room, AFTER

Drywall was removed, exposing all of the original shiplap in the living room. The walls and brick fireplace were painted in white. Joanna made use of the textures of wood and fabric to warm and soften the space, creating a living space that feels uncluttered and restful.

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Additional brick was installed above the mantel, adding scale and a more dramatic look.

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Dining Room, Before

Since the footprint of the living room and kitchen were expanded into the existing dining room, this enclosed porch would become the new dining space.

Dining Room, AFTER

The quaint and cozy dining room has brick paver floor and a modestly sized table-for-four, custom built by furniture artisan Clint Harp.

Dining Room, Detail

The color theme of rich blues and white is carried through in the dining room decor and accesories.

Dining Room, Detail

Dining Room, Detail

Dining Room, Detail

Kitchen, BEFORE

The kitchen, with cabinetry and appliances dating from a prior remodel, was tight and felt inconsistent with the home's vintage character.

Kitchen, AFTER

A wall was removed to open up the space into what was formerly a dining room, greatly expanding the kitchen's square footage. A new custom island installed and the cabinetry completely reworked.

Kitchen, AFTER

Joanna's kitchen design included plenty of open shelving, further contributing to an open and airy feel in the redefined space. She also sidestepped her often preferred choice of subway tile backsplash in favor of handmade tile in muted blue and white, a favorite color combination of client Stacie Childers. 

Kitchen Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, AFTER

As in the living room, the overall kitchen design  emphasized visual simplicity and clean lines for a relaxed and uncluttered feel.

Kitchen, Detail

The distinctively patterned backsplash is a defining feature in the kitchen and, since they are all handmade, the pattern on each individual tile is subtly unique.

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, AFTER

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Master Bedroom, BEFORE

This bedroom, which would become the master, was relatively small but had amazing windows and original hardwood floors. The renovations required here would be mainly cosmetic.

Master Bedroom, AFTER

All of the original windows were retained and given new window treatments. The hardwood floors were restored and all of the original shiplap exposed and painted white. Unpainted wood ceiling and exposed wood beams help distinguish the space and provide a warming accent.

Master Bedroom, Detail

An antique chandelier provides overhead lighting in the remodeled master.

Master Bedroom, Detail

Master Bedroom, Detail

Since the room was fairly small, and the clients wanted a king sized bed, Joanna deliberately kept other furnishings simple and small so the room would still feel spacious.

Master Bedroom, Detail

Bathroom, BEFORE

Bathroom, AFTER

The original window and built-in cabinets were retained since they are a desirable and authentic feature of the home's period. An antique table converted into a vanity with vessel sink adds a timeless touch. And though white subway tile did not make an appearance in the kitchen, rest assured that it's in full evidence in the remodeled bathroom.

Master Bath, Detail

Master Bath, Detail

Master Bath, Detail

Master Bath, Detail

Master Bath, Detail

The Reveal

Stacie and Ben Childers prepare to see their newly completed fixer upper for the first time.

The Reveal

The Reveal

The Reveal

Behind the Scenes

Chip and Joanna confer on the Childers project. Meanwhile Chip displays a tee-shirt emblazoned with the slogan that says it all – and which is certain to catch on like wildfire among the growng legion of Fixer Upper devotees.

Behind the Scenes

Chip steps upon the dais and prepares to make a speech before an audience of one.

Behind the Scenes

The crew films as Chip inscribes on the wall words he imagines may be running through Joanna's mind.

Behind the Scenes

The writing is on the wall.