Fixer Upper: A Rustic Italian Dream Home

Chip and Joanna Gaines add a helping of Italian flavor to a bland suburban home in an impressive renovation for a California couple.

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Dreaming In Italian

Chip and Joanna took on the challenge of reconfiguring and remodeling a nondescript early-90s home, turning it into a showplace with the rustic Italian feel their clients were in search of.

BEFORE

Standard Fare. The dated home had been on the market for a while and was aesthetically less-than-spectacular. But it came with four bedrooms, 3500 square feet and a generous amount of land. It was built in 1992, and the list price was $319,000. "I don't see 'rustic' or 'Italian'", Chip told Joanna, "but the land is sweet, and I can't wait for you to work your magic." The clients' $425,000 budget left more than $100,000 for renovations, which was plenty for Chip and Joanna to work with.

AFTER

Zesty Italian. The freshened up exterior, with new stone on the chimney and columns, and contrasting wood elements, hint at some of the European influences that would be incorporated inside.

Foyer, BEFORE

The interior entryway, prior to the renovation, was as plain and uninteresting as the exterior.

Front Entry, AFTER

A new solid-wood door, arched doorway and dark stained wood floors create a striking first impression and echo stylistic themes that will be seen throughout the new interior spaces.

Front Living Room, BEFORE

Upon entering the original living area, the space felt boxy, tight and overwhelmed by the stone fireplace.

Front Living Room, AFTER

Joanna's design concept gave spaces like this one a more open feel while establishing an overall aesthetic that emphasizes clean lines and soft touches. An enlarged arched opening now allows the space to flow more freely into the adjacent dining room.

Front Living Room, BEFORE

Front Living Room, AFTER

Antique wood beams and natural wood accents help provide a rustic look and tie in with the dark stained wood floors and furnishings.

Front Living Room, BEFORE

Front Living Room, AFTER

Rounding off edges and simplifying the fireplace helped redefine the feel of this space. "We toned down the huge fireplace by bringing it in a little bit," says Joanna "adding stucco to it which softened the overall look."

Front Living Room, Detail

Front Living Room, Detail

Front Living Room, Detail

Dining Room, BEFORE

Dining Room, AFTER

A wall was opened up creating an arched opening between the dining room and kitchen. New French doors, in natural wood finish, replace the old windows. The large doors, recessed lighting and chandelier bring plenty of light into the space.

Dining Room, Detail

Dining Room, Detail

Dining Room, Detail

Opening up the dining room staircase, and installing a new metal railing is one of the key modifications that gives this room a whole new look. "I think it gives it that rustic Italian feel that our clients were wanting," says Joanna, "but it also makes something as simple as a stair rail really become like a work of art."

BEFORE

This nondescript utility space — which had once been a garage — doesn't feel like an integrated part of the home. It's incongruous in appearance and still feels a lot like a garage. In the most challenging aspect of this renovation, this space and adjacent storage closet get completely reworked and turned into four entirely new spaces that are all in easy reach of the kitchen: a main living room, a kids' playroom, a powder bath and a combination laundry room and mud room.

AFTER

The former garage is substantially reconfigured, with a portion now turned into this main living area, or family room, that's contiguous with the new open kitchen.

AFTER

Vaulting the ceilings and adding the massive wood beams in the newly opened kitchen and living area make the overall space feel larger and provide grander scale. The built-in hutch and shelves seen here were custom designed and by a cabinet maker and outfitted with antique style mirrored glass.

AFTER

Structural modifications like the vaulted ceilings create the big splash, but it's attention to details that define the real aesthetic of this project — like arched interior French doors and a European Country style built-in —that ultimately deliver the warmth and nuance that the clients were seeking.

Kitchen, BEFORE

Kitchen, AFTER

Now we've got this beautiful kitchen setting. Our clients really wanted a rustic Italian feel, so I wanted to really be purposeful on all the design that we implement, whether it's these really pretty pendant lights or even this really unique handmade backsplash. All of these elements, I think, make it feel just warm and inviting.

—Joanna 

Kitchen, AFTER

The massive island comes with a gray and white stone countertop and tons of storage. Other highlights in the new kitchen include a farmhouse sink, handmade tile backsplash with pot-filler, dark-stained hardwood floors, ceiling-height cabinets and newly added windows.

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Laundry Room/Mudroom, AFTER

The new combination laundry room and mudroom features a farm sink and brick backsplash in white finish and with a painted mural.

Laundry Room/Mudroom, Detail

The mudroom has a secondary backyard entrance and features storage nooks for hanging coats and storing wet shoes.

Laundry Room/Mudroom, Detail

Powder Bath

The clients wanted another half-bath added, which required some additional plumbing and modifications to the sewer lines. The new powder bath is located in the former garage space.

Powder Bath

The new bath features shiplap walls painted in gray, rustic tile floor and a custom vanity with surface-mount sink.

Powder Bath, Detail

Powder Bath, Detail

Kids' Play Room

The new kids' playroom, located just off the new family living space, was added in a space that had once been a storage closet.

Kids' Play Room

The kids' room incorporates built-in antique schoolhouse style desks, separate chalkboards and gooseneck lamps, an antique file cabinet for storing craft supplies and an interior awning with cedar shingles stained dark to coordinate with other wood accents.

Kids' Play Room, Detail

Kids' Play Room, Detail

Kids' Play Room, Detail

Home Exterior, AFTER

Home Exterior, Detail

Home Exterior, Detail

Home Exterior, Detail

Home Exterior, Detail

BEFORE

AFTER

Stone column bases, a new front door, new windows, dark wood shutters and rustic sconces make for a dramatic front entrance that integrates well with the Italian country vibe of the newly remodeled interior.

Prego!

And if you liked this Fixer Upper project, with its international touches, we think you might also enjoy this one: Old-World Charm for Newlyweds.