Spring has sprung—and does anything make you happier? I can’t think of anything better than getting out our cute clothes (I mean, have you seen Hazel in a sunhat?), dusting off our patio furniture,...
Help! I Wrecked My House Season 1 Episode 4
Sara & Chris
Sara and Chris bought this home as a turning point in their relationship so they’d have a place where they could live and spend time together. They were excited for it to become their sanctuary where they’d come home from work every day, share time together and just relax. But in that excitement to jumpstart that next step of their lives, Chris jumped the gun on fixing up this 1950s fixer… But like, he REALLY jumped the gun. He and Sara’s retired 73-year-old dad, Larry (a retired podiatrist, guys, not a retired contractor) completely gutted the house with zero construction plan. I get that they wanted to fix it up and make it their own, but for someone with zero formal training in construction, Chris went way too far. They removed carpet, took down a wall, moved gas lines (YIKES!) and Chris USED THE INTERNET TO LEARN HOW TO VAULT THE CEILING. Not a contractor or an engineer. HE USED AN ONLINE VIDEO TO PUT IN A SUPPORT BEAM FOR THE WHOLE ROOF, people… let that sink in. There were no permits pulled for anything of this work, and almost nothing was done to code. And let me tell you here, folks: don’t ever frame your house without an engineer, and never do a project without pulling permits. We have these rules for a reason! I’m not gonna lie, this place really scared me and I didn’t even feel safe being in there. Needless to say, I think Chris realized that ripping everything apart is one thing, but putting it all back together is a whole different story. He’d been working on this for about two months, which Sara said felt like 6 months. Yeesh. And for a crew like mine, this would have been day 1 of construction for us. This whole project had been cause for a lot of fights and anxiety over a place that was supposed to be where they’d move in together, but it was nowhere near a home.
This couple needed to stop arguing about this huge mess and hand it off to me so I could make the decisions without their home being a point of contention and anxiety in their relationship anymore. We needed to make sure everything was done properly and to code, make the home structurally sound and safe, and come up with a solid layout plan. Brightening it up and making it feel like the home they dreamed of were next on the list. This was one of the biggest projects I’ve ever had to step in and fix (we increased the budget by $25,000 to get it all done right!), but I was up to the challenge. I really wanted Chris and Sara to come home to a house that’s actually complete, and finally have people over.
The Living Room
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Backsplash & Countertop
Marble-look quartz countertops that self-splash up onto the backsplash add just a hint of texture while staying neutral and airy. When you’re looking for a crisp and modern design in your kitchen, self-splash is the way to go.
Cabinets & Hardware
I never saw the kitchen that was here before, because it was ripped out by the time I got here. But to keep with that California Casual style, I went with simple and clean white shaker cabinets. Brass cabinet pulls add just the right amount of “jewelry” to the design.
Lighting & Accessories
Mixing metals with the brass light fixtures and chrome faucet brings in that Cali Casual vibe, along with the light wood floating shelves and window shades that lend those organic, earthy tones.
Special Project | Functional Floating Shelves
When we closed up the ceiling in the kitchen, it created a slant in two areas. Even though Sara doesn’t like open shelving, I was able to talk her into installing them where the ceiling slanted. Otherwise there would have been a weird empty space there! Instead of traditional floating shelves I made them a step more functional by adding dowel hooks below them. This was an inexpensive way to add more depth to these shelves while making them ready for all kinds of purposes. Plus, Sara loved them – score!
Special Project | Device Charging Drawer
One of my favorite things to do in a kitchen is create a device charging drawer. It’s a pretty affordable, but super custom feature that houses an electrical outlet inside a drawer. This keeps the cord and device clutter off the countertops. It’s a game changer!
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The Dining Room
Special Project | Wine Wall
There was a big huge wall in the dining room, but I didn’t have the budget to add much to it. I would have needed really large pieces of artwork to cover this wall, and that can be expensive. So I got creative with it. I remembered Sara saying she likes to have wine nights with her girlfriends. So I took some existing wood we already had from the project, and some affordable square stock metal, and bent the metal into wine hooks. I installed the hooks onto the wood, and BOOM: wine holders! We installed these wine holders onto the wall, and now the wall looks like it has a cool architectural element that acts as pretty storage at the same time. It’s all about functional art!
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Special Project | Outdoor Kitchen
We used the same soapstone as the fireplace surround to create a 2-seater countertop for Chris and Sara to use while grilling and cooking outside. This wasn’t an expensive project, but being thoughtful about how the homeowners would use this space made the whole area more functional and enjoyable.
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Shop the Look
If you’re interested in what we bought, we kept most of the products organized in a Pinterest board. In our opinion, this is the easiest way to manage a project.
And here’s a compilation of all of the shoppable links found throughout this entire post: