Season 2 Episode 2: Family Space and Storage





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Project Overview

Welcome to Season 2, Episode 1 of Hidden Potential. This was a really special home for a very sweet family, and the results turned out pretty spectacularly, if I do say so myself. It doesn’t even look like the same house on the outside. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s the most extreme exterior transformation we’ve revealed yet. We took this place from boring beige to custom saltwater farm in the blink of an eye. (Well, not really the blink of an eye. Maybe more like six weeks of very little sleep.) Let me introduce you to the homeowners and give you a rundown of the project.

(If you missed this episode, you can watch it on iTunes HERE and on Amazon HERE.)

The Home Owners

John & Ann

The Budget


The DL

John and Ann have been living with Ann’s parents for the past SEVEN YEARS, saving up to buy a house and then to renovate. They’ve also had two children. This home is perfect for them because it is within walking distance of Ann’s parents and her sister.

They love the neighborhood, but the house is exactly the same as all those around it; it’s actually exactly the same as her sister’s house, just down the street! John and Ann are so excited to make this neighborhood their home, but need help making this house their own.

Right now, the dark, “doomsday” entry-way and beige color palate do nothing for this young, fun family, and neither does the closed-off interior floor plan.

The Plan

We’re going to totally reface the outside of the house with new siding, a new patio, and all new landscaping. Inside, we’re going to open up some walls, install all new flooring, double the size of the kitchen, and add custom, #sexystorage wherever we can fit it.

The Inspiration

As always, the design started with a Pinterest Board, a carefully considered Color Story, and a Kitchen Design Board.

S2, E2 Inspiration

S2, E2 Inspiration
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S2, E2 Inspiration S2, E2 Inspiration

The Exterior

The outside of this home was dated, and said absolutely nothing at all about John and Ahn and their lifestyles and personalities. The oversized beams, dark and dingy entry way, and underutilized front yard all had to go.

The exterior inspiration for this house was a combination of farmhouse and craftsman influences, two classic styles that blended really wonderfully. I couldn’t think of a catchy, clever combo of these two design styles, however. #farmsman? #artsandfarms? #barncrafts? All terrible, I know. LMK if you can think of something better.

The overall transformation of this house really was spectacular. It doesn’t look anything at all like the original house, which in this case is a good thing:

  • Closing in the beams and creating a unique entryway was a great way to differentiate the architecture from all of the surrounding houses.
  • Painting the garage door Bolero Red gave the house warmth, curb appeal, and personality.
  • You won’t see the custom fence design anywhere else, and not just in the neighborhood, but not anywhere else at all, since I hand-sketched the concept for it myself.
  • And, the crowning jewel of the exterior: the Organic Obstacle Course that is integrated INTO the landscape. Honestly, you wouldn’t even know it was there, unless you’re a five year-old and are able to sniff out a good obstacle course from a mile away.

You’ll see in the photos above that we also addressed the issue of the “doomsday” front door. (FYI, the homeowners called it that, not me.) Just by adding a fresh coat of white paint to the walls and switching out the black, uninviting, windowless front door for a friendlier door with lovely gray color and some privacy glass made a HUGE difference in the house’s Welcome Factor. (If you don’t know, the Welcome Factor works on a sliding scale from 0-10, with 0 being “Run Away Screaming in Fear” and 10 being “Come On In, All Are Welcome, It’s a Party.”) I wonder what you would rate your own home’s Welcome Factor? I wonder what I would rate mine?

Shop Front Entry and Patio Accessories and Decor

The Kitchen

Would you just look at this beautiful kitchen? I mean, before, it wasn’t bad. Not at all. But it just didn’t speak to John and Ahn. It didn’t capture their personalities. It didn’t say anything about their family. It was new and kind of cold and sterile. We did keep and match some of the main components of the kitchen, so most of the design work in this room had to do with warming things up and infusing some SPIRIT and CHARACTER into things. And, if you didn’t know this already, SPIRIT and CHARACTER are my jam.

As always, we started with a snazzy little design board to make sure everything was cohesive.

Now, I DID end up changing out the backsplash (the existing one was just too generic for me to bear), and I spray painted the existing hardware white for the same reason. I brought some color into the room with the base of the kitchen island and used a large scale letterboard, a custom ombre painted, potted Herb Garden, and a killer, never-before seen hidden AND automated Lazy Suzan (which also works great as a meditation mat, if you’ve watched the episode.) to really saturate the design with some personality.


As you’ll soon become aware, if you’re not already, I am currently obsessed with Luxury Vinyl Flooring, and am keen to put it absolutely everywhere that I possibly can. Especially when it’s in a home with young children, and especially when we are trying to do a million different things on a hard-line budget. For this house, I chose Provenza Moda Living Collection in Sweet Talker. And, as always, Marquez floors stepped up and threw down (I think you can do both of those things at the same time; in fact, I’m certain you can, because that is exactly what was done here) with a flawless installation job. Source: Provenza, Moda Living – Sweet Talker, Marquez Wood Floors

Cabinets & Hardware

We kept the Ikea TINGSRYD Cabinet Doors in the Wood Effect Black finish, and extended the kitchen’s footprint by adding an additional bay of cabinets. I kept the original hardware, as well, but spray painted it white to give it some oomph and pazazz. The beautiful kitchen island (painted in Sherwin WIlliams Watery) was custom made by local woodworker extraordinaire, Micah Girelli of Girelli Woodworking fame.

Countertops & Backsplash

I switched out the staid gray glass backsplash in favor of the friendliest little tile I know: Penny Rounds. If you know a friendlier tile to exist in the world, I’d sure like to know about it. I kept and matched the existing marble-look quartz countertop, and juxtaposed those against a warm, 1-3/4″ thick maple butcher block square edge workbench top on the island. THEN…(and this is where things start to get a little CRAY), I conspired with Micah to create a HIDDEN Lazy Suzan that is INTEGRATED into the butcher block countertop. You have to see it to believe it.

Lighting, Furniture, & Accessories

I chose a cool, cluster pendant light that tied in nicely with the black wood cabinets. Then, I started layering and layering, with each additional layer adding warmth, texture, color, and personality to the room. On that note, there’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about. You may notice that I almost always use rugs in my kitchens, which scares some people off, but most of the time they are washable and it’s just a really great way to soften up a lot of hard edges in a room. I just wanted to put that out there, on the record: I am a staunch supporter of kitchen rugs.

Plumbing & Appliances

We kept all of the stainless steel appliances, which were brand new, but I did switch out the kitchen faucet for something a little more fun, which I can personally vouch for myself because I have the exact same faucet in my own kitchen. Source: Faucet

S2, E2 Kitchen

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Shop Kitchen Accessories and Decor

The Dining Room

This dining room is so lovely, don’t you think? It’s just so full of warmth and character. When we refaced the fireplace, I thought it was going to look good, but I didn’t think it would be my favorite feature in the entire house, which it ended up being. The emerald green, handcrafted fireplace tiles, soft gray porcelain hearth (using the same tiles from the entryway flooring), and simple craftsman style wooden mantle bring all of the interior design elements together into one shining centerpiece. And then the original artwork above the fireplace that seems like it was commissioned for this space, even though artist (and my sister-in-law) Heather Roth, just happened to have it on hand in her studio-it’s like some fireplace fairy godmother had my back on this project the whole way through.

Also, these dining room chairs just happen to be my absolute FAVORITES OF ALL TIME. Classic spindle chairs just kill me with their simplicity and beauty. And then, opening up the wall to allow for an open-concept into the living room made ALL the difference. Now, this is a soothing, colorful, light-filled, spacious room in which this family can gather and host. It’s warm without being formal. It’s what dining room dreams are made of. If you happen to be the type of person who has dining room dreams, which I do happen to be, and I’m assuming you might be, too, if you’re reading this blog.

Shop Dining Room Accessories and Decor

The Living Room

This living room before was dark and closed off from the rest of the house. Removing the weird pony-wall opening thing, and then opening the entire back wall up into the dining room created an entirely open floor plan that allowed light to just POUR into the living room. And who ever said, “No. I do NOT want light pouring into my living room. I want it to barely trickle in and I don’t want to be able to see my beautiful backyard or pool from inside, either.” Probably SOMEONE has said that, I guess, but no one I’ve ever met.

Before, one of the biggest eyesores, not to mention safety hazards, in the living room was the staircase. Thankfully, tt went from being eye-catching in a really bad way to being eye-catching in a really good way. I used antiqued wood (new wood made to look old) for safety reasons, wanting to make sure there were no splinters or compromised boards in my design. Then, I used a pigment dyed stain and sprayed a light coat onto the wood to tie in some of the green and blue hues from our design. I am so in love with the way this turned out. It subtly ties in the barn door feel that you get when looking at the front of the house, but in a totally different, unexpected way. 

And now it’s time to talk about what’s happening UNDER the stairs. All that #sexystorage. You know you love it, too!! Brian went all out for this one, building a legit storage fortress, with space for jackets, shoes, and even toys. And the best part? It all disappears and the entry can be kept clear of clutter.

S2, E2 Staircase

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Shop Living Room Accessories and Decor

Shop the Look

And there you go! Episode 2, over and out. Well, almost. Just a few more things, real quick. Don’t forget to check out the Season 2, Episode 1 specific Pinterest Board. Oh, and of course I would love to invite you to join me on Monday nights, 9pm ET/PT (8pm CT) on HGTV for ALL NEW EPISODES OF HIDDEN POTENTIAL!! And make sure to join me for next week’s blog post as I share all the BTS details of Season 2, Episode 3: A House for the Girl Gang. And that’s really it. For now. I promise.

This project could not have been made possible without our amazing vendors as well:

General Contractor: Grason Construction, IncCustom Woodworking: Girelli WoodworkingStaircase: Kustom Stair & FinishWine Barrell: Riip BrewerySecret Stair Storage: B & D Cabinets