A Former Builder-Grade House’s Reno Means High Ceilings and Cozy Nooks

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Name: Krystle Perkins, my husband, and our 3-year-old son
Location: Dallas, Texas
Type of home: House
Size: 2,300 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, own

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: We purchased our home in 2018 knowing that it was going to be a fixer-upper. We had been shopping for homes in our $250k budget and when we saw this one we knew it was “it.” Most of the homes in our budget were small ’60s ranch style, but this was newer with tall ceilings and amazing natural light. We saw it Friday afternoon, placed an offer that night, and they accepted the next day. We quickly renovated the upstairs prior to moving in just to get it livable. The plan was to live up there and slowly DIY the lower level. Our plans quickly changed when we found out that I was pregnant and knew we needed to do the work fast. Now this house needed a TON of work, both structural and cosmetic.

Credit: Nat Goff
Can you believe this kitchen used to have a drop ceiling ? We vaulted it, added skylights, and it became the most open room in the house.

I had always loved interiors and knew I wanted to try my hand at designing our home. My husband is Danish, which is perfect because we both gravitate more towards the core principles of Scandinavian style. One of the reasons we had so much trouble looking at houses was because so many of them were flips and we couldn’t handle the choices they made! I didn’t want to pay for someone’s poor stylistic choices. Plus, traditional Texas homes are very very beige. We decided to move forward with our remodel and hired a contractor, took out a loan, and began the most stressful 14 months of our lives. We had a horrible experience with a family friend that essentially ended up mismanaging/stealing funds. It extended the project and ended up costing WAY more than the typical twice as much. During the ordeal I was working a full-time job, designed an entire house, became pregnant, gave birth, and went back to work. All without a kitchen.

I love incorporating my Home Decor DIYs into my styling. I made that little pedestal bowl!

For the design of the home we knew we wanted to bring this 1980s basic builder grade home to a modern place. We removed some load bearing walls to make the home open concept. We focused on a neutral color palette of white, wood, and black knowing that we would use furnishing to add warmth and color. We were working on a budget so everything that I sourced had to be affordable while also giving us a more modern sleek look. I remember doing everything I could to pinch pennies on finishes. We finally finished the remodel at the end of 2019 and had a blank slate. No furniture, but a functioning kitchen, FINALLY. We were also severely overextended financially due to our remodel. But in 2020 I (like most of the world) was able to start working from home. It gave me some extra freedom to start DIYing some of the projects that I wanted to do.

Credit: Nat Goff
Can you believe this kitchen used to have a drop ceiling? We vaulted it, added skylights, and it became the most open room in the house.

My first woodworking project was a kid’s nook for my son in the awkward spot under the stairs. I love marrying form and function. Our house today is almost unrecognizable from where it started and we continue to evolve and tweak corners everyday. I still have a project list that is a mile long, but I love having this safe haven that is truly a reflection of our personal style. I am looking forward to adding some more color this year and redoing our upstairs (we’ve got some stuff that needs fixing after our quick flip four years ago!).

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Organic Modern Minimal DIY’d Scandinavian

These bookshelves went through many iterations before landing on this version. This feels homey yet styled, the perfect marriage for my husband and I.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is our main living room right off the kitchen. It is one of the boldest design choices that I made, to have the wood slats on the ceiling and black beams. It informed a lot of design choices throughout the rest of the home. We also have our feature bookshelf wall — which created some mild controversy on TikTok. My husband loves to read when we finally had bookshelves to unpack his books onto after them being in boxes for so long he said “it finally feels like home.” It also features my kids nook, which I am so proud of and just overall it’s so cozy.

This is our primary bathroom designed using our core color palette and bringing in pops of color with the rug and vase.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The most recent thing we bought for our home was a new fence! It was something that we have needed desperately since we bought the home, we kept thinking wood prices would go back down, but alas… we decided to bite the bullet (goodbye $$) and we are so happy we did. We have already spent so much more time out there since extending the side yard and making it more functional. More recently I just picked up my DREAM bedding from Dusen Dusen that I have had my eye on for years. I am working on a guest bedroom remodel and I can’t wait to use it!

Credit: Nat Goff
The checkboard hallway off the entry is the perfect pop of color.

Any advice for creating a home you love? I think a lot of making a home is trial and error. Some things that you try aren’t going to work out and you need to embrace it as part of the process. You are on a journey to find something that works aesthetically but also functionally for your family and sometimes the only way to know that is to try. Don’t worry about it being “Right” don’t worry about resale, if it’s something you love, go for it and live with it.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.