Back To The Old House With The Smiths

published Apr 28, 2011
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Jason, Meridith, and their two kids, Wylder and Arlo
Location: Clinton, Oklahoma
Size: 3,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5

When you think about the state of Oklahoma, hip loft living isn’t usually what comes to mind first. Well, this family isn’t exactly cookie-cutter and they’ve done some serious renovations to make their home top notch. Even though we’re in the middle of showcasing our smallest spaces, this one is anything but. So trust me when I say, “You simply must see this space!” Oh yeah, and those shelves behind the family — totally handmade and the glass in them? Well, it’s from the local jail, of course!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Media was first introduced to the Smith Family a few years back with their stop motion video of their first pregnancy and again more recently with a new video when little Arlo came into the world. The family does more than make videos, they have a blog, a webstore full of handmade goods, and one of the most amazing Midwestern homes I’ve ever seen.

In a world where small spaces are cool spaces, I have to admit, I’m absolutely drooling over their square footage, hardwood floors and the results of the insane DIY renovations that they undertook along the way. So often folks fill every last inch of their space, but not here. They’ve worked hard to keep things uncluttered and wide open for extreme (livingroom!) skateboarding sessions.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

In addition to taking our tour, make sure you hop over to flickr and see what this space used to look like when they were just getting started. Ready to hear more about the process? Keep reading below as Jason takes us through the ins and the outs of their lovely loft!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Whatever interesting things we can get our hands on in this tiny western Oklahoma town to reclaim, recover, or completely make new. We make a four hour trip to IKEA for most of our other needs. Stylistically, we are in a constant state of compromise as I lean towards modern and she towards comfort.

Inspiration: The seemingly unaffordable big city loft style living….and Domino magazine (God rest its soul.)

Favorite Element: The giant Main Street facing windows, unlimited parking and open floor plan make it the perfect place for get-togethers, live concerts and the occasional hometown parade watch party. The open floor plan also makes for a pretty stinkin’ fun ride on the official house skateboard for me and Wylder.

Biggest Challenge: The question is almost comical because of the constant challenges, but a short list would include:

• jacking up the floors to level them
• the life sized game of Jenga my bro-n-law and I played to uninstall the former weight bearing fireplace to build the new one
• lifting 18ft several hundred pound beams to the ceiling via a pulley system all by myself after stripping out the former ceiling
• heaving the 8x6ft bullet proof sheet of glass from the old local jail’s line-up room up the stairs to put in the bookcase….all of which were done while being completely sleep deprived.

What Friends Say: I feel like I’m not in small town Oklahoma

Biggest Embarrassment: Either the times when the innocent pedestrians climb our stairs in search of local shopping, only to find us eating cereal in our underwear, or the smell of the local wiener factory that wafts to our windows on an occasional summer night’s breeze.

Proudest DIY: Oddly enough, Meri’s proudest was one of the easiest: the chalk board refrigerator. Mine is either the 8×5′ skylight we built from scratch (that only flooded our house the first two rains) or the massive project of harvesting, milling, and drying my own domestic black walnut to build the double sided 14×18′ bookshelf that centers the 8×6′ bullet proof glass (from the old local jail’s line-up room).

Biggest Indulgence: The eight, 7′ tilt and turn hopper windows that run along the front wall took a pretty big chunk out of our budget.

Best Advice: For the renovation, make friends with as many craftsmen and builders as you can that are willing to give you constant advice. As far as decorating, make friends with as many artists and designers as you can.

Dream Sources: Anthropologie, Herman Miller, Pinch

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


    • Sofa: vintage from The Bargain Bin Used Furniture (next door)
    • Rug: Urban Outfitters
    • Day bed: laying in a yard by the curb in Meridith’s Mom’s neighborhood


    • Dining Table: India
    • Dining Chairs: Meridith’s Grandpa


    • Island: local restaurant supply
    • Island chairs and shelving: IKEA
    • Dishware: Fiesta Ware


    • Headboard: made by Meridith
    • Dresser: vintage from a relative
    • Chest of drawers: vintage
    • Fan: vintage
    • Side table: Target
    • Lamps: vintage
    • Lamp shades: Urban Outfitters
    • Chair: found on side of road
    • Bedding and round mirror: IKEA


    • Tubs: vintage
    • Floors: Daltile from Lowes
    • Furniture, sinks, mirrors: IKEA


    • Platform bed: Walmart
    • Crib – Target
    • Chest of drawers: vintage from a relative
    • Maps: vintage from a school auction
    • Fan: vintage
    • Bedding: IKEA
    • Crib bedding: made by Meridith


    • Couch: IKEA
    • TV stand: random, crappy piece we ended up with
    • Shelves: local school auction
    • Rug: Lowes


    • Bed: thrift store
    • Chair and rug: IKEA
    • Kitchen: repurposed by Meridith
    • Dresser: vintage
    • Toy Chest/window seat: handmade family heirloom


    • Window treatment- IKEA
    • Loft Ladder- repurposed
    • Ceiling lighting- IKEA
    • Floors- Pine tongue and groove box car siding from any local lumber store
    • Chandelier- reclaimed painted brass chandelier
    • Coat rack- made by Jason
    • Bookcase ladder- made by Jason

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Smith Family!

Images: Caleb Wilkerson from iamgravelveins Photography for Smitty Baby

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