A Closed-Off House Turns Character-Filled Home | Season 2 Episode 12

Ten years ago, Cassi and Greg Luka moved from Louisville, Kentucky to Northwest Arkansas and fell in love with their downtown Bentonville neighborhood. They love that their location allows them to bike and walk to the park and grocery store with their two young children, but they wanted some changes to their 1960s house to go along with their lifestyle of gathering people and hosting friends. They also wanted to accommodate what they hope is in their future.

This remodel was such a full-circle moment for Dave and me. We originally agreed to film a television show in hopes of being able to encourage couples and families who were considering adoption or foster care. The fact that the Lukas have a desire to foster and adopt a child (or multiple children!) resonated deeply with us. We know how intrusive the home study process is and we were honored to be a small part of the Luka family’s journey by transforming their home with the end goal of adoption in mind. 

 

Exterior

BEFORE: An outdated house that needed to be brought to life.
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The Lukas love their home’s location and would like to spend more time on the front porch, however, the enclosed “sunroom” wasn’t very inviting and the space was being utilized for bike storage. By removing the walls, we were able to restore this space as a covered front porch complete with cozy seating options. The small garage on the house wasn’t even big enough for the Lukas to park in and they wanted to utilize the space for extra square footage inside the house, so we were able to close off the garage. This change allowed us to extend the porch across the length of the house and give the outside of this home some Southern charm. 

I also loved that Cassi said she wasn’t afraid of bold color because the new siding painted a bold Kentucky blue really gave this home character and was a fun nod to their Louisville roots. 

AFTER: A resurrected and welcoming cottage. 
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Sources

Sconce | Shades of Light

Landscaping | Ground Effects Landscaping

Exterior Siding Paint Color | Sherwin Williams Gale Force

Exterior Siding Trim Paint Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove

 

Living Room

BEFORE: A closed-off room lacking character.
 
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Rather than having family and guests scattered, the Lukas said they really wanted a design that encouraged connection. They had a vision for the living room to be open to the kitchen and dining room and we knew that opening up the walls and raising the ceiling height would create a dramatic change in this space. 

After we vaulted the ceiling, Dave built a beautiful wood beam to add architectural interest and warmth to the room. Cassi and Greg had also shared that they really wanted a fireplace in this living room, and we had just the solution. During a renovation on our own home, we removed a fireplace mantel when we switched to a wood-burning stove. For five years, it has been sitting in Dave’s barn, just waiting for the perfect home. That’s the same amount of time the Lucas saved to have us help them with their remodel, so this felt like fate! We loved the idea of giving them this mantel and it makes me so happy that it will have a new life with a new family. 

We tied the room together by matching the board and batten Greg had previously installed on one wall on the fireplace surround. White paint, and refinished and lightened oak floors helped this become a cohesive, warm and cozy space. 

AFTER: A wide-open living space.
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Sources

Pendants | Shades of Light

Horse Painting | Buddy Whitlock

Furnishings | Howse

Wall Paint Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove

 

Kitchen

BEFORE: A small, cooped-up kitchen.
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Cassi and Greg really wanted the closed-off kitchen to be opened up and join together as one big space with the living room. We were able to do this by removing the dividing walls and extending the kitchen into the original dining area. Now, the two spaces offer plenty of room for their family and guests.

We kept the wood flooring consistent with the rest of the house, a change that really makes a space feel so much bigger. New cabinets, a big butcher block island (with a custom stable-inspired X detail), new lighting, and white paint all over gave Cassi the beautiful bright, white kitchen she had dreamt of! 

AFTER: A giant, bright space with plenty of room to cook.
 
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Sources

Pendants | Shades of Light

Appliances | Metro Appliances

Stools | Howse

Cabinet Paint Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove

 

Dining Room

BEFORE: A cramped eating area.
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Just like the kitchen, this dining area was small and closed off. In order to gain more square footage here, we built a small addition for the laundry room, pushing it back and freeing up space to enlarge the dining area. The same wood flooring as the rest of the living area created a seamless and truly open floor plan. The finishing touch was the custom barn door entrance to the new laundry room, another subtle nod to the Luka’s Kentucky heritage.

AFTER: A spacious dining area that flows with the rest of the house.
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Sources

Chandelier | Hudson Valley Lighting 

Furnishings | Howse

Wall Paint Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove

 

Study

BEFORE: A small, unused garage.
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The Lukas knew they didn’t need the garage and made the confident decision to part with it. They envisioned a living space for family time—a library and schoolroom, as well as a place to read, play games, and snuggle with their children. They left the design decisions up to us and I knew this needed to be a comfortable, functional space for them.

First, we built up the floor to make it level with the rest of the house. While we raised ceilings in other rooms, here we brought them down to make the room cozy. We used two corbels I picked up at a local shop to make a custom mint julep bar, continuing the Kentucky Derby theme. A deep shade of grey and soft reading lights gave this new study a moody, yet cozy warmth.

AFTER: A cozy and comfortable room to read, relax, and have fun with the family.
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Sources

Picture Lights | Shades of Light

Chairs | Howse

Vintage Corbels and Checkerboard table | 72 West

Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Downpipe

 

Laundry

BEFORE: Laundry room taken for dining space
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The Lukas had given us free rein to take the tiny laundry room and use it for kitchen space, so we added on a small extension to the house to give them a brand new one.

I wanted to create a timeless but pretty laundry room since I know it’s a hardworking space in any home. Everyone has to do laundry, so it might as well be a beautiful room! A stable-inspired sliding barn door saved the space a traditional door would take up, and brought home the feel of a Derby-themed horse ranch. I found locker storage to build into the wall of this laundry room for children’s belongings and school backpacks and to add a little touch of character into the room.

AFTER: A functional laundry and mudroom full of character.
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Sources

Flushmounts | Hudson Valley Lighting 

Lockers | 72 West

 

This project was such a special one for us. Dave and I have both moved to NW Arkansas from our home states and know how hard it can be to have your heart in two places. We loved being able to incorporate nods to Kentucky in this home while also making it beautiful and ready for the Lukas to grow their family. It means so much to us for our work to contribute this way. We hope this remodel helps make the Luka’s hopes and dreams come true!

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