An Old Rancher Gets a Chef-Inspired Facelift | Season 2 Episode 7
Levi and Jessica Rush are both from Northwest Arkansas and met in college at the University of Arkansas. Together, they have a passion for the outdoors and enjoy opportunities to soak up the beauty of the region. One of their adventures has been a crazy five-year plan that resulted in the birth of a business—and two children. In 2014, the Rushes fulfilled their life dream of opening a restaurant: Levi’s Gastrolounge in historic downtown Rogers. Their all-around fabulous little boys, River and Bronx, supply frequent entertainment at the restaurant and are experts on all the best parks in the area.
This house belonged to Jessica’s grandparents. Bob & Lurodine Wilkinson moved to Rogers, Arkansas in 1963 and Bob built the home himself. After her grandparents died in 2009, Levi and Jessica moved into the house. They see it as an incredible experience to live in a home with so many family memories and they continue to grow those memories with their own family. In 30+ years, the neighborhood has changed and they’ve seen a recent focus to update and renovate the houses. The midtown location allows easy access to all of Rogers and surrounding towns.
The Rush’s home is a traditional ranch style house with the classic 60’s elements of wood-panel walls, dark rooms (no lights in certain rooms) and low ceilings. Over the years, they have made a few updates, but the work done was poorly. At this point, they need bigger changes. A transformation to a chef’s kitchen, and an updated living room, music/playroom and outdoor space would allow them to indulge in their lifestyle of hosting and entertaining guests, and the family’s love of outdoor play.
Dave and I really loved the excitement and energy Jessica and Levi brought to this project. We also loved the fact that that they wanted to embrace their home’s mid-century roots because a mid-century modern style home isn’t something we often get to do. We loved getting the chance to keep the distinctive feel of that era with its natural wood and clean lines.
BEFORE: a classic 1960’s brick ranch home.
We modernized the outside look of this home by giving it a brighter appearance. The Rushes wanted the exterior brick painted, a change that’s often controversial in the world of renovation, but certainly lent well to the mid-century aesthetic. The bright white paint makes the house shine, and the new black-framed windows add the ideal complement and contrast to the updated color.
We all agreed that the iron post on the porch had to go, a change that allowed us to add a functional and fun design element to the front of the home. While keeping in theme with the mid-century design, and taking inspiration from Palm Springs, we created a small courtyard to the side of the porch with a slatted wall for privacy.
AFTER: a light & bright mid-century modern home.
Flushmount Light | Kichler
Landscaping | Ground Effects Landscaping
Exterior Paint Color | Benjamin Moore Simply White
Front Door Paint Color | SW – Tricorn Black, 6258
BEFORE: a dark and unbalanced space.
The Rushes like to entertain, and this room didn’t offer a welcome feel for guests. Low ceilings and a lot of brick made the space dark, cramped, and definitely outdated. We knew that by painting the walls we would brighten the look, give the illusion of higher ceilings, and create a more welcoming space.
The wall of vertical wood slats played up the mid-century design and, most importantly, centered the fireplace, giving the symmetry needed to make it the focal point of the room. Painting black over the original brick gave just the right contemporary look against the dark grain. The slats also provided a seamless camouflage for what would have otherwise been an awkward door leading to the garage, a feature Jessica wanted and that the house lacked. We were excited to show them a virtually hidden door!
AFTER: a modern, warm, and inviting living room.
Furniture | Howse
Hardwood Floors | Shaw
Wall Paint Color | BM – Decorator’s White, CC-20
Fireplace Brick Color | SW – Tricorn Black, 6258
BEFORE: a small dining space.
This dining area was somewhat closed off and also cramped. We wanted to go with an open concept, and provide a cohesive flow throughout the living area and kitchen and on into this space. A long walnut table served as a connection and with entertaining still in mind, pulled all the rooms together.
The walnut and modern lights over the table and across the ceilings helps the dining area function somewhat as its own separate space or as a defined, intentional space for sharing a meal.
AFTER: an open concept dining area perfect for hosting family and friends.
Pendant Light | West Elm
Furniture | Howse
BEFORE: a cramped and outdated kitchen.
This kitchen was confined and offered limited space and movement. Levi wanted to cook and still socialize with guests. Most of the kitchen appliances were original to the house, and barely worked. We took out the peninsula cabinet that blocked a clear path to the living area and removed a head knocker cabinet that obstructed the view to the living room. Levi requested easy access so plates would be within reach, and the open shelves we installed sealed the deal to make this a true chef’s kitchen.
The Rushes really needed a kitchen to fit their lifestyle. We reoriented the room into an open space, giving them a whole new layout. Subway tile up the wall and wrapped around the range hood will allow them an easy-to-clean kitchen, with an island/counter space for all the room they’ll need to eat as a family, or to host guests. We were thrilled to give Jessica the larger window over the sink she wanted so she could watch the boys play in the backyard.
I found a piece of a gold foot kick rail stored in the Rush’s garage, left over from the one in their restaurant. We attached it to the new kitchen island where it served as a nod to their restaurant and tied in the gold throughout the kitchen.
AFTER: A bright, mid-century modern kitchen fit for a chef.
Sconce and Pendant Lights | Worley’s Lighting
Custom Cabinetry | Premier Wood Concepts
BEFORE: a catch-all room without personality.
This room provided a great space but wasn’t living up to its potential. We wanted this to be a cozy room where the family could gather and overlap with their creative activities. As a throwback to Jessica’s electrician grandfather, Dave installed an electrical conduit across the ceiling for lighting. simple, monochromatic paint and decor made this all-in-one room come together.
I knew that Levi and Jessica wanted their boys to grow up with a love and appreciation for music. With that in mind, we put together a creative corner with pipes and mallets and a xylophone. This would allow their kids to experiment, use imagination, and make music in ways not limited by the structure of pre-made instruments. We’re so excited for the Rush’s future family time in this room.
AFTER: a creative and inspiring family music room.
Custom Light | Dave Marrs
Custom Musical Instruments | Chase Looney
Wall Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Green Smoke
BEFORE: an uninspired patio space.
My hope for this outdoor area was inspired by the idea of a Palm Springs resort. Knowing that Levi and Jessica want this to be the central location of where they entertain, we wanted this space to be an oasis.
Starting with a new concrete slab as the foundation, we then covered the space, and added outdoor seating and a fire pit. The warmth of wood and steel materials will keep this an inviting place to eat, entertain, or simply lounge.
We hope this family will love stepping out the sliding door and into their new backyard vacation.
AFTER: a back patio reminiscent of a Palm Springs resort.
Landscaping | Ground Effects Landscaping
Thanks for touring the Rush’s house with me! And, great news – we still have four new episodes of Season Two to go! Join us every Tuesday night at 9|8 central for an all new episode through the end of the month! (So many exclamation points!!)