Craftsman to Creole Cottage | Episode 1
I’ll probably say this every week, but the premiere episode of Fixer to Fabulous is quite possibly my favorite project ever. Cynthia Cooper attended college in New Orleans and she and Scotty have an affinity for The Big Easy (I think we can agree that the incredible food, unique culture and breathtaking architecture makes New Orleans unlike any other city). In this first episode, Dave and I were charged with the challenge of transforming their newly purchased lackluster craftsman home in our town’s historic district into a vibrant Creole Cottage.
BEFORE: an abandoned craftsman.
By removing the existing gabled front porch overhang and replacing it with a low hipped front porch that spans the full width of the house, the entire exterior was transformed. We replaced the old, rotting siding and, most importantly, added four pairs of narrow french doors across the front of the home to capture the Creole Cottage feel. Adding quintessential New Orleans style details like handcrafted copper gas lanterns (complete with details like a vintage “fleur de lis” locking piece), a haint blue ceiling, an antique brick walkway and skirt along the home, custom porch swings and full length shutters completed the look.
AFTER: charming details capture the distinct feel of New Orleans.
Copper Gas Lanterns | Custom by Bear Creek Design Co – Link
Front Porch Swings | Custom by Dave Marrs
Exterior Siding & Trim Paint Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove OC -17
Shutters Paint Color | Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC-173
Front Porch Ceiling Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Parma Gray #27
BEFORE: a cramped and out-dated kitchen and dining space.
After removing the wall separating the existing dining room and kitchen, expanding the one arched opening and adding a second arched entry to balance the space; we had a nicely sized blank slate to work with. The center island needed to be the focal point of this kitchen, as Cynthia expressed wanting a large island for entertaining. Based on her reaction of literally hugging her island, I think we managed to meet her expectations:).
One of the really unexpected aspects of this kitchen is the “hidden pantry.” We used the space that had been a small laundry room and created a large, walk-in pantry. In order to keep the run of cabinetry looking cohesive, we incorporated the pantry door into the cabinetry as one large piece, while making it look like the rest of the inset drawers and doors. Only when that cabinet door is opened, can you see the walk-in pantry space.
(And, don’t worry, we added on a new, large laundry room during “Phase Two” of the remodel for the Coopers. We weren’t able to complete the entire home remodel in the timeframe we had to film the episode, so we actually divided the project into two phases. After filming was wrapped, we completed the second phase of the remodel which included the downstairs bedroom and bathroom, a new powder bath carved out of a nook under the stairs and an additional laundry/mudroom).
After exposing the backside of the existing fireplace (and filling the old pipe holes with mortar – we didn’t leave the holes open! I saw a few questions concerning those old creature habitats:)), I needed to cover the round mortared holes in the brick and knew a large-scale piece of art would fit with Cynthia’s New Orlean’s eclectic art-style. Scotty suggested a painting of their adorable pup, Nola (perfect name) and I had the art commissioned by a local artist. I love how the brick provides warmth to the kitchen and the painting is playful and unexpected. (Clearly, Nola was unimpressed as she still tried to maul me!)
The gorgeous dining table was hand-crafted by Chase Looney and the gold-inlay created the perfect finishing touch to tie in the gold from the lighting. The final result is a modern take on a traditional dining table with a touch of luxury – which feels very “New Orleans.”
AFTER: This modern space is clean and sleek, with unexpected details throughout.
Island Pendant Lights | Lulu & Georgia – Link
Dining Table Chandelier | Lulu & Georgia – Link
Cabinetry | Morgan Millworks – Link
Range | ILVE – Link
Refrigerator and Dishwasher | KitchenAid Metro Appliances
Faucet | Kohler – Link
Cabinet Hardware | Top Knobs
Commissioned Art | Jaquita Ball – Link
Dining Table | Custom by Chase Looney – Link
Dining Chairs | Howse
Cabinet Paint Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove OC -17
Island Paint Color | Benjamin Moore Onyx 2133-10
The Living Room
BEFORE: a dark, uninspired space.
Saving a bit of the existing detail, we kept the traditional archway that led into the existing dining room and added another archway to mirror it on the other side of the fireplace. By removing the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, we created an open flow between the spaces while maintaining the character of the home. Exposing the original brick from the fireplace provides warmth to the formerly dismal room. Traditional details like custom moldings and the addition of a set of vintage doors added to the entry of the study keep the entire space feeling welcoming and bright.
AFTER: a light, bright space with a blend of traditional and modern elements.
Chandelier | Lulu & Georgia – Link
Sofa, Coffee Table & Chairs | Howse
Curtains | West Elm
Wall Paint Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove OC -17
BEFORE: a small bedroom.
With new french doors lining the front of the house, the unused front bedroom will now be flooded with natural light and the perfect space to convert into a study for the Coopers. We framed a hallway to block the existing staircase, moved the access into the front room and added a custom iron railing. We removed the closet and created a new access to the study through the main living space, using refurbished antique french doors as the entrance.
I firmly believe that a home should be a reflection of the people who live there. In order to do that, treasured family heirlooms and meaningful pieces need to be incorporated into the design. I don’t think they should be stored away and preserved but, rather, on display and actually used. I loved being able to dig Cynthia’s stepfather’s antique desk out of storage and refurbish it for her new study. Her tears of joy when seeing this breathtaking and sentimental piece were hands-down my favorite part is this reveal.
AFTER: an eye-catching study.
Chandelier | Shades of Light – Link
Picture Lights | Shades of Light – Link
Iron Stair Railing | Custom by Bentonville Ornamental Iron – Link
Art | Melissa Abide Griffith – Link
Swivel Chairs | Howse
Bookshelf Paint Color | Benjamin Moore Bavarian Forest 2054-10
BEFORE: an unused second floor.
What better way to overhaul a home than to turn the entire second floor into a master suite? We were able to create a dream retreat by utilizing the existing layout with a few changes that made a drastic difference. By adding a dormer to the back of the home, we created space to accommodate a bed as well as introduce natural light. We also utilized the antique sidelights off of the doors we used in the study as the entrance doors to the master suite, incorporating vintage charm into this space.
We also expanded the footprint of the existing bathroom slightly (stealing space from the back half of the attic) to add a custom shower and double vanity. I gladly said goodbye to the dark colors and brightened it up with whites and natural wood tones.
The Coopers walk-in closet is the stuff of dreams! We took over the back half of the master suite and created a custom closet with a dresser island. With existing windows and skylight, plenty of natural light floods the room. This space doesn’t feel like an average closet, but rather a cozy place to get ready in the morning.
AFTER: a stunning master suite.
Bedroom Chandelier | West Elm – Link
Bed & Bedding | Howse
Wall Color | Benjamin Moore White Dove OC -17
Bathroom Vanity | Morgan Millworks – Link
Bathroom Light | Kichler
Shower Tile | TileBar – Link
Bathroom Tile | Home Depot – Link
Faucets | Kohler
Vanity Hardware | TopKnobs
Closet Dresser Paint Color |Doeskin 6044
I hope you enjoyed the tour of the Cooper’s Creole Cottage! Laissez les bon temps rouler!