Interior Motives

A turnagain home is reinvented with a fun, fresh & functional design

Story by Jamey Bradbury • Photography by DMD Real Estate Photography

  • Before Before
  • Before Before

When you redesign your home, you expect change: new architecture, transformed spaces. It’s rare, though, that a change to your house brings about a fundamental change in you. But that’s exactly what happened when Andrea Sears teamed up with Red Carrot Design’s Jill King for a reinvention of her Turnagain home.

Dormer & redesign of dining room & laundry room:
Tom Pierce-Bulger, Pioneer Consulting, LLC
Interior designer:
Jill King, Red Carrot Design
Jaimey Sapp, Northern Technology Solutions
Marquis Solara, Central Plumbing & Heating; installed by Muotka Mechanical Inc.
Fireplace tile:
Florida Tile, Pacific Tile
Milton Nesbitt
Bathroom counters:
Pental Quartz, Hard Rock Designs; installed by Deas Bode, DK Designs
Bathroom tile & flooring:
Deas Bode, DK Designs
Plumbing and heating:
Mark Wehrmann, Lorenzo Enterprises; Cassidy's Plumbing & Heating, LLC
Entry built-in, doors & surround for the staircase inset, console table & fireplace cabinetry:
Jon Beel, Jon's Woodworking
Dining area/kitchen drywall:
Ruf Drywall
It started with a hutch

“My husband and I think of ourselves as do-it-yourselfers,” Andrea explains. So she didn’t shy away from refinishing a secondhand oak hutch to better match the natural-meets-industrial scheme she and Jill devised for the home’s redesign. She painted, and repainted, the hutch until she achieved the exact shade of cream-and-lilac she wanted.

Soon, Andrea found herself tackling more ambitious projects. “That’s been one of the most enriching things to come out of this,” she says. “Having Jill give me an idea and say, ‘Can you do this?’ It pushed me beyond my limits.”

Through the process, Andrea took woodworking classes and created functional pieces, like wire-and-galvanized-pipe table lamps, and artwork, like the wood-scrap mosaic in the front hallway and the painted pegboard at the landing of the stairs.

Hard meets soft

The plumbing hardware from which a lacquered woodprint hangs, the exposed metal brackets anchoring a bathroom mirror to the wall: these details are no accident. They’re part of a design that celebrates industrial elements by pairing them with natural textures.

“The outdoors are important to me,” Andrea describes. “But my husband and I are also functional people. So having things like plumbing hardware incorporated in the design made sense to us.”

Jill balanced the coldness of the metal elements with warm tones, like the browns and grays of the furniture, coffee table and, most notably, the cabinetry and Floridatile by Pacific Tile around the fireplace. “You want a backdrop that’s calm enough to allow you to enjoy all those little weirdo things we added for fun,” Jill says, “like the crazy cow rug we used for playful texture, or other quirky details that make you smile.”

Fireplace first

For Andrea and her husband, William, what eventually became a highlight of their living room was almost an afterthought. Initially, the couple thought about holding off on remodeling the fireplace.

“Sometimes, if you don’t pull the trigger on a major focal point like that, it sets the flavor for everything around it, and you don’t get the effect you’re looking for,” Jill explains.

So the unused shelving around the old fireplace was ripped out and replaced with functional cabinets that allow the couple to keep potential clutter out of sight. General contractor Milton Nesbitt was tasked with the job of making Jill’s vision – a recessed fireplace framed by a tiled column – a reality.

“It was challenging but fun,” recalls Milton, who not only hid the metal framework that holds the firebox in place but built the column so that it would fit seamlessly against the angled ceiling.

Bringing it all together

“You might not notice that the tile on the bathroom floor is the same tile that's on the fireplace,” Jill explains. “But some part of you recognizes that, and the repetition of those elements helps blend the whole house.”

The quirkiness and nature-inspired themes of the living room are carried through the rest of the house, too, with details like the plant-specimen wallpaper in an extra bedroom, where a green ceramic moose head grins at guests. Andrea’s custom-made hutch anchors the dining room, alongside a giant fork hung on the wall and a sign urging guests to “Eat More Bacon.”

With her newly acquired skills, Andrea devised industrial accents for the main first-floor bathroom, like the galvanized pipe shower curtain rod and the spigot that serves as a toilet paper holder. Building furniture like the family room desk not only gave Andrea an appreciation for the work her remodelers did, but allowed her the hands-on participation she needed to have in her home’s alteration.

“Having a sense of ownership was essential for me; I’m lucky Jill was able to accommodate that,” she says. Together, the two solved what Jill calls “the puzzle of a finite amount of space, certain architecture, function and whatever style component you need to address.”

The ceiling solution

The first piece of that puzzle – the thing that inspired the couple’s redesign – was the claustrophobic kitchen and dining area. “I couldn’t live in a place with so little light,” Andrea says. “We really needed to open it up to see more of the outdoors.”

But the very architecture of the house made adding a traditional dormer problematic, says Tom Pierce-Bulger of Pioneer Contracting. The part of the house comprising the kitchen and dining area was originally a one-story ranch; later owners built a two-story addition to the front of the house. These structural constraints meant that Tom had to come up with a creative solution to keep the ceiling of the back part of the house shallow, so it wouldn’t interfere with views from the second story.

“I did an elliptical version of a barrel vault ceiling,” he explains. “It’s a graceful way of expanding the ceiling while fitting the house’s proportions and keeping the room modest.”

Modest but graceful, functional yet cozy: The home is a quirky study in contrasts, creating an atmosphere that invokes comfort and inspires creativity – especially for Andrea, who is considering taking her new interest to the next level. “I’m thinking of trying to sell a few of the pieces I’m making,” she says. “It was so much fun to work on them, and I'd like to keep doing it. I just don’t have the space to keep them.”