No-demo renovations can have a big impact – Houston Chronicle
Elizabeth Johnson is a CPA-turned-stay-at-home mom and her husband, Chad, is an engineer — right-brain people who know what they know and, more importantly, know what they don’t know.
When they moved back to the Houston area six years ago, they wanted to be in The Woodlands and found a home that fit their family. They knew their house wasn’t necessarily stylish or completely functional but had no idea how to go about changing it.
So they got excited when they saw an item up for auction at a charity event: a consultation with interior designer Caron Woolsey of CW Interiors.
Their quick consultation turned into a bigger job as Woolsey helped the couple work through updates and new furniture and accessories for much of the first floor of their home.
Throughout the pandemic, home remodelers and interior designers have been busy, a trend that’s expected to stay strong throughout the new year. Everyone seems to want things lightened, brightened and made more comfortable.
“We started small, thinking we were going to change the carpet in the primary bedroom and maybe the carpet in the formal dining room,” Elizabeth said. “It was in the early days of COVID, and we started talking about everything, the kitchen and a bar, adding wood floors.”
The project took just six weeks, since it was the front end of the pandemic and you could still get furniture and materials quickly.
Both Elizabeth, who soon will be 48, and Chad, 48, agreed that some of their furniture should stay, but other changes — paint, hardware, lighting, furnishings and accessories — could make a big impact, even in small doses.
Their style is fed by their small-town upbringings — he’s from Elk Mountain, Wyo., and she’s from a small town north of Kansas City — where nothing was ever very fancy, and everything was practical and functional. A simpler and more subtle farmhouse style was their goal.
The couple, married 16 years, met years ago when they were out of college and living in Houston; they then lived in a series of other cities before moving back six years ago with their three daughters — Emma, now 14; Claire, 10; and Molly, 8.
They painted everything — walls and cabinets — and changed flooring throughout. Carpet and ceramic tile flooring are gone, replaced by wood floors and rugs.
The rugs were a lesson for Chad, who wondered why he should spend money on beautiful wood floors — then cover them up with rugs.
“It seemed like a crazy concept to me to get rid of carpet to put wood down and then put rugs on them,” Chad said, laughing as he admitted defeat. “I lost that fight.”
Now he appreciates their form and function. Not only do they add color and texture to a room, they also help define living spaces and, for anyone walking barefoot, they make a home much more comfortable.
At the front of the Johnsons’ home was a foyer with a typical oak banister. Conscious of the couple’s budget and the extent of work ahead, Woolsey urged them to paint it — white balusters and a black handrail — a much less expensive alternative to refinishing.
Shag carpet on the stairs was replaced with carpet with a neutral herringbone pattern. A lantern-style chandelier and a pair of sconces in matte black finish the space.
An antique dresser that was already there was accessorized with a blue …….