Style Journey: Country to Modern – Part I

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We weren’t always into modern design and this post proves that anyone can change styles and get the home they want.

I’ve been promising this post for a while but sitting down to put it together was quite a task, I have to say.  Most of the pictures I had were not digital so I apologize for their quality.  Scanning doesn’t always get great results.  I had no idea where to start or how to share this without it turning into a never ending post that causes your scroll bar to stop functioning.  I decided to go room by room, so here goes nothing….

hazelout1

Our first house was a really big deal.  We’d been married only 4 1/2 years and had NO money at all.  I mean you know ….. saving our quarters so we could do the laundry at the end of the week and “can I spend $5.00 on lunch today”.  NO MONEY!  We wanted out of our tiny apartment and into a house of our very own.  We knew we had to find something in the neighborhood we desired but it would have to be a REAL fixer-upper.  Our budget was tight.  And this little house had such potential!  We bought it for $52,000.  WE WERE SO PROUD!

hazelout3

The backyard was HUGE and we also owned the lot next door so it had a basketball court on one side of the house.  Richie loved this.  Of course over time this much land was a lot to keep up with.  But hey, we were young, it was all good.  The house would change gradually over the years and eventually so would we.  In more ways than one.

hazelout2

I can’t say that I really knew anything about design or had any style whatsoever.  I was influenced by what I saw everyday.  Most houses I had been in or around were very “Southern Living”, if you will.  I mean we are in Texas and I guess dried flowers and copper pots are a given.  (and it was 1992) The weird thing is I never really questioned this.  I saw it.  It was pretty.  It was what every adult house I had been in had. And it was all I really knew.  (very sheltered woman, here)  So I went with it.

Here’s what the living room looked like a few weeks after we moved in.  Yep, DON’T LAUGH!  There’s actually an Ikea chair(s) in this room and I’m wondering who will find them.  So okay, I know, this is hurting my eyes too.  Lots of dried flowers, brass, golden wood furniture and the fabrics, although Waverly and hot at the time, look like a mortuary waiting room.  Love those lace curtains, too!  It was home, though.  Life was good …. and GREEN AND BURGUNDY!

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oldlivingroom2

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The sofa you see in these picture (the flowery one) I can honestly say was my pride and joy.  I suppose that sofa was the beginning of everything.  It was the project that made me realize I had the ability to do just about anything I set my mind to.  It’s why I had no fear when it came to buying our current home.

oldlivingroom4

That Waverly pattern was purchased by the yard at a local fabric store with money I had saved from Christmas one year.  We were living in a small apartment at the time so I had NO ROOM to do what I was about to do.  Richie’s aunt had an old hideous gold and green velour sofa in her garage and gave it to us for $20.  I had NEVER done anything like it before but I was determined to have a nice sofa for our house.  I began carefully removing the old fabric saving each piece to reuse it as a pattern.  I totally reupholstered that sucker and it took me about 2 weeks total.  6 new zippered cushions, all new lining, a tailored skirt, piping and wrapped arms.
It was a feat!  I’ve never been more proud of anything!  So she’s kind of ugly, but she was EVERYTHING back then.

Okay, at this point I could continue on and show you the rest of  the house… but it might be more fun to jump back and forth in time (like a real artsy movie).  So fast forward 3-4 years and Richie and I realize we are really starting to change and grow as people.  We have our own home now, we’re making a little more money, we’re exposing ourselves to a world outside the one we’ve known and it turns out there’s  a lot of cool shit out there.  Our current lifestyle is no longer a fit for us.   It’s time for a drastic change.

Richie shows up with a few magazines that he borrowed from a friend and we begin combing through them.  Remember “Met Home”?  Yep, that magazine started it all.   It was an ah-ha moment and IT WAS ON!  We began a schooling of sorts, educating ourselves on styles, designers, history.  It was thrilling.  The possibilities were fueling our desires.  But wait… this cool shit is EXPENSIVE!  How the hell were we going to do this.  Then I just looked at that old couch and said “We can do anything”.    Two weeks later we had a massive garage sale over two days and cleared out almost our entire house.  YES, we sold it ALL!  We had a bed and that’s about it.  The hunt was on and Richie was relentless.  Every weekend at 5:00 a.m. he scoured the city and all surrounding cities for the things we wanted.  AND HE WAS SUCCESSFUL beyond our expectations.

The first thing we got was our Knoll sofa, and then came the George Nelson bench you see in front of it, then a new dining table, and art from auctions, and before we knew it our home was changing right before our eyes.  Of course each piece has a long fun story behind it but the happy ending is, WE DID IT!  While he looked for furniture I got busy painting, tiling, and working on sheetrock.  So what did the living room look after?  Take a look.

livingroom_1aft

You won’t find a single piece of furniture from the old us.  EVERYTHING CHANGED!   It was almost like someone else moved into this house.  

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Bye bye burgundy and brass.  This is who we really are.

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I really love this old house.  Although it was built in 1924 it always felt very open and modern to me.   I suppose that very much contributed to the success we had with it.  It was almost like the house itself was ready for a change and it wasn’t happy either.  It all just clicked.   When I look at these pictures I get very teary-eyed, as we worked so hard.  Still are, I guess.
Richie refinished those beautiful floors all by himself.  You can see how dark they were in the first few pictures.  We were fearless!

refinishedfloors

The dining room is right off the living area so we’ll jump back in time and see the change.  A little round country table and metal bakers rack.  The oriental rug I guess wasn’t so “country” but anyhoo….

olddining

We sold the table and found this beautiful Heywood Wakefield set in someone’s storage unit.  It had been damaged from water but we brought it back to life with a total refinishing of the wood and I reupholstered the chairs.  The backs of those chairs were so beautiful I could hardly breathe.

dining_livingaft

The table came with two leaves and 6 chairs.  We ended up selling it to a dealer in Dallas who drove down to get it after we moved into our current house.  Which in turn allowed us to finally purchase the current Poul Kjærholm we have today.

diningroomaft

The next George Nelson bench entered our lives with such sweet surprise.  It was just GIVEN to us by one of my friends who “knew we liked this kind of stuff”.   Why yes, we sure do.  Thank you very much.  Ha!  Things just starting showing up at our doorstep.  We were living right!

I can’t lie.  I miss all that thick white trim and wood floors.  Old houses are the BEST!

livingtodiningaft

Up next… the kitchen and it’s major transformation.   I see you copper pots!

oldkitchen

But you’ll have to wait for Part II.  Besides, your scroll bar needs a rest.


TOTALLY OFF TOPIC:

homies2014
Apartment Therapy “Homies” Contest

YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! Thanks for the nominations over at Apartment Therapy. Their “Homies” contest is going on right now and I was alerted by other bloggers that I was on the list. I swear I’m living under a rock because I knew nothing about it until I got the first email.

If you haven’t voted, give us a click. I’m listed in two categories but probably shouldn’t be. Choose Home Design & Inspiration Blog cateogry. It doesn’t “MEAN” anything but I suppose it’s just fun to be included. Thanks again for the votes!

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17 thoughts on “Style Journey: Country to Modern – Part I

  1. Sheherazade

    You guys are amazing! Seriously!
    And I will not judge you for the burgundy and green couch. When you know better, you do better! haha!

    Reply
  2. sherree

    I loved seeing the transformation! That was a beautiful old home.
    We also changed gears, moving from a 1901 Victorian farmhouse to this 1951 brick ranch. When I look at old photos I just cringe. Did I really like all that “stuff” ?
    I look forward to seeing your kitchen transformation. I have a confession though: I like the big white stove you had in the “before” photo!
    I hope your back is better :-)

    Reply
  3. Alex

    I’ve been waiting for this post forever since the day you mention you used to be country. I was like that’s not possible. I can’t even tell you how much I’m enjoying this. Part of the reason I’m inspired so much is because I’m finding that our own style is changing and it’s a lot different than I thought I wanted in our home. I can’t wait til part 2. That kitchen island. Why does that make me want to say Beetlejuice in the best way possible?

    Reply
  4. Jessica@CapeofDreams

    What a transformation! I love that I can recognize so many pieces from the after that you still have. I was never that country. However, I grew up with country and was given a number of pieces by my parents when I moved into my first apartment, so I was a lot more country than I am now. I am also impressed by your upholstery job on the old sofa. Wow! Thanks for taking us on the walk down your memory lane!

    Reply
  5. Dana@Mid2Mod

    I love it! Your “before” shots remind me so much of my own “before” shots. Like you said, it’s Texas, and Southern Living was the only guideline we knew about. My mother did have one friend who had a very modern home in the 1950s, but that was very unusual in a small East Texas town. You were so right when you said your house looked like someone else had moved in. The transformation was incredible. I squealed with joy when I saw the little Thonet stool in your living room. We had one exactly like that in the first location of our store, so I know that fabric pattern well. Did you ever notice on yours that it started out a very different color, and that the metallic gold on the print had actually oxidized?

    Reply
  6. D'Arcy H

    Wow, Stacey–what a fascinating retrospective! I can’t wait to see more! You guys have so much nerve … selling everything and starting over, your way. Met Home!! I LOVED that mag … It introduced me to a lot of style. Good memories.
    Yes, someday after we retire (two or three years!) we want to build a modern house on our island property, and that will mean making lots of changes. Modern furniture always looks fabulous in a vintage home, but not so much the other way around. Acck! I’m always getting in over my head!
    I’m so glad you’re writing about this!

    Reply
  7. Danielle

    Oh my goodness!! What a great post… I can’t wait for part 2!

    I remember that moment when we went from “this is all the stuff we were given when we got married and we have no money so I guess this is our style” to “yeah… I don’t think so”. I admire so much that you sold off everything and started over. That’s HUGE! I’m still living with pieces that make me sad, but are truly too old and damaged to sell for any decent money. Now I’ll be sending them off to college with my kids and they can enjoy the “this is all the stuff we were given when we moved out and we have no money so I guess this is our style” phase. :)

    Also, I can’t get over that the new furniture is in your old house! It’s amazing how your modern furniture gives that cottage such a modern feel.

    Reply
  8. ScrapAndSalvage

    wowie, wow, wow, wow. i love this post so much. can there be any bigger oxymoron to stacey and richie’s style than “country” and “1992″? jajajajajajajaja. although, i must say, you had a very NEAT looking country home, but it pales to the beauty you transformed it into. i love that you guys sold everything in a yard sale and started over. how freeing that must have felt (had it been any style. fresh starts are so great). and some pretty great designers to start with, eh?! rad. that is an adorable little house. i can’t believe you bought it for $52,000 – even in 1992 (then again, it’s not healthy to compare any price to how damn expensive southern california is! it’s ludicrous). i just can’t wait to see phase two.

    Reply
  9. Dana@Mid2Mod

    It just occurred to me that I don’t remember seeing that little stool in your current home. What if we had YOUR stool at our store? How absurdly fantastic would that be?

    Reply
  10. angela

    Love so many elements of your current design. (You have fab furniture!) This has been a natural shift in our home as well, and we actually only have a couple of pieces of furniture left from when we first bought our home and got married (and those will be gone soon). I was about to giggle at your befores, but then I saw the picture above your fireplace and realized that was actually on the front of our wedding invitations and then I bought the print and hung it in our home. LOL! Thank goodness my style has changed!

    Angela @ Number Fifty-Three

    Reply
  11. Karen Lewis

    OH! MY! GOSH! – - I am totally reliving my past. I keep saying how much our styles are so alike but this time the nail has been hammered in the coffin and the deal has been sealed. Everything and I mean EVERYTHING is how we transformed and after seeing it, I have to chuckle. I was in love with some of those same things you were, but after the transformation and when looking back at the pictures, all you can do is chuckle. My, oh my, have my tastes changed. But those were still very good times with many, many fond memories and the end result would not be as satisfying. Agreed?

    Reply
  12. the home tome

    oh wow, I had to wait to read this until I was sitting down, bc I knew I would be floored. I LOVE that you just sold everything and started over – that is BOLD and must have been so liberating! That is the move of people who are fearless, which is what I consider you guys. What a crazy transformation – can’t wait til part two! :)

    Reply
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  14. Natalie

    Argh, how did I miss thus post? I linked over from part two… You are so funny! It’s so hard to imagine your being country… But was that in the 90s perhaps? Then that would be a good excuse… I totally remember that angel print… My friend still has it hanging in her living room actually!!!

    And if course, since I am just reading this today, I totally missed voting for the Homies. Argh! Kicking myself right now. But how cool is that that you were nominated! My very own little celebrity!!!

    Lots of love,
    Nat
    XXX

    Reply
  15. Molly Cambone

    Wow! Your transition to modern is really inspiring. I’m starting a similar process but not as drastic and I hope to be able to replicate some of what you’ve done. I got a few pieces recently to start the process. A few I picked up at thrift stores, I got some on special at http:.//www.interior-deluxe.com , and then some from West Elm, and even one from a boutique here in Chicago. I’m glad Spring is finally here so these transitions can be made a little easier. Best of luck to you!

    Reply

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