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Dream Home Renovation

Couple Transforms Suburban Home to Modern Living Space

Article by Erica Hernandez

Photography by Janet Buller | Buller Photography

Originally published in Cypress Lifestyle

When Kelly and Matt Thomas moved into their third home in the Coles Crossing neighborhood, they knew there’d be changes ahead.

The couple, who’ve been married for sixteen years, had renovated nearly every one of their previous homes. Once, they ripped out a floor and installed a new one, another time they added rooms, but no amount of renovation compared to their latest undertaking at their newest home. 

“I really wanted that open-concept vibe,” Kelly says. “We all hang out around the kitchen all the time, so we were trying to find the best use of the space and eliminate any wasted space as we went along.” 

Over the course of one year, the couple transformed their five-bedroom, 5,274 square-foot home from an average suburban structure to a modern living space with a french farmhouse feel.

To achieve their look, the couple worked with contractors to demolish three load-bearing columns in their kitchen. They moved walls and converted what was a dining room into Matt’s home office. They ripped out a staircase and replaced it with a well-stocked wine bar. They converted an old office into a two-story bedroom clothing closet complete with a makeup counter and gun-cleaning table. 

“We weren’t really sure what all we would do,” Kelly says. “We didn’t have an initial plan. We thought maybe we’ll change this wall and open up the kitchen a little bit and it kind of dominoed into pretty much the whole house. One thing led to another.”

During the course of their remodel, Kelly gleaned all of her ideas from social media pages like Instagram or Pinterest. Slowly, with help from a designer, she recreated each look in her own home. Functionality was key to every decision. The couple has three children, two dogs, a gerbil, guinea pig and a bearded dragon, so durable designs were critical.  

“We’re not a family that’s going to tiptoe around and take special care of something just because it’s nice, unfortunately,” Kelly says. “The kids are kids. The dogs are dogs and it’s all going to get used.” 

The couple equipped the kitchen with bright white quartzite countertops instead of marble for durability. The kitchen also features a commercial-grade Wolf stovetop and double ovens for extra cooking space. Cabinets and lighting fixtures are adorned with gold hardware. The new dining room space now flows into the living area and is flanked by a brick-tile wall with a white German-smear paint texture. The living room floors are a luxury faux-wood vinyl that looks deceptively like real wood. The material is even designed to withstand flooding, Matt says. The hallway features a two-story hideaway Christmas closet that discreetly stores the family holiday decorations. The closet is so big, Kelly can simply roll in her decorated Christmas tree without disassembling it.

“I really wanted to try to eliminate clutter and have a space for everything,” she says. 

The master bedroom boasts customized sliding barn doors to maximize the space. In the master bathroom, both relaxation and refreshment are just an arms reach away. The space features a stand-alone modern farmhouse tub with a nearby coffee and drink bar hidden inside a custom cabinet. His and hers sinks stand next to a voice-activated shower that’s controlled completely digitally. Beyond the shower is one of the master bathroom’s crowing features - a two-story clothing closet with a makeup vanity, staircase and an abundance of storage space. Kelly wanted a large space for her to get ready for the day as well as store her clothing, family luggage and other essentials.

The renovation process was not without sacrifice. The couple wouldn’t reveal exactly how much they spent for all the construction, but say it cost more than the first home they purchased together. The couple first worked unsuccessfully with a contractor before deciding to contract their own workers and make their own designs. During the yearlong process, the family chose to still live in the home and accommodated workers as they came and went. The family lived without a kitchen for nine months, cooked exclusively outside and washed dishes with a garden hose.

“It was like we were camping outside,” Kelly said. “The upstairs was intact and our bedroom, but everything else was a demolished mess. A war zone.”  

Kelly spent much of her time researching design ideas on Instagram. Eventually, she started documenting her own renovation process by posting photos of her home and family. She connected with other fixer-uppers and amassed 12,000 followers along the way. Now, she posts mostly about decorating and styling her home. 

The couple’s chief advice for anyone looking to do an extensive home renovation is this: have a plan, do your research on contractors and move out until renovations are complete. Expect changes to the process, they say, and try not to get frustrated because the end result will be worth the wait. 

“Everybody during [the renovation] said, ‘Once it’s done you’ll forget the pain,’ and I said, ‘I’m never going to forget this.’ But it’s true. After time, it does go away,” Matt says. “When you get the finished product, it makes it all worth it.”

Kelly is on Instagram @kellyscasa

  • A spacious family room with a faux-wood vinyl floor is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
  • Kelly and Matt Thomas completed their home renovation this year.
  • The family kitchen is the highlight of daily activity.
  • A modern farmhouse style tub is a place for relaxation and refreshment.
  • A two-story closet offers sprawling storage space.