Feels Like Home

How to Transform a Newly Built or Remodeled House into a Home

Article by Linda Ditch

Photography by Provided by Thiessen Design & Construction

Originally published in Lawrence City Lifestyle

Stepping into a newly remodeled space is exciting for a homeowner. Running a hand across the new quartz countertop or marveling at the massive new family room fireplace is a satisfying moment. The house is ready for the next decades of living.

However, what makes a house transform into a home?

Tammy Thiessen, founder and creative director of Thiessen Design & Construction, a home builder and remodeler, has witnessed that transformation. She and her design team not only work on the remodeling details but also help homeowners with the décor to transform the new space into one that feels like their own.

She explains, “A family will have a sizable investment in the remodel we’ve built for them, and it’s when we finally come in at the end with all the finishing furniture and decor, they truly fall in love with the space. That is when the house completely feels like their home.”

When the Thiessen team starts working with a client, they extensively explore their aesthetic to figure out what moves them. What catches their eye? They ask big-picture questions to narrow down to a specific aesthetic. Do they gravitate toward warm colors or cool colors? Do they like high contrast or a more subtle color palette? Do they like texture or clean lines?

Thiessen says, "I typically start with asking a homeowner what their favorite room in the house is. If they love their bedroom or the porch, we can ask why they love it. What connects with them? Is there an object, a painting, or a piece of furniture they want to bring into this new space we're working on? I want it to feel like their home."

Thiessen says she starts designing a space by noting the most prominent view when you walk into the room. What is the main view that she sees? Then, she decides on the focal point. Sometimes, that's a fireplace, window, range hood, or a large piece of art with a picture light above it.

"Sometimes I walk into a home, and there's this beautiful range hood," she says. "But it's on a wall that nobody sees. You know the remodel is underserving the home. I would say the best way to elevate a home is to be clear on what the focal point is and then build everything to support that focal point without competing against it. And then, we start brainstorming. What are we going to do on that wall or that space?"

Once the team clearly understands the homeowner's aesthetic, they create a 3D design presentation. That way, the homeowner can see details such as how a countertop will look with the chosen backsplash or how the couch fabric works with the paint color. If the remodel is in a historic home, the presentation shows how the selection will honor the original style and architecture of the house, often with the choice of historic paint colors and tile designs. The goal is to make the space feel as though it's always been a part of the home.

The primary goal for the entire Thiessen staff, both on a project's design and construction side, is to create a remodel that fits the client's vision of their home—one they will enjoy for decades.

"I think home feels like the place you can be at rest," Thiessen says. "And also, the place you can share with those you love."

To learn more about Thiessen Design & Construction, visit

"...home feels like the place you can be at rest...the place you can share with those you love."

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