Cindedwella: Before and After…. and After

Well this is embarrassing….. Here I am just days away from putting a for sale sign in 141 Oliver’s yard and I just realized I never wrote up a before and after blog for her block mate- 143 Oliver- also known as Cindedwella.

Seriously! If anyone knows the importance of before and after pictures it’s me! I mean, the ONLY show I flip past on HGTV is House Hunters (unless it’s House Hunters Renovation) because who wants to watch someone just shop for a move-in ready house?!? No thank you. I’m only interested in the shows that show me the transformation- the before and afters. So in an effort to keep you entertained and thirsty for more, I’m going to pack this post FULL of before and after pictures. Aaaand if that was not exciting enough I am also going to share pictures of how Cindedwella looks today after her new family moved in and made her their very own.

The Henry family moved in just a couple of months ago, but I swear, you would think they had been there for years the way Sarah Henry has already made the place feel like home. You recognize that name?? Yes, that is Sarah Henry, formally of Redeemed Home Goods, and resident artist for Storybook Homes.

Isn’t she the cutest?!?! Anyways…. Sarah fell in love with 143 Oliver when she came over to get color inspiration for the custom rugs she painted for Cindedwella’s Open House.

After taking her on a quick tour of the house, I thought she was just being her normal sweet, encouraging, and complimentary self when she told me Cindedwella was her dream home and would be perfect for her family. It wasn’t until I saw this facebook post the very next day that I realized she was serious about possibly moving.

That “hypothetical” facebook post sparked a ton of interest (I mean, of course it did- look at that adorable front porch) and within a matter of weeks the ball was rolling to move the Henry Family from Davis Street to Oliver (because once you’ve lived in old town it’s hard to leave). At this time I want to turn the blog over to Sarah for just a second so she can say hi and then I’ll start the before and after and after tour. And since she is a special guest, I’m going to let her speak in a special blue font so you will recognize when she is talking vs me. Take it away Sarah!

Hey, there! My turn to insert a bit of our family story…I’ve always said that each season writes its own story and this one is definitely one for our book! This specific story begins with a tragedy on Davis but ends in triumph on Oliver. Quick recap: my beautiful backyard art studio burned down in December 2018 damaging the back of our home and leaving a gaping scar on our backyard. As you can imagine, it was a shock and not surprisingly, a discouraging setback. The long and difficult process of repairing the damage to our home and rebuilding the studio initiated some really big questions. Was our current home of 3+ years meeting our family’s changing needs? Can our home be remodeled to meet those needs…do we even want to attempt it? What would it look like to sell our home and move? Where would we move? Whew…so much there.

Because our kids attend our amazing local schools, we definitely didn’t want to move too far and change our current school zone. And because I (not necessarily the hubs) adore old homes, I began to casually glance at homes for sale in our neighborhood on Zillow over the summer. Just like the story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, I began to “try on” these homes (virtually, of course!). Some were too big. Others were too small. Many were just a “no”. None were “just right” for our unique needs and season. Until…that fateful August morning when I walked through that perfect shade of blue door with its charming, reglazed glass and EXHALED.

Seriously, one big, glorious exhale. So much open space. High ceilings covered in bluebirds, mid-flight, greeted me. White walls combined with white floors commanded me to remove my shoes and stay awhile. The most gorgeous master bathroom invited me to sink into the massive clawfoot tub poised atop whimsical gray and white marble floors. I took it ALL in and knew this would be our next home. The kitchen with its refurbished antique, single basin sink with double drainboards took me back to my great-grandmother’s home in the mountains of North Carolina. A memory I’d forgotten until that day. The peaceful front porch with its custom built swing. The transoms and built-ins throughout and surrounding the clean, white fireplace. The CLOSETS. The custom penny tile in the hall bath. The tastefully updated, cheerful metal awning over the stove and the refinished….EVERYTHING. The space for old friends, new friends and family from far away. I’d wanted an elusive Storybook cottage since the summer of 2016 when we moved to Conway. And this Storybook cottage was indeed, “just right”.

That morning, I wandered around inside this story in the making as its Storyteller was visiting with a curious client…the crew was still painting, installing and working feverishly toward the reveal of the home that would become known to us as “Cindedwella”. I’d heard our favorite Storybook Curator tell of this massive project she was in the midst of completing but I had yet to visit 143 Oliver before I was tasked with creating art specific to its story. I began to imagine a NEW story, OUR story, within its walls. This cottage literally checked every imaginary box and promised a fresh, new chapter to the story our family was writing only 3 STREETS AWAY.

The next step was to convince the hubs…so I tentatively “listed” our house on, you guessed it…the Facebook. Out of that informal post, a sweet family who had previously owned Davis for many years immediately responded. Their story wasn’t finished there, and we celebrated their return to their beloved home as we packed and moved to our new one.

Fast forward to this day, as January comes to an end, past the hard parts of closing a final chapter in a home you lived a lot of life in and loved well. Past the packing up and moving all of your little life to a new home with the same main characters. This new “just right” place is the long-awaited exhale after you’ve held your breath for way too long. The next breath you draw is a deep one…the fresh air of expectancy inside a cozy, new space…indeed the start of a brand new chapter in a story where the plot changes, the characters evolve and a familiar setting gets an update. I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds.

Sarah!!!….. Seriously?!?!?! ……. that was an awesome intro. I kinda hate to bring my voice back on here after that…. But I did promise these nice folks some pictures so let’s go ahead and get this tour rolling.

First up I want to remind you what the exterior of this home looked like when we first met Cindedwella.

Pretty rough huh. Not exactly a porch you want to hang out on. I remember worrying for the safety of the previous home owners because the front door would not shut- it was left permanently ajar.

But now she welcomes all with her new pretty pink door and the porch is so spacious and inviting it really serves as a second living space for the home. And check out that sliding screen door. Big thanks to my Dad for building the screen door, porch swing and table for the open house staging of this front porch.

…and after with the Henrys.
A cheery winter welcome to our home!

Before we head inside, I’ll show you the other side of the house that occupies this corner lot. Here was the before…

What you can’t really see in the picture above is that a large portion of that exterior wall was leaning away from the house and had to be aligned back up during the renovation. We also tore down the wonky metal carport, added a brick skirt around the house, put on a new roof and gutters, poured a new driveway, landscaped (I will never look at pine needles the same again), and of course gave the entire house a new coat of paint. Ohhhhh! And I personally reglazed every last one of those window panes- it took me the entire length of Where the Crawdads Sing and 1/2 of Before We Were Yours on audible to finish them.

And now

Let’s go inside, shall we. Through the front door we enter into the living room.

Here’s that wall on the left as she was staged for open house.

…and after with the Henrys.
(All “…and after” pics were shot in the afternoon with my iPhone XR and are unedited.)
The family loves to be cozy. Our style is warm and personal, collected, rustic, eclectic and functional. A blanket ladder holds our favorites. A darker wood and of course, a few plants, welcome guests and also grounded this space with a warmer palette.
And side note: we ALL love our cheerful pink door!

Even though the fireplace was not functioning, I always love when a house gifts an architectural focal point. We ended up rebuilding the side cabinets but you’ll see in a minute that the actual fireplace cleaned up quite nicely.

At this time I would like to stop and take a minute to thank Donna Benton of Waterhouse Market for once again bringing her “A” game to the staging of this home. Donna is responsible for all the furniture and decor you see in all the (first) after pictures. She also was responsible for coordinating and inviting our special guest vendors to help make Cindedwella’s Open House extra Special- Sarah Henry with her art and custom rugs, art by Janetta Darley, fresh flowers by Southern Tradition Farms and custom candles by Sweet Home Candles. Gosh that was a fun day.

Here is another view from the living room all staged and ready for her open house.

…and after with the Henrys.
Here’s a shot of the “lived in” living room. As you can see the color palette, although much the same, has changed a bit to fit our family’s decor and style.

Before we go into the dining room let’s first go down that hall we see when we first walk in the front door. It leads to the bedrooms.

That hall also used to house the washer and dryer but we gave this home a proper laundry room and repurposed the space as a little office nook.

Prior to the renovation this home had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms down this hall.

We took out the tiny bathroom connected to the front bedroom and reconfigured the space into 3 bedrooms with 1 larger bathroom.

…and after with the Henrys.
One of the things that we love about this home is the extra bedroom.
Our families all live out of town and we have frequent guests as well.
This room allows for family and
guests to have their own space! Such a gift…

Take a second to look at that floor tile. I personally plucked out the blue tiles and replaced them with the white tiles to form those cute little whimsical flowers. Of course David get’s all the credit for actually laying the tile. Hey Sarah, can you get a better shot of that floor- I want these fine folks to really appreciate the symmetry and exact spacing of those little flowers.

…and after with the Henrys.
Look at that lovely tile!!

Ok, let’s go back to the dining Room. I failed to get a proper before picture of the dining room before demo started but here it is a couple days into demolition.

In every project I work on I like to incorporate several unexpected moments in the design that deviates from the safe obvious choice- in this home the blue wainscoting is one such example. I knew it was a little risky to stray from traditional white wainscoting (I mean after all this was a spec house) but as is often the case, this detail became one of my favorite features of the home and truly set the tone of the rest of the design and story.

Next we enter into the kitchen- always one of my favorite parts of a renovation.

Before the kitchen was closed off from the dining room and the rest of the house. During the renovation we opened up the floor plan and rearranged the kitchen layout for a more efficient work/entertainment flow.

That plate wall was probably my favorite feature Waterhouse Market brought to the staging,

…and after with the Henrys.
There are so many plants in our home! And the bright light in this kitchen invited ALL the plants! The plates were replaced by framed, colorful bird prints flanking the windows. The prints echo our home’s warmer color palette while including the trim and accent colors. Easily one of our favorite spaces…just look at that gorgeously restored sink!

Funny Story: I had an old metal awning saved in my shop for years just waiting for the perfect house to use as a vent hood. Well, last year, when Rory got on a kick to clear out my hoarding shop, I decided to finally let go of the awning and I sold it on facebook for $75. Fast forward 2 months later, I bought the perfect house for a vintage awning vent hood. After searching for weeks I finally found the one you see in these pictures at a local antique store for close to $200… sigh.

…and after with the Henrys.
A much loved and lived in area of our home. Our home has so much open space for friends and family. The light from the original windows is incredible!

On the other side of the kitchen is the side entry into the house. Before the renovation it hosted a pantry, 2 small rooms and a glassed in porch.

Now it serves as the cheeriest mud room in America.

Just try and have a bad day with those blue birds flying overhead.

…and after with the Henrys.
We are a very active family. Lots of coming and going. We needed a convenient, functional and accessible spot to keep the “things”… And of course the plants.
…and after with the Henrys.
Our little music nook in the mudroom.

This wing of the home, also houses a small office/bedroom….

…and after with the Henrys.
Afternoon light invites you to sit and read in this versatile space. Painting, reading, studying, napping, crafting…riding a bike trainer. This room offers extra space that we needed!

And one of the small rooms and previous porch were converted into the master suite.

…and after with the Henrys.
So much light spilling in! We love the stark white backdrop of our MBR. It feels clean and bright and is such a welcome retreat at the end of busy days.
…and after with the Henrys.
I joke and tell people that this is why we bought this house…but for real.

And there you have it! Oh my goodness that was fun. Don’t you love what the Henry family has done with the place?!?! It warms my heart to see Cindedwella so loved and cared for. Truly the perfect ending to this renovation story.

2 thoughts on “Cindedwella: Before and After…. and After

  1. Laura Roussel says:

    Amazing transformation Nicki!! I walked by that house many times thinking somebody needs to renovate that house, Even though I have tackled a couple of renovations, I was too chicken to even attempt this one. Kudos to you and your team on a fabulous job!! Looking forward to seeing 141 Oliver this weekend!


  2. Anonymous says:

    I am spending my morning coffee time on your page. And time well spent it is! Your stories make these old neglected ladies come to life and the end results are beautiful and thoughtful and make me want to walk in with just a suitcase of clothes and take up residence.


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