The New Year is here and with that comes an opportunity for fresh inspiration with a stunning renovation project that turned a dark, outdated ranch-style house into an HGTV worthy dream home. Leigh Ellen and Kyle Melson moved from Birmingham to Florence, Alabama in August of 2017 to work for the family business and found their home in December. Leigh Ellen, with no shortage of design ideas, dreamt up the changes that would occur at their new home along with architect James Laughlin from Birmingham, and with the help of Kyle’s handyman skills, they were able to complete the entire home renovation project within 6 months.
When they walked into the outdated one-story home, every inch was covered in dark wallpaper and wood paneling, the floors in pink carpet, and the windows were hung with thick curtains collecting dust. But they were looking for a fixer upper— one that they could make their own and design to fit their family’s needs and personality. It was by far the best home they had looked at for the price, had great bones, and it was in the popular Creekwood neighborhood close to Deibert Park. After closing on their new house Kyle began demo by taking down the wall that closed the kitchen off to the great room, creating a spacious living area—highlighting the vaulted ceilings and making an environment perfect for entertaining and raising a family.
As they worked on the house, Leigh Ellen and Kyle made three key design decisions that would transform their home into a more functional, beautiful, and stylish living space. The first was turning the tiny kitchen nook into a large butlers pantry, complete with open shelving, a mini-bar, and sink to prepare food and drinks for parties. The pantry is a stunning room in and of itself, adding personality and charm that is both inviting for guests and everyday living— a welcoming way to display a wine collection or to store dry goods. The second decision was made to switch out the master bathroom with the master closet to create a larger space and also open up the bathroom to an exterior window, allowing natural light to pour in throughout the day. The back-to-back sinks and large walk-in shower offers a fun design that bounces light and gives plenty of personal space to get ready in the morning.
Finally, the most essential change that was made to the home was adding the back screened-in porch off of the great room. This large patio with soaring ceilings boasts plenty of windows to look out over the spacious backyard, and features a fire pit, perfect for roasting marshmallows or relaxing at the end of the day with a glass of wine. The inviting sectional offers plenty of seating room for guests— the ideal space for an afternoon football game or quiet Saturday morning sipping coffee with a good book. And for Leigh Ellen and Kyle the patio is by far the most used space of the home—regardless of the season, it is the most fun and functional space for spending time with loved ones and unwinding.
After reconfiguring some of the main parts of the home, they painted every inch of the house a refreshing white, laid laminate wood floors throughout, and began to pick out cabinets and granite countertops for the kitchen. Slowly the house began to come together, taking on a new personality with stunning wrought iron chandeliers in the living room and fun pendant lighting over the kitchen island. Most of their finishes including cabinetry, flooring, tile, and lighting all came from RiverWorks Design Studio – a custom interior design company focusing on contemporary, modern decor—and with Leigh Ellen’s love for interior design and eye for beautiful finishes, the end result was a calming, neutral palette that begins in the main living area and extends into the bedrooms and nursery. To add contrast and as a nod to her favorite color, she chose to paint all of the doors in the house a dark green, creating an incredible transformation that is both inviting and stylish. There is no shortage of cozy places to sit and talk with friends and that is exactly what Leigh Ellen and Kyle strived to create when they began their home renovation journey.