Caldwell Manor- Befores and Afters

Ok guys, it’s everyone’s favorite post time- The BEFORES and AFTERS…. (waiting for the applause to die down)….. Oh, I get it, it’s my favorite post too. It’s kinda like comparing your child’s first day of school picture to their last day of school picture- you don’t realize how much they have really changed in a year until you post the two pictures side by side…. on Facebook. Same Concept! 
If you’re new to this blog, I would recommend reading The Synopsis and The Story of this home to help orient yourself to the project before going on the following photo tour. 
From purchase to completion, this project took right at 6 months. Considering the size and scope of this renovation and the fact we had the project on pause for at least a month while searching for a prerenovation buyer, I’m pretty proud of that timeline. Hey, maybe we just might be getting the hang of this gig.  
As you go on the tour, just know we are still searching for a new homeowner. So don’t be afraid to fall in love- she could still be yours (winky face).
As always we will start the tour on the outside of the house.

The Befores:

Old carport.

Mile-long wheelchair ramp.

Here is a better picture of the house after the brush was cut away.  Remember that odd cutout?

Here are a few “during” pictures: 

And the Afters!

Big Thanks to Kristen Cantrell Warner of Garden Scapes for designing the landscape package. I told Kristen I wanted the landscape to be reminiscent of an English Garden to match the interior of the Manor and I think she nailed it. And then I can’t leave Travis Thessing, of Thessing Lawn and Landscape, out of the thank yous- He and his team installed the plants and sod and has been a founding member of the storybook dream team since our first project.   
Awkward cutout gone!

Kristen said English gardens are full of herbs, so we planted lavender and rosemary in the planters.

Here is the only shot I have of the “after” garage (minus the sconce).

She’s even pretty at night, thanks to Rory’s idea to add downlights in the soffits. 

Ready to go inside?
Thru the double front doors we enter into the Living Room.

Added 10+ footings and leveled floors, which meant all the lovely hardwood floors had to be ripped up.

 But it was worth it to get to the AFTERS:

I’m going to get to Waterhouse Market in just a little bit, but can we just pause here for a second to admire the beautiful furnishings and decor in this living room.  Ahhhh.

And notice, No more library doors. Wonder what could be on the other side of that wall?

The Staircase before:

And the staircase AFTER:

OK, before we go on, I know this might seem silly, but I would really appreciate it if you would appreciate the thought that went behind selecting those decorative rectangle spindles to play off the rectangles on the Entry and Living Room chandeliers. It’s a little ridiculous how proud I am of that fact.

Aaaaand the Dining Room Before:

Shout out to Storybook employee Cole for all the hard work he put forth in this project.  Here he is exposing the wood ceiling.  

I’ve promised Cole a steak dinner when we sell The Manor, so if you have been on the fence about submitting an offer….. maybe that will push you over.  
And the AFTER:

You can’t see them in the pictures but tucked inside both entries into the Dining Room are fabulous original pocket doors. And take a look at those new windows.
Because I like to save the best for last, let’s take our tour upstairs for now…
Before Bedrooms:



The carpet was selected by my favorite tween girl on the planet- Miss Avery Miller. Thanks, Avery, couldn’t have picked it without you!
The Upstairs Bathroom before:

Such weird placement of the tub.


See that yellow foam? That is just one of 3 types of insulation we used to insulate these 100 year old bones. Energy efficient folks, efficient.

Moved the tub to the other side of the bathroom and added the shower.

Before we go back downstairs there is one other room upstairs. I don’t have a before picture because I had no idea I would be using the space until well into the project. This room did house the upstairs HVAC unit but when we replaced it, we moved it above the bedrooms and created this awesome bonus space.

Ok back downstairs we go…
On the other side of the butler door from the dining room, we find…. the kitchen.

 A little closer view:


And After:

Custom Island made by Waterhouse Market. Top and shelf are made from the old floors ripped out during demo. Love how old this new piece looks. I told Waterhouse Market I wanted it to look like lots of bread had been kneaded and pounded out on this piece, and I think they delivered. 

48″ double oven gas Range and POT FILLER! Shout out to Mr. Thompson for framing up the stove nook and incorporating the old beam we found in the house. 

Copper Lights custom made by Joey Benton.

Let’s talk. I’ve had several people question why I chose to keep the old cabinets in the eating nook. I kept them because they look like they were snatched right off the set of Downton Abbey. BUT even if they weren’t a crucial element to the story, gosh, just look at that picture! Does that not look straight out of Southern Living Magazine?!?! Photo Cred to Makenzie Evans and staging to Waterhouse Market. So just remember this picture if you come visit the Manor after the staging is taken away- those old cabinets can be STUNNING. 
Remember the old Rock Fireplace in the hearth room and how I promised to chain myself to it rather than see it demolished?

Well…. I was wrong. What finally convinced me to get rid of it (besides the $20k it was going to cost to fix) was when I started to think about furniture placement in this area. It just ate up too much space.
But now it is the perfect place to gather with the family or watch TV.

The laundry room is off the kitchen.


Countertops are made from old floors. And you can’t see it in this pic but I also ran a waterline for a second refrigerator in this space. 
On the other side of the kitchen is the downstairs guest bath.

And After:

It’s my least favorite room in the house. It’s not bad, it’s just a little blah to me….. but whatever…. moving on.
Just around the corner, there WAS another bathroom and the Sean Connery bedroom (see synopsis).

But during demo, Rory discovered above that 8′ ceiling… was another 4 feet!!

When I saw that space I knew we had discovered the new grand library of the Manor! 

I also thought, hmmm that would make a really cool loft space. So despite the fact that a loft would add absolutely no monetary value to the house, I put in a loft because I thought it would be fun.  You know your grandkids would love to play up there!

And finally, maybe my favorite transformation of the entire project… the master suite.

Thanks to Dad, for coming to Conway to help me with the feature wall.

Now we have:
And before where we had the master bath…

We now have a ginormous walk-in closet.

And my most favorite part of all……. Remember those doors I pointed out to you at the beginning of this post that went from the Living Room into the library?

Well now, it is the BRAND NEW MASTER BATH!!!! Ta dah!

The potty is tucked neatly behind that shower wall.

Well, there you have it. The completed project in pictures. BUT before I let you go I have to tell you about the other things not seen in the photos that help contribute to making this the newest 100-year-old home on the block. I’m talking about the brand new electrical, plumbing, roof, windows, and mechanical system. These are the things that eat up WAY TOO MUCH of my budget but Rory insists we provide for the new homeowner. So thank him for those things.
Last but not least I want to give a final shout out to Waterhouse Market. Guys, I have to tell you, when I first took Donna Benton on a tour of the prerenovation house, Donna literally went outside and took a knee. I think she was more overwhelmed with the thought of furnishing this massive home than I was to renovate it. But let me tell ya, Donna and her Waterhouse Market team knocked it out of the park! They took my crazy story and ran with it. They made the formal areas elegant and the servant quarters homey. It just makes my heart happy to see the details they brought to help illustrate the story. I mean can’t you just see Ms. Patmore growing herbs and vegetables in the kitchen windows??! Swoon.

And I nearly teared up when I saw the crest she had her precious artist make for the open house.
Many of the beautiful items seen in these pictures were sold during the open house and the rest will soon be on their way to the Waterhouse Market booth at Jenifer’s Antiques BUT I’m sure if you decide to make this Manor your home, Donna will be happy to help you find furnishings that will help tell your family’s story too.
And remember, if you think the English Manor would be a good fit for your family please call Rory at (501) 472-3310. We are also offering a buyer’s fee to realtors so if you have a favorite realtor you would prefer to work with, have them give us a call to set up a showing today!

6 thoughts on “Caldwell Manor- Befores and Afters

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