The Mountain Modern Before and Afters

At the conclusion of this week, the Mtn Modern will be officially adopted by the cutest young couple. It is time for a new chapter to be written within the well-insulated walls and on the firm foundation of this thoughtful, well-built home. True to my Storybook endings, I conclude this chapter with the befores and afters of my one and (hopefully) only pandemic project!

As is tradition, we will begin this before and after tour with the exterior- the first impression of the home.

Honestly there was nothing offensive about the curb appeal of this home to begin with- she was perfectly respectable. In fact, from the pictures the previous owners left for me I could see she was quite the looker at one time.

The only problem with the outside was that it did not match the modern feel I was trying to create on the inside. I went back and forth with my decision to renovate the exterior throughout the entire remodel. In fact, I did not decide to pull the trigger on the exterior until two weeks before the interior was complete. My head knew that the exterior remodel was not necessary and would not add anything to the appraised value of the home. In the end, my heart won out. I could not settle for anything but my best for this home- and that meant seeing my complete vision for the home to fruition.

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So I went for it! And I’m so glad that I did!

It turns out both my head and heart were spot on. The new facade perfectly compliments the interior vibe of the home and I truly believe it helped to attract her new home owners. Unfortunately, the appraiser did not have the same affection for her new facelift. My somewhat prideful decision landed this home more on the “flop” side of the flip or flop equation if based on profit alone. Right or wrong, flip or flop, I decided long ago that the “happily ever after” of each storybook renovation would not be determined by profit (or loss) alone but rather the impact her new story would have on her surrounding neighborhood, community, and most importantly the new family she shelters. Despite the fact that we were unable to show her off with our customary community reveal and give her the debut she deserved, her transformation is nonetheless special. Without further dwelling on yet another negative of 2020, let’s step inside!

As you enter the front door, you walk immediately into the living room. Notice in the before picture, a soffit wrapped the perimeter of the living room. It housed a plethora of up-lights and down-lights to add ambiance to the room.

While I appreciated the effort, I decided to let them go during the renovation.

The other BIG change in the Living Room was the fireplace facelift. Before, the home featured a wood burning fireplace flanked by pretty built-ins. But when I had the fireplace inspected by a chimney sweep company I was told it was not safe to use without major repair. Now, normally when I am given this news I simply demote the fireplace from functional to “decorative only” and move on. However, because this home’s story was based in the Carolina Mountains, I could not imagine this home without a real fire blazing on cold winter nights. So I simply had a new modern fireplace built in front of the old.

Because this home boasts a modern open floorplan, this room shares the space with what is always my favorite part of every house tour- the kitchen! Here she is before:

I mean really! Aren’t those some of the coolest cabinets you have ever seen! They kinda reminded me of what you might see in an RV and I seriously contemplated building the design story around them- but when I thought about how that would translate to the bathroom- I abandoned the idea.

Curious about what that arrow is pointing to on the countertop? You can read it about it here.

Out with the old, in with the new! I chose the moodiest dark blue for the cabinets and soapstone for the countertops. Then, I softened up the space with the light ash wood built-in, eat-in kitchen table and shelves. So much light literally pours into this now open, airy space!

If you peek through that pocket door opening to the left of the gas range you can see the new butler’s pantry.

Before, this space was only accessible from the laundry room. And the hot water tank sat loud and proud in the middle of the room.

But now, it functions as an extension of the kitchen and is where I picture the new home owners crafting their coffee and of course, using the microwave.

Aaaaaaand a spot for an extra refrigerator or standup freezer.

Well shoot, I thought I got a picture of the new laundry area, but I forgot! You’ll just have to trust me that now, the hot water heater is hidden inside its own designated closet and the washer and dryer have new cabinetry to house all the cleaning supplies and such.

Because bedrooms can be kinda boring on a before and after tour, especially without furniture, I’ll only show you one example of a before and after bedroom. Just multiply it by 4 in this home. I’m not sure the story of all the holes in the drywall but each room had them.

Aside from the holes, the bedrooms needed little work besides the normal paint and lighting. Aaaaand each bedroom boasted beautiful solid wood doors that cleaned up beautifully and truly became a feature in its Mountain Modern Story.

The final stops on our tour will be the 2 bathrooms beginning with the guest bath. The size and layout of the original bath was great only requiring an update.

Ta Dah!!!

And if you thought that was a fun transformation, check out the master bath. (I used this picture in a previous blog to point out the gift of the toilet paper left by the previous home owners- this was during the height of the toilet paper crisis)

This remodel did require us to borrow some space from the master bedroom and closet but I think it was worth the sacrifice. It now has a private potty room and a new soaker tub.

Whew! This renovation was truly unlike any other I’ve ever done as the world shutdown and tentatively opened back up to a whole new normal. So thanks for going on this tour with me today- I was so sad I could not show her to you in person. If any reno deserved her moment in the sun, it was certainly the Mtn Modern. Nevertheless, she stands proudly at the end of her wooded cul-de-sac as a reminder that beautiful, important things can flourish in even the hardest times.

Ready to re•home and begin a new Story on Lee Street?

Welcome Home…

Each Storybook Home story embodies a stand-alone, extraordinary tale to be continued by the people who live and love within its walls and seek to make it their own. In true Storybook fashion and flourish, we will not bore you with a stale “rags to riches”, Cinderella kinda story. The transformation is only the beginning, a jumping off point. With these things in mind, let’s begin…

From shabby to chic, drab to fab, this swanky, fully renovated Ranch to Mid-century Modern home saw its first full transformation in 2016. When Niki Thompson, the fearless woman behind Storybook Homes, was operating under the name “re*home”, she may have been the only one to hear the voice of Dean Martin in her head, singing, “Everybody Loves Somebody” when she gazed lovingly at this tired 1960s Ranch. Nevertheless, undaunted, she began to write a new story for this home as she saw its true potential.

“I had been wanting to try mid-century modern design for a while so when we first looked at this 1960s ranch (style home), something about the skinny brick and faux fireplace of the exterior made me think ‘this just might be the house to give it a go.'” -Niki Thompson, “Farewell to Lee” July 2016

And did she ever “give it a go”. Belting out, “I’ve Gotta Be Me”, while channeling the spirit of the 1950s and 1960s Rat Pack, our charming storyteller wove a tale worthy to be featured in a Bogart film. Niki crafted within this home, a stunning showstopper in a Vegas review with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. at The Sands.

Open, gracious living and dining…kitchen

“Let me just say, the men that worked on this house (including my number 1 man) thought I was crazy when I started bringing brass into instead of out of the house. My plumber, straight up laughed at me and said that he hadn’t installed a brass fixture since the 90s. But as many of you know, brass is making a big comeback, and is HUGE in mid-mod design so I stuck to my guns and now this Lee Street cutie is proudly leading the cause to bring brass back in our neck of the woods.” -Niki Thompson, “Farewell to Lee” July 2016

Gorgeous tile, built-in storage cabinet…
Double vanity in Master Bath
Hall Bath

Niki looked into the future and indeed, it was golden. The warmth of brass throughout the home is perfectly paired with sleek, stained wood, exposed bulbs in glass fixtures and semi-glossy black cabinets. The large windows in the living/dining area look out onto the patio, backyard and wait for it…the Wampus Cat endzone.

Brass Sputnik fixture featured in dining area.

Let’s sit here for a minute. If you’ve ever attended a Conway Wampus Cat home game, you’ve certainly been captivated by the blazing firepit and the tailgating family freely enjoying the game with friends from the comfort of their own patio. Admit it…you’ve been a little envious.

Season ticket, end zone seats in your own backyard

Its location, story, meticulous attention to detail and extraordinary design are what drew the current homeowners to 2303 Lee Street. And, like Sinatra, they’ve done it “My Way” ever since.

Over the past 4 years, the Stewart Family has made this home their own. With an eclectic, colorful style, they’ve embraced the essential spirit of the intended mid-mod style within their home, but elevated it to include space for the additional energy and texture of modern art and functionality. The added value of the home’s generous outdoor spaces allow the family along with their friends to live easily between indoors and out. This home has certainly been cared for as it has cared for its people. It continues to shine and fully possess its intended vibrancy. It lives graciously and large within its open floor plan, 4 bedrooms and 2 baths. The attractive floor-to-ceiling built-ins offer extra storage for this family of 5. The master suite includes the “extras” we’ve come to expect from Storybook Homes, custom sliding doors that open to reveal a substantial walk-in closet with a convenient island. Every detail has been carefully considered and appointed. But the time has come for the Stewart Family to say “Goodbye” to 2303 Lee and build a new story in a different part of Conway.

This is simultaneously your re-introduction and invitation to live large in this Mid-century Modern retreat under the shady oaks of a well-established Conway neighborhood. If you’ve been wanting to continue your story in a Storybook Home, here’s your chance. 2303 Lee Street is only beginning to write a beautiful legacy.

“Everybody finds somebody someplace…there’s no telling where love may appear…something in my heart keeps saying…My someplace is here.” -Dean Martin, “Everybody Loves Somebody”

For more information on how this incredible Storybook Home can be yours, contact Justin Stewart at 501.428.1799.

2303 Lee Street
Conway, Arkansas 72034

Whistle While You Work…Quarantine Cleaning Fun

Hey Friends! How you holding up??? It’s a weird time for us all, I know. One day, last week, after my 3rd nap in the same day, I thought to myself “I should really take advantage of this extra time and blog.” So I sat down, opened up wordpress, and…… nothing. Turns out a side effect of having quarantine related work withdrawal is major writer’s block. (No joke, those last 5 sentences took me 4 hours to write.) Sooo, rather than allow the ole blog to continue to sit stale, I asked my good friend, Sarah Henry, if she would mind stepping in for a few weeks to share her writing talents with the Storybook readers. And guess what?!?! Not only did she agree, she had an idea for a full series before we even got off the phone. She thought it would be fun if I shared some of my cleaning games with you!….. (I’ll pause this paragraph in order to allow time for your excitement to catch up)……..

My cleaning games are one of those things in my life that I don’t realize are “different” or “abnormal” from the normal population until I see my friends’ reactions when I casually mention one in everyday conversation. I mean, how do the rest of you get thru the drudgery of cleaning your homes week after week after week for your whole entire adult life FOREVER and EVER?? If you didn’t have a good answer for that question, you’re in luck! As long as this quarantine doesn’t last longer than 32 weeks, I have enough games to share to last your entire sequestering!

Here is how I’m thinking this will work: each week Colby and I will shoot a video demonstrating a new cleaning game, then I’ll send the video over to Sarah who will use her gift of words to write up a blog to coordinate with the game. Then (if you so choose) you can brighten our days by leaving a comment or picture on this blog (or any of our social pages) letting us know if you tried the game. What do you think??? Will you play along??? Sarah, you ready for this?!?!?!


I am! Quick question…Do you whistle while you work or give a little whistle and have someone else clean for you? Whatever your preferred method to get the chores done, one thing is for sure, our fairy godmothers are sheltering in (a far off) place and we are left to gaze lovingly into the faces of the beautiful but messy people and pets we share our homes with…indefinitely.

Completely confused but also curious? Keep reading…

If you’re like most of the modern world, you’re accustomed to a tight, busy, if not completely filled but fulfilling schedule. Sometimes working from home but mostly, on location. If you have precious cherubs at home, they are most likely at childcare or school during the day and your evenings are filled with practices and various commitments. Then, a global pandemic invades the kingdom, giving you a bad case of whiplash. Said pandemic brings all things involving groups and gatherings to a screeching halt and forces us to hunker down in our homes. It’s fine for a few days but then, you notice that the space you’re all sharing is dirty…really dirty. Significantly increased time at home is making you hyper aware of everything. All the people. All the clutter. All the towels and clothes in the floor. The shoes at the back door. Dishes in the sink. Pet hair everywhere because Spring. It is endless. You make a bold but feeble attempt to wave the Xbox controller like a magic wand to clean up the place but alas, it doesn’t quite work that way for you. You resist the urge to play a solo game of Just Dance to avoid the inevitable. Instead, you hide the controllers and you call your people to you. They come running. Ha…another bold but ineffective attempt. You scream louder like the house is on fire and they trickle in slowly. They’re now staring at you like you’ve lost your mind (because indeed, you have)…so now what?

Still curious?

I’m glad you asked. Allow me to open a different kind of storybook for you, Storybook Homes fans. I have observed firsthand how our favorite designer, the fabulous Niki Thompson, crafts the most creative games for herself when she’s cleaning her own gorgeously renovated home. I will reveal to you a few secrets from our fave and hopefully, to coax all the people under our roof to pitch in with the housework. Share the load with a smile (fingers crossed, it could happen?). Over the next few weeks, or until we are able to leave our cozy homes, join me for a series of time-tested and perfected cleaning games appropriate for ALL ages. These games are sure to make a dreaded task fun and challenging under the craziest of circumstances. Believe me, some days, a roll of the dice or the flip of a card with the promise of a reward is the only motivation to get the job done. The game possibilities are endless and it has taken Niki years to develop, test and refine the games featured in this series*. However, I asked her to choose only the best of the best to film and roll out for you good people (Because honestly, she has enough material to last months beyond this quarantine.). We are kicking off this series with a Thompson classic …C-L-E-A-N Bingo. Print out the card, label each square with a task, choose your rewards and let’s get to work!

*This Storybook Homes series is filmed, produced and edited by Colby’s Productions.

Sponsored by “comfy socks”, stretchy pants and the cozy sweatshirt/t-shirt combo.