1949... four years after the end of WWII, when men had returned home from the war, married their sweethearts, and together were creating what would become known as the baby boomer generation. Prefabricated homes were being built as quickly as possible; neighborhoods were sprouting up everywhere. Couples excitedly purchased the small, newly constructed houses and settled into their communities where their children grew up riding bikes down the middle of streets and played hide-and-seek in each other's backyards. It wasn't a popular thought at the time for newlyweds to consider taking on a "fixer-upper" project like we see today. But that was exactly what happened for one young couple and a very worn-down barn in the springtime of 1949.
In early March, when snow patches still lain upon a hillside outside of Lexington, Ohio, an engaged couple walked over the crest of the hill and the husband-to-be turned to his fiancée and proudly pointed below to show her their home-to-be. What that young lady saw was an old, weathered barn out in the middle of nowhere, and she listened as her suitor explained that, by the time they married the following year, they would convert that barn into a home where they would raise the family they planned on having. They, he explained, would live in a converted home up above, while the horses would share the bottom that would be turned into a garage and stalls together. Can you imagine the thoughts that city girl had whirling in her head? But, like the wedding proposal, she said yes, and that's exactly what they did.
Over the course of the following ten months prior to their January wedding, the couple, along with a builder and his son, completed the little red house on the hillside. The two lived there happily together for 64 years, and as the years passed by, they raised three children and welcomed four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. In 2014, the pair, who had done everything together from building their home to everyday life, suddenly passed away within six days of one another, and the little red house on the hill sat empty for the first time in all its years of existence. That is, until the oldest grandson did exactly what his grandfather had done 65 years prior... he took his wife by the hand and led her over the hill and proudly pointed below to show her their home-to-be.
Unlike the woman before her, the grandson's wife was less than excited about embarking on an adventure of life in the country in a little red house on the hill. The home had been kept in good repair, a garage and barn added, but was still in need of major updates inside. Even though she enjoyed watching all the fixer-upper shows on television, she felt overwhelmed with the task of turning the grandparents' house into a modern farmhouse that would feel like a home for herself, her husband and their three children. But, like the woman before her, she said yes, and that's exactly what they did.
Over the course of the next year, Adam and Amanda Boyce, along with Adam's father Doug, mom Laurie (the daughter of the original couple) and a group of friends took on the task of remodeling the interior of the little red house on the hill.Â I excitedly took on the task of guiding the team through the vision of the interior.
While they often looked at me as though I might be a bit crazy, they agreed and executed every task I gave them. That meant tearing out walls to open the kitchen to the living room, taking out archways in hallways to open the environment, exposing original barn beams to show the home's originality.
They worked endlessly to completely gut all bathrooms and the kitchen and added new plumbing, cabinetry and lighting.They installed new flooring everywhere and even did tile work in the kitchen and bathrooms themselves. They agreed to paint wood paneling, reface the fireplace in the hearth room and hang every light fixture that I encouraged them to use.
The floor plan of the home was opened up when a hallway, closet and wall were removed to allow the home to be seen from one living area to the other with a kitchen and newly created ten-foot bar in between. Beautiful wood floors and wooden kitchen cabinets complement the original beams that can be seen spanning the living room ceiling and flanking the bar area. White and cream quartz countertops, white subway tile backsplash and light greige walls keep the environment crisp and cheerful. We completed their fixer-upper with new furniture and accessories and moved them into an interior that was barely recognizable to the old look.
Like the couple before them, they are enjoying every day of living in the country, knowing that Adam's grandparents would be so happy that life continues in the little red house on the hill.
Now that's what I call... decorating for a country fixer-upper.