AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Episode 12 - The 3 Little Pigs House

February 23, 2016

The Downs family was a newlywed couple who decided to begin their married life together here in Waco, Texas. They wanted an older home with lots of craftsman charm, wood floors and plenty of space to create his and hers offices.

They chose a house in the heart of Waco and jumped at the opportunity to turn this charming cottage into their first home together. The entire interior and exterior were both painted the exact same shade of lime green, but Ken and Kelly were able to see the potential past the color. The house had a list of issues we had to tackle like the foundation, electrical, roof and plumbing but it made it all worth it in the end.

On the exterior of the Downs’ house I wanted to keep the almost 100 year old character, but also bring this house up to date. We added a metal roof, replaced all the windows and siding, reworked the front porch, added a new door but brought the original transom and sidelights back to life. We also incorporated an antique brick skirt around the house and new stairs along with fresh landscaping.

My original plan for this house turned out to be very different once I changed the plans mid- project. The new layout of the house didn’t feel right to me so I went back to the drawing board and reworked the entire entry to create a nice size foyer and two offices to help bring balance and better function for their space.

I took their hope for his and hers office spaces very literally and wanted to make sure we incorporated this for them. This office to the left I wanted to be warm and masculine for Ken, so we added raw shiplap to the walls and turned their existing fireplace into a “double-sided” fireplace; one side showing here and the other showing in the living area.

The office to the right I decided would be Kelly’s area. I went with white shiplap and plenty of gray built-in shelving units for Kelly’s space. This light and airy office had ample natural lighting and plenty of storage space for her to work.

Beyond the offices I designed an open floor plan for the Downs to cook, eat and relax together. The Dining, kitchen and living rooms were reworked to be completely open to each other, making the space ideal for entertaining guests.

The dining room was an easy space to define with these beautiful windows right next to it. We added a window bench here for added storage and seating for an extra touch.

To match this couple’s fun style I decided on something a little unexpected in their kitchen by doing a fun blue for the lower cabinets and white upper cabinets. To break up all of the cabinetry I incorporated a few areas of open shelving by the stainless steel apron sink. The raw wood venthood warmed up the space and the clear glass pendant lights over the island brought a modern feel to the kitchen.


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The living room area was already well-defined by the second side of the double-sided fireplace we added. I also decided on built-in shelving on either side of the fireplace for storage and replaced the windows in here for added natural light.

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The master suite was two smaller rooms combined. We used the same flooring and a soft gray paint color used throughout the rest of the home to open up this space. We also added a sliding barn door leading to their master closet area.

The final space in the Downs’ home was also one of my favorites; the master bathroom. This room was a complete rework, floor to ceiling we ripped it all out on demo day and started fresh. I wanted this to be a unique retreat for Ken and Kelly, so I got rid of the old tub and shower combo and replaced them with a standing shower and separate freestanding tub.

I also decided to incorporate this classic and fun patterned tile, black cabinetry and two large modern-style mirrors. We also discovered shiplap behind the drywall in the ceiling, which we exposed to blend original character with modern charm.

This little cottage was the perfect space for these newlyweds to begin their married lives together. Chip and I loved working on the 3 Little Pigs House and hope Ken and Kelly are happy here for many years to come!

Photos by: Rachel Whyte 

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  • Lisa Gaertner
    2:19 pm, February 23, 2017
    PLEASE tell us the color you used on the exterior!! It's gorgeous!!! Lisa
  • Ashley
    12:44 pm, February 22, 2017
    I too would love to know the paint color and brand used on the exterior of the house. Thank you.
  • Amanda
    10:05 pm, February 20, 2017
    I would like to know where the front door is from. I would like the same door for our own fixer upper in McKinney, TX. Thanks!
  • Melissa Parish
    3:20 pm, February 12, 2017
    Hi Joanna. My husband and I bought a very neglected house in Kerrville in 2015. We've spent $70,000 bringing it back to its former glory including adding a screened in porch in the back. For lack of any imagination I needed window treatments in a hurry so I had off white plantation blinds installed. I don't love them but what I DO love and the window treatments in the three little pigs' house. If you have a spare moment could you please tell me a little bit more about them? They look like shades? Many thanks. Love your show!
  • Pat Fitzgerald
    3:13 pm, February 12, 2017
    Would love to know the name of the color paint used on the outside exterior and also the color stain of the front door. Thank you!
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