There are only two ways to live your life.  One as though nothing is a miracle.  The other as though everything is a miracle.

– Unknown

I’m lucky.  I have the privilege of witnessing miracles every day. Maybe they are not the kind of miracles you typically think of.  But to me, they are miraculous.

I have been privileged to spend the past twenty-five years helping people remodel their homes. It can be a daunting process – tearing rooms apart, standing in the holy mess that creates, reassuring client’s that chaos will become beauty, and then finally and sometimes painfully putting the pieces back together.  But in the end –  magic occurs – old becomes new, dark becomes light, dullness shines with color and people’s lives are transformed.

1960’s Tract House

Kitchen before remodel by Linda Applewhite
This 1968 kitchen painted hospital white still had dark parquet floors and brown tile.

Twenty-five years ago, Jackie and Paul bought a dated 1960’s tract house on a cul-de-sac behind an elementary school. The home had good bones with high ceilings and wide openings to a patio that wrapped around it where they could hear children playing. But the rooms in the main living area were disconnected and the kitchen and dining room were tiny. The couple loved to cook and serve friends and family their inspired culinary dishes but the space didn’t lend itself to entertaining.

House of Dreams

For ten years Jackie and Paul lived in their new home without changing a thing except putting a coat of white paint on the mahogany brown paneling and ceilings in every room. But during those years they imagined how they would transform the space to suit the lifestyle they envisioned. A spacious gourmet kitchen where they could cook to their heart’s content, for just the two of them or their favorite guests, was first on the list.

Second, they visualized a dining room with a blazing fireplace where they hosted large laughter-filled dinner parties and Thanksgiving feasts. Third, they longed for a door in the kitchen as a passageway to the patio where they dreamed of grilling chicken and making mini pizzas to serve guests in an outdoor dining area, under the stars.

Kitchen redesign by Linda Applewhite
Color and neutrals mix to bring the kitchen to life.

The Remodel

This colorful storage area sparkles between stainless steel appliances.

The couple finally hired an architect who convinced them they needed to double the size of their family room. He drew up plans for the addition which cost an estimated $150,000.  Unfortunately, the plan did not include what they envisioned even though they had given the architect their list. Then Jackie asked me to look at the plans to give them a second opinion. I could immediately see the spacious home did not need to be expanded.

The rooms just needed to be reconfigured. The ideas the couple came up with were practical and totally enhanced the livability of the space. In the end, Jackie and Paul’s dreams came true as you can see in these “before” and “after” images of their kitchen. Many wonderful meals have been cooked in this well-appointed room and served in the adjacent indoor and outdoor dining rooms.

Seven Tips for Transformation

More blogs to come on Jackie and Paul’s home transformation. But here’s the take-away from their experience:

  • Live in your home for at least a year before you remodel.
  • Visualize how you would change the space to make it live better for you, your family and lifestyle.
  • Make an ongoing list as ideas come to you. Continuously refine the list.
  • Think both inside and outside the box. To save money and resources, work within the footprint of your home with creative space planning.
  • Respect the site and the architecture. Don’t try to make your home something it’s not or cut down trees needlessly.
  • And finally, don’t let “professionals” sway you from your vision.

Most of all, trust yourself, your dreams and the process. Your home’s transformation doesn’t always happen fast or painlessly, but the magic and miracle it brings is worth the wait, expense and chaos.

I believe thoughts create reality.  Do you have a dream of transforming your home and in the process your life? Write it down and then believe your dreams will come true!

Showing 12 comments
  • Marsha Ceule

    Linda, I loved watching you on HGTV. Are you ever going to be on again? I have enjoyed your book so much. Marsha in Kansas

    • Linda Applewhite


      Thanks so much for your comment. No plans at present to return to HGTV but will certainly announce it should that happen. Right now I have my hands full with remodels, a new website, developing my e-courses and writing another book. Thanks for buying my first book and I’m so glad you have enjoyed it.

      Happy Fall Marsha,

  • Howard Settle

    Brilliant. Where & how we live our lives matters.

    • Linda Applewhite

      You are so right Howard! Living in spaces we love that express who we are and fit our life style is a signature of a well lived life. Home matters immensely. It’s the stage which nurtures, heals and sustains us and those we love. Blessings, Linda

  • Kirby

    Linda did her magic in my Santa Fe house almost 20 years ago. It looks just as fresh, just as inviting today!

    • Linda Applewhite

      Kirby’s Grand Dame on Santa Fe’s historic east side is indeed a treasure as is my brilliant friend and artist. The old adobe is filled with Kirby’s unique eye for beauty and some of her fabulous paintings. She sells her artwork in Santa Fe, San Diego and Dallas and has been an inspiration to me since the day we met in our 20’s in Texas.
      Thanks Kirbita!!! XO Louise

  • Helene Keys

    I love the mix of wood in the cabinets. Warm and efficient! I appreciate that you enclosed the shelves with glass. I find open shelves high maintenance . The dishes collect grease and dust from cooking. What you have here is cheerful and organized. Less work for Mother!

    • Linda Applewhite

      Thanks for your kind comments and observations Helene. For two such aspiring chefs as Paul and Jackie, this kitchen not only functioned well but served as a great place to gather with friends and family. I hope your kitchen is cheerful too Helene! Linda

  • Sandy Hopper

    Such a cheerful, efficient space. Any home cook would be delighted to whip up delectable meals in this kitchen. Great remodel!

    • Linda Applewhite

      Thanks Sandy! I can tell you appreciate cheerful, efficient kitchens. My wish for you is that you have a great place to cook for family and friends. Happy Fall! Linda

  • Linda Bishop

    Of all the photos of kitchens I often see, this one makes me want to come over, sit at the island and chat with the cook. It’s so inviting! What a remarkable job in listening and implementing your clients vision. A win win for everyone!

    • Linda Applewhite

      Linda – I have done that many times with Jackie in this kitchen, sitting at the island and chatting with the cook. There is always something yummy to eat on the stove or in the fridge or intriguing recipes she is working on. Jackie and Paul’s vision was easy to implement as it was so straight forward and doable as well as made perfect sense.
      Thanks for your wonderful perspective on their kitchen. I appreciate it as I’m sure they will as well! Blessings, Linda

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