When Kaitlyn Smith started house hunting in Laurel, she had a downtown mindset. The charming, craftsman-style home was what she hoped for, and she knew that the perfect one was calling her name. But when she started crunching numbers, she began to realize that the homes she was interested in buying needed more work than her budget allowed. So, it was time to think outside the box. “My realtor called and suggested I look at a house located off of Highway 84,” said Kaitlyn. "While I wasn’t particularly interested in that location, I decided to go since my downtown search wasn’t proving to be as successful as I had hoped,” she said.
Kaitlyn’s mother, Kim Smith, and aunt Karlyn Pugh are owners of Rubies Home Furnishings and City Home Center. With over a decade in the renovation and décor industry, Kim and Karlyn have eyes to see beyond what a few decades can do to the cosmetic surfaces of homes. When Kaitlyn walked into the home for the first time, the green bathroom, wood paneling and general style of the home made it challenging to see the vision. The house, while outdated, would not require any major restructuring, and the neighborhood was great. “Thankfully, my mom and aunt Karlyn know the importance of a well-structured home because I couldn’t see past the brick on the front of the house” she said.
What to Keep
Once Kaitlyn purchased the home, she, Kim and Karlyn went to work. City Home Center supplied the majority of the renovation supplies, and the Rubies Home Furnishings team helped piece the furniture and décor together. “The most important step was not to see what should be changed but what should be kept,” said Kim. “Most of the house had sheetrock underneath the paneling and the cabinets were in good shape, they just needed refacing.” Morgan Brothers Millwork helped Kaitlyn get the cabinets looking like new.
What to Change
There were obvious minor changes like light fixtures and cabinet hardware. One unexpected change was the kitchen floor. While Kaitlyn had planned to use laminate wood flooring for the majority of the house with carpet in the bedrooms, the kitchen floor was going to remain as it was. But when they pulled up the baseboards, the floor came with them. In an effort to keep things in budget, Kaitlyn chose a patterned linoleum for her kitchen. “It was one of the most fun, unexpected surprises of the renovation,” said Kaitlyn. “The countertops and backsplash were neutral, so a patterned floor really added some personality to the room.”
Donna Jones at Jerry Ford Real Estate in Ellisville was the realtor for Kaitlyn’s first home. “Donna was so much more than just a realtor and walked through the entire process with me,” said Kim. Donna gave Kaitlyn the name of Marletta Ford from Taylorsville who owns Perma Bright, a business that specializes in bathtub refinishing. “Marletta change the color of the outdated tile in the bathrooms, and saved us so much money,” said Kaitlyn. “We were thrilled with the results.”
As with any project, painting takes up a considerable part of the budget. However, it is arguably one of the most impactful investments in a home renovation. Kaitlyn was having the interior and exterior of the home painted, and she commends painter Randy Rayner for his work. “They say never judge a book by its cover, but the brick outside the home was the first thing that made me question buying it,” said Kaitlyn. “When I saw the finished product, I knew I had made the right decision.”
While sometimes decorating a home can seem daunting, Kaitlyn comes from a lineage of skilled decorators, so she was prepared for the task. Karlyn took on the job of head designer and helped Kaitlyn and Kim piece things together. The convenience of City Home Center and Rubies Home Furnishings being next door to one another was key. “We probably walked 100 miles going back and forth between City Home Center and Rubies,” Karlyn said. “But I think the end result proves that we did have a method to our madness.”
Karlyn’s tip for decorating any home is to pick one thing in each room for inspiration. “Whether it was a pillow or fabric swatch, taking something and building a room around it can make a home renovation so much less overwhelming,” Karlyn advises. Kaitlyn added some finishing touches of prints framed by Frames Unlimited in Laurel. One of the final pieces of artwork was the painting of a mermaid in the bathroom by artist, Katherine Ezell. “Kaitlyn has always loved mermaids since she looks like Ariel on The Little Mermaid, and Karlyn and I knew we wanted to give her something special to inspire her and remind her that she is loved,” said Kim. “Your first home is a big deal, and the memories Kaitlyn already has from the remodel and will continue to have as she entertains friends and family will last her forever.” Karlyn added, “We have done a lot of projects together, but this was by far my favorite.”