• Sarah Mervis

Texas Tudor

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Who remembers, "This Old House"?

One of my favorite memories as a kid was sitting down at night to watch the show with my family. I can easily say the origin of my obsession with design, architecture, and restoring homes derived from those late night television viewings. In my opinion, there is nothing more rewarding than bringing life back into a tired house.

When a young couple from Texas recently reached out for advice on restoring their 1940's Tudor home, obviously I jumped at the opportunity! My Texas clients purchased their home with an additional rental unit in the backyard, and their plan is to live in the rental unit while restoring the old Tudor. Once restoration is complete, they will continue on to transform the back rental space into an AirBnb escape. This couple came to me with questions and concerns, hoping to gain some validation on the scope of their massive project. I empathize with my clients, as I am a current resident of a 1920's home and very familiar with the limitations historical houses provide for today's growing families.

Tip: Challenges and complications are almost always a certainty when taking on a restoration of an older home. So do yourself a favor and be realistic when assessing timelines and budgets for your project!

Even though I am far from being a Texas local, location didn't prohibit my ability to provide solutions to my clients. Using remote design with this Texas Tudor meant communication would be primarily through email for the homeowners and myself. Reconstructing floor layouts, measuring architectural revisions for inconsistencies, and providing design advice for challenging spaces was achieved without ever setting foot inside the house! If you find yourself still hesitant when it comes to hiring a remote designer, do yourself a favor and reconsider the risk :)

The challenge with this Tudor was rearranging the entire interior layout. Due to neighborhood regulations (common with historical homes), making any adjustments to the exterior structure was not an option. With a restoration of this size, my clients chose to utilize three industry professionals: an architect, a contractor, and a designer. All three provide a fundamental element in home design; each bringing a certain skill set to the project. Depending on the specifics of the renovation, a contractor and a designer are usually the two most commonly hired professionals for housing projects.

The interior floor plans of this Texas Tudor were designed by my client's architect and then reviewed by their contractor who specializes in historical home renovations, The last piece of the puzzle was my role in the renovation as their designer. I searched the architectural plans for any design flaws, proper traffic pattern flows, assessed furniture layouts, and reviewed the overall function of the spaces. After a few reconfigurations, the final plans were presented to the historical committee for approval.

Hiring professionals that you trust is the key difference between a smooth renovation experience and a nightmare. Since my clients had been previous residents of Southern California, they felt more at ease hiring someone who shared their same taste in design rather than using the vision of a local designer with a Texan style. This sweet family has a long road ahead of them with this renovation process, and I couldn't be more excited to assist along the way! Hopefully their passion for restoration will become contagious to neighboring homeowners around them.

The beauty of any creative profession is the ability to provide custom creations for clients without limitations such as location. When a house becomes your home, invest in taking care of it; hire professionals who are passionate about your vision and relentless in proving their value!