IT’S A FUNNY STORY...

There’s al­ways some­thing ex­cit­ing go­ing on at Grace and Kent Mitchell’s house. This busy fam­ily of six has been lov­ingly ren­o­vat­ing their cen­tury-old Texas foursquare with great care, a lim­ited bud­get, and their own 12 hands.

Do It Yourself - - FEATURES - STYLING JES­SICA THOMAS PHO­TO­GRAPHS DAVID TSAY WORDS SARAH WOLF

Grace Mitchell’s house is full of thrifted finds, col­or­ful DIY pro­jects, and great sto­ries about how it all came to­gether.

GRACE AND KENT MITCHELL HAVE NO SHORT­AGE OF STO­RIES TO SHARE ABOUT REN­O­VAT­ING THEIR HUN­DRED

YEAR-OLD HOUSE. “By the time we bought it, the house was due for a bunch of up­dates,” Grace says. The roof had been dam­aged by hail, and the plumb­ing, elec­tri­cal, and HVAC needed re­plac­ing. De­spite the house’s short­com­ings, they were charmed by the older neigh­bor­hood in Fort Worth, the large yard for their four chil­dren, and the ar­chi­tec­tural char­ac­ter: 9-foot ceil­ings, wide trim around doors and win­dows, and solid-wood doors and floors still in good shape.

“We knew it would be quite the project, although we didn’t ex­pect some of the calami­ties,” Grace says. Like the kids’ bath­room fall­ing through the liv­ing room ceil­ing, ex­plod­ing pipes, the city con­demn­ing the back porch, to name a few. It’s taken more than six years to get the house in work­ing or­der for the fam­ily of six, but it all makes for a great story now that the 3,411-square-foot house is pro­gress­ing to­ward com­ple­tion. “It is like the can­vas of our lives,” Grace says, “and I am proud of the work we have done as a fam­ily.” 1 Meet the Mitchell fam­ily! Grace and Kent Mitchell and their four kid­dos (El­lis, 10, Tate, 9, Glo­ryEve­lyn, 8, and Karis, 7).

2 “The wall treat­ment in the en­try may be the DIY project I am most proud of,” Grace says. She and a car­pen­ter friend, Rick Good­win, cre­ated the lat­tice­work with reg­u­lar lat­tice, wood, and trim from a lum­ber store, vary­ing the pan­els be­tween di­ag­o­nal grids and straight ones so the walls al­most look like they’re sheathed in so­phis­ti­cated wood pan­el­ing—but with­out the stuffi­ness. “It turned out bet­ter than I imag­ined!” Grace says.

3 The ot­tomans came from a thrift store, and Grace re­vived them with new yel­low ikat fab­ric.

4 Grace cov­ered this es­tate sale set­tee with a small vin­tage rug she liked. “I may not take on a huge ch­ester­field sofa, but small up­hol­stery jobs are easy to do with the right tools and a good num­ber of on­line tu­to­ri­als,” she says.

5 The pre­vi­ous own­ers had re­habbed the kitchen, in­stalling new coun­ter­tops and cab­i­nets, so Grace and Kent worked with (some of) what they had. They re­moved col­ored glass fronting the up­per cab­i­nets, re­plac­ing it with clas­sic clear glass.

6 The white-and-brass range—the crown jewel of the kitchen—was def­i­nitely a pricey pur­chase. (It was Grace and Kent’s 10-year an­niver­sary present to each other.) But it was worth the wait! “We did not have a reliable range or oven for a few years,” Grace says, “and we needed one—peo­ple of­ten end up hang­ing out at our house.”

7 A short span of wall in the kitchen lends it­self more to dis­play than to cab­i­netry. A fat roll of kraft pa­per stretches to the ceil­ing and is as handy for gro­cery lists as for kids’ sketches. 8 Vin­tage clothes hang­ers high on the wall show­case an­tique linens.

9 Wall-mounted planters not only bring green­ery into the room but also dou­ble as shelves for chil­dren’s books.

10 Four iron shelves are spaced to stretch be­tween the buf­fet and ceil­ing. Grace fash­ioned the dis­play on the cheap. She stum­bled upon two pieces of iron grid at a lo­cal sal­vage yard— they were too long and too wide, so she paid a man at the yard $40 to cut them to size. Af­ter prim­ing and paint­ing them to match the wall, she in­stalled them on new me­tal brack­ets. 11 A vin­tage French buf­fet sits re­gally against the wall.

Grace bought it at an an­tiques store’s go­ing-out-of-busi­ness sale. “It had been stripped, but I kept it that way be­cause I liked the nat­u­ral wood,” she says.

12 The host chairs in the din­ing room wear two fab­rics (a pricier bird print on the backs where it’ll get less wear, and vinyl that can be cleaned with ease on the fronts).

13 The side chairs— Craigslist finds—were re-cov­ered in pink faux-os­trich skin, which is easy to wipe down if the kids spill.

14 Board-and-bat­ten wain­scot­ing climbs the din­ing room walls, about two-thirds of the way up, a project Grace and Kent tack­led them­selves. 15 A dear friend dis­cov­ered the fab­ric-cov­ered pri­vacy screen in a barn, of all places. She then dropped it on Grace’s front porch with a note that said: This is meant to be in your life. “The vin­tage screen is prob­a­bly one of my top five most fa­vorite things in the house,” Grace says.

16 Two set­tees were serendip­i­tous scores from Craigslist’s “free” sec­tion. Stripped of the old fin­ish to re­veal the nat­u­ral bam­boo and with re-cov­ered cush­ions, they have a new lease on life.

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EVEN THE PLATE ON THE LIGHT SWITCH GOT A LIT­TLE GLAM —GRACE SWAPPED OUT THE STAN­DARD PLAS­TIC PLATE FOR ABUR­NISHED BRASS VER­SION.4

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GRACE MADE HEROWN KITCHEN HARD­WARE US­ING BRASS PIPE CLIPS AND ACRYLIC RODS FOR AN IN­DUS­TRIAL YET EL­E­GANT LOOK.

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