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.
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.
EVEN THE PLATE ON THE LIGHT SWITCH GOT A LITTLE GLAM —GRACE SWAPPED OUT THE STANDARD PLASTIC PLATE FOR ABURNISHED BRASS VERSION.4
GRACE MADE HEROWN KITCHEN HARDWARE USING BRASS PIPE CLIPS AND ACRYLIC RODS FOR AN INDUSTRIAL YET ELEGANT LOOK.