With its many large windows, gingerbread detailing, and original wood ceilings, this Texas cottage had its homeowner’s heart at first sight.
“It was like ‘hello’ from the time I
walked in the door,” says Amy
Normand, recalling her first impression of the dilapidated Waco, Texas, cottage that had sat empty for 20 years and was slated to be torn down by the city. Even covered with vines, the home charmed Amy with its abundance of tall windows and unique Victorian-style trim. “Every room had this dynamic light shining through, and even in its broken-down state it had such peace about it,” she says. Dozens of phone calls later—mixed with luck and good timing—amy tracked down the deceased owner’s family, signed the papers, and gave the cottage a quite-literal new lease on life.
An avid fan of the HGTV show Fixer Upper, Amy knew she was up for the reno challenge. “Now that my kids are older, I’d been wanting to do something creative that was all my own,” she says. “I’ve always loved working on my home and I like making broken things pretty again, so after watching Fixer Upper I started dreaming of my own old house project.” With two daughters at Baylor University—and the town’s plethora of old homes screaming with potential—waco seemed the perfect place to find the project that would become her family’s retreat.
Amy quickly went to work bringing back the charm of the 1880s house—hand-restoring its windows, removing drywall to uncover shiplap, and power-cleaning the walls, wood ceilings, and interior doors. “It was really tedious, but we wanted to keep all those original details,” she says. Once the home was all cleaned up and put back together, Amy covered most everything—from top to bottom and inside and out—in the same crisp white paint.
Amy kept the furnishings minimal and simple, giving the house a clean, modern farmhouse feel that lets the architecture remain the center of attention. Throughout the renovation she shopped local antiques stores, favorite retailers, and even her friends’ garages, collecting a curated mix of old and new pieces. White remained her color of choice for upholstery and bedding, but to ground the rooms and provide visual interest, she added layers of warm natural woods and black and gray accents. “It’s such a joyful place for our family and friends,” Amy says. “Whether for holidays, birthday parties, or Baylor football games, it’s our place for celebration.” opposite: Rather than curtains, simple custom shutters provide privacy without detracting from the more-than8-foot-tall windows. A linen slipcover on the sofa and throw pillows in various textures offer visual variety without color variation. above: A glass-panel front door lets light stream inside. Amy painted it a warm gray, so it stands out against the all-white cottage exterior.