Couple keep their 1920s beauty almost original
By Cecily Hastings
Blake and Christine Dugger were married in 2000 and now have three children, Ashby, 11, Penelope, 8, and Crosby, 4½. The kids attend Sacred Heart Parish School. When the school’s fundraiser Holiday Home Tour returned this past December (after a two-year hiatus), the family was ready to showcase its newly remodeled house.
“Four years ago, we moved into this vintage home,” Christine says. “We lived previously at 45th and D streets in a small, two-bedroom home. We made plans to remodel and expand to accommodate our growing family. We were not even looking for another place.
“My youngest was just a baby, and on a stroller walk I spotted the open house for this home. After a quick tour I called Blake and said we needed to buy this house. It had charm, space and everything we had ever hoped for.”
While the home’s 1,900 square feet were filled with Tudor charm, there was a downside. “Every room reeked of cigarettes and was coated with smoke residue,” Christine says. “Much of the original charm was lost during a 1970s remodel. It also had very little storage.”
Says Blake, “We painted everything and did some cosmetic fixes that tided us over until we could develop a remodel plan.”
The couple hired designer Bree Steele of Doba Design Studio to help envision the kitchen and family room expansion. “We loved her work and as a mother herself she understands family living,” Christine says.
The compact original living room contains just a few pieces of furniture to highlight the bay window, and charming stucco and brick fireplace. The focal point is a rattan bar tucked in the stairwell, accented with crystal decanters and bluebirds in the art and lamp base.
The dining room takes center stage with a modern chunky oak table and sleek black and rattan chairs. A huge vintage mirror doubles the visual size.
The home’s heart is a classic but modern kitchen with cabinets painted in soft taupe. Handles are unvarnished brass that ages to a patina, a theme carried throughout in handles, lighting and accents. The European gas range is black with brass control knobs.
A square kitchen island in a brushed oak finish creates a dramatic transition between the dining area and kitchen. “The galley kitchen design is wonderful to use, and Bree was masterful in her design of the drawers and cabinet functions,” Christine says.
The designer suggested turning a first-floor bedroom into an open family room to connect the kitchen to the backyard. The move added interior space that had been a covered porch. “This is my favorite part of the house. I cook and the kids play and do schoolwork along with me,” Christine says.
A pink tribal rug adds a colorful focal point to the linen-upholstered sofa and storage cabinets. French doors open to the compact backyard.
Christine is proud of the first-floor bathroom that remains true to the 1920s vintage. Original green tiles were painted over, so the couple used a heat gun and stripped them to their original color. The floor retains the original green and white hex tiles.
“We accented the vintage tiles with a new, but vintage design, pedestal sink, toilet and accessories,” Christine says.
The family installed vintage-style oak floors with thin strips and a natural finish, similar to the original.
The backyard is small but packed with features. A brick pattern designed by Blake edges the flower beds and decomposed granite walkways. A water fountain trickles. A large, healthy lemon tree drips with luscious yellow fruit.
“I love the history of this home, and that families had occupied this place for decades before us,” Blake says. The couple were delighted recently when members of the original family stopped by and asked for a tour.
“They just nervously knocked on the door and, of course, we were thrilled to show them around,” Christine says.
Bree Steele of Doba Design Studio can be reached at dobadesignstudio.com. Photography courtesy of Nicole Dianne.