Victorian Remodel * Small Town Texas

It’s been such an honor and thrill to work on the restoration on this home below that I just had to share this project. Built in 1910 the home graces the main street of a nearby Texas town. In the past 105  years, my clients are just the third homeowners of this beauty!


I’ve worked with the young couple before and when Vanessa texted me that she and husband Mike had purchased an old home in her hometown of Sealy I was excited to say the last.  I know the O’Donnells don’t do a project halfway and that this would be a fun journey!  Vanessa is from the town and has long had her eye on this house.  She says the previous owners were so gracious and excited about passing the torch to the young couple and had them over for dinner and a Christmas party!  I love these kind of house stories!

Notice how the early photo shows a windmill in the background and the street is today lined with much larger trees and a different landscape.  Photos like this are such a treasure for homeowners.  Below is the home before remodel started earlier this year.


I will be honest, when I saw the photo of the entry from previous homeowners, I thought “why are they planning so much work to the house.”

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This looks lovely right and it is..and this vista has stayed the same minus wall color.

But Mike and Vanessa wanted to do the behind the scenes restoration correctly and they new from inspections that much of the wiring and plumbing and rotting wood needed to be addressed before they could move in and eventually start adding to their family.  So they bit the bullet and with a local contractor decided to go to the studs and deal with all of those lighting and plumbing issues and a massive BEE ISSUE….thousands of bees in the walls had to be removed! Apparently this a major ordeal.  Who could blame the bees, I wouldn’t want to give up living in this great old home either! So new roof, new windows, a large percentage of wood replaced, new electrical and plumbing but much charm maintained like the porch and curves and steps and of course the floors inside. The house has been blue for many years but is now white after much discussion between the couple and I..we may do a blue door as a homage to the past color.


{And now nearing completion, slated for January 2016!}

Despite all of the updates little of the actual footprint of the house was changed, except the kitchen! Vanessa and Mike own Ooh La La Dessert Boutiques in Houston so the kitchen is a big priority for their family.  The kitchen will have a Le Cornue range and the once tiny kitchen had to be opened up into dining room to accomadate their ideas for an island and plenty of workspace and new gas range!  They maintained the integrity of the front (not huge) rooms, opening one wall up just a bit. This is a sneak peek of our plan for the kitchen. Classic white cabinets and wood floors, subway tile and marble are so fitting for this time period and the bakery lights are so Vanessa, as are the touches of lucite and french cooking nods. The Rifle wallpaper will be in the powder room off of the kitchen in the laundry! I think its a perfect mix of traditional but young too!


The truth is old houses aren’t for everyone, they are an investment and can be stressful to maintain, they have quirks like crazy stairs and small closets and little walls and doors that need to be creatively moved or accept but for those who love the charm, it is definitely worthwhile!


We are looking for a more age appropriate front door like the inspiration below to replace the 1970s one there currently.  Though who doesn’t love a screened door!?


So there you go…the journey of an old house back to its glory to protect and shelter yet another family.  It’s amazing to think how these homes survive hurricanes and wars and droves of honey bees but they do and I am so honored to be a part of this one!  Thank you Mike and Vanessa for asking me along this fun ride!


[Left to right, the home down to its studs, upper middle shows the master bath which faces the front of the house, the cute couple themselves, then Vanessa and I at the recent opening of True Blue Home and finally, the day of the major honey bee removal!]

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  1. In love!!! I just closed on a 4700 sq foot Victorian Italianate built in 1871. It’s in good enough shape but really does need a gut job as well. I hope to someday be able to afford such an overhaul. Farmhouse is MY style so it’s very challenging to find my new style in this home. Can’t wait for your final reveal!

  2. Leigh Rhyne says

    Love it!! Hope you can show pics when everything is finished.

  3. Hi Holly! Love your blog and seeing you walk with grace through it all. Crazy about those pendant lights; are they from the Visual Comfort line that you carry at your new store! My dear friend lives in Tomball; hoping to get there soon!

    Thanks again!
    fellow Texas Girl, Katy Bell Hamnes

  4. Holly,
    This will be fun to follow along and hopefully, see the finished kitchen and other rooms in the home. What a beauty. It warms my heart to hear stories of folks that are willing to shore up historical houses and give them the legs to last another one hundred years!

  5. Holly…please. Where are those pendants from? Are they crazy expensive? Here is a design question…I am seeing a lot more brass/gold now. Do you think it will have long staying power? I am tempted to do brass pulls and pendant lights like you have here, but we have a budget, and I can’t just update with the trends. I like classic with a bit of trend in more inexpensive places! Thoughts?

  6. What an incredible project to be a part of! I happen to be one of those that loves an old house-quirks and all

  7. Holly, this is fantastic. What a great project. Love all the details and the story. Bees though? Yikes. ?

  8. Beth Sartwelle says


    What a huge undertaking. I read this with mixed emotions. My husband grew up in that house and my children have many memories in this house.

    I saw your mention of the front door. Please let me know if you are willing to sell the old one once you find a replacement. I would love to buy it and find a way to use it in my house. It would mean the world to us.

    Beautiful job & thanks for posting.

  9. Absolutely gorgeous, Holly. And I can’t wait to see that kitchen spring to life!!! (I may be coveting her new range, BTW)

  10. I’m so thrilled that they are renovating this beautiful home. The interior selections you’re made are wonderful. I wonder why they chose the dark, modern replacement windows. They entirely change the exterior look of the home.

  11. Wow! What a project! Please show the rest of it. It can’t wait to see what you all do!

  12. What an amazing project! Can’t wait to see more!

  13. What a lovely project! I hope the homeowners could at least get some honey out of the bees to keep…. 🙂

    Holly, what do you think of those french bistro chairs/stools for a house with young kids? I skipped them for our island b/c all I could think of was little hands smearing food into the cracks and crannies. But I’m still in love with them.

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