A 1940s Charmer in Texas Finds a New Family

A family in Dallas fell in love with this home on a stroll — and kept tabs on it until it could be theirs.

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Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

Photo By: Max Kim-Bee

The House

After a few years of living in a nice but charmless new-construction home in Dallas, TX, Katie and Phillip Graham were itching to move into a house with a soul. On their regular walks around the neighborhood, they’d pass by a stately 1940s wood and stone home beyond its better days — faded paint, overgrown shrubs and a too-small portico. Even though it wasn’t for sale, the Grahams excitedly planned how they’d renovate it to suit their growing family. “We hadn’t seen the inside,” Katie says, “but you could tell it had great bones.”

After months of daydreaming, they worked up the courage to knock on the door and make an offer. It was declined, but the Grahams didn’t give up hope. The next year the house went on the market, and they snatched it up! Working with designer Mike Mousel, they nearly doubled the home’s size to suit their family of six (seven, including their dog) — and filled the rooms with vintage and modern pieces. “We loved this house before setting foot in it,” says Katie. “I can’t believe how lucky we are to live here.”

The Family

Phillip and Katie Graham with (from left) Mia, 4; Brooks, 2; William, 8; Cameron, 6; and their goldendoodle, Noodles

Living Room

Even though this space is meant for grown-ups — it sits between the kitchen and the playroom — kids are welcome, so Katie went with durable fabrics throughout, including a sturdy gray linen sofa and a gray-and-white textured rug that’s ace at hiding stains, both from Crate & Barrel. “This is a family home. No room is off-limits,” Katie says. One of her favorite items is the hefty burl wood coffee table from a local vintage shop: It has hidden casters so it can be rolled aside for vacuuming. The four chairs are vintage too; the patterned ones are re-covered in a fabric from Duralee.

Kitchen

The old kitchen wasn’t big enough to accommodate the entire family at dinnertime, so Katie and Phillip turned it into a butler’s pantry and built a new cook space as part of the reno. “We’re in the phase of life where we eat at home almost every day of the week, so we really needed a spot that fit us all,” Katie says. She chose the same white for the walls throughout the first floor (White Dove by Benjamin Moore), and she picked a creamy shade for the cabinets (Manchester Tan by Benjamin Moore). The backsplash is Moroccan-style ceramic tile from Walker Zanger, and Katie says the gray Caesarstone counters were a no-brainer: durable, easy to clean, and stainproof. The built-in bench on the end of the island holds two kids, so the whole family can gather around the pedestal table made by a local Texas craftsman. The open-frame gold pendants are from Troy Lighting, and the orange chairs are from Room & Board. 

Girls' Bedroom

“Our younger daughter is 4 years old and very girly, but we wanted our 6-year-old to feel like this was her room, too,” says Katie. An electric teal-and-pink color combo did the trick. Katie also mixed in some adult pieces, including a vintage crystal chandelier that once belonged to her grandmother, an overdyed rug from Rugs USA, and art created just for the room by a local artist. She couldn’t settle on a curtain fabric, so Katie enlisted her mom to tie-dye white cotton ones from West Elm to give them a two-tone look. The teal headboards are from Target, and the pink bed skirts are from Annie Selke’s Pine Cone Hill.

Master Bedroom

Living in a house with four kids under 9 made Katie and Phillip realize they needed to give themselves a peaceful escape. “I wanted to be surrounded by quiet,” Katie says. “And calm.” Vaulting the previously 9-foot ceilings added light and airiness; keeping the palette to white and other soft tones helped too. The headboard is a vintage find that Katie had reupholstered in a champagne-toned velvety fabric to complement the upholstered antique settee at the end of the bed, which is a hand-me-down from her grandmother. The chandelier is from Visual Comfort, and the blue ikat rug is from Serena & Lily.

Playroom

Top priority during the remodel: a room on the first floor to give the kids a space to play (and contain their stuff). Katie had the nearly floor-to-ceiling bulletin boards custom-made. “The kids are so proud to pin up their art,” Katie says. “And there’s no fighting for space, like there would be on the fridge!” For seating, she nabbed an olive-hued microfiber sofa from Erdos at Home. “The color felt not-boring,” says Katie. “Honestly, if the kids spill something, I just squirt a little Windex on the stain, and it comes right out.” The cowhide-pattern rug is made of carpet tiles from Flor; when one tile gets too dirty or worn, Katie tosses it and orders a replacement.

Brooks' Bedroom

Designer Mike had already created three nurseries for the Grahams, so Katie gave him free rein for Brooks’. Her one must-have was a rocker for quiet time with the baby. Behind the crib, Mike hung a playful fish wallpaper from Thibaut, and he used the same color palette for the custom valances made with Scion fabric. All four Graham kids used the bronze crib, from Corsican. The flat-weave chevron rug is from CB2.

Playhouse

The wood playhouse in the backyard, painted Grant Beige by Benjamin Moore, is a custom creation built by Phillip’s father. All of the pieces are held together with screws and bolts — no nails! — so it can be taken apart and reassembled if the family ever moves. In the spirit of Texas pride, Katie hung a resin bull head on the front that she picked up secondhand online. 

Screened Porch

This porch gets lots of traffic, thanks to its location just off the living room, making it an ideal spot for breakfast or entertaining in the spring and fall. Katie already had the faux-bamboo chair set, but to give it a more modern look, she spray-painted it bright orange (Real Orange by Rust-Oleum) and re-covered the seats in white faux leather, inspired by the color palette of her vintage butterfly painting. The tole chandelier is also a secondhand score that Katie had spray-painted high-gloss white. To contrast with the vintage finds, she picked a sleek gray dining table from West Elm; the cotton rug is from The Rug Company.