Inheriting a house from a family member can be an awesome perk, but renovating a home with personal family history can lend its own special blend of challenges. See how blogger Melissa Landrus gave her husband’s grandfather’s home a fresh look without sacrificing the integrity of the space through compromise, creativity, and love.
Just spend a few minutes combing through Melissa’s Instagram feed and you’ll get a sense of the lovely charm exuded on a daily basis from the Landrus Family. With their two young daughters, Melissa and her husband David regularly share glimpses of a lovely family life, brimming with warmth and sentimentality, and set against a backdrop of neutral palettes and a naturally sophisticated minimalism.
Recently they made the move into a new space, that wasn’t actually new, and held special significance for the family.
“This home was built by David’s grandfather in 1954–with his own two hands in fact,” says Melissa. “His father grew up here–in a little over 1,000 square feet (plus a basement)–with his five brothers and sisters. The reason though it’s so precious to David and his siblings specifically is that it was a place of solace and comfort as his mom passed away when David was just three years old. There are a lot of tender memories here within these walls.”
Given the weight of this personal history, renovating the home isn’t as cut and dry as any typical home on the market. With this house, Melissa took steps to make sure that any design and decor choices didn’t take away from the legacy, but rather modernized the necessary areas of the home and gave elements of place a fresh feel.
“Going about (the renovation) has been a conversation – a dance. We give and take, here and there,” Melissa explains. “He didn’t want to knock any walls down because the walls themselves are so significant, while I wasn’t in love with trim and baseboards. So we kept the structural integrity and did mostly cosmetic updates throughout the home.”
As to be expected in a home built in the 50s, the kitchen and bathroom needed more aggressive updates. While those two rooms were completely gutted and made over, the rest of the home remained structurally unchanged.
A unifying theme in the design is the couple’s shared love of music. Instruments such as their piano and guitars play as much significance to the living room as the sofa or the rug. Melissa has made the piano a focal point and has ensured that a guitar is always within reach from any seat in the room.
“Mostly I like to create a space that feels peaceful and calm…so any space could be a potential workplace, a sanctuary, a place of refuge, a place to host.” – Melissa
Melissa has a very clean, minimalist design style that’s admirable in its understated simplicity. Working with a palette of natural tones, clean whites, and neutrals, she creates an aesthetic of easy elegance and timeless warmth. While she admits this tendency towards neutrals may stem from her own design commitment issues, we think you’ll agree that they look is working for her!
“Home, to me, is the most precious thing there is. It’s that thing that we all crave –
home is belonging. When people come to our house I want them to feel that sense – true belonging. I want all who step foot through the front door to feel warm, safe, full of love and life.” Melissa perfectly sums up what we’re all striving to achieve!
For fellow renovators taking on a project of this scale, Melissa prescribes patience and compromise. It may not all come together exactly how you planned or as quickly as you imagined, but it’s a special process to simply savor and enjoy!