Courtney Thomas
March 22, 2024

How Our Home Remodel Changed Us

This post is a continuation of our Spring 2024 Newsletter. Subscribe to follow Courtney’s story and stay in the know.

Designer Digs

Three years ago, we set out to design and renovate our 1950’s California ranch style home. Nothing quite prepared me for the rollercoaster ride of transforming my own space. We tell our clients that a custom-designed home will change the way they live. It wasn’t until I designed, renovated and then lived that experience, that I fully appreciated just how great the impact was. Life in my custom renovated abode has created unexpected moments of connection and inclusion for my family.

The Kids Are Alright

My four children settled into the house like it was an old set of beloved pajamas and slippers. There was no great fanfare from them. Just a race for and a relieved sigh from them when they closed the doors on their own spaces. They’d always shared rooms and they’d been plotting their personal aesthetics long before we broke ground.

A magic moment that occured when first time I saw my girls pull out barstools at our second island. I had intended for this to be a space where the kids could gather around with their friends. So, one evening I overheard my daughters making plans to “sleep over” in each other’s rooms. They used to share a room and missed being with each other. I felt a sense of deep satisfaction knowing that everything I had anticipated was finally playing out, and then some! I worked so hard to design the renovation around their enjoyment of it. But never could have I anticipated how it would strengthen their bond as sisters.

Imposter Syndrome

It took me a little longer to settle in and get reacquainted with our renovated home. Odd, right? Since I was on site everyday of the build, answering questions and orchestrating design vision. You’d think I would be shoving everyone out of the way to claim my cabinet in the mudroom and my place on the sectional sofa. But, no. I was reserved. Somewhere along the build, I think I anesthetized the memories we’d created in the old house and hadn’t envisioned creating new ones in the house we were building. 

When we moved in, I was surprised to find that I felt displaced. The old house and its memories were gone. Though so many original walls still stood, I felt like I was standing in a house that was make-believe. It took me months to feel a bond and find my groove.

Happier Holidays

Preparing and decorating the house for Thanksgiving and Christmas immediately etched new memories and crafted new narratives for us to hold onto. In addition to that, entertaining has taken on new meaning. We never historically volunteered to host parties (outside of early kid birthdays) or entertained many friends at the old house. It was small and felt uninviting. Perhaps, it also felt like a poor example of my design potential and that embarrassed me. 

I knew creating a home that made me want to host was something I craved. I wanted a place where our kids could bring friends and their families. My dream was a house that beckoned for outdoor activities. One of my central renovation design choices was to transition the indoor/outdoor living spaces. I wanted something so seamless that you can’t tell where the house ends and mother nature begins.

We have now hosted over a dozen parties at our renovated home since moving in. I have met so many wonderful people! By providing a gathering place for school functions, families, club sporting teams, holiday parties and girl’s nights, I connect more with friends that I ever did over the entire 15 years we lived in our old house.

The Gift of Growth

It’s been just over two years that we’ve been back in our house and it was just in time to see our kids morph from pint-sized troublemakers into towering teenagers. We have sent one kid off to college and watched our two girls learn to drive. They often bring home friends and now plan sleepover parties for more than just each other.

My love for this house grows as we do. I love observing how it flexes to meet our needs and adapts to the kids’ ever-changing preferences. Mostly, I love that something I created can bring all these connections and new memories into our lives. That sense of accomplishment, that pride and joy in creating something that can change how people live and love will never get old.

No matter how many homes I design. No matter how many clients I serve. Changing lives by changing people’s environments is the greatest gift I know to give and, as a living testimonial of its impact, it is the greatest gift I hope to keep sharing. 

  • Family Room
  • Dsc 0234
  • Courtney Thomas Design | At Home Photoshoot
  • Screen Shot 2023 06 16 At 3.06.46 Pm
  • Courtney Thomas Design | At Home Photoshoot
  • Dsc 0214
  • Courtney Thomas Design | At Home Photoshoot
  • Dsc 0240
  • Courtney Thomas Design | At Home Photoshoot
  • Dsc 0210
  • Courtney Thomas Design | At Home Photoshoot
  • Dsc 0946
  • Primary Bath
  • Dsc 0926

View the full Thomas Family Home gallery Here

Designing for Dysfunction

Designing a home for a family of six was no easy feat. Each member has their own unique style and preferences. From bold accent walls to cozy reading nooks, I learned to embrace chaos and design for functionality above all else.

Teenage Tumult

With three teenagers and one college-bound kid, our household has been a whirlwind of hormones, drama, and questionable fashion choices. Luckily, our renovated home provides plenty of space for privacy, independence, and the occasional eye roll.

As our kids grew, so did their need for privacy, independence, and spaces to call their own. The once-cozy bedrooms were now battlegrounds of self-expression, each reflecting the unique personalities of their occupants.

The Boston Terrier’s Territory

Our territorial Boston Terrier, affectionately known as “Sir Barks-a-Lot,” initially resisted the changes to his domain. Once Buster realized that the new layout meant more room for “zoomies,” he became the unofficial mascot of the renovation design project.

Watch Buster’s Home Tour Here

The Greatest Project

Three years into our (seemingly) never-ending home renovation design saga, we’ve learned that the only constant in life is change.

Living in our renovated home for the past two years has been a wild ride. One that has been filled with unexpected twists and turns. I won-over the skeptics and embraced the chaos of family life. Having done that, this house has truly become a reflection of who we are as a family. We continue to grow and evolve, and I can’t wait to see what new adventures await us in our designer den.

It’s Always Personal

My personal home remodeling adventure has been a journey of self-discovery, creativity, and countless lessons learned. Through the highs and lows, I’ve emerged with a newfound appreciation for the art of design. I feel proud to live in a home that truly reflects who I am. As I continue to live, work, and create within these walls, I’m reminded that the greatest design project of all is the one we call home.

Courtney Thomas Luxury Interior Design Services

Courtney Thomas, ASID

Principal & Lead Designer

My job is to make spaces functional in their layout, comfortable in their use, inspirational in their style and luxurious in their appointment. In that order. For that one moment after installation, the pictures are perfect.

Explore Our Portfolio

Courtney Thomas Lead Designer