Melissa Taylor, the blogger behind The Slower Home, has renovated her North Texas 1950s home with an aesthetic that is highly inviting. Think hand-crafted quilts, creamy hues and lighting that transports one to a simpler time. Taylor, who went to school for art and dance, has always enjoyed crafting and is currently dabbling in naturally dyed fabrics. “I’ve always loved creating beautiful things and spaces, and when we moved into our first home, I found out that I loved creating a home,” she says.
While she says her style varies, it’s all about coziness and warmth as the “guiding light for any space” in her home. “I always want our home to be beautiful, but feel lived in where nothing is too precious,” she adds. The 1,000 square foot property, located in an older part of town, has large trees, original wood flooring, and Taylor and her husband saw plenty of potential.
“When we purchased our home, the kitchen had blue-and-white striped wallpaper, yellow tiled countertops with crumbling grout, cabinets that rained sawdust down onto your dishes, and a dishwasher that had to be wheeled over and attached to the faucet,” she recalls. Furthermore, it was an oddly large footprint, so in addition to the obvious updates, the goal was to rework the layout to make it functional. “We wanted the kitchen to feel like a true extension of the living space,” she says.
They began the renovation in November 2016 and finished in 2018 after a delay due to the countertops. The new kitchen is warm and cozy, just like the rest of the Taylor’s vintage home. When it came to cabinets, they chose to go with lowers only, so the kitchen felt like less of a kitchen and more like the rest of the main living areas. Semihandmade DIY Shaker fronts were the perfect choice. “Combining Semihandmade and Ikea was ideal for us because we could customize the layout of the kitchen and all the interiors,” she says. “They truly lend a custom feel to the kitchen and are so easy to install and use.” While neutral lower cabinets account for storage, the Taylors went for honed Bianco Carrera marble countertops, Whirlpool appliances and unlacquered brass hardware from Rejuvenation to add era-appropriate flare.
Another special feature to the renovation is the plate rack and dining table, which were designed by Taylor, and hand-crafted by her father. “He’s an extremely talented woodworker who has made a lot of pieces for us throughout our home. I love the character and warmth a furniture piece adds to a kitchen, whether it’s a custom piece or vintage,” she says.
From the neutral color palette and textures of the wood-paneled walls to the DIY Shaker cabinets, the new kitchen is not only highly livable but taught the couple a lot about home improvement.
“The biggest lesson was to plan, plan and plan,” she says. “Think of how you will use the kitchen day-to-day, including storage in the drawers, where to install lighting, door swings etc.” For example, the hanging rail and drawers maximized storage while keeping the kitchen as open as possible. Additionally, Taylor suggests splurging on the things that you touch and use every day like doors, hardware and the faucet. “It’s really a joy to have beautiful, quality pieces that are hard-wearing throughout the years,” she says.