St. Joseph house updated for modern family life

Homes: St. Joseph house updated for modern family life

St. Joseph house updated for modern family life

David and Alyson Stephenson fell in love with their open-concept ranch home.

Story: Christine Walsh

Photos: Robin Scholz

David and Alyson Stephenson fell in love with their open-concept ranch home with vaulted ceilings when they were looking for a new home for them and their children, Leah, 7, and Jack, 4, in St. Joseph two and a half years ago.

“We liked the open floor plan,” Alyson said. “The square footage was about right for our family of four. We love the neighborhood.”

The living room’s skylights were another favorite feature. “In the daytime, you don’t need any lights to read,” Alyson said.

But the Stephensons decided that the 23-year-old home could use some updates.

The Stephensons replaced the white carpeting with waterproof 2.5-inch luxury vinyl oak planks by Mannington and replaced the window casings that had been serving as baseboards with actual baseboards. “I love how easily the floors clean,” Alyson said. “High-quality floors are worth it because they snapped together nicely.”

They also landscaped around the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house and replaced all-white appliances with smudge-proof stainless steel appliances from the Frigidaire Gallery Collection. “I love my new appliances,” Alyson said.

The Stephensons painted to replace the 1,612-square-foot home’s beiges and tans. They said Precision Painting owner Chad Ebbert was instrumental in helping with the color palette. “The color scheme is relaxing and clean,” Alyson said.

David, who does plumbing and HVAC work with Capitol Group, used to be a painter. He and his friends were able to do a lot of the work themselves. “I learned to appreciate my husband and his friends,” Alyson said. “They worked very hard.”

Alyson, a fifth-grade teacher at Champaign’s Bottenfield Elementary School, looks to Pinterest and HGTV for decorating inspiration and ideas. “I enjoy colors,” she said. “Before our décor was all very farmhouse and antiquey. I was trying to get away from that rustic look.”

One project seemed to lead to another. “We realized none of our furniture matched,” Alyson said. They replaced the mismatched couch and chairs with a living room sectional sofa from Slumberland Furniture. Alyson likes how flexible and customizable the piece is. “I love this couch,” she said. “It’s very functional. With kids and dogs, we needed to have a couch that cleans up nicely. It’s nice to have a fresh start, and yet still comfortable.”

The sectional’s flexibility is enhanced by a C-table with a space-conscious design. “I can have it out of the way,” Alyson said.

The original white ceiling fans that were starting to yellow with age were replaced with wood ones, and the frosted chandelier lights were also replaced with clear glass globe pendant light fixtures. They also added a couple of new window treatments.

It took the Stephensons about two months to complete all of the adaptations. The Stephensons host a “friendsgiving” celebration every year, and the first stage of the upgrades were done in time for that. “We love having people over,” Alyson said. “The open concept helps with that. All of the moms are in the kitchen, the dads are in the garage, and the kids are in the bedrooms.”

Alyson, who is originally from Chatham, and David, who is from Carlinville, were able to finish the rest in time for Christmas, when they were hosting their families from out of town.

The décor came from a variety of stores, including Lowe’s, HomeGoods, Gordman’s, Hobby Lobby and Target, as well as through online retailers. “It was a lot of kind of piecing things together,” Alyson said. “Really you can do things pretty affordably; nothing was outrageously expensive. You just have to be willing to take time to shop around. I feel like it’s very affordable and doable for a working family to be able to be able to pull off.”

The Stephensons like to catch up, entertain and read in their inviting and family-friendly home. “It is fun and relaxing,” Alyson said. “I enjoy it.”

The changes have given the home a more comfortable and contemporary feel. “My whole goal was to go for a modern, simple, clean look, a minimalist look,” Alyson said. “There was so much stuff to move and clean. The less stuff you have, the better.”