Modern Lodge Chalet | Season 3

Written by Jenny Marrs on . Posted in .

If we’ve ever seen a family who needed a fresh start, it’s Jay and Laura D’Spain. Ten years ago, Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a hard battle and rounds of chemotherapy, she went into remission. A few years later, Laura and Jay made plans to renovate their kitchen just as her doctors discovered the cancer had come back, this time with a brain tumor. Again, Laura beat it.

Jay had started some remodeling work in a few areas of the house, projects that lingered and were never completed. Laura really wanted the house to actually…get done. Neither she nor Jay had the designing ability to take the house and its unfinished projects to completion, so they asked Dave and me to step in and take over.

Now, cancer-free and with a whole new attitude, these new empty-nesters are looking to the future. They plan to live every day to the fullest by making the house they purchased in 2011 the 2021 home of their dreams! My plan was to refresh this house, giving it the modern chalet look with updated materials and finished projects.



The outside of the D’Spains’ house didn’t need extensive renovation. We were able to change so much of the look by painting white over the existing and adding new lighting and landscaping. Both Laura and Jay wanted an inviting entrance, so we extended their entryway and brightened with new paint and lighting. These simple changes really refreshed this home’s exterior.



Brick Paint Color | Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray

Trim Paint Color | Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal

Landscaping | Ground Effects Landscaping



To Laura, the kitchen is the heart of her home and she was most excited about the possibilities in this space.  We changed the entrance in a way that opened it up some but still kept it partially closed from the living room. The new entry allowed natural light from the bay window through to both the kitchen and living area. Figuring out a layout for the rest of the kitchen was a bit tricky because of more angles. We ended turning it into a u-shaped space.

Laura wanted a cozy lodge feel for her home, and I wanted to fill this kitchen with warmth and texture while making sure it was functional for her to work in. Since her surgery, she isn’t able to lift heavy things. We gave her a built-in space with a pull-up mixer so she wouldn’t have to haul out the heavy appliance every time she needed to use it. 

For a unique kitchen island, I worked with our go-to craftsman for metalwork, Frank Wallace. We designed a rolled, steel island narrow enough to fit the kitchen’s new shape and still provide plenty of surface space for cooking. The black island gives such an unexpected contrast to all the neutral, earthy colors!

Above the new stove, we wrapped the oven hood with material from the removed fireplace mantel, a rustic contribution to the look and feel of this space. A solid
backsplash with an extended ledge, quartz countertops, flooring, and lighting freshened up the newly opened kitchen. The stove hood, the steel island, and the custom cabinetry transformed this into a sleek and functional modern-lodge kitchen that still serves as the heart of the D’Spains’ home.



Pendants | Encore

Range |

Refrigerator & Vent | Metro Appliance

Sink, Faucet, & Pot Filler |

Countertops | Fabstone

Cabinet Paint Color | Farrow and Ball Shaded White

Breakfast Nook


The D’Spains had a big bay window next to the kitchen that provided light to the breakfast nook. To square those off, we added a straight bench to the window adding a new place to sit and making much better use of that space. Wood flooring across the kitchen and nook seamlessly tied the two spaces together. 

Jay and Laura have been through a lot in the last 10 years. It’s really important for them to capture memories, so we elevated the photo memory board in the breakfast area. Dave welded new steel, magnetic version that ties in with the kitchen island, and makes it super easy to regularly change out photos. 



Custom Wood Flooring | Tom-Heritage Hardwoods



Across from the kitchen, we turned an unused guest bathroom into a new laundry area, mudroom, and extended pantry space. The custom cabinetry in a pretty blue has pull-down features so Laura can access everything with ease. New flooring and lighting shows off the pop of color in this reinvented room.



Built Ins | Farrow & Ball De Nimes

Hooks |

Living Room


We had to contend with several awkward walls and angles in this home that just needed to be streamlined. We removed a stone half-wall in the entryway and covered their high, pointed ceiling with wood to draw up the eye. We added to an existing ceiling beam (that Jay had installed) to make it bigger and that better complimented the A-frame shape.

The fireplace in the D’Spains’ house was one of the works-in-progress Jay had started. The stones covered a huge area and kind of overwhelmed the living space. I had a concrete mantel poured that kept the stone look, and we swapped out the red stones with the muted ones from the removed half-wall. The fireplace remained the focal point of the room, but with the mantel’s lighter appearance, it now feels more appropriate to the size of the fireplace, and ties in with the lighter and more open living room.



Ceiling Fan |  Kichler

Furnishings | Howse

Concrete Mantel | Forever Design LLC

Exterior {Back}


Laura and Jay love to host friends and entertain in their backyard and pool, and we wanted to get this ready for them to do just that.

After building a porch, Dave got to work on a special project. Laura really wanted a place to sit outside and just enjoy relaxing, so Dave built a porch swing out of black walnut, a material he chose for its rich, beautiful color. I wanted Laura to see this porch swing as a way to rest and heal from all she’s been through: a safe haven for her to drink her coffee and simply relax, rather than recovering from surgery.

We literally branded this porch swing with the label of “Laura’s Chair.” She works with a nonprofit organization to provide women recovering from a double mastectomy with a recliner or another comfortable chair. Just as she names each chair for each woman, we named the porch swing in her honor.

We also included a scripture verse. When Dave’s mom went through breast cancer, I gave her a necklace with Isaiah 26:4. The verse was a comfort for her and a reminder to trust in the Lord in all things.

“Trust in the Lord forever,

    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” (ESV) 

Down the steps from the porch, we surprised Jay with an outdoor kitchen and pizza maker. He loves cooking outdoors and is famous for making pizzas. Throughout this whole renovation, he had asked for nothing for himself. He just wanted the house to be complete and new for Laura.

When she called me and let me know that she wanted to surprise him with this, we of course said yes! The new deck and screened-in porch area will be the future hosting place for many gatherings. 

Once again, Dave and I were honored to have the opportunity to not only renovate a house but to really make it into a home. I hope Jay and Laura can take this new season to relax, knowing the big house projects are now finished with features that make this a functional, accessible, easy home for them. 



Outdoor Kitchen | RTA Outdoor Living

Deck Paint Color | Sherwin Williams Deckscapes in Gray Stone 

Photo Credits: Mike Davello