Couple builds dream home from the ground up

Harold and Roxanne Collins began their engagement together by tearing down walls.

The couple wanted a vintage home with good structure to make their own when they got married.

They found the perfect place in Bluff Park on Park Avenue in 2015 and started renovations in January 2016.



Planning a wedding and renovating a home at the same time is a challenge for any bride and groom, but the Collinses were on a firm foundation, so to speak.

“We have grown so much through the process,” Harold said. “We learned lots and even enjoyed all the tough times that come along with renovating a home. We worked together, prayed together, and got married in May 2016 during our renovation. The house is part of us.”

The vintage home needed a lot of “TLC” – a total renovation of the house was on the table.

They first took down all of the sheetrock to start with a blank canvas.

“We tore out sheetrock in the entire house and had the house down to the studs so we could see the structure of the house,” Roxanne explains.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home also needed updating behind the walls with new electrical work and HVAC. The living room and kitchen required the most work the couple said.

“We took down four walls in the living room to open up our space and got rid of what was the old dining room and living room and made it one big space. We now have an open concept on the main level,” she added.

Load bearing walls are often difficult to work around in a renovation but the Collinses used a beam across the room to replace the weight support.

“We used cedar as a finishing material, which is also incorporated into the fireplace and the mantle,” Roxanne said.

The wood came from a local sawmill on Patton Chapel Road on Douglas Farm.

While in demolition mode, the couple got what they call an early wedding present.

“The best part of knocking walls down in the living room was the old brick chimney that we found behind the sheetrock. It is a focal point of the space now and adds so much character to the house,” Harold said.

Harold and Roxanne turned to Tyler Duncan & Duncan Design to help with their renovations. When renovating and revitalizing an older home like theirs, windows are most often replaced, but the windows in the Collinses’ home are still in great shape and remain.

The kitchen went under many changes as well, including custom cabinets and reconfiguring the plumbing.

“Our cabinets are the most beautiful part of our kitchen to me,” Roxanne said.

All of the knobs on the cabinets are mismatched finds from yard and estate sales, and the stove is original to the house.

The kitchen floor is also original and incorporates hardwood and concrete.

“We had to go through three layers of linoleum to get to the original hardwoods,” she said. “We also did a bronze acid stain to the concrete in the kitchen.”

The concrete ties together the new dark granite counter tops and copper farmhouse sink that the couple installed. It makes for a stunning kitchen renovation.

To “dress” their newly renovated home, the newlyweds called upon their nostalgic enthusiasm in each room, often using reclaimed items and materials.

With a love for antiques and their estate sale finds (some used in their wedding), they mix gold-tone, copper and rich colors throughout the home.

Now that the major renovation work is done, both say their favorite room to spend time in is the living room with its open space.

“The living room really shows the original character of the house,” Harold said.

“I think the reason I love it the most is because of the decor,” Roxanne added. “We got married in May and had a vintage and Victorian theme. Over our engagement, we went to yard sales and estate sales and collected items for the wedding. We kept everything we bought and it is now incorporated in the living room. All the decorations, sconces, candlesticks, mirrors, frames, etc. were at our reception. I love the vintage, elegant look as well as the recollection of our wedding day.”

The Collinses plan to continue work on the house with the addition of a master bedroom to be built onto the back of the house and some extensive landscaping for the backyard.

But for the couple, it is not just a house, it is now a home.

“Sitting on the front porch eating breakfast. Waving as our friends run or drive by. That is what makes our ‘house’ our home. We have awesome neighbors and we just love it here,” Harold said.