Before & After: A Labor of Love for a Designer and Contractor

Before & After: A Labor of Love for a Designer and Contractor

When thinking about purchasing first homes, excited buyers envision not only the changes they want to make, but also the times that will be spent there. Five years ago, Rachel and Tyler Grace weren’t just dreaming about sophisticated crown moldings upon finding their single-story 1920 Craftsman bungalow in Haddon Heights, NJ; they were also planning for the future arrival of now-two-year-old daughter, Selby Lake. Rachel, an interior designer and manager of furniture and lighting product development for Anthropologie, chose to put special emphasis on her home’s architectural details while keeping the place family-friendly. Tyler, an interior remodeling contractor, is the principal and head carpenter of TRG Home Concepts. Through various collaborations on professional projects as well as their own residence, Rachel has learned about the technical side of renovating, while Tyler counts on Rachel’s aesthetic design eye.

The homeowners completed one room at time. In total, it took them five whole years to redo the house to their specifications, as Rachel found herself booking Tyler’s time as would any of his customers. Beginning with the bathroom and finishing in the kitchen, Rachel and Tyler introduced at least one type of molding in each area. For overnight guests, walls paneled in white-painted wainscoting await. Selby’s room received an intricately-coffered ceiling. The living room fireplace is surrounded by built-in bookcases, and shiplap in the kitchen lends traditional texture. The bedroom closets were not even deep enough to accommodate standard hangers, so Tyler also rebuilt and expanded them to accommodate clothing (and Rachel’s few too many pairs of shoes). She’s thankful to have such a talented partner “who jokes that renovating has been a labor of love,” Rachel shares. “A labor for him and love for me.”

The home’s 1,100 square feet won’t hold the brood forever; with two adults, one small child, and eight-year-old chocolate Lab Shammy, Rachel anticipates wanting more space in the not-too-distant future. “We’re going to outgrow it and it’s going to break my heart,” she admits. “We started our family in our house and have literally put our blood, sweat, and tears into it.” —Annie

Photography by Courtney Apple


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