French teacher, blogger and designer Camille Dickson is a DIY convert of the maximum order. There is barely a surface at the 1950s ranch home she shares with husband Kyle which they have not painted, scraped, re-surfaced or gutted themselves. “I guess if someone else could get it done for hire, we could do it for free,” she says. The home is a gold mine of home improvement inspiration, with jobs which range from a fully renovated kitchen and bath to an accent wall completely coated with book pages from a French study guide.
in a Glance
Who lives here: Camille and Kyle Dickson, their two kids and Boston terrier Rufus
Location: Abilene, Texas
Size: 2,000 square feet; 3 bedrooms, two baths
A gallery wall consisting of nine frames showcases a map of Paris. Camille saw a large map costing over $1,000 at a favorite catalogue and produced a similar style for approximately $150 in her own living space using frames from Target.
Paint: Old Country Tan, Lowe’s
A striking wall covered with book leaves greets visitors as they enter the home. “The pages are from books I had around the house,” Camille says. “Two were old French study guides; another two novels I have at Goodwill for about 50 cents each. I simply used my stapler from school to tack up the pages there.”
The piano, a present from Camille’s grandfather, is one of her precious possessions. “He gave it to our family when I was in third grade, and I took classes all of the way through high school,” she says. “I have lots of happy memories connected with it.”
A gallery wall sets off a curated set of mementos and travel treasures in the foyer. “My personal style seems to be dictated by what I like at this time, and I feel that the things in your home should tell you and your family’s story,” Camille says. “Almost everything that’s on screen has some sort of significance behind it, if it be out of our journeys, a family heirloom or something that one of us has left. That’s in the root of the design philosophy.”
Table: Cost Plus World Market; side chairs: Thomasville
The living room is a heavily textured and layered area achieved with time and patience. “We have lived here for almost 10 decades, and the home has slowly evolved to what you see now,” Camille says.
The dog mattress under the piano is from Holly Mathis Interiors. Mathis is a longtime friend of Camille’s, and also the design is named for Rufus, the Dicksons’ dog.
Coffee table: Overstock.com; place rug: Joss and Main
A Boston terrier–print throw pillow onto a cornered slipper chair can also be a nod to Rufus. The table lamp is one of Camille’s DIY jobs; she gave the foundation an upgrade with silver spray paint.
Slipper seat: Overstock.com
The French-inspired dining room is awash in light blue, softened with wheat-colored curtain panels and organic linen cushions embroidered with French words.
The table is from a regional antiques store and has been what Camille calls “a Marsha Brady yellow.” She gave the rounded ends a fast buzz using a circular saw, then stripped off the table and then stained it with Rust-Oleum Sunbleached Wood Stain. She subsequently painted the legs and apron white and sanded them down. Her cheap secret weapon for aging furniture: black and brown wax shoe polish.
Paint: Milk Pail, Home Depot; drapes: Ballard Designs; chandelier: Quoizel, Lighting Universe; place carpeting: 1 Kings Lane; chairs: Kmart
Camille repurposed a timber plank out of her in-laws’ old fence and attached it to two antique corbels found at a store in Fort Worth to create this shelf.
The tan and blue colour scheme continues in the primary suite, where a wooden sleigh bed takes center stage. “I mowed the footboard about 12 inches along with my reciprocating saw, because I had been frustrated by how it made the space look tight,” Camille says. “Now it’s like a panel mattress. Kyle thought I’d lost my head if he saw me sawing away, but he believes it works better today, also.”
Wall paint: Woodlawn Blue; ceiling paint: Manchester Tan, both by Benjamin Moore; quilt, duvet: Pottery Barn
A little assortment of glass cloches found at Goodwill and Hobby Lobby adorns a dresser at the primary bedroom. “The one with ‘Gateaux‘ piled on the front was a recent buy during a visit to NYC, from the Morgan Library and Museum,” Camille says. “I lugged that thing around the Garment District while fabric shopping, then in my carry-on bag on the way home.”
The couple completely renovated their previously pink-tiled, glittery-Formica-clad principal bathroom. “Everything in there was first and needed replacement,” Camille says. ” I love having two sinks instead of simply one. It makes mornings much more civilized.”
She created the dual vanity from an antique buffet found at a consignment store for $200. After painting it white, the few topped it with a Carrara marble remnant from a local stone lawn.
Paint: Wedgewood Gray, Benjamin Moore; knobs, pulls: Anthropologie
Camille keeps clutter to a minimum with DIY business jobs like this framed jewelry corkboard in her bedroom. “I really don’t like a great deal of stuff in the home,” she says. “In actuality, I am known for cleaning up using a trash can in hand.”
Camille renovated the kids’ hall toilet on a1,200 budget. She converted their tub to a dual tub and shower, painted the cabinetry, replaced the glitter-specked Formica counter with granite counter tops, tiled the ground and installed new lighting. “I learned a lot about constructing walls, carpentry and electrical, as I did it all myself,” she says. “However, I left the plumbing to the specialists.”
Camille discovered to tile by viewing her father and studying up on techniques and supplies. “It is not difficult but does take patience, especially in the event that you decide to learn using little bitty tiles, such as I did. Maybe not my smartest move. I utilized a manual tile for your toilet, then afterward a wet saw for my kitchen backsplash, and there is no wonder that the tile saw is much simpler to use.”
Wall paint: Rosemary, Walmart; tile: Lowe’s
A 1970s-era credenza, purchased at Goodwill for $30, has been painted black and today serves as a buffet in the kitchen. “I added panels to the drawer fronts to add a little bit of detail and hide the recessed drawer pulls,” Camille says. “I added turned legs to the floor and an MDF top, then flashed the edge to give it a finished-countertop appearance.”
Buffet hardware: Hobby Lobby
Two-toned cabinetry, subway tile and marble countertops give the kitchen a dressed-up vibe. Kyle reconfigured the kitchen by yanking out the first wall mount and retrofitting a slide-in range. He also replaced the cabinets, upper cupboard doors and countertops. “After those things were done, it really begun to feel like home,” Camille says.
The most recent upgrade to the home involved replacing the dining and kitchen flooring with hand-scraped walnut. “We had a major escape while we had been on vacation and were made to replace the flooring,” she says. “While we were in it, I chose to replace the carpeting in the living room and hallway with timber too. I think the biggest splurge so far is the wood floor we picked, but it had been worth every penny.”
The couple purchased the stainless apron-front sink on clearance. It sat patiently at the garage for a while before the renovation began. “I highly recommend large single-bowl sinks,” Camille says. “They could hide a good deal of dirty dishes.”
Upper-cabinet paint: Chelsea Gray, Benjamin Moore; sink: Overstock.com
Camille made excellent use of the area over and around the cooking range. A hanging rack keeps pans and pots in the ready; it shares space with an open wall-mounted spice rack out of Ikea.
Wall paint: Rosemary, Walmart
The back of an antique oven serves as a magnet board attached to a kitchen wall. “It had such a beautiful patina,” Camille says. “I needed to save it and turn it into something practical.”
A large living room teeming with cushy seating and including an entertainment center is opposite the kitchen and enjoys views of the garden. “Truthfully, there are a great deal of things about our home that I would change if I had carte blanche, but we live here. Like, really live here,” Camille says. “I want for your kids and people who come around to become comfortable. So the ivory linen couch can wait. For now, we’ll watch films and put a little additional butter on our popcorn as we hit the sofa, which also doubles as a giant napkin.”
Curtains: Lowe’s; couches: Ashley Furniture; wall paint: Rosemary, Walmart
A door, potted greenery plus a little Boston terrier sculpture create a welcoming vignette in the front entry. The doorway mat reads “Bonjour,” giving visitors a little taste of what’s inside.
Kyle’s brother, who resides across the street, alerted him if the home went on the market a decade back. Then, about four years when they moved in, the house next door was purchased by their parents. “We’d like to call our neighborhood ‘the compound,'” Camille says.
“There are many things to appreciate about Abilene,” says Camille, revealed here with Rufus. “True, there aren’t a great deal of trees and it’s quite hot and dry in the summer, but we do have a thriving arts community, including numerous museums and galleries, ballet, a symphony and lots and lots of great places to eat.”
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