Callie and Eric Wiens spent months of sweat, planning, and hands-on building and designing to turn this hundred-year-old craftsman bungalow into the home of their dreams. Their young, growing family is happily settled down in this stunning, true-to-style renovation.
The Wiens Family Eric, Callie, and new son, Mac, with their dogs, Kona and Chewie
“We had lived in a smaller home a few streets over for several years, and we love North Chattanooga so much, we knew we didn’t want to move. But one day, when we were walking the dogs and saw this house was for sale, we had to check it out,” Callie says. The house, which needed some work, was on a great street in their area, and the pair, with some home renovation knowledge, decided to invest in a beautiful, historic home full of potential. They set to work immediately, putting forth great effort to keep everything as authentic as possible. The exteriors retained their rough stucco finish and tapered columns. Minor repairs and a new coat of paint helped freshen the face of this charming neighborhood home.
Across the wide wooden front porch and inside the door is the living room. This space retained several original features, like the trim work. It was all pulled down, cleaned up, repaired, and replaced before being repainted. Behind the couch is a quaint window seat that was original to the home, and the Wiens repaired and updated it. “Our style is really timeless, so we tried to modernize what we could while staying true to the home’s style,” Callie says. The glass-front cabinets and tapered columns that help create division between the living room and dining room are also original and indicative of the craftsman styling of the home’s construction period.
The Wiens found some interesting artifacts as they worked on the home, which was built around 1915. “Some old newspapers, toy cars, a matchbox from the ’20s, some jacks and marbles, those are just a few of the things that we found while we were working in here,” Eric says.
In the adjacent dining room, the Wiens went above and beyond to retain the home’s historic elements. The custom wainscoting was all taken down and refurbished with care before being replaced. Another very special feature is the banquette in the window. “I think that’s one of the coolest pieces we saved,” Callie says. “I’m so glad we kept it. It just speaks to the home’s era and is a favorite focal point.” The warm neutrals work well to keep the overall feel classic but fresh. Brass-colored hardware blends well with the home’s original hardware throughout, which Eric worked hard to restore. “We took all the door knobs off and stripped the paint that had gotten on them over time, and I restored all the mechanisms. Now they’re better than just about anything you could buy.”
Walking through to the kitchen, many of the Wiens’ favorite features are prominent in this room. Eric says, “You can see most sides of the house from the windows in here. You can see through to the back of the house. It just feels like the heart of the home. Plus, the staircase is one of my favorite features, and it’s really highlighted in this room.” The staircase, which Eric and his dad built, was constructed from white oak wood harvested from the Wiens’ previous house. “We had the trees milled and let them dry for six years, so it was neat to finally be able to use them in this house,” Eric shares.
The quartz countertops and white cabinetry make a fresh backdrop for the navy blue island. Cutting boards and natural wood-topped stools tie in the raw wood element from the staircase, bringing the room together.
The kitchen walks through to a sunny little pocket office and the laundry room. The office area actually opens to the back porch as well, but provides a slightly separate space to work, with a wide open cased doorway distinguishing its identity. Porcelain gray tile anchors this whole space in a luxurious finish.
The door to the laundry room was a specially made piece meant to tie the home’s 1900s style in with the raw wood finishes used throughout the renovation, while also allowing lots of natural sunlight to come through. “I’m really glad we decided to do a lot of the work ourselves, because we were able to incorporate special little details. Callie has such a great eye for design. She laid a special pattern in the tile of the threshold going into the laundry room, and those are details that make a big difference,” Eric says. The wood used to create a small countertop in the laundry room is made from heart pine that used to be studs in this house. Eric made the countertop and a little bench in the pocket office to match.
“I’m really glad we decided to do a lot of the work ourselves, because we were able to incorporate special little details. Callie has such a great eye for design. She laid a special pattern in the tile of the threshold going into the laundry room, and those are details that make a big difference.”
– Eric Wiens
Also on the main level is the master suite. “Originally, there was a second, smaller living room down here, but there really wasn’t a master suite anywhere. So we turned the second living room into our master bedroom and the second little bedroom that was here became our master bath,” Callie explains. The bedroom has a working fireplace and cozy historic elements like an exposed brick hearth and original floorboards. “We really liked the little scratches and nicks; those are things that cue you in and tell you that you’re in an old house,” Callie says. The serene and sumptuous linens are grounded by more traditional dark wood stains.
In the adjoining master bathroom, modern conveniences align with timeless style. White tile, thick quartz countertops, a spacious glass-encased shower, and chrome hardware create a luxurious setting. Meanwhile, dark blue cabinetry and touches of greenery and natural wood and wicker add a softer, subdued quality.
Together with help from their family and friends, the Wiens have spent countless hours and plenty of effort on refurbishing this 1900s bungalow to a beautiful new beginning, rich with authentic elements intact. As Eric says, “It was a big bonding project for us, and both our dads helped a lot. I’m really glad we decided to do it ourselves, because we were able to take the time to work on pieces that were original to the house, and a lot of people wouldn’t have done that. It just makes us appreciate it that much more because we did a lot of the work ourselves.” CS