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Artful Update

2016 Design Award Winner: Whole-house remodel over $750,000

August 30, 2016
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artful update

Photos: courtesy Blake Mistich

Remodeler: Laughlin Homes & Restoration, Fredricksburg, Texas

Lighting: Gerard Rendon, Stevens Lighting, San Antonio

In a Nutshell: The home was a hodgepodge of awkward rooms and styles reflecting previous owners’ tastes. Laughlin designed additions to blend with the existing structure and created open, light-filled spaces. 

Challenges: The homeowners deal in Western art and wanted an understated backdrop for their extensive collection. “We needed to design 67 places for art to hang,” says Richard Laughlin, company owner. “It was tough. We didn’t want it to look like a gallery; we wanted it to feel like a home.”

Tips & Tricks: All-natural plaster from American Clay was used on the walls to provide a soft background for the art. In addition to the product’s pleasing look, damage from fasteners is easily blended with a quick troweling—an option not possible with most plaster. In the great room (below), the team embedded gallery rails at a height of about 12 feet on the wall. 

The client wanted to keep the central fireplace, even though it dominated the space and there was only 3 feet of room to walk on either side of it. Laughlin expanded the area and redid the fireplace using white grout instead of gray to make it look less busy. He also flattened the vaulted ceiling to 14 feet. “The room felt too cavernous,” he says. “It was like a bowling alley.” The kitchen ceiling was clad with barn lumber and whitewashed for a subtle effect. Its 8-foot ceiling was raised to 12 feet for a better transition from the great room.

See the full list of winning entries here.

About the Author

About the Author

Erika Taylor is the director of content for Professional Remodeler. Contact her at or 972.803.4014.

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