Text by Bethany Adams
Jenna Sue has never shied away from a challenge. In fact, after tackling three home renovations, she decided it was time to try something harder—a true flip.
“At that point, I had owned and renovated three houses prior, but those were slow renovations while I was living [in them] over two to three years,” she says. This time, she would be commuting more than three hours twice a week, and she would be working on a six-month schedule. “So, it was a really big commitment.”
She found the perfect house for the project, tucked away in the woods and in dire need of an update. On the first walk-through, Jenna saw past the knotty pine walls and ceiling, striped carpet, and floral wallpaper to the underlying potential.
“It just had a ton of character and six cute little bedrooms and window dormers and wood beams and all these little details that I fell in love with,” she says. “So, I did a walk-through of the house, fell in love, and then I kind of put together a design plan.”
Moving forward, Jenna’s main goal was to “preserve the original character and charm,” which played heavily into her choices when it came to painting over the knotty pine. “When I bought the house, it felt very dark and cluttered, and it was also in the woods, so it doesn’t get a lot of natural light,” she says. “So, I thought the best way to lighten it up and make it feel fresh was to paint all the walls white. And I didn’t want to lose the cabin style, so I left a lot of the wood trim around the doors and the ceiling.”
While elements of the original design were preserved and enhanced, the renovation was nothing short of transformative. In the place of heavy, cluttered vibes, Jenna created a space glowing with a light and airy atmosphere that fits well within the definition of “haven.”
A living area featuring a slipcovered sofa and painted fireplace welcomes family and guests with layers of rich textures and warm neutrals—a technique that Jenna carried throughout the entire design. “I always like to look for natural textures, like wood and jute, and natural fabrics,” she notes.
The preference is evidence of her attention to detail, which is clearly seen in features such as the herringbone brick veneer backsplash in the kitchen. Juxtaposed with the clean white tile on either side, the detail pulls in the tones of the rug and the throw pillows that make the breakfast nook extra comfy.
Elements such as sleek black cabinets paired with wooden countertops and industrial-style stools gathered around a weathered white pedestal table indicate Jenna’s talent for creating balance. Toward that end, she crafted a dining space that combines delicate white lace and elegant candlesticks with dark metals on the chairs, bench, and chandelier.
The balance of painted surfaces and exposed wood is best seen in the bedrooms, where exposed ceiling beams create warmth and keep things comforting. As in the rest of the home, calming neutrals and soft finishes are balanced with touches of dark and sleek style. “I probably had the most fun designing and decorating the bedrooms,” Jenna says.
Despite a number of challenges during the flip, from the long commute to inclement weather, Jenna says she’s still as in love with the home as she was when she finished it. And since the flip, she and her husband have continued to take on more challenges, including finishing their new home and preparing for the arrival of their first child. “We’ve got our hands full,” Jenna says. But whatever the next challenge is, she’s certainly ready to tackle it.
Shop our latest issues for more inspiration!