Caroline Harper Knapp Turned This 1960s Ranch Into a Dream Home for Her Family of Five

Step inside the Houston home.

In 2019, Caroline Harper Knapp had just finished the process of having plans drawn up by an architect and approved by her Houston, Texas neighborhood's HOA to add on to her family's home. They needed space for the Knapp's third baby, who was on her way.

Just before construction was to begin, Knapp was perusing a Houston real estate website one night and found a classic 1960s ranch-style home in her beloved neighborhood. After walking through the house with her realtor and contractor, Knapp and her husband bought the home and plans to turn it into the family's dream home were underway.

Knapp, who helms the lifestyle and design blog House of Harper, worked with Houston designer Jennifer Barron, of Jennifer Barron Interiors, forming a dream team for Knapp's dream house. Throughout the house, Barron used beloved décor and furniture the Knapps already owned mixed with new pieces for the family's new home.

What's Old is New

Knapp kept the original layout in the front of the house but added wood paneling to the walls of the formal living room.

"I think it adds beautiful detail and makes the room feel a little more formal and special," said Knapp.

The centerpiece of the room is a large painting by New Orleans artist Alexis Walter. Knapp and Barron worked with Walter on the commissioned piece, sending the artist samples of fabrics planned for the room so Walter could work the same colors into her art.

A theme throughout Knapp's home is a mixture of old and new, pairing modern art over classic furniture styles and even hand-me-downs from some of Knapp's family members. Two chairs once owned by Knapp's grandparents were recovered and now sit across from bold tiger print stools.

"A very classic floral and gingham pattern with a very loud tiger pattern is just a really good juxtaposition of traditional and transitional and makes the space really interesting and dynamic," said Barron.

Contemporary and Classic

In the dining room, Barron and Knapp continued that idea with contemporary art hanging on a wall covered in mural wallpaper in a traditional floral design.

"I think it's a really fun mix and it's kind of unexpected," said Knapp.

Heart of the Home

Renovations on the 1960s home started in the kitchen, adding a wet bar and walk-in pantry that Knapp said is a dream to have. She uses the large pantry to store food and formal dishes and serving ware that are not in everyday use by her young family. The original home had a breakfast area that Knapp had converted into a bigger kitchen, putting in a large island that's used for breakfast and afternoon homework sessions. Knapp said the quartzite-topped island is the most used space in the home. The open kitchen flows right into the family room.

Barron said the family room was the most fun space for her to design.

"We brought in lots of color, lots of pattern and different textures," said Barron.

A big task was moving the original corner fireplace in the family room to the center of the room - a must for Knapp.

"I'm a huge symmetry person," said Knapp. "Not only that, it allowed us to turn one of the bedrooms into a playroom. We were able to put a door when we moved the fireplace."

The playroom right off the family rooms allows for Knapp's three children to have their own space but still be close to the home's center of activity in the kitchen and family room.

A Place of Their Own

Barron and Knapp's vision for the playroom was to make it functional with built-in shelves and a desk but also sophisticated, decorated with grasscloth wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries, a wallpapered pinboard, and a gallery wall of framed art created by Knapp's children.

"Now that their art is displayed, they are so proud to come in and see it," said Knapp. "It's a really cool way to decorate a playroom and add that personal touch."

Using beautiful colors and patterns in versatile, and washable, fabrics throughout the house allowed Barron to marry the beautiful design loved by Knapp with a livable space for her whole family.

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