Stylish & Small

A young couple wrote to me recently asking if they could show me their work. Sarah and Miles Durham have a fledgling house renovation business, and this house at 3975 Highgrove in Midway Hollow is their second project on their own. Built in 1951, it's 1,800 square feet.
Sarah writes:
Miles worked for four years under his father, who has a small residential design/build firm in Dallas. They built houses in the Park Cities, Briarwood, Bluffview, and Midway Hollow - all larger homes, typically speculative.

With Miles working as the superintendent/ project manager, he was also responsible for finishes. Because he was so busy, I began to help him, and eventually took over entirely in this department. I had no experience at this point with finishes, but it was benefical to work with an architect who would push the envelope to a degree. The houses were all somewhat contemporary, so as each house was completed, Miles and I developed a love for contemporary design.

The Durhams added 1,100 square feet of rift cut red oak floors

Sarah continues:

A year back Miles went to work for a commercial general contractor. We decided to continue to renovate houses and live in them while they were on the market. Miles handles the drawings, and I am learning to run the construction end of things. The interior and exterior finishes are a collaboration.

The Kitchen, Before
The Highgrove project was a major challenge due to the state of the house. It was abandoned for years, the plumbing, electrical, and hvac was outdated, there was no insulation, and the floor plan, as many houses tend to be that are built in 50's, was very chopped up. We made the decision to gut the house entirely, leaving only the exterior walls, foundation and roof structure. We also decided to remove almost all of the interior partitions in order to create a series of interconnected spaces.

Exterior, Before

A few years ago, I'm not sure anyone would have considered saving this house. Nowadays, it makes sense to work with what you already have.


And what a simple yet lovely re-do.

"My husband and I love design and the challenges that come along with it," says Sarah. It shows. This stylish renovation of a crumbling old house just sparkles with new life. I love seeing small projects like this, and I hope more and more people will renovate instead of tearing down.

The Durhams are still working on a website, but meanwhile if you want to get in touch with them, email Sarah at