Lori Byrne was dreaming of an old farmhouse, and when she walked into a ramshackle building in Crestwood in February, she thought, “Here it is.” Her husband, Brian, thought the exact opposite way about the residence, which was then inhabited by squatters of both the human and animal varieties. Lori found the home on Facebook Marketplace, where it had been posted for only three hours; she knew she had to leap at the chance for her company, Fleur De Lis Contracting & Design, to flip the home on five and a half acres off Highway 22. Soon, she says, the 6,800-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom house would “change” her life.
So, as you would expect, Lori bought the home. There were many challenges she faced before moving into the home in July, including making the floor plan work for their family’s lifestyle. Lori took the third story out of the house, added a porch, moved what was once the front entrance to the back of the house, broke up the eight car garage, moved the kitchen, and created a sunken living room. “I fell in love with the high ceilings,” Lori says about her initial opinion of the house. “I couldn’t leave it.”
Lori’s pride and joy of the home, built in the 1970s and added to in the 1990s, is the kitchen, modern and clean, with custom cabinets from Fleur De Lis, and fencewood-wrapped beams. The marble island compliments the 48-inch luxurious range with matte black hood and Imperial Danby-honed countertop. An enormous black, circular light fixture was added to provide light to an already open and airy room. The original kitchen was transformed into a beverage center in the foyer.
The attached dining room, one small flight of stairs up, was once an open room for entertaining complete with a hot tub. “(The home) was great as a nightclub, not as a house,” Lori laughs. Also off the kitchen is the sunken living room connected by an open fireplace with original stone with pieces of granite from old barges. “There’s a natural progression (through the home),” Lori says. Two contemporary staircases with walls lined with art by local artists and a collection of vintage Hermes scarves, lead to the second floor bedrooms.
The master bedroom includes a skylight so the couple can see the stars, and the bathroom has a walk-in shower and free-standing tub. Most surfaces in the home, including those in the bathrooms, are made of marble, which Lori says creates the “wow” factor, and fixtures are gold; floors are wide-planked wood or large format tile.
Christmastime is Lori’s shining moment. This year, during a global pandemic, the family is not having many guests, so they focused their decorating on the inside. The home is bright with mixed metallic trinkets, large cone trees, snowflakes and garland. The family room on the bottom floor includes red and lime green decor with handmade and collected ornaments from the kids’ childhoods. “We are a family who loves Christmas,” Lori says.
The home, now finished, was a labor of love for Lori, Brian and their Fleur De Lis team. Most builders would run from the fixer-upper, but Lori says she’s “not scared of any project. It shows people we can tackle the really big projects.” Since the pandemic has forced the real estate market to have low inventory of new homes, Lori suggests buying and flipping homes like she did. The family uses their home as an example that “everything is fixable,” Lori says, and that the business has the expertise to make something go from completely crumbling to a grand modern farmhouse.
For more information on Fleur De Lis Contracting & Design, go to fleurdeliscontracting.com