The Kuppersmith Project 1: Planning

Danny Lipford outside The Kuppersmith Project home before renovation.
Danny Lipford outside The Kuppersmith Project home before renovation.

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Welcome to the first episode in my 13-part series on Today’s Homeowner about the remaking of a classic American home. The Kuppersmith Project will follow my extensive renovation of a two-story, Tudor style home built in 1926.

Once our remodeling is complete, the house will be transformed into a beautiful and practical home any family would love to call their own.

About the Kuppersmith House

Stone mantel in Kuppersmith house
Unique stone mantel in Kuppersmith house.

Named for the family that lived in the home for over 50 years, the Kuppersmith house—located in Mobile, Alabama—had been updated little before my renovation project began.

The 1,900-square-foot house had no insulation, lacked central air and heat, and contained antiquated plumbing and wiring that had changed little over the years.

Even though the amount of work needed posed quite a challenge, the home itself was very appealing and had some unique features—such as the rounded front door, heart pine floors, and unusual stone mantel—that attracted me to the project.

The Kuppersmith House Project Plan

Mobile architect Pete J. Vallas was given the task of designing the plans that will add 1,000 square feet to the home and turn the existing 3 bedroom, 1½ bath house into a more spacious 4 bedrooms with 2½ baths.

Mobile architect Pete J. Vallas hard at work on plans for the Kuppersmith house.
Mobile architect Pete J. Vallas hard at work on the Kuppersmith house plans.

The plans call for removing the wall between the dining room and kitchen to open up the space, as well as developing a better overall traffic flow throughout the house. The new master bedroom and bath addition will be built off the back of the home, along with a back porch and separate garage connected by a breezeway.

The Kuppersmith Project Landscaping

In addition to the major changes in store for the house, a lot of repair work needs to be done as well. Years of neglect have resulted in extensive water damage to the wood, along with peeling paint, leaky windows, and cracked stucco.

The overgrown yard needs attention as well, so I brought in landscape architect Tony Seymour to give it a once over. After examining the condition of the plantings, Tony felt that the best course would be to remove all the existing trees and shrubs then start over from scratch.

Taking down the old garage behind the Kuppersmith house.
Taking down the old garage behind the Kuppersmith house.

The Kuppersmith Project Demolition Begins

After months of planning, the day finally arrived when the demolition phase of the Kuppersmith project could begin.

Backhoes were brought in to remove the landscaping around the house, and the termite infested garage was razed, along with the sun room addition.

Once all the debris had been cleared away, we were finally ready for the construction phase of the project to begin!

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Other Tips from This Episode

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Making Long Measurements

Here’s an easy and accurate way to determine the size of a room that’s longer than your tape measure. Measure a board, and put a reference mark on it at an even length in feet from one end. Position the end of the board against one wall, and extend your tape measure to the opposite wall. Add the two measurements together to find the total length. (Watch This Video)

Ryobi table saw

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Ryobi Table Saw with QuickStand

The Ryobi Table Saw with QuickStand is easy to set up and break down for transport. The compact table design extends to allow for added rip capacity and better work support while the guard keeps the 10” blade safely covered even on angled cuts. The Ryobi QuickStand table saw is available at The Home Depot. (Watch This Video)

Disposable batteries on ground

Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Rechargeable Batteries

Over 33 million pounds of batteries, containing potentially hazardous waste, are disposed of in landfills in the U.S. every year. Switching from disposable to rechargeable batteries for everything from toys to cameras to flashlights is not only eco-friendly, it can result in hundreds of dollars of saving over the lifetime of each rechargeable battery. (Watch This Video)


  1. As a displaced Mobilian, I was so excited to see the famous house that I passed daily driving to work at the Press-Register. Your show delighted me when I learned that Old Mobile is being restored and renovated.
    Keep up the good work!


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