Kuppersmith Home Renovation Project 1: Planning

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.

In this episode, we examine what’s needed for the project, including:

  • Plans: Discussion of the restoration and addition with architect Pete J. Vallas.
  • Landscaping: We talk with landscape architect Tony Seymour about whether to save or replace the existing shrubs and trees.
  • Demolition: Work on the project begins with tearing down the old garage in the backyard and a sunroom addition.

The Kuppersmith house, seen on a sunny day in Mobile, Alabama
The Kuppersmith house, seen on a sunny day in Mobile, Alabama, before we renovate it.

About the 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 an unusual stone mantel — that attracted me to the project.


Mobile, Alabama architect Pete J. Vallas, seen at his drawing board, works on the Kuppersmith house plans.
Mobile, Alabama architect Pete J. Vallas works on the Kuppersmith house plans.

The Kuppersmith House Project Plan

Mobile architect Pete J. Vallas was tasked with designing plans that will add 1,000 square feet to the home and turn the existing three-bedroom, 1½ bathroom house into a more spacious four bedrooms with 2½ baths.

Plans call for removing the wall between the dining room and kitchen to open up 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.


“Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford and landscape architect Tom Seymour look at the overgrown trees and bushes at the Kuppersmith house.
“Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford and landscape architect Tom Seymour look at overgrown trees and bushes at the Kuppersmith house.

The Kuppersmith Project Landscaping

In addition to major changes in store for the house, a lot of repair work needs to be done.

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 feels that the best course would be to remove all the existing trees and shrubs and start from scratch.


Construction equipment starts demolishing the Kuppersmith House in Mobile, Alabama
Construction equipment starts demolishing the Kuppersmith House in Mobile, Alabama

The Kuppersmith Project Demolition Begins

After months of planning, the day finally arrives when the demolition phase of the Kuppersmith project can begin.

Backhoes are brought in to remove landscaping around the house, and the termite-infested garage is razed, along with the sunroom addition.

Once all the debris is cleared away, we are finally ready for the construction phase of the project to begin!


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