She liked it just the way it was. He wanted "to do a project."
So for the first three years after Kelli and Todd Stevens bought their home near Webb Park in 2005, they did little to the one-story, three bedroom house.
And she was happy.
But Todd Stevens, CEO of Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, wanted to enlarge the galley kitchen and add more space for their two daughters, Bailey and Celia. You know, a project.
"Todd had to talk me into doing anything in the house," said Kelli Stevens, who works in alumni relations at Episcopal, where Celia attends, and is a founder of the Knock Knock Children's Museum.
In 2008, they hired architect Dyke Nelson, of DNA Workshop, who came up with a plan to build a new kitchen and expand the attic space by adding three bedrooms and three baths.
"We think he did a fabulous job," Kelli Stevens said. "The addition looks like it was always here."
Terry Honore was the contractor for the project, which took nine months.
"He became part of our family," Kelli Stevens said. "He brought us fresh vegetables from his garden and even stayed late one night and built Celia a birdhouse."
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A previous owner already had added a large master suite, which the couple did not change, but they turned what had been a small front bedroom into an office and made the middle bedroom their laundry room.
"Our daughter Celia loves to say that we turned her room into a laundry room," Kelli Stevens said with a laugh.
Another major change was to convert the original dining room into a library.
"It was really too small for a table," she said, "and it works well this way."
At the back of the home is the den with exposed beams, a brick floor and two sets of French doors leading to a wide brick back porch. A painting in four parts done by local artist Lauren Barksdale hangs over the fireplace and conceals the television when the panels are closed.
"Todd calls this room the living room because it's where we live," Kelli Stevens said. "I call it the den."
The room's seating area is two steps down from the front rooms of the home. The area at the top of the steps, originally delineated by a railing, is now where the main dining table sits.
The new kitchen, with two brick arches, is open to the raised portion of the den as well as to the library. It has dark-stained hardwood floors and a large stainless steel hood and appliances. The center island is made of painted wood with a dark-stained top and enough seating for casual family dining.
What was probably the original living room is at the front of the house with large windows on two sides. It's where Kelli Stevens goes to read and enjoy the view of the live oak that shades the house. The room is decorated in a comfortable modern way.
"This room is about as formal as I get," she said.
The upstairs addition was done for the couple's two daughters with their bedrooms and a playroom.
Although Kelli Stevens got some decorating advice, like paint colors, from interior designer Anne McCanless, she did most of the decorating herself.
She chose a collection of paintings from artists Meredith Pardue and Jill Hackney. She likes contemporary paintings with bold colors that go well with her neutral walls and fabrics. Several of the couple's favorite paintings are by their daughter Bailey, an art major at Sewanee: The University of the South.