Classy New York Style in A DIYer Home

Kandra Sobel Headshot

Half Finished Home is the creative outlet for Kandra Sobel, a DIYer for her family's lovely home updates. Door hardware was on her list of home upgrades, and she chose products from Nostalgic Warehouse to go with her appreciation for traditional and antique aspects of home decor. Our latest Q&A tells more about Kandra and her style inspiration.

Kathryn Packard Room with Mirror
Kathryn Packard Bedroom Door with Nostalgic Door Hardware

Please give us some more details on Half Finished Home. How did you develop it, and what sets it apart from the rest?

I started half.finished.home (formerly known as kms.home) to spare my family and friends from our constant home project updates. I had yet to learn there was an entire community of people with similar interests. Once I discovered the DIY and design community, I fell in love with creating content and connecting with people who shared my passion for affordable design and DIY! Half Finished Home is my creative outlet rather than a business; I hope that shows in my content.

During your remodel, were specific rooms more challenging than others? Why?

We have been remodeling our entire home since we purchased it 5 years ago. When we closed on it, I was 7 months pregnant with our daughter, and we gutted the whole kitchen and put in new floors before our daughter was born. We "white-boxed" most of the rooms right away and have slowly been designing and finishing them, which has been so fun! So far, our most challenging project to date was our primary bathroom. It is only 30 sq ft, and the shower is from the '70s and was put in "floating" over the staircase - so it's about a foot off of floor level and has a step to get into. I have yet to come across another shower like this one! We looked into having it relocated but were stuck with the footprint, so I had to get creative. The design goal was to get you to forget about how weird the shower is by turning it into a focal point. So we arched the shower entry and tiled the entire thing in marble. We went dark on the walls and ceiling, allowing the white marble to pop.

Kathryn Packard Room with Mirror
Kathryn Packard Bedroom Door with Nostalgic Door Hardware

How did you choose the hardware featured in this project? What attracted you to Nostalgic Warehouse?

The antique brass hardware is the perfect blend of modern and traditional! The warm color compliments the paint in our foyer, and the knob and back plate design is absolutely stunning. They elevate the entire room, and I can't wait to replace the rest of the door hardware in our home to match! What I love about NW is the MANY options they offer - in design, finishes, backplates, and knobs- you can create a custom look with high-quality products.

Will you use this hardware again in other projects/areas of your home? If so, why?

Yes! I absolutely love the quality and finish of the hardware. I can't believe the difference it makes on my builder-grade doors.

Did you learn any tips and tricks about door hardware that would benefit others?

Read the directions carefully and comprehend them because specific steps cannot be undone! Once you start drilling, you can't take it back - so be prepared before you begin. As you install, account for all of your other variables, like the door frame moving or twisting.

Kathryn Packard Room with Mirror
Kathryn Packard Bedroom Door with Nostalgic Door Hardware

What is your design style, and how do you incorporate those decorating decisions within your home?

My husband jokes that I don't have a "style," and our home is a random collection of things I like - and I guess that sounds about right! If I had to describe it, I would say that it is modern cottage meets… modern vintage? I repeat some aspects throughout my house, like beadboard, wallpaper, and modern lighting, to achieve a cohesive feel. I aim to always have an antique or vintage piece(s) in every room.

Where do you find design inspiration?

Many designers continue to inspire me with their pattern and color coordination. Those that can seamlessly blend old and new and have you asking yourself, "Is this space new, or is it original to the home?" will always be inspiring to me.

When starting a project, how do you organize and plan for it?

I start with a collection of inspiration, and from there, I develop my own design board. It can be challenging for me to visualize a space because I rely so heavily on vintage and antique pieces that can take a while to find. I like using google slides to organize my design boards. I always attach a budget slide with links and approximate material costs to stay organized.

Kathryn Packard Room with Mirror
Kathryn Packard Bedroom Door with Nostalgic Door Hardware

How did you choose a house to buy and renovate?

When we bought our house 5 years ago, we had a major deadline with me being pregnant. There were hardly any homes on the market; ours had been sitting for several months and was overpriced. I bugged my realtor until she finally showed it to us, and as soon as I walked in, saw the shag carpet, and smelled the mothballs, I knew it was home! I could see past all the "ugly" and immediately visualize the entire space as it is now. I go off of a feeling - if it doesn't feel right, it's not the right home.

Many people want to take on large remodeling projects. What are some recommendations for readers who wish to do an extensive remodel project?

If you plan on living through it, complete one room immediately - ideally your bedroom - that you can retreat to during the rest of the renovation. Having a finished, clean space at the end of the day is key to relaxing and will help keep the momentum of your projects going. If you're DIY-ing on a budget, then plan to be very patient. We're 5 years in and still have one more bathroom to take down to the studs and a full basement we have not touched. The work is hard and time-consuming, but the result is rewarding and something you'll always be proud of.

What are some tips for readers who wish to make a transformation in their home?

Stop planning and start doing! Don't be afraid to learn along the way; practice is the only way to get better at something.

What is next?

We had a baby in September, so you'd think we would relax a bit, but that is not the case. We finished our baby's nursery and are now laying tumbled bluestone in our front path. We have many small exterior projects we need to wrap up as well. Our next big project is our upstairs bathroom which requires a total gut.

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