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A Dream Renovation

Kim Spears Creatively redesigns her family’s house with Thrifty Tactics to create a beautiful “shabby chic” home.

The easy part was falling in love with each other and their children.

The hard part was bringing the families together under one roof in a way that honored the fresh beginning and effortless, peaceful lives Kim Spears and Andy Reich planned to enjoy together.

“Originally, we were just going to sell the house,” Spears says, standing in the foyer of their 3,800-square-foot Sewall’s Point home and guesthouse in High Point.

And no one would blame them: The interior was dated with the dark colors of the 1990s, and it felt small. The floors were made of orangey-red oak. The dark cherry dining room and kitchen tables were flanked by stately dark china cabinets, which melted into the hunter green and brown leather chairs. Country-style fans served as light fixtures.

The master bedroom featured ivy-covered wallpaper and more heavy, dark woods. The kitchen cabinets were creamy gold, and the area rugs were maroon and tan. On the back patio, striped cushions covered a seating area that overlooked a ping-pong table.

But instead of moving, Spears and Reich, a partner in the law firm of Reich & Mancini, decided to use the skills Spears developed in her career staging houses for resale to gut and renovate the entire home.

Over the last year, Spears has overseen a complete renewal of their home – relying heavily on restored, vintage pieces that create a sophisticated, timeless feel for a fraction of the price of most renovation projects.

The result is a beautiful design that’s ideal for hosting parties for friends and relaxing as a family.

“I see the beauty in things that others might not see. It comes naturally,” says Spears, who owns The Kim Spears Group Real Estate and Interiors for Keller Williams. “Now I feel like I’m on vacation when I come home, like we’re at a beach resort, living casual but chic.”

What started as a necessity – bringing together their families (including Reich’s 18-year-old daughter, Emily, and 16-year-old son, Kyle, and Spears’ daughters: Emily, 18, and Lizzy, 14) – turned into a fun, year-long project that also brought the couple closer together.

That’s because instead of ordering everything from a showroom, Spears searched area thrift stores and special online boutiques to find the perfect pieces at a surprisingly reduced rate. Every time the couple travels somewhere, they’re sure to swing into a secondhand shop.

“He’s with me on weekends, and we go thrift-shopping,” Spears says. “He let me have my own directions and gave me free reign. And he loves it all.”

What’s not to love?

With Spears’ fresh aesthetic, every room in their home has been transformed into an airy dream, with white-washed furniture in unique, natural shapes. Pieces of real coral, fragrant candles and orchids accent bargain finds. Those wicker chairs in the living room? Spears paid $75 for each at the House of Hope thrift store, and added custom-made cushions that tie together her love of Asian flair and rustic beach vibes. The tray table that creates a seating area near the dining room? Goodwill, plus a little white paint.

Her favorite stores are the Habitat for Humanity ReStores in Stuart and Palm Beach, where she purchased her sofa, which probably retailed for $10,000, for a mere $65.

“They know me very well there,” she says, laughing.

The idea for the renovation began when Spears started admiring looks in design magazines. When she searched online at Palm Beach Regency and Circa Who, she found the same pieces – but with a high price tag. That’s when the hunt began.

With a nod to the Hollywood Regency style of the 1930s featuring bamboo, spun wicker and a hint of glitz, she began finding great deals locally and used the contacts she made professionally to restore the piece’s beauty. The taxidermied sailfish in Kyle’s room? Ebay. The outdoor Lucite table with large nautilus shells? The ReStore. That bar cart? Salvation Army.

Of course, mixed into the restored bargain finds are investment pieces and accents that tie together the design. Mirrors and chandeliers custom-decorated by artist Stephanie Ferguson, who designs with shells, coral and crystals, add to the unique feel. Davi Restorations in Palm City restored and repainted worn furniture pieces.

Restoration Hardware (the outlet is where to find the best deals, Spears adds) is the source for the kitchen knobs and curtain rods. Seagrass rugs (relatively inexpensive and easy to replace if Skipper, the dog they adopted from the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast, makes a mess) and new DuChateau flooring came from Able Carpet in Jensen Beach.

The fabrics, including a lot of white Sunbrella stain-resistant, indoor-outdoor cushion covers, were mostly from Calico Corners in Stuart.

Their guesthouse was the latest phase of the renovation, which was completed just hours before they opened their home to more than 600 visitors as part of last year’s Holiday Home Tour to benefit the Woman’s Club of Stuart.

“I don’t function well in chaos, and it was!” she says of the yearlong project.

Using the same fresh mix of classic pieces, Spears created an office in the guesthouse featuring a Lucite chandelier, desk and bookcase, a rare queen cobra wicker chair (Craigslist for $75) and flooring from the ReStore that saved approximately $11.50 per square foot.

Overall, Spears estimates that she’s paid about a tenth of what her renovation project should have cost the family, had it not been for her bargain-hunting and simple restoration work.

Of course, her collection of amazing pieces has overflowed into a storage space, which she is in the process of slowly selling to those who appreciate her clean design aesthetic. Selling some of her prized finds to clear out the garage, at the request of her husband, may have been the toughest part of the project.

For now, the family is enjoying the results of all of their hard work. But Spears is planning the final phase of renovation in the house: the master bathroom.

“It feels a little weird. I need my next project,” she laughs.