A Unique Home Renovation in Corpus Christi

Reviving this 1980s house and seamlessly incorporating two different design styles

By: Jacqueline Gonzalez  Photos by: Jason Page

When Jodi and Dean Thornberg moved to Texas 23 years ago, they were unfamiliar with the area, but after discovering the Wood River subdivision in Calallen, they felt right at home. The community pool, sidewalks, pathways, and most importantly, the incredible school district and family-friendly environment proved that this was the best place to raise a family. 

When they found the house they liked the most, it was the large yard and screened-in porch that drew Jodi’s interests, but Dean fell in love with the rich wood paneling. After spending many years in their dream home, they decided it was time to make some changes to their décor. “The house was built and designed in 1988, so change was well overdue,” says Jodi. “I knew I wanted light and modern, but I struggled with how I wanted it to come together.”

She and Dean’s busy work schedule didn’t give them much time for planning or execution of their ideas, and since creating a vision of your perfect home requires an extensive thought process, hiring a full-time, hands-on designer was the best option for them. After some research, they stumbled across the work of Shayneah and Thurston Thomas of Thomas Grae Interiors and fell in love with their attention to detail and innate talent for transforming basic home décor into works of art. 

“We wanted to give her some fresh ideas to recreate her space and give her the modern style she was looking for,” says Shayneah. The goal was to create an ambiance that gave Jodi and Dean a clean and comfortable space to relax in after a long day’s work.  

The redesign began in the master bedroom and bathroom. The ’80s style of the antique pink wall paint, back-to-back vanities, bold and chunky lighting, and 10×10 blue tile floors with thick grout spaces were outdated, and Shayneah had the perfect plan to transform this space into the bright, modern, and chic design that Jodi desired.  

The antique pink shade darkened the bedroom, so once the popcorn ceilings and walls were scraped, Shayneah was able to cover the room in crisp white paint that created an open and airy space. Since Jodi’s favorite color is blue, the white walls made a perfect backdrop for the blues and greens that were peppered throughout the room via plants, curtains, and decorative pillows. The outdated blue flooring was replaced with a clean tile and area rugs in neutral whites and grays, while the chunky lighting was replaced with contemporary lighting fixtures and lamps for a chic finishing touch. In the bathroom, they redid the plumbing and electrical components and extended the 5-foot shower by two extra feet for added comfort before covering it with a modern tile in neutral shades. The shower space was completed with champagne-colored accessories and a glass enclosure. 

The crisp whites and modern, chic vibe carried over into the kitchen, but this space was all about functionality. Jodi and Dean chose to keep the wooden cabinets and simply had them resurfaced and painted, along with an open shelving concept and subway tile backsplash with a unique texture. The countertops were replaced with quartz, and the island was updated and topped with pendant lighting to replace the sky lighting. The bar that separated the kitchen and dining area was originally long and took up quite a bit of space, so Shayneah decided to cut it down to a smaller size, then added some décor and barstools. Now, this is one of Jodi’s favorite spots in the kitchen, and it is perfect for her to sit for a quick cup of coffee in the morning.

At this point, the renovations were perfectly in line with Jodi’s tastes and her personality, and it was time to bring Dean’s personality into the mix. Shayneah was met with her first challenge in the home, because Dean was adamant about keeping the rich wood paneling in the living room and reading nook. Not only is wood paneling outdated, but its brown shade was a heavy contrast to the crisp whites that permeated the rest of the home. 

Not one to back down from a challenge, Shayneah had just the idea to modernize this space and still honor Dean’s wishes to keep the paneling. Jodi provided Shayneah with pictures and trinkets Dean had collected over the years from his travels and missionary work in different countries, and Shayneah decided to make a collage for wall art. The collage, juxtaposed with the bright orange chairs, black and white accent pillows, and the brown hairpin coffee table, makes the reading nook the perfect space for this history professor. The rolling bar at the corner of the room is ideal for relaxing and unwinding. Although the room features many shades of brown and orange, the space is brightened with tall windows, orb lighting, and greenery.

The large, open floor plan of the living room also kept Dean’s mid-century traditional feel with the brown paneling, brown leather couches, and a perfect amount of natural lighting through the tall windows. The large, attractive bookcase is one of Dean’s favorite pieces. “Dean was adamant that bookshelves are meant for books and not trinkets,” says Shayneah, “so the bookshelves have nothing but books, per his request.” Dean was thrilled with Shayneah’s ability to honor his tastes and still manage to keep to the theme they desired. 

The end result for the Thornberg home was a combination of décor styles that reflected the homeowners’ personalities yet still achieved the ultimate goal of bright, modern, and comfortable living.