How A Leap-Of-Faith Remodel In Brendonshire Paid Off

Although Dionne and Marcus Banks are HGTV enthusiasts, they never expected a home reveal of their own. But that’s exactly what happened when they fully renovated their three-bedroom, 4,200-square-foot French-style home in Brendonshire. Throughout the early portion of the 10-week renovation, the couple stopped by and chatted with contractor Miguel Gonzalez and interior designer Chazzmin Jones. But a few weeks before completion, Jones suggested a dramatic TV-style reveal. He’d never done one, and the Bankses, who were staying with Dionne’s mother, were game. They didn’t want to get in the way and slow down Jones, anyway. And they trusted him.

Dionne found Jones, senior designer for Jones Design Group, by searching Houzz for someone based in Indianapolis with experience blending contemporary and traditional styles. They wanted a designer who could unite Marcus’s aesthetic (elevated neutrals) with Dionne’s (a love of color). “It’s hard to manage two different styles when you’re part of the couple,” Dionne says. “So we thought it would be good to have that designer experience, and not have to argue with each other about what we wanted.”

From their first meeting, the couple and Jones vibed. It turned out that both Dionne and Jones wanted to do a green kitchen. Dionne was thinking something along the lines of bright-but-not-highlighter-bright green. Marcus was keen on mint, and Jones wanted to give it a try. (“Green is a color that is going to be in for 2021,” he says.) The Bankses had one request: They didn’t want an overly trendy color they would have to change in five or 10 years. To get that perfect shade, though, they had to go back to the drawing board several times. When they finally found “Cilantro” by Sherwin-Williams, the Bankses gave the kitchen the green light.

In the dining room, they let loose with color even more. The look starts with alternating yellow and butterfly-patterned chairs, which Dionne had purchased before the renovation. The deep blue color on the walls was taken from the butterfly fabric. And the geometrical wallpaper on the ceiling? Jones had seen it trending in Dallas, and Dionne thought it was worth bringing here. 

Because of all the bold choices, the dining room was the room Dionne was most excited to see and the one Marcus was most hesitant about. “I was nervous about the dark color on the wall and how it would complement the kitchen, but I think it worked well,” he says. “I thought, Maybe Chazz knows how it’s going to play better than I would.”

It’s true: Visualization can be hard. Sharing creative control is hard, too. In those instances, Dionne offers this reminder: “If you’re going to hire somebody, be willing to trust them. Because that’s the whole reason you hired them.” For the Bankses, that meant swapping extra space in the guest room for a larger master bathroom. Jones also had some fun with 4-year-old son Malachi’s room. He went with a “seek adventure” theme that includes a tent, a bed that resembles a tent, a campfire-inspired rug, and road signs from the place where his parents met. “We got those from a thrift store in Arkansas, and I originally planned them for the basement,” says Marcus. “But I like them better up here.” At the reveal, Malachi was ecstatic. He loved the rug, the tent, the colors. Mission accomplished.

Designer Chazzmin Jones.

Dionne learned a few other things from the remodel: Stick to your budget. Know your must-haves. Plan on having interruptions. Be open to compromise. And again, let the experts be experts. “Part of the joy of hiring a designer is that you don’t have to think about the project all the time,” says Dionne. An interior designer can be a friend, a confidant, a psychologist. It’s not just about the aesthetic; it’s also about trust and compatibility. “These days, Pinterest and HGTV make it hard for a designer to really spread his wings with some clients,” says Jones. “I was really thankful that Marcus and Dionne gave me a lot of creative freedom.”

On the day of the reveal, Jones lit candles and brought in fresh flowers, which gave the place a welcome-home vibe. “We walked from room to room, and I got a chance to show them everything,” he says. “A lot of my clients don’t get that because they’re there throughout the entire process. So it was really rewarding to see their natural reactions and have that moment with them.”