Ferndale couple shows that anyone can live happily ever after, even after demolishing an entire kitchen.
By Amber Ogden
House photos courtesy Jenna Cook
Meeting through a mutual friend, neither Brandon Curry nor Jenna Cook knew they would be a match made in heaven and house hunting.
“I met the perfect girl, found the perfect house for the perfect price. It has been a nonstop rodeo ever since. My faith was restored in humanity after finding her. We are best friends,” says Curry, 38.
As Cook, 32, tells it, they met through a mutual friend. “I wondered, ‘How is this guy available?’ I feel like I am in a dream because he is amazing. I am so lucky to have him,” she says.
Cook was living in Detroit at the time she met Curry, who’s from Birmingham. In less than a year, they made a decision to live west of Woodward and north of Nine Mile. Ferndale was the happy medium. The decision was even easier because Curry works as a Realtor for Sotheby’s International Realty in Birmingham. Cook works at Honest John’s in Detroit.
Curry and Cook closed on their home Feb. 3, 2017, and started renovations the same day. They wanted to make the Tudor a warm and charming home and decided to document their journey on a blog called “For Richard or Poorer.” (Richard is their cat, and they have a dog named George.)
“When we moved, we wanted to paint everything white and just have a fresh start,” Curry says. “The trim was all-natural dark wood, in beautiful condition, but it wasn’t our style.”
It was important to Curry and Cook to make sure the home featured both of their tastes in the design and decor.
“Brandon removed, I don’t know how many layers of flooring. The original pine wood was under all the layers. It was cool to see but very cool to get all (of the other layers) to the garbage,” Cook says.
The couple lived in their dining room temporarily while starting on the kitchen. “The kitchen is my favorite project because it’s the most appreciated,” Curry says. “Try living without a kitchen — to live without a stove and refrigerator.”
“Thank goodness we did it in winter because we were able to keep some groceries, including our coffee creamers, outside,” Cook says, adding they spent nearly two months eating out.
Curry’s birthday was in March, and all he wanted a home-cooked meal. “Jenna wanted to take me out for my birthday,” he recalls. “She says, ‘Anywhere you want, doesn’t matter how expensive.’ I wanted Velveeta mac and cheese on the stove and to stay in.”
Even though the couple considers themselves DIY experts, there were a few things they needed to hire others for, such as the floor and bathroom.
“The wallpaper in the half bathroom, we tried to do it and we knew that we needed to hire that project out,” says Cook, explaining she found wallpaper on eBay. “After the first strip, I put the second piece up not so perfect.”
The largest project on their DIY things to-do list was painting the outside. The two knew they wanted a navy house, so they used Photoshop to change the color and see what looked best.
“We fell in love with ‘Hail Navy,’ ”Curry says. Yet Hail Navy turned into Fail Navy.
“We got maybe 20 gallons and the house was Superman blue once it was done. The paint store missed the colors,” Curry laughs.
Yet the two are enjoying their home completed in March and are looking forward to their lives together.
Even in the middle of a renovation, you should “always make time for life,” Curry says. “You get so wound up in projects, and work life will just pass you by. Go on trips, travel, go out to restaurants, just put the brush down. The tile won’t finish itself, but don’t get burned out.”
Now that the home is done, they both agree they are going to enjoy being homebodies for a little while. They’re even talking about getting a second dog.
“We put so much work into it,” Curry says, “it’s nice to kick our feet up and enjoy it.”