An Amazing Transformation

Written by Kay Boothe

August 11, 2017

Texas Couple Turns a Ram Shackled Farm House into a Gorgeous and Spacious Home

It breaks my heart whenever I see a piece of history falling apart and eventually run down to the point of no return. But not for Phillip and Tina Lanier, emerging home flippers in Uvalde.  They knew they had to restore a run-down house located in the very small town of Sabinal.  A house known to them as “The Woods House,” not because the house is made out of wood, but it was once owned by the late Dr. Earl Woods, born December 4, 1879.  Dr. Woods was the first doctor in Sabinal, who would later be drafted for war.  It is not known if he actually built the house himself or purchased it.  We do know that records and town history about the house starts with him. Dr. Woods had a daughter named Margaret, who married Ross Kennedy. Eventually, both Margaret and Ross Kennedy ended up inheriting the house. 

Throughout the years, the house has exchanged many times and became worn and tired. The original fireplace located in the dining room was taken down sometime in the past and left only a reminisce of what used to be a place where you would heat up the house and possibly dine near a cozy and comforting fire.

“You could just imagine how it was like during that time to sit with the family and have a delicious meal together ne

xt to a crackling fire. We wanted to bring back that nostalgia.” Phillip Lanier said.  And that’s exactly what the Lanier’s did; only, they didn’t rebuild a fireplace, they built a beautiful mantel with an electrical fireplace in the very spot where the old fireplace use to be.  During the demolition stage, they found a wooden board with the date, “1918” and initials, “J.C.O. carved on it. “We couldn’t just throw that away; it’s too special.” Tina explains.  “I had to keep it as part of the house”.  So she did; Tina cleverly made a frame, placed the board with the carving in the frame and it is now sitting on top of the mantel above the fireplace.  “This piece is going to remain with the house for the future owners.” Explains Tina.

“The Woods House was a complete gut job” Phillip said.  He explains that the house was taken down to its “bare bones”.  They salvaged as much of the original parts of the house as they could and at the same time, completely modernizing the home for today’s comfort standards.  The house had old electrical wiring and old galvanized plumbing which was all replaced with a brand new electrical system and all new plumbing.  When purchased, the house had window ac units.  It now has brand new central air and heating.  You can only imagine how much work went into this house.  For example, the house needed to be re-leveled, so the Lanier’s called in expert foundation contractors who not only re-leveled the house, but replaced a lot of the joists.  Unfortunately, the original hard wood floors on one side of the house could not be saved.  New sub-flooring had to be placed on other parts of the house.  But amazing enough, the fl

ooring couldn’t look any better!  The light gray tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms pop with its dark gray grout, which looks fantastic in this home.  They obviously put a lot of thought and plannin

g into this house.

Tina Lanier, the designer, was faced with many challenges at the beginning.  The floor plan had to be reconfigured.  Walls had to be torn down or moved.   For instance, in order to get to one of the bedrooms, you would have to go through the guest bathroom.  It was completely redesigned and restructured.  Tina wanted to create that open and spacious feeling, so she raised the ceilings in the kitchen, dining room and living room from its original 8 feet high ceilings and brought it up to 11 feet.

“When I first walked into the living room, I immediately felt claustrophobic.  I knew right

then that I had to create more space and open up that area.”  Tina said.  Originally, the house was dark, with dark red paint and small windows.  With a determined smile, Tina exclaimed, “We needed more natural light!”  All windows were replaced with new and energy efficient, double pane windows.  Large picture windows were placed in the living room and master bed room.  The house just glows with natural lighting.  As soon as you walk in, you feel relaxed as if the worlds worry was left outside on the doorstep.  “And there is a reason for that.”  Phillip explains.  “The house is well insulated and has thick drywall.  Not only is this good for weather proofing, but it’s also great for sound proofing.”

“We wanted to keep the “Farm House” look but at the same time, we wanted it to have all the modern comfort with lots of space.” Tina explains.  Completely gutted and redesigned, they had all new custom cabinets built with custom two inch thick wood plank countertops through out the kitchen as well as the vanities.  The kitchen has a beautiful under mount farm style sink with a pull down faucet that goes perfect with the style of the house.

Another neat gem this house has is a functional, concrete underground storm shelte

r.  There is a stairway that leads you down into the storm shelter which is well ventilated.  You rarely see this type of feature in modern homes.  “This would make a great Man Cave!”  Chuckled Phillip.

All in all, this house is a complete Cinderella story by turning it from a lowly and worn down peasant into a charmed and beautiful princess.  Whoever the new owners will be is going to have many magical memories and live happily ever after.

Phillip and Tina Lanier are always looking to b

uy fixer upper houses.  Feel free to contact Phillip if you or you know someone that needs to sell their fixer upper house.  Tina is a designer and home stager that can help you with your house projects.  Contact her if you are looking to hire an outside co

nsultant.  Both can be reached at (830) 542-9005.  See more photos of the remodeled house on Social media at


Story and Photography by Phillip Lanier


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