When they finally decided to move back to the East Coast, Elder realized that though the three-bedroom house was certainly livable, it wasn’t exactly stylish. And that was totally okay with him because he wanted to be the one to make it beautiful. That said, when he, Rosen, and their son arrived at their new house, Elder had just been cast in Stephen Sondheim’s Company and didn’t have much time to commit to fixing up the place. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the novel coronavirus had arrived in the U.S., and performances were halted for a week—at least that’s what Elder’s manager had told him.

The little structure on the property used to be an outhouse and, later, storage shed, but now, it’s Elder and Rosen’s son’s place to play. They call it Bo’s House.

Photo: Eric Rosen

Bo’s finished “house” dons fun stripes in bold colors.

Photo: Jason Moody

Of course, the virus ended up staying a lot longer than a week, giving Elder about two years to complete all of his projects around the house. “I wanted to do as much myself as I could, but even if I didn’t, I had to because the virus was spreading so fast, and we didn’t feel safe inviting vendors and contractors into our home,” Elder admits. And once he got started on modernizing the old house, he went full force in every room. In the guest bathroom, for instance, he ripped up what he calls the “Pepto-Bismol pink” tub, transformed a historic map into wallpaper, and installed a new sink. In the dining room, he painted all of the faux wood laminate panels, removed all of the outdated cardboard ceiling tiles, and replaced them with shiplap, and, perhaps most impressively, he painted and rewired the room’s original chandelier.

Before Elder gave the guest bathroom a major facelift, it was a highly outdated space covered in an unsightly shade of pink.

Photo: Claybourne Elder

The guest bath in their New York home is inspired by the couple’s Kansas City bathroom, which was swathed in their collection of maps. Here, it’s a giant reprint of a vintage map of the county in which their home resides.

Photo: Jason Moody

The kitchen, which is separated from the dining room by way of a charming breakfast nook, boasts the most dramatic transformation, with a funky tiled floor, moody walls, Whirlpool appliances, bright white cabinets, and butcher block countertops, all of which Elder did himself. “One of the last things we did was paint all of the kitchen cabinets. My dad always said that nice, solid wood cabinets should never be painted, but finally, I realized that we needed to after seeing them on the QVC segments I filmed from my kitchen,” Elder laughs. The actor knows a thing or two about kitchens from both his dad and the company for whom he’s a spokesperson, Dash

Elder was excited to add a patterned tile to their kitchen, which is bright and airy courtesy of the newly painted cabinets.

Photo: Jason Moody