Before and After: It’s Hard to Believe This is the Same House

As nice as it is to see Before & After projects that seem totally approachable—$15 under-cabinet lighting, a refreshed bathroom—aspirational whole-house renovations are highly entertaining and inspiring. And that’s exactly what we have today: a “bland, boring ’60s ranch” gets a total—and totally amazing—makeover.

If you’re having a hard time orienting yourself in this room, it’s because it used to be two rooms and an attic. The wall between the living room and kitchen/dining room was removed, the ceiling was removed, that glorious beam was added, and a board and batten wall was created. That was a major, major undertaking, but the results are fabulous:

What seemed like a simple task of removing one wall and the ceiling turned into a structural challenge, requiring a whole new scissor truss system. It had a hefty price tag, but changed this boring ranch into a ‘wow’. There was a lot of wasted space in that attic – but by making it part of the living space with the big cathedral ceiling, it made this house a real ‘wow’ when people walked in the door.

The space now has a total chalet-feel, and it’s a thousand times brighter. The windows aren’t huge, but the new room structure and white paint makes the most of every bit of sunlight.

Here’s how the kitchen/dining room looked before the wall separating them from the kitchen was removed. The juxtaposition of honey wood, mousy walls, and blue formica is really something—it all adds up to meh. The amount of cabinet space is definitely nice, however.

This whole kitchen is great, but the star of the show is the stunning custom-built range hood made of reclaimed wood. It coordinates perfectly with the ceiling beams and the breakfast bar, as well as being flat-out gorgeous and unique.

The peninsula with reclaimed wood is great for eating or chatting with the chef. And it’s the perfect party house.

It looks like the only spot to eat is now the peninsula, but there might be enough room in the kitchen to stick a petite bistro table, if desired.

This is a perfectly serviceable, ordinary bathroom. It’s hard to tell if the finishes are in good shape, but it’s certainly nothing special.

Here’s a little information on the full renovation:

This was a pretty big project that took over 5 months. It included two new baths, waterproofing a nasty basement and finishing it as living space. I do all the planning, design and coordination – as well as things like tile installation, deck staining, wallpapering, cleaning up, etc. But we bring in the professionals for carpentry, electrical and plumbing.

And now the bathroom has so much personality! That hexagonal marble floor is truly special; combined with the marble countertop and barn door-style vanity, it creates a luxurious yet cottage-cozy aesthetic.

It can be comforting to find out that even ambitious, intimidatingly expensive and involved renovations have their limits—and inspiring to see how those limits are accommodated:

On the exterior, I couldn’t afford to replace the blue vinyl siding, but thought it had potential with some other changes.

The After is so adorable! The black shutters add some edge to the baby blue exterior, and the yellow door totally pops with the flowers.

I love the new curb appeal. When we started, it was a real drive by, with little interest for prospective buyers. But by adding the little porch roof, new windows, shutters and flower boxes – it’s charming!! The neighbors have all thanked us for upgrading it! We had 3 offers within 24 hours of putting it on the market. Everyone loved it!!

Thank you SoPo Cottage! Be sure to check out Laurel’s full renovation post—every single room (including the basement) was totally redone!

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