When I found this project I had no idea what to expect. It was a case of looking at the pictures online for the listing and not really understanding the layout of the house. And as for the exterior, rarely, you can’t identify the front door but here, that was absolutely true.
Since it was located in a neighborhood that I wasn’t incredibly familiar with before I went to look at it I wanted to see what other homes were selling for and what the inventory of houses was like in the area. Anytime I’m considering a property I always look at this information before even walking through the house. It allows me to focus on homes that have the potential for a significant renovation budget and additional room when it comes to the sale price.
As I drove through this neighborhood, I confirmed that many of the homes were newer (1990’s built) and that the average size of the homes was much larger than in other areas in this same suburb.
When I pulled up to the house the very first thing that struck me was the lot. The house had a long and elevated driveway which made the house position even more appealing. It was high above the street. Situated on nearly ½ acre this house was on a lot unlike any other I had seen. The privacy, the trees, and the size definitely had appeal for future buyers. This rare combination is one that doesn’t come along very often. As you can see in the before photo there were some dated features and unusual details that needed to be adjusted.
When I’m looking at a potential project I’m keeping somewhat of a scorecard. While this house was earning some big points the curb appeal wasn’t one of those areas. The entrance to the house was placed so that it wasn’t obvious that it was the entrance. But that’s an easy fix with a few key changes.
Once inside the house, it was clear that there was plenty of space but how it was being used and how the rooms connected to each other was off. One of the things I’m always looking to remedy is how to take the odd or the strange features out of a house. A couple of areas here that just didn’t fit were the two large living areas close to each other and separated by a dated kitchen with a peek-a-boo wall feature. Another aspect was the lack of a master suite and access from the garage to the main floor. While none of these was a deal-breaker from a renovation perspective when it came to traditional buyers these were obstacles that weren’t easily overlooked.
The house was more than 2100 square feet on the main level and the lower level was the same size but only half of the space was finished to be livable.
So after spending some time walking through and seeing what was possible with this house it became very clear that there was plenty of upside and plenty of space for this house to be something special.
Our plan for this transformation came together quickly once we determined what spaces were must adds and how we were going to increase the functionality of the layout. Also, we had a few unusual characteristics of the house that weren’t able to be eliminated so we needed to get creative about incorporating them with the rest of the renovations.
The plan included:
– A complete overhaul of the kitchen to create an open concept with a 10-foot island and plenty of new cabinetry
– Adding a staircase near the kitchen from the lower level for improved access from the tuck-under garage to the main floor
– Converting a dark family room area off the kitchen to a spacious living room complete with a new gas fireplace and cabinetry
– Eliminating the second living area (which was close to the other living area) and using the space to add a generous and luxurious
– Finishing the lower level and eliminating some of the odd transitions between rooms
– Create a way to enter the home from the lower level and building a large mudroom space
– Adding the 5th bedroom in the lower level to create a guest suite
– Updating all of the significant components of the home (siding, roof, windows, mechanical systems)
– Creating a connection between some of the exterior elements that were existing in a well-designed way with the new spaces
– Highlight the uniqueness of the lot and the views
As you look at these before and after photos you can see the changes on the exterior were minimal in terms of construction. Adding new black windows and creating as much symmetry as possible was an effective way to update the home and add some curb appeal.
When it came to the front entrance there was definitely some areas to better draw the eye to this space. Rebuilding the steps, installing a custom metal railing and a statement lantern leave no doubt that this is the primary entrance. Since the home is elevated the 3/4 light front door showcases the treetop views.
The kitchen before was definitely on the small side for the scale of this home. With the opening of the wall and the addition of the island, this space is squarely located in the perfect zone for being in the middle of all the action.
The prior layout included 2 bedrooms on the main floor and a 3rd spare bedroom with a deck. Not exactly an ideal layout. For a home of this size the lack of a master bedroom was a miss. Even more apparent was that it was going to require some serious creativity to make the space for a suitable suite. That’s where combining three areas became the perfect solution. In fact, we gained so much space with this layout we were able to create not only a master bedroom, but a walk-in closet, private seating area and balcony and master bathroom suite complete with an enviable dual vanity situation and a soaker tub.
The combination of location and livable square footage and well-placed design elements made this home a favorite for future buyers. By replicating the process we used to create beautiful and functional spaces you can make a flip home a dream home too.
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