My Home Makeover: Part 1Posted: May 3, 2011
A big reason I was excited to move from New York to Denver was to invest in real estate. I have wanted a house for awhile now and after settling in here (had to make sure I actually liked Denver) I began looking for a home. The location was really important to me, but that brought up a bit of a conundrum as I was unwilling to settle for lesser quality, but unwilling to spend more money. My poor real estate agent and I searched high and low and months into the effort I was about ready to give up. My mom flew out (bewildered at how I couldn’t find a house for what I was willing to spend, as it would have purchased a pretty sizable house in Tulsa) and we set out to look one last day. She must have been my good luck charm because that day a new house was listed. We visited it and loved it. Immediately it stood out as a great house, but there was quite a bit of work that would need to be done. Luckily I was willing to do the work and the price was such that I’d be able to. Here’s my first glimpse:
I’m not going to lead you through the rest of the house as I first found it just yet. I did a LOT of work to the house, so I’m going to show you glimpses of the house as I bought it alongside how it looks now.
First up, the most important part of the house (to me): the kitchen. Think original cabinetry (not cool in a vintage way, more outdated and ugly), crumbling blue tile floors, blue plastic counter tops, the ugliest backsplash you’ve ever seen, etc., etc., etc. Here’s a peak:
The biggest issue I saw with the kitchen was the lack of pantry space. The previous owners had so many things shoved into their cabinets that it was actually quite impressive. The upstairs isn’t a large space (around 900 square feet), so really there wasn’t a lot of real estate to work with, so a galley kitchen it would remain. However, my mom and I had the thought that the space could be better utilized. First step to the kitchen remodel was to open up the doorway leading into the dining room (where they had an awkward “peek through” window where there was no space to sit) and add pantry cabinets to the left of the stove. The amount of storage it added is incredible. We store nearly all of our food in there.
I think the thing I love most about my kitchen is that I picked everything out myself. I wanted cherry cabinets with a modern, sleek look in both the appearance and the hardware. I wanted all stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops. Because the space was so small I was able to save money and purchase a remnant granite piece. The granite has flecks of red in it which the cabinets pick up beautifully. I opted to construct a back-splash from the same granite to keep down costs and also to match the clean lines of the cabinetry. I chose the floors and walls to be an off white to coordinate with the counters as well. The stove and fridge were newer, so I left them as is, but purchased a new microwave and dishwasher to match. One of my favorite features of the kitchen is the wide sink. I’m not much of a “dish soaker”, so having that one wide space to clean in is fabulous. Overall I think the look turned out exactly as I wanted: modern, clean, and spacious.
Leading into the kitchen is the dining room. The dining room before was pretty dark (the entire house was painted a darker brown) and had a lot of water damage on the floors. The damage was from poorly installed french doors leading to the backyard (all the snow against the house in the winter would melt into the house and buckle the floors). I took out the existing french doors and replaced them with more modern ones (I also took out a terrible iron gate they had behind it that closely resembled prison gates) and also positioned them so that they opened outdoors instead of indoors to give the illusion of more space. Thankfully the damage to the floors was not significant enough to require complete replacement, but instead only refinishing which turned out gorgeous. Swapped out the light fixture for something a bit more modern and now I have a dining room!
Like I said, I did a lot to this house, and as I don’t want this post to be absurdly long, I’ll cut it off after this. The exterior of the house was very cute, but had no sprinkler system and the grass certainly reflected that. My real estate agent said that if they had simply torn up the existing grass and put sod down (without even installing a sprinkler), they would’ve raised the value of the house significantly. So, literally the day I closed, we brought in a crew to rip up the grass, lay sprinklers, and put down new sod. The results are amazing and it really does prove the point that the street appeal is valuable. Click to enlarge the picture (we had them remove the shed shown in the first picture because it was the first thing you saw when you walked in the dining room).
Sadly I didn’t take a “before” of the grass out front, but here’s the front after the new sod was laid.
There’s lots more renovations, come back tomorrow 🙂