This small kitchen was turned into a dream kitchen without adding any square footage. So when working with limited space, does size really matter? No. What matters is how you design the space you have for your needs and what pizzazz you can create. Remember pizzazz fits in any space! The most precious commodity in a small kitchen is the counter top space. This kitchen was designed with a built-in microwave cabinet below the counter top and an oversized single farm sink that holds large platters, both saving countertop space. The great contemporary/ traditional chandelier anchors the kitchen with “stand out” design. During the renovation we actually found an orignal plastered archway over the sink that had been hidden from a previous renovation… Why??? I was so excited to find this original archway as it’s true architecture for the age of the house. What a classy design in a small space that works for the homeowner and the chandelier is the real icing on the cake! Stephen Spurling
This 1930′s house was renovated in the first picture (exterior white)…YIKES! Do you think with this renovation; plate-glass windows, a patio instead of a porch, and lets not forget the vinyl siding were really a good choice for a 1930′s bunglow?I’ll answer for you… NO! I found a picture of the original house and spared no expense to return it to its original character. I rebuilt the front porch, replaced the plate-glass windows with the original style, and removed all the vinyl siding.(2nd picture) So after looking at the second picture, which renovation was better? I don’t think I have to answer this one for you! Stephen Spurling
This house needed to be what I call “un-remodeled”. Years ago someone thought it would be a great idea to enclose the front porch…NOT! I think that a porch is a porch… and that thinking goes double if you live in the south! Just look at the curb appeal of this open front porch, and then look at the picture of when it was enclosed! I have never had so much fun subtracting heated square footage from a house! The hardest challenge of this improvement project was returning the interior brick back to its orignal color. When they enclosed it, they left the brick walls exposed on the inside room and painted them white. I know your thinking I had the brick sandblasted, but I didn’t. I painted it with a like color matching the exterior brick. I used a paint sprayer and then a sponge with a slightly lighter color of the brick to match the existing brick. I of course had to build a corner support (column) and add a handrail.
Yes, these are drapes that you see hanging outside. Drapes on a porch create temporary privacy, intimacy and they just look great! Okay… a secret about the drapes… they are not drapes. I bought painters canvas drop cloths at Home Depot. They work great as they are made to be water-resistant and that helps to keep them from getting dirty and moldy. Besides they are cheaper than buying fabric at the fabric store. I think the pictures tells the whole story as to whether I did the right thing on this “un-remodel” project… Stephen Spurling
I have painted many brick homes. I usually find a reason to do this as there are very few brick homes that look good with natural brick. Let me explain myself. I usually renovate older homes and the brick that was used back then wasn’t as pretty as the brick used today. I also like the fresh clean look of painted brick. The home I am featuring in this blog was in terrible shape, the brick had many mortar cracks, and we all know that when you do a mortar patch it never matches the existing mortar, and stands out like a sore thumb! Well to be honest, I would have painted this home whether it need mortar repairs or not, the natural brick just wasn’t attractive.
A quick FYI about mortar cracks, they are ok if they run in a”stair step” fashion, of course they need to be filled (re-pointed) to keep moisture out. If the mortar cracks run horizontally then it is can be an indication of a shift in the foundation, a more serious fix, and a whole other conversation.
I will let you decide which is better, painted brick or not. I realize the “before” picture is not a fair comparison as it was taken before it was renovated. However ,you must admit the painted brick “after” picture really brings the home back to life! It is an updated 50′s ranch! Stephen
This is the cutest potting shed that I built off site and attached it to the house once it was complete. There are several great things about this potting shed. It can be attached anywhere on your house, and by doing this, you only have the cost of building 3 walls (the back wall is your existing house). You can make it any size you need, this particular shed was built on a decked patio in a small courtyard.( finished size was 2′ x 4′) The picture shows just how well it was incorporated into the existing townhouse. (paint color and making it conform to the existing architecture). Finally the real cute part of this custom job was a recycled door. I got this door from another job and had it in storage waiting for just the right project. I realize that most of you don’t have this option, but I can tell you that Habitat for Humanity resale stores have great old doors that are very reasonable. And as you can tell with this little shed, the door is the crown jewel! Plus recycling an old door is just a really good thing.( saves you money and it doesn’t end up in the landfill). I do think the plastic Rubbermaid storage shed will serve the same purpose , but won’t be as sturdy or last as long and certainly doesn’t have the same “wow” factor of this little potting shed! So the next time you’re in the market for a potting shed, build one with character! Stephen Spurling
I have renovated a bunch of houses over the years and this one was the worst, but turned out to be my favorite. We were able to finish this ” head to toe” renovation in 4 months! I felt the most like an Artist with this renovation as I started out with very little bones. Once I got into it… well let’s just say the few bones I thought it had, were broken! EXAMPLE:The house was built in the early 1940′s and this was about the time they started using plywood as sub-flooring… Well it being a new product… the original builder installed it improperly. I want you to understand the proper way to install plywood but it would probably bore you. Let’s just say that I had to take up all the hardwood floors and re-lay new plywood. Do you get my point in telling you this, the house needed way more than a face lift. I had a vision for this project and I am the type that had to follow thru or the project would have just became “work”. I, of course saw money disappearing from my pockets with all the broken bones!(way over budget) Knowing full well that my vision for the house could not be compromised. I just worked faster in an effort to saving as much money as possible on carrying costs, so I could keep my vision alive! We could have a 10 page discussion on what it took to renovate this house, but these before and after pictures say it all! Stephen Spurling
I am a firm believer in using all the available space you can for storage. This home needed a place to store a broom and a mop, but we created so much more! We used an area that was behind the kitchen door that was only about 6 inches deep by about 4 ft wide. Most of you would think that this area is not enough space to do anything with… wrong. We were able to create shelving that is 5 1/2 inches in-depth, which is enough to hold can goods, cleaning products, and of course, the broom and mop. The great thing about this shallow pantry is that you don’t have to dig for anything, you know how things always get lost in the those deep pantry closets. Now check out the video and you will see what a “micro” storage closet is. And by the way the owners are thrilled!
This project might be considered a teardown…. NO!!! Nothing is beyond saving, especially when a local city ordinance may require it to be moved over (in this case 3 ft) from the property line. That’s right, always check with the city before tearing down a detached building or garage that is sitting close to the lot line. This is especially true if you live in an older neighborhood. The requirements for setbacks on lot lines have been revised over the years. If your building is still standing… renovate it, because once it is torn down you may not be able to rebuild it in the same spot. This is why we renovated this little single car garage… Of course we changed it’s use to a small studio with garden storage in the back. I must say that this little building was brought back to life with style!
This is one of my favorite kitchen renovations. I have posted before, during and after pictures that you must see! We not only put new cabinets and counter tops in, we changed the functional obsolescent of the existing kitchen. We opened the wall going to the basement, reconfigured the basement door which added about 4 more foot of counter top, base cabinet drawers and exposed a hidden window in the basement stairwell. We took out the pantry closet located in the small eat-in area,neither of which were functional and added glass door front cabinets and a window seat. We even reclaimed and refinished the pine floors that were hidden under several layers of vinyl flooring! This was a top to bottom renovation that stayed within the original character of the house, and in the process added even more!
Painting doors has to be hated by professional painters too (they tell us this by their price for painting them).I have discovered an easier way to get that professional look, without the professionals. No brush marks, just a smooth crisp look as if you had the doors sprayed .Well…all you need is a small foam roller and time to do the painting.The foam roller puts the paint on light, but so smoothly… after two coats,and maybe a touch up roll here and there, you will be amazed at the quality of your job! Remember it is work that you can do, and it is easy, but time-consuming. Think of all the things that you can do with the money you saved by doing it yourself… move on to the next project. Stephen