Every house has a story. And for those that end up as investment properties – those infamous “flip houses” – that story is often a sad one. Allow me to introduce you to the project that has kept us busy for the past several months.
First of all, yes, several months is too long. But that’s not the story. And anyway, you came for the before and after photos, right? So let’s not keep you waiting. Here is what the house looks like now.
As any devotee of renovation shows knows, the fixer upper path is a bumpy one. But what is not perhaps common knowledge, is that not every investment property is destined to feature 3” thick marble countertops, extra rooms just for shoe storage, a 4 car garage, and wine cellar. Simply put, the home must fit the market.
But it must also stand out, no?
My goal here was to take this family home and give it some unexpected style and charisma. I want potential home buyers to lay awake at night thinking about that home more than any other they saw. And I want someone to fall so in love that they can imagine raising their family there and forming happy memories for generations.
So in that sense, I want it all. And to make that happen I reached out to my favorite not-so-secret weapon, the good people at Kichler Lighting. I’ve featured their lighting in my kitchen and mudroom remodels.
Now, let’s just throw this out there. I love lighting. I adore it. I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to picking out fixtures. Because holy hook do they make a difference. The spotlight is often on flooring choices and paint colors. But, guys, if you cannot clearly see all that – if the lighting is bad in any way…nope, doesn’t matter.
So when I spoke with the people at Kichler I said I wanted the lighting to “punch people in the face when they walk in that house.” I mean, not literally. But that good. I’m happy to partner with Kichler to bring you this reveal. Though sponsored, everything I write is my responsibility and my honest opinion. Frankly, I don’t know how to do it any other way.
Let’s start with the outside and walk through. I’ll include a slide show if you would like to see the before and after images. Because that’s half the fun, right?!
The first priority was that sad lamp post. I mean, first impressions, right? I’ll list what all of these lights are down below, with links to the Kichler site. So just kick back and relax, because I got your back.
Next, we approach the front door. Which we chose to keep the same, albeit with several hours of sanding to bring it back to life. I love how this and the lamp post fixture have that raindrop effect. I actually love it so much I had to get one with that effect for my own front porch. Stay tuned for that…
The entry to this home is small, but it has one! I love a proper entry, which probably has something to do with the fact that my home doesn’t have one. To bling this one up we laid hexagon floor tiles and integrated them with the wood flooring. Yep, that’s laminate. Turns out you can make that happen just like hardwood. I love the statement it makes!
All of the hallways feature brass semi flush lighting. I played with brass and matte black in this home, and I love how they set each other off. You know what you won’t find in this home? Boob lights. Nope, not a one.
The living room at the front of the home is the only room with high ceilings, so we played it up with a big, dramatic fan. There’s nothing builder grade about that beauty!
Continuing into the home, there’s a large family room that flows into the kitchen and access to the backyard. We used LED downlights here, both for energy efficiency, and to direct the eye down to that kitchen. This is one place where a before and after just has to happen.
Tearing out the drop ceiling made a huge difference. And despite the obviously huge change here, the layout was actually quite good already. We kept all of the plumbing just where it was, but opted for an open, bright feel. I wanted a feature wall with some color tile. These came from Lowes and were under a dollar per square foot. The island was actually the vanity from our master bathroom, though heavily rebuilt. The cabinetry comes from Ikea.
The countertops are white cement from Concrete Countertop Solutions. They come with edge forms so you can pour them in place, then simply snap off the plastic after the concrete is set. As you might guess, this results in solid surface countertops at a fraction of the cost of other options. I’ll be honest, we made some mistakes in the learning process, but they turned out great, and my biggest regret is not using them for my own kitchen renovation last year.
The pendants are just fabulous, aren’t they?! The brass here ties into the hardware, and to my mind, it looks like a million bucks.
The tricky thing here was to put in a fabulous dining light, but one that wouldn’t distract attention from or block out the kitchen. Honestly, I was concerned, but then I found this one and the angels started singing.
Let’s turn around and check out the bedrooms and bathrooms. There are three on this floor, with two baths. We lightened up the main bath and again choose a mixture of natural brass in the fixture, and matte black for the sink and shower hardware.
The bedrooms mostly just needed a good clean up, and we kept it pretty simple. We did change out all of the doors from 70’s era flat panel to this clean, timeless look. I also had all of the doors into rooms painted black. I love how they are traditional and neutral, but they say “Hey, take notice of me. I’m totally upper class.” I mean, that’s what I imagine they say. We also chose to replace all of the trim in the house.
The lights in the bedroom are all the same, with the exception of the master. Because that should stand out, right?! I went for this coral inspired light, and glammed up the space by going with silver in the master bath as well.
The on suite bath isn’t huge, but can we just point out how not-common it is to find an on suite in a 70s era house?! Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, people.
I have no idea what that saying means.
Believe it or not, the tour isn’t over. (But wait, there’s more!) This home isn’t small, folks. There are two more bedrooms, a bathroom, and a bonus room upstairs. The bonus room has the same fixtures as are in all of the hallways for both continuity and because they are just awesome lights.
The bathroom at the end has the same lights as the bath downstairs, with – you guessed it – more natural brass. If you want to up the wow factor, consider using some brass. Don’t be scared off if you, like me, grew up in the time of tarnished shiny brass…everything. It’s come a lot way, and it’s both timeless and super sharp.
Oh, and here’s a tip for you – play up those gorgeous lights with some daylight bulbs. Edison lights look terrific, but that amber light is just not for everyone (ahem, me.) It used to be that I could only find daylight bulbs in the Edison style online, but now I’m finding them at my local Home Depot. That said, for the cost, these are the ones I buy. (Affiliate link)
Getting back to it – let’s wrap this up with a look outside. This house has a large backyard…that was entirely grown over with blackberry bushes when we bought it. So. Many. Blackberries. Once we cleared the mess we found what must once have been a beautifully landscaped space.
I’ll own right off that the best thing to do would have been to re-sod the entire lawn. Chock that up to a regret. There are gigantic pine trees and they are hard on grass. But it is a great play place for a family. I mean, a basketball court, a hot tub, gardening area…it’s workable. Oh, and plug for my covered dog deck at the side of the house where a hole had been cut for an informal dog door. It’s formal now and is fabulously over the top. (I’ve got plans for the deck here if you want to build one.)
I hope you enjoyed the tour. As promised, here is a list of the lighting products we used in the house, as well as a list of the paint colors we used. A huge thank you to Kichler lighting for partnering with me to make this house a home with style!
Let’s wrap this thing up with one of my favorite views. Because the lights of home are one of the best feelings in the world.
Lights: All lighting by Kichler
Main & upstairs bathrooms: Alton 3 Light Bath Light
Dining area: Eris 8 Light Chandelier
Kitchen Island: Lakum 1 Light Pendant
Front Room: 65 Inch Gentry Fan
Bedrooms: Ceiling Space ount17.25″ LED Flush Mount
Hallways, entry, and bonus room: Alton 3 Light Flush Mount
Master Bedroom: Coral 3 Light Semi Flush
Master Bathroom: Angelica 3 Light Vanity
Front of house: Andover Outdoor Post Light
Entry Doors: River Path 17.5 LED Outdoor Wall Light
Kitchen and family room: Horizon 3000K LED Downlight
Paint colors: All colors by Sherwin-Williams
Exterior body: Summit Gray
Exterior Trim: Alabaster
Interior walls: Agreeable Gray mixed to 75%
Interior Trim: Pure White
Kitchen Island: Pool House
Interior Doors and railings: Tricorn Black