Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rental Reno Reveal: Part 1

Well, the much anticipated rental redo/face-lift is complete! I can't tell you how good it feels. I took a ton of pictures, and decided the best way to do this reveal was to break it into two parts. Otherwise, I'd take forever getting everything edited and posted.

Our original deadline was February 1st, but it became apparent to everyone that wasn't going to be possible so it ended up being completed by mid February. A lot of repairs and exterior work had to be done and hired out. One of the things about renovation is you never know what you're going to discover. Inevitably you'll find repair work you never planned or budgeted for (which then affects your finishing budget!). Keep that in the back of your noggin' if you plan to tackle such a job. The older the house, the more likely you'll spend a good sum of money on hidden repairs.

That said, want to see what I've been working on (literally) for the last two months? Today I'll show you the kitchen, dining room, second bathroom and two of the three bedrooms. Tomorrow I'll post the family room, master bed and bath, and hallway. For a house so small (1530 sq. ft.) it has an amazing amount of storage! Which meant I got to paint a lot of closets as well:)

Let's review, shall we? Here's the little rental I've been trying to bring into the 21st century on a super tiny budget (for a reno):

It's really a rather cute little ranch that just needed a lot of lovin'!

The outside wasn't too bad. I don't have any updated pictures of the exterior to show as of now. Suffice it to say it's very much as it is here.
Now, let's see that kitchen as it was. Bear in mind, these are the best pictures the homeowner could find to send me. I wasn't able to get many taken before it became a work zone.

It may have been built in 1984, but I swear it looks like it was built in the 60's or 70's!

It had it all...laminate butcher block for counter AND backsplash, wallpaper border, a cold green/gray color on most walls, old groovy cabinets, scallop valance, flourescent lighting, old shiney brass fixtures, old appliances and a tiny budget.  I had my work cut out for me!
By the time I managed to get a few before pics in, new appliances had already been installed, walls painted and a few cabinet doors removed. I wasn't the only one working here (but I was the only woman!), and it was a disaster zone! Construction is a messy process:)

The "yellowishness" was overwhelming!

On one trip back I managed to squeeze in a few "During the Reno" shots. This was the weekend I tiled the backsplash:

Can I just say... this mess made me twitch... and when I work alone it's not exactly clutter free!

Even with everything a mess and cabinets still unfinished,
you can see what a dramatic difference the new subway tile backslash makes!
The last thing done was hanging the refaced cabinet doors and adding new brushed nickel hardware. The homeowners had two very specific wants when it came to the kitchen redo...almond/biscut appliances (that they purchased on their own) and stained wood cabinets...NO paint! That made for quite the challenge. In order to lighten and brighten a room with limited sunlight, naturally you want to slather on the light or white paint. But, I had to keep the cabinets stained. So, instead I went with a glossy off-white subway tile and old white grout. Then, I revved up the lighting wattage! Walls went a creamy white (SW "Muslin") and old fluorescent were replaced with halogen fixtures. Halogen gives a much crisper, brighter light with more lumens for the maximum wattage.

If budget would have allowed, I've have switched out the bar stools, but a tenant can do that later.

I was also instructed to leave the mini-blinds... which I would have loved to replace. But, like I have said before. You have to invest in what's going to make the biggest impact and we were maxing out the budget as is.

As much as a new counter-top would have looked fantastic, I knew we could make the most of the laminate butcher block, so it didn't make the budget cut.

A new light fixture put in by the homeowner brings the breakfast area into the 21st century. Your's truly scrubbed all the trim (in the house!) down with TSP and a sanding sponge, then a fresh coat of stain was applied! Talk about work! I did more squats than I've ever done at the gym:)

This window underwent a minor, but major impact change. I took down the wooden scallop valance from the 60's and replaced the fluorescent tube light with a hanging halogen pendant.  The amount of light that flooded in just from those two changes was amazing!

And last, but not least, there was the cabinetry reface. I'm noticing I forgot to remove the wide angle lense with the way the horizontal lines are curving:)
For the cabinet refacing, all of it was sanded down and scrubbed with TSP, veneer was applied to the doors and drawers, trim mitered and applied to trim out the doors, two coats of Golden Pecan stain applied to the veneers and trim (in order to match the look of the old finish on the cabinet bases prior to adding the new stain), then a fresh coat of Minwax Polyshades in Misson Oak applied to all the cabinetry to achieve a rustic look, and new brushed nickel hardware installed. Whew! Makes me tired just thinking about it all:) 

Just as a side note, unless you plan to spray the Polyshades or want a rustic look like this, don't use it. It gives a streaky appearance and isn't really staining. It's tinted polyurethane. It just sits on top of the old finish. So, it's really TONING the wood... not re-staining it. Meaning, if it doesn't go on smooth, and you keep applying layers, it will only deepen, not fill in like paint or stain. When applied correctly,  it can give a fantastic deep, rich, lustrous look, but it's really hard to do with a brush. I didn't mind the streakiness here because it kept with the more "Pottery Barn" look we were going for.

Now, moving on. Next we come to the little dining room. This is how it started:
Parquet floors that were falling apart, wallpaper boarder, old shiney brass chandelier,
cold wall color and a vinyl roll up shade.

At this point, the light fixture had already been changed out and the wallpaper border had been removed previously by the owners and an unflattering cold grey/green color applied to the walls. You can begin to get a feel for how bad a shape the trim was in from the doorway!
New solid, three quarter inch white oak floors were put down on a diagonal and two coats of satin poly were applied - no stain. I loved the natural look! Then I tackled the dining room which was a pretty quick redo. Walls were painted in my custom mix of one part SW Bittersweet Stem and two parts SW Muslin in eggshell. The trim was all scrubbed and re-stained. And the homeowner had already installed a new light fixture. Lastly, I added some sheet linen-like panels to the window to help dress the room up more for showing.

This was probably the brightest room in the house, but I ran out of daylight and had to get my "After" shot in the dark.

Next, comes the family room and hallway, but I'll save those for tomorrow. Lastly (for today), I'll show you the improved front bathroom. I REALLY wish I could have gotten a before shot of this one! The homeowner had this picture with it's lovely mauve and dusty blue sea-shell wallpaper that was peeling off, hollywood vanity light, old groovy cabinetry and pink/white linoleum flooring.

What this picture doesn't show was the pink/mauve sponge painted walls that had most recently replaced the wallpaper! When the SW Muslin went up, it almost looked green next to the unpainted section of mauvishness, causing me to doubt my choice of color for just a second:)
Once again, walls were painted, all cabinetry and trim was scrubbed, sanded, and the Mission Oak Polyshades was applied to all the cabinetry. Trim was re-stained to freshen existing color with Minwax Express Color in Pecan. Everything was re-caulked, scrubbed with a toothbrush (I'm picky!) and bleach, and new linoleum flooring was installed. New lighting was installed by the homeowner and matching brushed nickel hardware replaced the old brass knobs on the cabinetry. With a few photo props, the final result was nice and clean looking:

All freshened up!

By darkening the stain, it helps to hide the grooves and draw you eye to the clean white top. Gotta love contrast! I would have loved to replace the faucet, but it wasn't in the budget, not to mention not enough time.
Last, but not least, the two secondary bedrooms each received fresh paint in the custom mix of the dining room, new carpet, refreshed trim, old curtains tossed and the hideous carousel ceiling fan was replaced. Beyond that, other than than installing larger windows (which was never going to happen with this budget), there wasn't much else to do.

Here's the before shots given to me:

The back bedroom with it's cold grey paint and eighties balloon valance.

The carousel room...enough said!
Much brighter and warmer. Not so cave like.
Given a few props, this room could really take on the "Pottery Barn" modern feel.

These closets were amazingly large for such small bedrooms! And, yes, they got the paint treatment as well:)

This was not a good lighting shot. I tried to do some correction in Photoshop, but this was as good as it was getting. Oh well. You can see the changes. Carousels and cold gone!

And yet another closet.

Well, there is the Reno Reveal: Part 1. Probably the toughest thing in design is being able to give the homeowners what THEY want... not just what you like. It's super easy to come up with ideas to update spaces. The tricky part is tweaking that plan until it satisfies their wants, likes and budget. You wouldn't believe the amount of time spent just doing the planning for this face-lift!

Stay tuned... because tomorrow is Reno Reveal: Part 2!


  1. I love the changes in the kitchen! Little changes can have such a huge impact in a space. I agree, new bar stools and perhaps painting the wood under the bar would be nice but you gotta listen to the homeowners :)


    1. Thank you! You have no idea how bad I wanted to paint those cabinets. I did my best to talk them into it, but that's not what they wanted, and in the end, it's all about what the homeowners want:) I was pretty happy with the end result.

  2. Wow! Great job! I love what you accomplished on a tight budget. It looks great. The bones of the house are very nice and that helps a lot! xo Diana


One of the highlights of each day is hearing from my readers!

Follow Me on Pinterest