Builder Grade Gets an Overhaul

So when we left off in this post I had just showed you all the hideous before photos from the Builder Grade home we were planning on moving into. Here are a few pictures to jog your memory in case you blocked the emerald green tile and yellow from your mind.

Family Room and Kitchen Before
Kitchen Before

When we bought the house originally we did a quick face lift and painted/cleaned everything for our tenants. When they moved out a year later they left the house in great condition.  Despite the house being clean and livable we knew if we were going to be comfortable in it long term we needed to update the kitchen and bathrooms.

There were four types of mismatched tile, some carpet and badly damaged wood floors throughout the house. You can see in the picture above where the ugly mud colored tile meets up with the cream colored cultured marble. To add insult to injury they had added emerald green marble tiles speckled throughout the cream tile. It was an eyesore and not exactly the modern look I had been hoping for.

In addition to floors, the first major thing we wanted to tackle was the kitchen. due to some existing water damage we tore out the old honey oak cabinets. They were in a bad state and half the drawers would not even open. This also allowed us to tweak the kitchen layout just enough to make some big impact changes. For example, in the photo above you can see where that chair is sitting in the kitchen is a dead wasted space. It was too small for a table or dining nook so we opted for shifting the pantry over and adding cabinet space along that whole wall. The functionality was amazing!

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Kitchen After
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Kitchen After

No matter how many renovations we do it always surprises me how small changes to a layout can add so much value later down the road when you are functioning in the space daily.

We also hired a contractor to replace all the back doors and windows. Many of the existing windows had moisture trapped between the double panes, and the tracks were bent and did not slide. Everything was in need of a refresh. We do some DIY, but typically we leave the install of exterior doors and windows to the experts. If you do the install incorrectly you could have major water damage and problems down the road.

If I explain every room and all the details this post will turn into a mini novel. So in an effort to keep moving ahead here are the rest of the afters.

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View from Kitchen into the Living Room


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Living Room and Fireplace

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Just because everyone loves a great before and after I have to add the laundry room before photos here

Laundry Before

So much better right! Here is another great before of the downstairs bathroom

Bathroom Before

Drumroll please…

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Downstairs Bathroom After

I loves that bathroom, we spent so much time on the little details. Like added a drain that can also be tiled so the floor of the shower seems seamless. This bathroom gets all the heart eyes.

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Family room and hallway After
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Dining Room After
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Master Bedroom After
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Master Bathroom After

By the time we got upstairs we had run out of time and money, not to mention I was 7 months pregnant. So I did a really budget friendly upgrade in this bathroom by painting the existing vanity cabinets to match the kitchen cabinets custom blue gray stain. We added a new light fixture and had the floor tiled with a carrera marble ceramic look alike (half the price + zero maintenance = win-win). Despite the small budget these changes made a drastic difference in the feel of the room. Especially from the pink tiles and dingy cream cabinets we started with.

Master Bath Before

We didn’t get many great before photos of the upstairs bedrooms and bathroom. Here are a few afters. Since these rooms were our children’s rooms they are definitely more on the bright and whimsical side. We had a four year old who was pretty set on having bright pink everywhere.

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Front Bedroom After
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Front Bedroom After
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Nursery After


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Nursery After
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Upstairs bathroom After

So at this point you might have noticed that I keep using the words “was”, “were” and putting things in the past tense. It probably won’t come as a shock that we no longer live in this house. In fact, many of these after photos were from our MLS listing. Even though we started the renovation process with the intent to live in this house for 5 years or more, it didn’t work out that way.

Life has a way of throwing curve balls. Despite being really happy with how the renovation of this house turned out, we realized pretty quick that the physical location of the house did not work for our life anymore. I was nearing the end of a six month maternity leave and had to move closer to my home office for work. We had just started considering our future options and the possibility of moving on when our little rental house had a major hiccup.  We had bought a tiny house located in the beach city I grew up in a year earlier. We hoped that one day we could turn this home into our dream home and move back by the beach.  The tenants had only been at the property for 10 months when they called us because water damage in the bathroom forced them to move out. It needed some major TLC, we honestly had NO idea how much. It was one of those moments where we had to make a choice whether we should cut our losses and sell a property we had high hopes for or commit to a HUGE renovation project literally months after having our second child and finishing the remodel on this home.

Obviously we chose to take the leap of faith and commit to the little blue house on the hill. Stay tuned for our continued renovations on our current home. The one that might just be a forever home…or at least we hope.


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