The secret to streamlining a home renovation

Lately I’ve been thinking about streamlining the home-renovation process, and I’ve discovered one of the keys:

Work with what you’ve got.

In other words, don’t try too hard. If you’re buying a Victorian, don’t expect it to morph into a midcentury house. By embracing the shape and/or style of a home, you might be able to get a totally different look with very little effort.

Take this house, for instance:


This is a current listing in southeast Idaho—a four-bed, two-bath, 2,607-square-foot house listed for $160,000. This same house was for sale about five years ago, and I was tempted to buy it because I had seen somewhere a photo that felt like the alter ego of this house…. Oh, here’s that photo (I tracked it down after all this time):


Booyah. Can you imagine if someone fixed up that ugly yellow exterior like this? It wouldn’t require much work at all! Just a few cosmetic changes would make a world of difference.

On to the next house. A relative of mine just bought this darling, well-built, beautiful house:

It’s a stunner for sure. But they wanted a little more charm, and based on the roofline, they realized it wouldn’t take much for this house to look like a Cape Cod, similar to the one below:


So that’s exactly what they plan to do—add three dormers in the middle of their roof. It’s going to be darling.

Sometimes it just takes a little paint to effect a metamorphosis. Look at this before and after:


This house looks totally different but didn’t require too many changes because the shape of the house didn’t change. By taking cues from the shallow angles of the eaves, it was easy for this house to transform from a super-traditional Colonial to more of a French manor in its second act.

Now will someone go buy that first house and fix it up already?! It has so much potential! •



2 thoughts

    1. Today Rachelle showed me a picture of the yellow house and told me how much she likes it! I was so surprised, it was the same house you’d talked about on this blog! It really is so cute!


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