36 Stunning “Before and After” Modern Home Renovations

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By Samantha Daly
Whether they suffered from outdated amenities, a convoluted floor plan, or were just plain crumbling down, these “before and after” modern home remodels are unrecognizable from their sordid pasts.

Need a little inspiration for your next home improvement project? These homeowners got to work and turned their drab spaces into veritable works of art. Keep reading to see the complete overhauls, rearranged layouts, and updated interiors of our favorite "before and after" projects.

A Car Shop Is Reborn as an Artist's Loft, Gallery, and Studio in San Francisco, California

SOMA Residence by Dumican Mosey Architects showcases a wide array of art, including, most notably, a Fiat mounted upside down from the ceiling. The auto repair garage in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood was dark, rundown, and pungent with grease. But back in 2011, when Klari Reis and Michael Isard first saw the voluminous space, they were focused on its potential for combining life and work. Architect Eric Dumican of Dumican Mosey was brought in to refashion the 1923 structure into a three-bedroom loft above a gallery/studio and a separate rental apartment. Dumican had gotten to know Klari and Michael a decade earlier when Klari’s studio was in the same building as his office. "They’re both avid collectors, so how the architecture was designed to display art was really important for the home, not just for the gallery," he says.  

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Before: The garage’s condition was such that only its concrete walls and beams could be salvaged. It would take five years to transform the 9,000-square-foot, two-level structure.

Before: The garage’s condition was such that only its concrete walls and beams could be salvaged. It would take five years to transform the 9,000-square-foot, two-level structure.

After: The lengthy timeline suited the couple’s deliberate way of working. "The fact that it took so long made it easier," says Michael. "Making all the design decisions at once would have driven us crazy." Wood beams and concrete walls emerge from cutaways in the drywall, revealing the building’s industrial skeleton. 

After: The lengthy timeline suited the couple’s deliberate way of working. "The fact that it took so long made it easier," says Michael. "Making all the design decisions at once would have driven us crazy." Wood beams and concrete walls emerge from cutaways in the drywall, revealing the building’s industrial skeleton. 


A 19th-Century Brownstone Is Saved From Utter Disrepair in Brooklyn, New York

When Lindsey Branca and Mike Grosshandler purchased a historic brownstone in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood in early 2017, the decrepit building was mostly in a state of disrepair. Yet the duo, who launched the residential renovation and restoration firm Branca & Co., know a good opportunity when they see one. Enlisting the help of Brooklyn–based designers Sheena Murphy and Tor Sauder of sheep + stone, with whom they had worked with previously, as well as the architectural designers at Frances Mildred, Lindsey and Mike completed a gut renovation of their investment property while preserving as many historic details as possible.  

Before: The lime-green office required a new paint job and a complete redesign of its layout to better accommodate the master bath next door.

Before: The lime-green office required a new paint job and a complete redesign of its layout to better accommodate the master bath next door.

After: In an effort to keep costs within budget without sacrificing looks, the fully gutted and renovated kitchen features IKEA cabinetry framework with shaker-style fronts by Semihandmade. The cabinets were painted Farrow & Ball Pigeon.

After: In an effort to keep costs within budget without sacrificing looks, the fully gutted and renovated kitchen features IKEA cabinetry framework with shaker-style fronts by Semihandmade. The cabinets were painted Farrow & Ball Pigeon.


A Streamlined Apartment Boasts Tons of Custom Furniture in Genova, Italy

When a young couple from Genova, Italy, inherited a 1,180-square-foot property from a grandparent, they decided to transform the old house into a bright, modern home that better connects with its woodland site.They hired local firm Gosplan Architects to help them makeover the tired-looking space, which had a dark, cramped living room. The Gosplan team demolished the existing walls between the old kitchen, the entrance, and the living room to create a single, large living area that's sunnier, with improved ventilation.

Before: They replaced all the old windows, and increased transparency and light penetration with a new, glazed entrance door.

Before: They replaced all the old windows, and increased transparency and light penetration with a new, glazed entrance door.

After: No longer segmented, the main living area of the apartment unites the kitchen and dining alcove as well.  

After: No longer segmented, the main living area of the apartment unites the kitchen and dining alcove as well.  


A Rundown Cabin Is Reborn as a Chic Residence and Retreat in Whistler, Canada

When a family of four purchased this old cedar-clad cabin, the structure was well-sited, but in dire need of repairs. While they originally intended to tear down the home and rebuild it on site, Vancouver–based firm Stark Architecture brought forth another plan. The team advised the owners to renovate and extend the existing structure, and integrate additional complexes on the property, which could serve as rental units. The Drifter Way House, as the project is called, now consists of the original three-bedroom primary residence, along with a rentable three-bedroom suite, and a rentable two-bedroom building. "Tying the buildings together was tricky," explain the architects. "But the use of standing seam metal and more industrial materials, along with a small amount of warm wood, complements the traditional shapes of the existing cabin."

Before: A look at the original 1970s cabin as viewed from the lower east portion of the property. Much work was needed to tidy up the hillside site.

Before: A look at the original 1970s cabin as viewed from the lower east portion of the property. Much work was needed to tidy up the hillside site.

After: The exteriors of the two structures, the updated cabin, and the "modern box" addition were tied together with a standing seam metal facade. This helped give the connected complex a contemporary, industrial-inspired vibe.

After: The exteriors of the two structures, the updated cabin, and the "modern box" addition were tied together with a standing seam metal facade. This helped give the connected complex a contemporary, industrial-inspired vibe.


A Dated Home Is Now a Luminous Retreat in the Hamptons

When Clay and Margot Coffey, the husband/wife team behind the architecture firm Isaac-Rae, were approached to spruce up a 1987 beach house in Watermill—a hamlet of Southampton—their clients were only looking to give the dated abode a fresher, more modern look. Yet, due to several disjointed revamps the home had already undergone throughout the years, along with significant water damage that had affected the structure's framing, it was determined that a ground-up renovation was needed. After reconfiguring the layout, the design duo was ultimately able to reimagine the residence and expand the home for more comfortable, modern living.

Before: A look at the original exterior of the home. The volume on the far right with the chimney is the only original portion of the house that was kept. The rest of the home was treated to a ground-up renovation.

Before: A look at the original exterior of the home. The volume on the far right with the chimney is the only original portion of the house that was kept. The rest of the home was treated to a ground-up renovation.

After: The boxy, contemporary new facade was completely restructured.

After: The boxy, contemporary new facade was completely restructured.


An Uninspired RV Gets a Cheery Refresh For $5K

Shortly after selling their first rehabbed trailer, Lauren and Van Jones of The Arrow Anglers set their sights on renovating another secondhand RV—this time a 2004 Keystone Everest. With a small budget of $5,000, repeat trips to Home Depot, and lots of DIY elbow grease, the couple—along with their four-month-old baby in tow—have dramatically transformed the dated 300-square-foot trailer with a modern farmhouse-inspired aesthetic.

Before: The wood paneling and dark colors made the living space feel small and cramped.

Before: The wood paneling and dark colors made the living space feel small and cramped.

After: The couple added all new furniture, from the sofas and chairs to the lighting fixtures and curtains. To stay within budget, the larger furniture finds were either gifted, or purchased at secondhand stores.  

After: The couple added all new furniture, from the sofas and chairs to the lighting fixtures and curtains. To stay within budget, the larger furniture finds were either gifted, or purchased at secondhand stores.  


Two Game-Changing Kitchen Renovations by a Design Studio in Seattle, Washington

SHED Architecture & Design does not believe in blindly following trends, preferring to allow light and space, economical and sustainable materials, and well-considered details guide their work. Their pragmatic and innovative architects enjoy the challenge of remodeling old buildings and homes, and have rehabilitated many kitchens in Seattle. Case in point: Seward Park House and Capitol Hill Loft feature two kitchen remodels that showcase how SHED can make the most hardworking room in the house even more practical and beautiful.

Seward Park House

Before: This 1964 residence had exteriors that were in good condition, but a kitchen that were dark, claustrophobic, and inefficient.

Before: This 1964 residence had exteriors that were in good condition, but a kitchen that were dark, claustrophobic, and inefficient.

Before: SHED redesigned the kitchen as a series of interconnected functional zones, which are linked by a continuous kitchen counter. This approach allowed the architects to increase usable space without modifying the house’s exterior. It also helped to visually connect the kitchen with the living area, while still maintaining separation via the walnut plywood cabinets and solid walnut eating counter, which serve as partitions.  

Before: SHED redesigned the kitchen as a series of interconnected functional zones, which are linked by a continuous kitchen counter. This approach allowed the architects to increase usable space without modifying the house’s exterior. It also helped to visually connect the kitchen with the living area, while still maintaining separation via the walnut plywood cabinets and solid walnut eating counter, which serve as partitions.  

Capitol Hill Loft

Before: The original layout of the kitchen had an exposed entryway, not enough storage, and was not ideal for its owners’ lifestyle.

Before: The original layout of the kitchen had an exposed entryway, not enough storage, and was not ideal for its owners’ lifestyle.

After: SHED extended the kitchen counter and island to create a protected entryway and expand the kitchen floor space. They used an industrial-influenced material palette to complement the development’s edgy facade.

After: SHED extended the kitchen counter and island to create a protected entryway and expand the kitchen floor space. They used an industrial-influenced material palette to complement the development’s edgy facade.


An A-Frame Cabin Boasts Serious Scandinavian Vibes in Heber City, Utah

Located on a private, 20-acre mountain estate near Utah's Uinta National Forest, A-Frame Haus was built 30 years ago by owner and design-lover Kara Van Dyke's grandfather, Frank. When Kara and her family inherited the home, she spent over a year lovingly renovating the cabin. The cabin’s clean-lined, rustic-modern decor was inspired by her own Scandinavian heritage, and she gave much thought to finding balance between the traditional A-frame layout and her redesign. To modernize and brighten the interiors, she painted the walls white, and updated the living area, upper-level lounge, three airy bedrooms, and two bathrooms with new floors, carpets, and fittings.

Before: The kitchen before the renovation. The cabin retreat was meant to be a private sanctuary for making music while enclosed by nature.

Before: The kitchen before the renovation. The cabin retreat was meant to be a private sanctuary for making music while enclosed by nature.

After: The orientation of the kitchen work areas were changed, so sunlight from the slanting windows better illuminates the cooking station.

After: The orientation of the kitchen work areas were changed, so sunlight from the slanting windows better illuminates the cooking station.

Shop the Look
World Market Slate Gray Xander Armchair
World Market Slate Gray Xander Armchair
Textured gray cushions with a subtle two-tone weave pop against a sleek wood frame finished in dark espresso. This mid-century-inspired chair boasts a vertical slatted back and a deep seat for comfortable lounging.
Louise Gray Henning Throw Pillow
Louise Gray Henning Throw Pillow
Ideal for small-space living, the quilted throw pillow is a perfect complement to your living space or bedroom. Each pillow is crafted from 100% cotton and linen materials by artisans in Minneapolis, making it practical as well as beautiful.
Schoolhouse Electric Hairpin Table
Schoolhouse Electric Hairpin Table
Add mid-century charm to any room with our Hairpin Table. Set on a steel frame with hairpin legs, the hand-spun brass top doubles as a removable tray for serving snacks and drinks. The simple forms and textures make this a versatile piece.


An Ancient Apartment Gets a Colorful, Chic Makeover in Barcelona, Spain

When Barcelona–based firm Colombo and Serboli Architecture (CaSA) was approached to renovate an ancient apartment in Born—the oldest neighborhood in the city—there was no denying they had their work cut out for them.  With high-beamed ceilings, strong walls, and large shuttered windows, the outdated home had good bones. However, it was extremely dark and compact due to its original layout. Thanks to strategic planning and innovative design, this team surpassed expectations, delivering a stunning transformation.

Before: The dark original layout of the Barcelona apartment.

Before: The dark original layout of the Barcelona apartment.

After: In the renovated entryway, light is provided by a minimalist glass globe, built-in within the unit, and through another niche that peeks into the living room.

After: In the renovated entryway, light is provided by a minimalist glass globe, built-in within the unit, and through another niche that peeks into the living room.

A Cramped Home Gets a Drastic Makeover on a Tight Budget in Texcoco, Mexico

Mexico City based Dosa Studio renovated a 40-year-old residence in Texcoco, Mexico, about 25 kilometers northeast of Mexico City. Located on a main road and not built according to regulation, Casa Palmas suffered poor conditions for space, light, ventilation, and privacy. The owner, seeking a more intuitive space for her cousin and family, sought out the architects for a redesign. Working with a limited budget, Dosa Studio received sponsored materials from three Mexican companies—structural ceramic manufacturer Novaceramic, cement resin makers Mezcla Brava, and construction product maker Probarro—to create a well-ventilated, bright, and private home on the compact, 1,205-square-foot lot.

Before: The interiors of the family home before before the renovation.

Before: The interiors of the family home before before the renovation.

After: A simple material palette of brick, concrete, tiles, and wood gives the home a warm, contemporary atmosphere. 

After: A simple material palette of brick, concrete, tiles, and wood gives the home a warm, contemporary atmosphere. 

A Couple Revamp an Old Airstream Into a Charming Workspace and Home

When Sheena and Jason noticed their everyday was becoming a bit too monotonous, they knew it was time to shake things up. So, they did what any curious mind would do—they turned to the treasure trove of eBay.It didn't take long before the Atlanta–based couple laid eyes on their next adventure: an outdated Airstream in desperate need of renovation. While it took 10 months and countless hours of hard work, Sheena and Jason have successfully revamped the old trailer, and are now transitioning to living in the 1975 Airstream—also known as Mavis—full time. 

Before: The outdated trailer featured old carpeting and its share of layout problems.

Before: The outdated trailer featured old carpeting and its share of layout problems.

After: Every inch of the trailer maximizes its storage space. To make their home feel larger, the couple opted for white walls and a minimal color palette. 

After: Every inch of the trailer maximizes its storage space. To make their home feel larger, the couple opted for white walls and a minimal color palette. 


A Midcentury Lakeside Home Receives a Stunning New Look in Lake Oswego, Oregon

Oregon–based David Horning of MOA Architecture has joined forces with principal designer Holly Freres of JHL Design to carefully renovate the 1955 three-bedroom dwelling. By using period-appropriate materials, the team has not only restored the property to its original warmth and charm, but also infused a modern, contemporary vibe. To emphasize the home's tranquil lakeside location, two 10-foot sliding doors have been added to the living room to enable a seamless connection to the outdoors.

Before: A view of the dining room area from the living room before the renovations. Drywall covers the fireplace and a built-in bookcase is at the rear.

Before: A view of the dining room area from the living room before the renovations. Drywall covers the fireplace and a built-in bookcase is at the rear.

After: As you can see above, the original brick of the fireplace is now exposed, highlighting the warmth of the cedar ceilings. The dining room connects the living room/kitchen and overlooks the terrace, giving the home a strong sense of the outdoors. 

After: As you can see above, the original brick of the fireplace is now exposed, highlighting the warmth of the cedar ceilings. The dining room connects the living room/kitchen and overlooks the terrace, giving the home a strong sense of the outdoors. 


A Renovated Artist's Studio Is Now an Airy, Efficient Home in Paris, France

Originally built in the 1950s, a 484-square-foot garage in the 14th arrondissement of Paris was converted into a work studio with a kitchen, sleeping area, and bathroom for the French painter Pierre Lemaire in 1970. In 2014, Pierre's granddaughter Christine inherited the studio and hired architect Willy Durieu of Atelier Wilda to renovate the space. The transformation, completed in 2017, has resulted in a bright, minimalist loft with an open-plan living area, a master bedroom, a clever guest room with a moveable partition, and a bathroom.

Before: The house was a Parisian pied-à-terre before its renovation in 2014.

Before: The house was a Parisian pied-à-terre before its renovation in 2014.

After: Windows and skylights from the eastern façade bring in an abundance of light throughout the day.

After: Windows and skylights from the eastern façade bring in an abundance of light throughout the day.


A Rundown Bodega Is Reimagined Into a Vibrant Live/Work Space in Chicago, Illinois

Inspired by the spirit of repurposing urban spaces in the era of tear-downs, Matt Nardella—who runs the Chicago–based architecture and design studio of moss Design with his wife, Laura Cripe—took an old, abandoned bodega in an urban Chicago neighborhood and completely transformed it into a vibrant, contemporary live/work space. The 6,000-square-foot complex, which they call Logan Certified, has been arranged into four distinct areas around a courtyard that they inserted into the center of the structure. The space is now home to the duo's newly expanded architecture and design studio, a showroom, a furniture and art gallery, as well as their personal apartment and a rental apartment on the second level—which is a totally new addition.   

Before: The decrepit space that would become the residence.

Before: The decrepit space that would become the residence.

After: The home features an open plan, and the kitchen, dining area, and living room all share the same space. Thanks to the insertion of the center courtyard, this unit feels bright and airy. 

After: The home features an open plan, and the kitchen, dining area, and living room all share the same space. Thanks to the insertion of the center courtyard, this unit feels bright and airy. 


An Outdated Bathroom Gets a Complete Makeover in Just 6 Weeks in Youngstown, Ohio

Inspired to renovate after moving into her new home, freelance graphic designer Breanna Bertolini—the voice behind the blog Brepurposed—decided to take part in the One Room Challenge and revamp her outdated bathroom. Although she only had six weeks to complete the project, she successfully transformed the room into a virtually unrecognizable space.

Before: The original bathroom layout was extremely small and compact, housing a dated feel. 

Before: The original bathroom layout was extremely small and compact, housing a dated feel. 

After: Bertolini used cedar planks from Lowe's and stained them to match the vanity and other wood elements in the renovated bathroom.

After: Bertolini used cedar planks from Lowe's and stained them to match the vanity and other wood elements in the renovated bathroom.


A Historic Townhouse Gets a Magical Makeover in New York, New York

On the former site of Washington Market, which was active from the 1770s through the 1960s, this Federal-style townhouse in New York's Tribeca neighborhood was built in 1828 and spent most of its life as an egg and poultry distributor. With the historic home falling into disrepair, the current homeowners, both artists, hired Susan Yun of YUN Architecture to give the home a more contemporary look—one that would also pay homage to the home's rich history. Referencing the past, yet not trying to recreate it, the architects sought to create the layered look of a home that had evolved over the years. Yun explained, "The homeowners didn’t want a specifically modern house or to try and make a Federal house, and because of the home's past renovation, no original details were left—they didn’t want to try and make it into a period piece." The dilapidated interiors served as a blank slate for Yun and interior designer Penelope August (who had worked together previously at Selldorf Architects). While many elements of the project were custom-made for the home, almost equal amounts are salvaged pieces found by the homeowners.

Before: The biggest architectural maneuver in the renovation was moving the staircase to allow for a more spacious kitchen. In this view, you can see the little volume at the center that housed the refrigerator.

Before: The biggest architectural maneuver in the renovation was moving the staircase to allow for a more spacious kitchen. In this view, you can see the little volume at the center that housed the refrigerator.

After: The entire renovated parlor floor now serves as an open-plan kitchen, dining, and living area.

After: The entire renovated parlor floor now serves as an open-plan kitchen, dining, and living area.


A 1950s Midcentury Gem Is Revamped Into a Modern Stunner in Seattle, Washington

When clients contacted Seattle-based SHED Architecture & Design to remodel their 1957 humble abode, they weren't looking for a total transformation. They were simply searching for a way to highlight the home's midcentury charm, while also integrating a new, modern feel.SHED embraced this challenge and salvaged as many of the original design elements as possible. By working closely with the owners and interior designer Jennie Gruss, the team revamped the layout and incorporated new finishes and furnishings to welcome a refreshing update.

Before: To ensure the midcentury elements within the home were preserved, the team carefully restored the finishes and flow of the property, while also reworking some of the space.

Before: To ensure the midcentury elements within the home were preserved, the team carefully restored the finishes and flow of the property, while also reworking some of the space.

After: The modern renovated kitchen now looks out to the big, open deck which houses expansive tree views.

After: The modern renovated kitchen now looks out to the big, open deck which houses expansive tree views.


A DIY Couple Tackle Their 1915 Craftsman in San Diego, California

Since 2015, when Ashley and Ross Goldman bought a Craftsman-style bungalow in their hometown of San Diego, California, they've worked diligently to turn it into a warm, stylish, modern home.  At the top of the Goldmans' house hunting wish list was a building with some old-world charm, so they were immediately captivated by this classic, Craftsman-style bungalow built in 1915. "The built-ins, plate rails, room dividers, picture rails, leaded glass cabinets, fireplace, big windows, beefy trim, hardwood floors, and classic facade give the house so much character," says Ashley Goldman. "Since we bought it, our goal has been to restore it to its former glory, and refresh it, while adding modern amenities and our own personal style." Simple, modern furnishings don't take attention away from the original details of the home.  

Before: The original dining room was painted red, so Goldman toned it down with a creamy white, then added unique artwork to the plate rail.

Before: The original dining room was painted red, so Goldman toned it down with a creamy white, then added unique artwork to the plate rail.

After: Every room received refinished hardwood floors, and resurfaced walls. New furnishings and refreshed bookcases were added to the dining room.

After: Every room received refinished hardwood floors, and resurfaced walls. New furnishings and refreshed bookcases were added to the dining room.


Two Masterful Kitchen Renovations by Case Design

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, design-build firm Case Design/Remodeling Inc. has over 50 years of experience with home interior and renovation projects, including kitchen remodels. Below, we shine the spotlight on two kitchen makeover projects handled by Case. 

Modern Design 

Designed by Elena Eskandari with Greg Polen as project manager, this modern kitchen update required taking out part of the wall, which completely changed the layout. All the old finishings were replaced with new materials, and a 12-foot island was added.

Before: Originally, the 1980s-style kitchen had country oak cabinets and dated finishes, and the layout wasn’t functional. Tight corners make it hard to navigate, and the small island did not encourage frequent use.

Before: Originally, the 1980s-style kitchen had country oak cabinets and dated finishes, and the layout wasn’t functional. Tight corners make it hard to navigate, and the small island did not encourage frequent use.

After: The clients wanted an improved flow, ample space to cook and bake, and updated materials and appliances, so Case Design added a new island with a hood for better circulation, ample seating and counter space, two-toned cabinetry, and a colorful backsplash.

After: The clients wanted an improved flow, ample space to cook and bake, and updated materials and appliances, so Case Design added a new island with a hood for better circulation, ample seating and counter space, two-toned cabinetry, and a colorful backsplash.


Black and White 

To solve the problem of a tight, cramped kitchen with an awkward layout and a lack of continuous countertops, Case project developer Erin Hoopes, designer Elena Eskandari, and project manager Loren Sanders worked together to change the layout and fit-outs from the floor to the ceiling.

Before: The kitchen before the renovation was a cramped, off-putting space. Case Design replaced the wall between the dining room and the kitchen with a recessed beam to create a more open floor plan.

Before: The kitchen before the renovation was a cramped, off-putting space. Case Design replaced the wall between the dining room and the kitchen with a recessed beam to create a more open floor plan.

After: To maintain the home’s classic style and vintage design, the team selected new Encaustic cement floor tiles in black, white, and grey. New, low-maintenance, marble-effect quartz countertops were chosen to give the kitchen a vintage look.

After: To maintain the home’s classic style and vintage design, the team selected new Encaustic cement floor tiles in black, white, and grey. New, low-maintenance, marble-effect quartz countertops were chosen to give the kitchen a vintage look.

   

A Century-Old Row House Gets a Glorious Renovation in Montreal, Canada

When a young family first purchased Maison Clark, the home boasted little charm. From issues with mold and seepage to its cramped, dark, non-functional layout, the outdated dwelling was in dire need of a proper remodel. Fortunately, local firm la SHED was eager to help. The team of architects reimagined all of the interior and exterior spaces, creating a bright and airy abode that would easily be able to evolve with the family's needs over time.

Before: As you can see, the layout of the compact kitchen space before the renovation was extremely restricting.

Before: As you can see, the layout of the compact kitchen space before the renovation was extremely restricting.

After: The kitchen faces the back garden and benefits from a double height atrium space. Pine has been used for the kitchen flooring and cabinets. Extensive glazing gives the ground floor living spaces a direct visual link with the courtyard and terrace. 

After: The kitchen faces the back garden and benefits from a double height atrium space. Pine has been used for the kitchen flooring and cabinets. Extensive glazing gives the ground floor living spaces a direct visual link with the courtyard and terrace. 


An Old Farmhouse Gets a Modern Facelift in Ritto, Japan

Outside the Japanese city of Ritto in the central Shiga Prefecture, a 53-year-old rice plantation farmhouse was renovated to carefully balance old and new. Koka–based ALTS Design Office was careful to preserve the original interior and exterior heritage elements of the existing building as they worked to open up, brighten, and modernize the home.

Before: This classic Japanese room would receive a thoughtful renovation.

Before: This classic Japanese room would receive a thoughtful renovation.

After: Staying true to the aesthetics of traditional, Japanese rural homes, architect Sumiou Mizumoto stuck with simple color and material choices. White and wood elements dominate pure, streamlined spaces.

After: Staying true to the aesthetics of traditional, Japanese rural homes, architect Sumiou Mizumoto stuck with simple color and material choices. White and wood elements dominate pure, streamlined spaces.


A 1954 Midcentury Is Stunningly Revived in Portland, Oregon

Remodels, especially of vintage homes, are a balancing act between preserving the home's innate character and updating its function for modern life. Gut too much and a house's charm is lost—yet no one wants to live in a dark time capsule. For this 1954 residence in Portland's West Hills neighborhood, Penny Black Interiors skillfully delivered an update that retains the house's midcentury character, yet still feels fresh and modern. "Our approach was to create some standout moments throughout the home that made the space feel 'more mod than mid,'" says designer Stewart Horner.

Before: A Jack-and-Jill bathroom with worn fixtures and finishes was tweaked so that it solely connects to the principal bedroom and forms a private suite.

Before: A Jack-and-Jill bathroom with worn fixtures and finishes was tweaked so that it solely connects to the principal bedroom and forms a private suite.

After: In the shower, handmade Bubble Hex tile from the Futura collection at the Portland–based company Clayhaus Tile makes a stunning statement.

After: In the shower, handmade Bubble Hex tile from the Futura collection at the Portland–based company Clayhaus Tile makes a stunning statement.


A Kitchen and Dining Room Swap Places in This Home Renovation in Oregon

When Portland–based Suraya and Jason Barbee were ready to give their kitchen a fresh makeover, they hired His Builders—a small, family-run firm headed by brothers Owen and Nathan Burkholder—to help them carry out the remodel. After Suraya shared her vision for the kitchen with His Builders, Leon and Owen decided the best way to achieve her goals was to move the kitchen to the original dining space, which had a higher ceiling.

Before: Here is the dining room before the renovation.

Before: Here is the dining room before the renovation.

After: Along with a simple, clean look, the couple also wanted a space that would withstand frequent usage by their kids and puppy. The team replaced all the cabinetry and fixtures, and located the kitchen sink directly in front of a large window. 

After: Along with a simple, clean look, the couple also wanted a space that would withstand frequent usage by their kids and puppy. The team replaced all the cabinetry and fixtures, and located the kitchen sink directly in front of a large window. 

 

An Outdated 80s Loft Is Rescued From a Flashy Color Palette in New York, New York

According to Clay Coffey, founder of the architecture and design firm Isaac-Rae, his first tour of this spacious loft was a bit blinding. "As the elevator doors opened, you were overwhelmed by a dated and severe design—a lot of black, red, and silver," he notes. Located in an 1890 garment factory that was converted to lofts in the 1980s, this particular unit had undergone a misguided remodel before being bought by the current owners in 2013, when Coffey first saw it. Not only were the fixtures and finishes out of sync with the building's bones, the 3,100-square-foot home was "underutilized" with "a good deal of dead space." "But the building had natural attributes and bones worth uncovering," said Coffey. The team gave the loft a complete overhaul, reconfiguring the layout to fit two more bedrooms and upping the bathrooms from one and a half to three. They then incorporated an "un-fussy" aesthetic throughout.  

Before: Flashy silver brick, bright red accents, and a black utilitarian floor obscure the loft's better qualities: high ceilings and exposed wood beams.

Before: Flashy silver brick, bright red accents, and a black utilitarian floor obscure the loft's better qualities: high ceilings and exposed wood beams.

After: In the living room, the team raised the firebox, cladded the hearth in a tactile plaster finish, and installed a floating limestone bench that wraps the column. The wood beams and red brick were scraped and stripped many times to remove the silver paint and reclaim a natural state.

After: In the living room, the team raised the firebox, cladded the hearth in a tactile plaster finish, and installed a floating limestone bench that wraps the column. The wood beams and red brick were scraped and stripped many times to remove the silver paint and reclaim a natural state.


An Architect Takes Steps to Create His Dream Home in New York, New York

Architect Shane Neufeld has been considering a project like this for a quarter-century—or in other words, much of his life. Before he spent a year renovating this row house in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, Shane spent a decade living in a nearby apartment with his wife. And in the years preceding that, he grew up in a townhouse set in the same New York City borough.His day-to-day familiarity only bolstered the practical experience he gained in his career, which includes starting his own firm L/AND/A. Nevertheless, when he and his wife, Claire Stapleton, decided to buy the listing online, he was still intimidated by the idea of modernizing a 19th-century property. By focusing the remodel on one specific detail—the stairs—the rest of the home fell into place. "The goal from the very beginning was to invert and open up the traditional row house by replacing a stacked stair with a switchback stair," he says.

Before: The staircase in the Brooklyn row house was crumbling.

Before: The staircase in the Brooklyn row house was crumbling.

After: White oak treads and a painted steel handrail make up the home's signature staircase.

After: White oak treads and a painted steel handrail make up the home's signature staircase.


A 1950s Midcentury Abode Gets a Gorgeous Upgrade in Portland, Oregon

When the current owners laid eyes on the home's spectacular city views, they instantly fell in love with the 1958 dwelling. In addition to amazing vistas, the custom-designed house had an authentic midcentury vibe and a cool chevron floor plan. Yet, despite its captivating character, it also had several major issues. From the tiny, closed-off rooms and awkward spaces, to the low ceilings that were "begging to be vaulted," a renovation was desperately needed.Fortunately, Portland–based Risa Boyer Architecture came to the rescue and carefully revamped the 3,600-square-foot home.

Before: The flat, low ceilings in the living areas severely compromised the views.

Before: The flat, low ceilings in the living areas severely compromised the views.

After: The vaulted ceiling adds an expansive airy feel that the original home lacked. Now, the wall of windows perfectly frames the gorgeous overlook.

After: The vaulted ceiling adds an expansive airy feel that the original home lacked. Now, the wall of windows perfectly frames the gorgeous overlook.


A Dark 1880s Row Home Gets an Airy Makeover in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Kate Hostetter of Brentwood Builders vividly remembers the first time she saw the 1880s brick row home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. "The home was dark and small and smelled like cat pee—not inspiring at all," she says with a laugh.Yet with the help of an excellent team of local contractors, Kate and her husband, Brent, dramatically transformed the outdated 1,100-square-foot space into a spectacular light-filled home.

Before: In addition to its small windows, the dwelling also had a cramped and confusing layout.

Before: In addition to its small windows, the dwelling also had a cramped and confusing layout.

After: To give the interior a more open and spacious feel, the team exposed the ceiling beams.

After: To give the interior a more open and spacious feel, the team exposed the ceiling beams.


A Neglected 1960s Ranch-Style Home Gets a Sunny Outdoor Connection in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California

On her wedding day in 2015, designer Abbie Naber of a.NABER Design and her husband closed on this four-bedroom, two-bath home in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, a community in North San Diego County, California. The demolition soon followed. The house had been built in 1960 and had not seen much attention since, aside from a few coats of paint. Skimpy slider windows, lackluster carpet and tile, and a slapdash backyard pergola all added up to an eyesore. Naber carefully reworked the house's floor plan, expanding the kitchen to include a breakfast nook, adding a dining room where the pergola once stood, and opening up the new interior to a swoon-worthy back patio. Then she wove in artful finishes throughout, from patterned tile to sumptuous wallpaper to cozy textiles.

Before: A pergola tacked onto the rear facade darkened the home's interior, and the indoor/outdoor connection was disjointed. A dated brick pattern lay underneath.

Before: A pergola tacked onto the rear facade darkened the home's interior, and the indoor/outdoor connection was disjointed. A dated brick pattern lay underneath.

After: The pergola was removed, the exterior wall opened up, and a new dining room added. The 12-foot-long sliding doors recede all the way into the wall for total indoor/outdoor flow. The new patio received cement tile, its black and white palette coordinating with the new white paint and black window frames of the exterior.

After: The pergola was removed, the exterior wall opened up, and a new dining room added. The 12-foot-long sliding doors recede all the way into the wall for total indoor/outdoor flow. The new patio received cement tile, its black and white palette coordinating with the new white paint and black window frames of the exterior.


Bold Wallpaper Brings Dreamy Vibes to a Dated Airstream

When Bonnie Christine and her husband, David, decided to take their two young kids on a long cross-country road trip, they began hunting for a pre-owned Airstream they could renovate and make their own.Having spent nearly a decade casually leafing through the classifieds for a trailer, the couple developed a keen eye that quickly led them to the perfect purchase—a 1962 Airstream Overlander for $18,000.From the reupholstered green velvet couch to variated penny tile, the diverse finishes and textures breathe new life and charm into the Airstream. Having returned from a successful adventure out west, Marjorie is now parked at Bonnie and David’s house in North Carolina. "She lives at our house and serves as an excellent additional office space for my husband and I when we need a quiet moment," Bonnie explains. "We've also got several trips planned over the next year. We can't wait to do more traveling!"

Before: A look at the original state of the trailer towards the rear bathroom. Bonnie notes, "I believe that the 26-foot Airstream is the shortest camper that comes with a full bathroom, and it's possibly my favorite part! Aside from being incredibly functional and helpful, I love that it's in the back of the camper (many are in the middle, now)."

Before: A look at the original state of the trailer towards the rear bathroom. Bonnie notes, "I believe that the 26-foot Airstream is the shortest camper that comes with a full bathroom, and it's possibly my favorite part! Aside from being incredibly functional and helpful, I love that it's in the back of the camper (many are in the middle, now)."

After: Sliding walls wallpapered with Pimpernell by William Morris separate the bathroom from the lounge/sleeping space in the renovated Airstream.

After: Sliding walls wallpapered with Pimpernell by William Morris separate the bathroom from the lounge/sleeping space in the renovated Airstream.


A Little Flat Gets a Modern Upgrade in Lviv, Ukraine

When a young couple yearned to inject new life into their historic apartment known as Little Flat in Lviv, Western Ukraine, they turned to Replus Design Bureau to help bring their vision to life. Aside from making the small space look and feel larger, the owners also wanted to keep a number of the home's original details, such as the old brick walls and Austrian parquet floors.

Before: Inside, the old brick walls were kept intact and painted gray in certain sections.

Before: Inside, the old brick walls were kept intact and painted gray in certain sections.

After: A closer look at the living lounge below. Per the owners' request, the Austrian parquet floors were kept intact and beautifully restored.

After: A closer look at the living lounge below. Per the owners' request, the Austrian parquet floors were kept intact and beautifully restored.


A Humdrum Home Receives a Stylish Revamp in New York, New York

When Mike and Laura Farah found out they were expecting their second child, they knew it was time to purchase a larger home. Having lived in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens for about a decade, they weren't ready to say goodbye to the familiar, so after viewing multiple properties, they ended up buying a 4,167-square-foot brownstone right across the road from their old home.The couple liked the condition of the relatively new property, which was built in 2010, but felt it lacked the soulfulness of the other homes they had previously lived in. There were also certain aspects of the house that did not suit their current lifestyle, so they contacted Brooklyn architect Frederick Tang to help them alter their new space to better fit their needs and tastes.

Before: The original kitchen lacked personality.

Before: The original kitchen lacked personality.

After: The renovated kitchen is perfect for entertaining.

After: The renovated kitchen is perfect for entertaining.


An Old Equipment Room Is Reborn as a Modern Penthouse in Ukraine

Inspired by the exposed infrastructure and roughcast concrete elements that were a part of the original space, Kiev–based architecture and design studio 2B.group has strategically redesigned the equipment room layout into a stylish penthouse residence—an idyllic setting for entertaining. "The main challenge of this project was to plan the space so that it would achieve maximum utility of its 180-degree view from the windows." explains Slava Balbek, one of the studio's founders. "We visually divided the space with lines originating at the doors in the center, thus separating it into the living room, master bedroom and service areas."

Before: A look at the old floors, which have been stripped and replaced with wood and concrete.

Before: A look at the old floors, which have been stripped and replaced with wood and concrete.

After: The optimized layout includes an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen, along with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths.

After: The optimized layout includes an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen, along with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths.


A Dull RV Becomes a Cheerful Abode in Just 21 Days

When Grace and Eric Koelma sold their home in Australia in 2017, they acted upon a ruminating idea of exploring the world and embracing an adventurous, nomadic lifestyle with their young son, Leo. Craving a change from the suburban norm, the couple took their work on the road and traveled in Europe and Asia, living without a permanent address for an entire year. With an ignited wanderlust and itch to live family-life on the road, Grace and Eric began searching for a van that would allow the three of them to comfortably explore Canada and North America. After first looking at a VW Westfalia, they knew it was simply too small. "Looking at a van that size was helpful because we realized we wanted more of a tiny home on wheels than a weekend-style camper," notes Grace. Shortly thereafter, they came across a 1991 Ford Econoline RV, which they then purchased for $8,500.Though the van was in great condition for its age and mechanically sound, the drab interior left little to be desired. Neither Grace nor Eric had building experience, so they figured things out as they went, enlisting the help of generous friends and fellow van-goers, while also faithfully consulting YouTube.

Before: The camper's interiors appeared extremely cramped and dated.

Before: The camper's interiors appeared extremely cramped and dated.

After: The RV's kitchen now boasts freshly painted cabinetry and butcher-block countertops, both of which have been sourced from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

After: The RV's kitchen now boasts freshly painted cabinetry and butcher-block countertops, both of which have been sourced from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.


 

A Dark Midcentury Turns Into a Luminous Gem in Santa Barbara, California

Sited just a half-block from the Pacific Ocean and neighboring a 70-acre ocean-side preserve, the location of the 1952 ranch-style dwelling could not have been better. Yet, homeowner Heather Greene of Sprout Concepts envisioned a more modern look for the modestly sized 1,100-square-foot residence in Santa Barbara, California. To take charge of the renovation, Greene called upon local firm Anacapa, where she worked in collaboration with architect Dan Weber. Given the extensive updates that needed to be completed on the three-bedroom, two-bath property, the redesign soon turned into a three-year project.

Before: As you can see, the kitchen before the remodel was dark and narrow.

Before: As you can see, the kitchen before the remodel was dark and narrow.

After: Now, the kitchen is bright, open, and totally transformed.

After: Now, the kitchen is bright, open, and totally transformed.

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