With its slim profile and sleek gray exterior, Lola Oyibo and Eric Boardman’s home in Portland, Oregon bears little resemblance to the house it used to be. Unable to afford the 40% down required to build a new house, the couple instead opted for a FHA 203K renovation loan that let them put just 3% down—and hired architect Ben Waechter of local firm Atelier Waechter to give the place a massive facelift. Formerly a nondescript 1947 Cape Cod-style structure, the house “had a horrible kitchen and had no built-ins or historic elements worth keeping,” says Waechter. Plus, it was only 625 square feet, which was overly crowded for the homeowners and their two year-old daughter, Mena. Keeping the footprint, foundation, and framing intact, the architect stripped the structure down to its bones, opening up the interior and adding a second story to give the family 1250 square feet —and a sweet modern space—in which to live. "It's the idea of reuse," Waechter says. "We recreated a building that had reached the end of its lifespan, infusing it with another hundred years of living."