Home innovation should solve real-life problems and make life better, focusing on the people, not simply the systems, inside. To demonstrate, we decided to build, furnish, and tech out our ideal house: the BHG Innovation Home. Check out these useful and accessible products and ideas.View Slideshow
Get budget-friendly decorating ideas from this ranch home makeover.
We're John and Sherry. Welcome to the second phase of the transformation of our 50-year-old home. We haven't wasted a second documenting our progress on our blog, younghouselove.com. Come on in and make yourself comfortable as we continue the tour.
What we did: One reason we purchased our 50-year-old home was the lush, generously sized lot that had us at hello. And the spacious sunroom, which we updated with paint and new furnishings, is the perfect place to look out at all that land.
DIY Tip: Look beyond the cosmetic shortcomings of a home. Grimy carpets can be ripped up, dated light fixtures can be switched out, and walls can be painted (or even knocked down!). No one else saw the potential in our home, but their loss was totally our gain. Another tip: For free eye candy, don't toss colorful beverage bottles into the recycling bin. Instead, save your favorite wine or sparkling water bottles, remove the labels, and display them on a tray for a 3-D stained-glass effect.
There's just something sweet about a three-season room, and we wanted to fill ours with soft, neutral tones and low, unobtrusive furnishings to make sure the garden view beyond was the real star of the show.
What we did: This room was actually one of the easy ones. We ripped up the matted old carpet to reveal smooth concrete floors, which we painted a deep chocolate brown. Crisp white furnishings completed the airy look, and, of course, the view doesn't hurt either.
DIY Tip: When painting a floor, it's important to use something formulated for foot traffic. We chose a deck and porch paint that specifically mentioned concrete on the label to avoid any mishaps and achieve a smooth, even finish.
Replacing the smaller beat-up top of an old thrift store pedestal table with a large wood round from Lowe's was all it took to create a new place for dinner. A coat of primer followed by white latex paint and a coat of polyurethane for more protection completed our DIY table project in an afternoon.
Initially, our den resembled a dark, uninviting cave with all that brick and wood paneling. We immediately primed and painted the wall of paneling and eventually worked up the energy to conquer all that brick and those ceiling beams, too.
What we did: Our den was one of the biggest transformations, but surprisingly, it didn't break the bank. Painting the oppressive paneling and the dark brick instantly lightened things up for a fresh and oh-so-current effect on a dime.
DIY Tip: When painting paneling, it helps to use oil-base primer to ensure that the paint will stick and no stains will bleed through and ruin your finish. It also helps to use a roller meant for textured surfaces on both paneling and brick to get into all those cracks and crannies.
We framed keys from apartments past along with our current house key in a shadow box with dates and places penned under each one. It's a sweet, sentimental way to remember where we've been and appreciate how far we've come.
Our washer and dryer were tucked behind cumbersome bifold doors in the hallway that connects our den and sunroom. Needless to say, folding doors in the middle of a pass-through took up valuable real estate (and made doing laundry and passing through impossible to do at the same time). The light switches were even behind the doors -- another sign the doors were in the way.
What we did: Just beyond our laundry nook is our mini mudroom. A storage ottoman + wall-mounted coat rack = great place to drop coats, bags, and shoes. Creating a zone like this, even in a small corner, keeps clutter at bay and ensures that you never have to search for your purse again.
DIY Tip: The hanging scarves, bags, and jackets obscure our home's giant fuse box (which we also painted to make it less obvious). To conceal your eyesore, paint it, lean a floor-length mirror in front of it, or even hang a large piece of art right on top.
To obscure all the ugly plugs and pipes behind the washer and dryer, we leaned some large frames against the wall to keep the chaos concealed (but still allow for easy access). We also used a simple piece of painted plywood to create a counter over our new front-loading washer and dryer, and we hung inexpensive bamboo blinds to conceal storage above.