A Builder-Grade Home Makeover with Big Personality

bathroom shower

This suburban house went from bland and boxy to bursting with texture, pattern, and personality -- all within its existing floor plan.

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Before: Not-So-Appealing Exterior

home before

This 2,800-square-foot tract house built in the 1970s was ready for an update. While the home's layout stayed the same, the kitchen and bathrooms were fully remodeled, the floors refinished, the walls and trim painted, and high-style fixtures and furnishings were laid throughout.

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After: Warm Welcome

home exterior

Warm gray siding ties the home's muted red brick exterior to high-contrast white trim. Homeowners replaced the old front door with a darker, glass-pane version, a change highlighted by the addition of an architectural cornice, hefty brass hardware, and sleek black house numbers.

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Before: Family Room

living room before

This basic beige living room had little in the way of style and less for function and natural light. Lacking color and personality, this family room felt like a blank space ripe for a redo.

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After: Family Room

family room

With several coats of high-gloss blue paint, the homeowners created an interesting and inviting space. They installed two new windows to provide natural light and make the space feel more open. A mix of retail-store cabinets and shelves surround a new electric fireplace and wall-mounted TV. By wrapping the unit in the same molding and lacquer-like paint finish as the rest of the space, it looks like an expensive built-in.

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Tips for Hanging Artwork

Hang photos and artwork on your family room walls with our easy instructions.

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Molding Meets Lacquer

sofa table decor

After adding crown molding and picture-frame molding throughout the living room, the homeowners used several coats of high-gloss paint to create a lacquer effect. Shiny materials in the room, such as this glazed porcelain lamp and metallic picture frame, echo the special sheen on the walls.

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Painting Prep


The homeowners chose simple, narrow rectangles for the panel molding in their small family room. To protect the high-gloss finishes -- which tend to show any flaws -- they prepped the new drywall surface with an overall skim coat of mud, sanded everything smooth, and used several coats of primer.

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Easy Breezy

painted shelving

Soft, breezy curtains provide a nice contrast to the straight edges of the faux built-in and the room's sharp molding. The shelving doors are made from old radiator covers. The semi-sheer panels are perfect for hiding games, electronic devices, and the jumble of cords that goes along with an entertainment center.

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Before: Dining Room

dining room before

Desperate for dimension, the dining room was nothing more than a hallway between the family room and kitchen. Although it didn't need the color pop provided by the family's living space, it definitely demanded added interest.

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After: Dining Room


New wall moldings give the look of wainscoting. Painting all the trim a white semigloss and adding a sculptural milk-glass chandelier helped tie in the family's existing midcentury Saarinen table -- a modern note in the home's more traditional space.

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Pair of Chairs

coral accent chair

A red gloss finish and graphic upholstery fabric add punch to a pair of vintage Chinese Chippendale chairs flanking a stylish low hutch. The homeowners also sanded off the old polyurethane coating on the oak floor in favor of a low-gloss clear coat.

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Pretty Powder Room


Wrapped in vibrant coral-and-aqua chinoiserie wallpaper, the powder room creates a style statement in a small space. Homeowners balanced the splurge with simple brass sconces and a basic white pedestal sink. A curvaceous black mirror scored online anchors the bathroom.

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Before: Kitchen

Kitchen before

The builder-grade kitchen wasn't a bad space, but it lacked the character the rest of the house gained in the remodel. Because of its galley shape and absence of seating, the second counter proved inefficient and lacked purpose.

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After: Kitchen


Moving the sink beneath a window gave the kitchen a harder working U-shape layout. Greige cabinets contrast white quartz countertops and a subway tile backsplash. The tile was reasonably priced, so they took it up to the ceiling for a sense of height. Brass cabinet hardware (a vintage eBay lot) and columns on the breakfast bar add age.

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Window Watcher


A custom Roman shade is a luxe touch above the deep double sink, whereas the window's glossy black trim is an inexpensive upgrade. It outlines the outdoors like a picture, framing the space and making it pop. A glass-front cabinet and delicate glass globe pendant brighten the look.

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Custom Banquette


The homeowners gussied up a store-bought banquette with a custom-cut fiberboard back. They upholstered the back and the seat in a mustard-color leather and finished it with brass nailhead trim. Storage underneath holds placemats, seasonal dishes, and extra kitchen goods.

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Basket Beauties


A collection of colorful handwoven baskets hangs above the upholstered banquette. The kitchen's color scheme is drawn from them, down to the fresh flowers and pillow covers.

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Faux-Fur Footsteps


There's nothing better than a soft step underfoot as you make your way upstairs. A faux deer-fur runner lines the black painted stairs and white risers on this unique stairway. It provides a nice invitation to the upstairs bedrooms and softens the home's wood floors.

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Before: Primary Bedroom

bedroom before

Although blue can be a tranquil color, this bedroom's color scheme is a bit too bold for relaxation. Hand-me-down furniture, while inexpensive, dates the look of the room, and windows without coverings leave the room looking barren.

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After: Primary Bedroom


Easy cosmetic changes refreshed this primary bedroom. The homeowners brightened the space with a light violet wall color and made the windows more of a focal point with chintz cornices. New bedroom furniture and a large area rug underfoot provide both traditional and modern flair.

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Nightstand Wonder


This DIY lamp design called for chunks of amethyst from the couples' collection of rocks and geodes, which adds glitz to the linen-covered nightstands. Nailhead trim gives a pop of interest to the clean furniture design.

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Tranquil Primary Bath

bathroom shower

Gold fixtures and decor shine in the neutral primary bathroom. A dark stained wood vanity grounds the stark white features. This bathroom's style is perfectly relaxed, making it the perfect retreat at the end of the day.

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