Home Makeover Tour: Small Yet Stylish Home

A first-time home buyer remodels a small two-story home and adds stylish design touches throughout.

2-Story Home

This sweet little house was just the right size for a starter home. Seeing the home was structurally sound and had a good layout, the homeowner saw the potential and developed a workable plan.

Cleverly Planned Curtains

Tall windows throughout the house bring in plenty of sunlight. Hanging the drapes from ceiling to floor emphasized the height of the room and added a boost of color and pattern to the room. The pipe drapery rods extend the length of the wall so the draperies can be opened to the spaces between the windows during the day, exposing the entire window.

Monochromatic Wall Color

Maintaining a consistent wall color through most of the house (select shades of pale gray) creates a sense of expansiveness and connectedness while allowing for definition between spaces.

Stylish Furniture

Small houses don't require small furniture. This grand round table sits at the end of the sofa and near the front door to serve dual functions while providing style. The rich wood complements the flooring and window treatments. The pedestal style results in open space under the table, which keeps the look light so the table doesn't overwhelm the corner.

Remodeled Kitchen

With ample space, this eat-in kitchen has enough room to accommodate both cooking and entertaining. But the original layout pinched the room's one tight spot--the entry. Moving the refrigerator and using open shelves opened the room from end to end.

BEFORE: Kitchen Cabinets and Walls

Standard upper cabinets and a bold color overwhelmed the kitchen before. Heavy texture on walls throughout the home also made the rooms feel smaller.

DURING: Hardwood Flooring

Fortunately, most of the hardwood floor was intact. Unfortunately, the only bad spot was the heavily trafficked kitchen entry. Termite damage was hidden under the layers of flooring and subflooring and had to be carefully repaired as part of the remodeling.

DURING: Flooring Repair

Blending new flooring and pieces salvaged from elsewhere in the house allowed for a seamless repair. "Fingering" wood planks into the surrounding floor blurs the edges where new meets old. Here, before refinishing, the exposed wood of the repair is still evident. After staining and sealing, the spot disappears.

Elegant Kitchen Solution

A bump in the wall housed piping and couldn't be removed. Putting shelves or cabinets there would have pinched the kitchen entry. Instead, the space was dressed up with a decorative mirror and a pendant lamp. A spot that could have made the room look smaller now makes the room look larger.

BEFORE: Kitchen Color

Color is an important factor. The intense wall color, bright cabinet color, and busy pattern of the mosaic backsplash made the kitchen feel crowded even though the colors were cheery. The neutral palette makes the decorative items pop and the walls and cabinets recede.

Luxury Details

Even budget remodeling projects often have a few splurge items. In this kitchen, they were the restaurant-style faucet, the countertops, and a quality extra-quiet dishwasher, three items that get a daily workout in any kitchen. And the countertops elevate the look of the home-center stock cabinetry.

Stylish Eat-In Kitchen

Style is important in an eat-in kitchen that sees a lot of entertaining. The armoire, table, and armchair were all thrift store finds and are a testament to elegant, but budget-friendly decorating savvy. The sleek side chairs and big shade on the industrial light are welcome, yet unexpected, modern additions.

Open Kitchen Storage

Open shelves above the range store serving pieces in style. With the addition of simple but interesting supports and a decorative edge, plain shelves become grand. As an alternative to permanent task lighting, a pair of desk lamps was placed on the counter to perform the needed function.

Serene Master Bedroom

Upstairs, the master bedroom became a calm, relaxing getaway space. As with downstairs, the window treatments are made to be fully opened for maximum sunlight. But here, a simple neutral fabric that blends with the soft gray walls. Edging the drapes with contrasting trim adds definition.

BEFORE: Bedroom Remodel

Because the fireplace was no longer functional, the bump-out for the flue could be removed upstairs, allowing for a clean look in the bedroom. Note the ice scraper in the corner, which was used to remove the heavy texturing from the plaster walls.

Bedroom Decor

Curved pieces such as this bombe chest are great additions in tight spaces. They provide storage but prevent clipping knees and hips when you walk past. Black-and-white artwork in a variety of frames adds quiet visual interest.

Bedroom Storage

Ensuring adequate storage is always a concern, especially in a small house. Tall dressers make a good choice to use available wall space. This once dark dresser was whitewashed to keep the look of the room light.

Brightly Colored Bathroom

The tiny bathroom is the only space in the house sporting a bright color. Because much of the wall space is lost to a window, the bath surround, and a mirror, the bright yellow walls don't overwhelm. A glass shelf over the pedestal sink creates additional storage or display space. Leaving the mirror unframed keeps the look clean.

Space-Enhancing Bathroom Design

Choosing a clear shower curtain keeps claustrophobia at bay. Heavily textured, semiopaque window glass allows light in while protecting privacy. Along the wall, shallow shelves and hooks for towels make the bath functional and preserve elbow room.

Study Area for Foot Traffic

Because the only path to the bath was through the second bedroom, the space was transformed into a study. Not uncommon in older homes, the room had no closet. A rustic armoire provides needed storage.

With the table/desk in front of the window, foot traffic moves through the room easily and there's plenty of daylight for reading or working.

Floor Plan: Efficient, Small-Space Layout

The floor plan shows how a central staircase in this small house creates a pleasant symmetry of space. It also makes for an efficient use of space--no floor space lost to hallways. The effect maximizes the sense of space.

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