Before and After: Remodeling
Before: Stuffy Surroundings
Inadequate lighting, a steeply vaulted ceiling, and a bad furniture arrangement made this living room feel like a dreary dollhouse.
After: Fresh Style
White paint on the walls, ceiling, and floors brightens this once-dark interior and provides a chic backdrop for a mix of modern Italian furnishings. Lamps brighten the mostly enclosed space, and a stunning chandelier supplies a decor-defining focal point. To play up an existing feature the homeowners loved -- the vaulted ceiling -- they brought in an architect to raise the rest of the roof and improve indoor-outdoor connections.
Before: Boxed Out
A clunky, crowded ceiling, mismatched appliances, and dull cabinetry were just the tip of the iceberg for this kitchen. It sported an inefficient layout that was cramped and cut off from the rest of the house, making it the perfect candidate for a remodel.
After: Awash in Light
Once a cramped room tucked away from the rest of the house, the kitchen is now an integral part of surrounding living spaces. Expanding the kitchen upward and outward ushered in natural light and breathing room. The new layout includes a wood-topped island and professional-style range. A glass subway tile backsplash and granite countertops include various shades of green that pop against the classic white cabinetry.
Black & White Kitchen Redo
See how a dated kitchen received a high-contrast update that boosted character and efficiency.
Before: Hidden Charms
While the bones of this living room were good, the space lacked the charm of its coastal surroundings.
After: Coastal Cool
The homeowners managed to salvage the living room's original fireplace stonework, but they built a new surround and mantel to complement the home's classic style. The timeless blue-and-white color scheme alludes to the waterside location.
Before: Cramped Quarters
Like many hall bathrooms, this one felt claustrophobic and devoid of character. The room was in desperate need of a makeover to maximize space and function.
After: Paneled Perfection
A savvy period-inspired remodel dramatically transformed this once-tiny bathroom, making it usable as a master bath. Thoughtful touches such as beaded-board paneling, exposed storage, and period fixtures fill the new bath with unbeatable charm.
Before: Uninviting Entryway
The front entryway and staircase in this 1970s home failed to welcome visitors in style. The tile-pattern vinyl floor looked cheap and dated, and the white-painted staircase was scratched and worn. The homeowners no longer liked the tone-on-tone striped wallpaper and wanted the area to show off cottage charm that would match the rest of their house.
After: Welcoming Character
New wooden treads and traditional-style balusters gave the front stairway a whole new look. Wainscoting on the walls adds cottage charm; the budget-friendly architectural enhancement was created by attaching vertical strips of wood to drywall and capping them with a chair rail. A new striped stair runner adds a touch of fun color and can easily be changed out later if the homeowners want a fresh look.
Before: Jumbled Living Space
This room had to serve as both a living and dining area, so there wasn't much space for relaxing outside of the home's bedrooms. The room was generous in size and boasted plenty of windows, but dark paneling made it feel smaller than its actual size. Bland window treatments and mismatched furniture gave the living room a thrown-together look that lacked charm.
After: Cozy Family Area
Adding a dining room and den means this space can now function as a comfortable living room for homeowners and guests. New windows and doors with traditional-style muntins, crown molding, and beaded-board paneling bring architectural charm to this once-bland space. Window seats and multiple furniture groupings create cozy conversation areas, while durable materials -- including distressed barn-board floors -- ensure easy livability.
Before: Forgotten Fireplace Wall
Last updated in the 1980s, this living room lacked the cottage style that made the rest of the house so charming. Without a surround or mantel, the fireplace looked like an afterthought, and the brass fireplace doors and mirrored wall felt too contemporary for the vintage home. The homeowners were less than enthusiastic about the carpeting and longed to add architectural interest to the room.
After: Stunning Focal Point
The living room's new fireplace wall finally shows off a vintage charm that matches the style of the 1912 home. New built-in bookshelves and an arched soffit lend architectural character, and a new concrete fireplace surround mimics the look of slate at a fraction of the price. The homeowners discovered hardwood floors underneath the worn carpet, which they refinished and stained a dark brown. New slipcovers cleverly disguise worn-out $20 chairs and feature patterned fabric sewn into.
Before: Untapped Potential
The living room in this Craftsman-style home included a few nice elements -- arched openings and hardwood floors, for example -- but overall it lacked star power. There was no clear focal point; with just a small wood surround, the fireplace didn't make much of a design statement. Furnishings were mismatched and didn't complement the scale of the room.
After: Charming Seating Area
The new living room is softer and lighter, encouraging guests and homeowners to gather in the sunny space. A new limestone fireplace surround adds welcome drama to the fireplace wall and gives the room a much-needed focal point. New French doors lead into a home office and help lighten the overall look.
Before: Uninspired Living Space
The original living room in this 1929 home offered enough space for a comfortable gathering area, but it called out for an update. A dark fireplace surround and built-in bookcases made the room feel smaller than it was and the carpet needed to be replaced. As is common in older homes, the living room was somewhat cut off from adjoining rooms, and the homeowners hoped to create a more open floor plan without losing the home's traditional charm.
After: Soothing Seating Area
The living room was almost completely gutted, but the fireplace remains in its original location and the room is close to its original size. A new stone mantel and a marble surround lend grandeur to the original fireplace, creating a traditional focal point for the room. Built-in shelves add display space for collectibles and a soft color palette encourages relaxation.
$5,000 Bath Remodel
A mix of wood tones and finishes brought this basic bath up a notch -- all while working within a modest budget. See how this makeover came to life, and get ideas for your own bathroom projects.
Before: Out of Place
This contemporary kitchen, remodeled in the 1970s, looked out of place inside the 19th-century Victorian home. It featured soothing waterfront views, but the interior views were not nearly as pleasing. The small kitchen lacked efficient work space and storage. The homeowners hoped to increase function and boost style with a central island and additional upper cabinets.
After: New Traditions
In this striking kitchen remodel, the homeowners kept the sink wall where it was but removed the opposite wall of the kitchen to make way for a sunroom addition. Vintage-style elements, such as a new kitchen island with furniture-style feet and grayish-green marble countertops, help integrate the kitchen with the home's traditional style. Custom-built white cabinets with reproduction brass hardware reach to the ceiling, adding a sense of elegance and maximizing storage.
Before: Past Its Prime
Located in a century-old Midwestern home, this kitchen had multiple problems. A convoluted layout impeded meal preparation and added unnecessary steps for the cook. Kitchen cabinets and countertops were old and worn out, and the vinyl floor was warped and peeling. It was time to replace the appliances, enhance kitchen storage, and improve functionality.
After: Warm and Cozy
In the kitchen's new layout, the cooktop, refrigerator, and sink are just a few steps apart, ensuring easy meal preparation. A new peninsula adds counter space and provides an open view to the adjoining kitchen table. New cherry cabinets lend warmth and offer efficient storage, while octagonal ceramic tiles inset with hand-scraped teak "rugs" show off traditional materials in a new way. Solid-surfacing countertops are mounted on edged plywood for a substantial, upscale look.
Before: Lackluster Breakfast Area
The casual dining area in this home was big enough to accommodate a decent size of table, but there wasn't much space to move around. The area looked like an afterthought and lacked architectural character. The homeowners hoped to make the space feel cozier, while adding quiet sophistication.
After: Cozy Breakfast Nook
A gentle arch now defines the breakfast nook, adding architectural drama and making the dining space feel cozy. Crown molding mimics the elegant detailing found in the living room, while a beaded-board ceiling complements the ceiling in an attached porch. Brown walls contrast with white trim and benches, providing a crisp color palette that promises to always be in style. Drawers in the benches offer practical storage, as well.
Before: Jumbled Storage Space
The homeowners of this home wanted to create a formal dining space to match the character of their Victorian home, but this jumbled storage space needed a lot of work. Overrun with plants, books, and extra furniture, it wasn't functional for much of anything -- and it certainly wasn't inviting. The first step was clearing out the clutter; then the homeowners focused on adding architectural charm and drama.
After: Traditional Elegance
White-pine floors, buried under paint and carpet, turned out to be in great shape and now provide a charming foundation for the remodeled dining room. To lend architectural charm, the homeowners added window casings and crown molding, which were missing from the home. Corner bookcases lend traditional character and provide abundant storage space for formal dishware. A crystal chandelier, formal dining table, and sophisticated window treatments lend decorative flair and help create an inviting and elegant atmosphere.
Before: Dark and Dated
Misguided remodels took much of the character out of this home. Dated wallpaper, cracked plaster walls, and dark interiors were less than inviting. The homeowners wanted to return the home's architectural charm, and their vision included reinstating a formal dining room that would be ideal for entertaining.
After: Sophisticated Dining
To create a dining room with an elegant atmosphere, the homeowners first replaced the room's basic wood trim with substantial plaster moldings. Leaded-glass windows enhance the room's traditional charm, as well, and a formal chandelier and dining table set just the right mood for entertaining. Two antique doors from a flea market in France lean against the entry wall and add an architectural flourish.
Before: Drab Dining Space
The decor in this dining room could best be described as dated. Peach-tone walls and heavy floral accents were tired, and the furniture was old and unexciting. Although the room had a hardwood floor, its charm was well hidden beneath dirt and scratches. The room needed a fresh look to become a truly inviting dining space.
After: Chic Entertaining Space
The hardwood floors were first sanded and refinished; they were finished with a rich coffee-brown stain for an elegant look. A subtle palette of khaki and white on the walls and windows brings a sophisticated charm to the room, while a table and chairs in black lacquer add a punch of drama. With its updated, classic look, the remodeled dining room is a perfect backdrop for lively brunches or quiet dinners with friends.
Before: Claustrophobic Corner
Dark beaded-board paneling and limited windows made this master bedroom feel dreary. The bed and furniture filled much of the room, so the sleeping area appeared even smaller than its square footage would suggest. The room seemed to be calling out for a fresher, lighter look.