Real-Life Remodel: Small, Savvy Home

kids closet with white shelves and baskets
A do-it-yourself attitude and a love of clean, contemporary style led to the remodel of this 1970s ranch. Tour this home to find style, space, and budget-stretching ideas.

A Ranch Reinvented

This 1,600-square-foot home defined by dated features would drive anyone crazy. That's why its owners jumped right into remodeling the home after they moved in, making space-saving design decisions and giving it clean, contemporary style. On the outside of the home, they replaced outdated entry lighting, freshened the landscaping, and painted the gate. The homeowners traded heavy double doors for glass front doors that allow an abundance of natural light inside. The new doors complement the slider (on the left) that links the kitchen and the front patio.

Entry to Envy

Here, the new front doors open up the entry and make it feel inviting. As you go through this home tour, you'll notice many space-stretching strategies: an open floor plan, all-white walls, clean lines, mirrors, reflective surfaces, few furnishings, and lots of large windows with minimal window treatments. These elements create a large-home feel.

Grand Great-Room

The new open-plan great-room -- which includes the living room and dining room -- boasts a vaulted ceiling and strong, clean lines. White paint, a drywall surround, and a streamlined mantel give the dated brick fireplace a contemporary look. Large windows and another set of sliding doors in the dining room keep the space bright and offer unobstructed views of the backyard.

Distinctive Dining Room

The dining room's massive wood table anchors the room and low-cost, contemporary, see-through chairs offer a surprising contrast. The sliding glass doors encourage indoor-outdoor living.

Fresh, Fashionable Kitchen

The homeowners decided to gut the dark and dated kitchen and start fresh with a modern, money-wise design. They reconfigured the layout, removing the upper cabinets above the sink in order to open up the kitchen to the dining room and backyard views. They installed sleek engineered-quartz countertops and budget-friendly IKEA cabinetry and bought new commercial-style appliances.

Light and Bright

A new buffet supplies additional storage for cookware and other kitchen essentials, and a space-saving banquette provides the perfect breakfast spot. A freestanding, stainless-steel kitchen island -- purchased from a restaurant supplier -- conveniently adds counter space in the small kitchen. Another slider joins the kitchen and the front courtyard and, combined with a skylight, showers the room with natural light.

Open-Plan Master Suite

For the master bedroom, the homeowners continued the open design, which helps to visually expand the master suite. The tall dresser has a perfect spot directly opposite the master bathroom's vanity. The bathroom receives natural light from the bedroom windows and a small window next to the toilet, keeping the space light and airy.

Clever Closet

New soaring built-ins maximize storage space in the master closet, keeping clothing and accessories in order. Frosted-glass doors reflect light and camouflage contents without totally closing off the closet space.

Better Bathroom

The master bathroom's original layout was awkward -- the shower shared a separate cramped space with the toilet. After a few tweaks to the floor plan, a wall now separates the two. A new walk-in, two-person shower offers a more spacious shower experience and it was achieved without costly reconstruction or plumbing changes.

Bathroom Vanity

The homeowner built the cantilevered vanity himself and topped it with an engineered-quartz surface, achieving a high-end look for less. Storage boxes and baskets fit perfectly on the deep open shelf below, keeping bathroom essentials organized and out of sight.

Cute Kids' Room

The homeowner's children share one small bedroom. To ensure an open and airy feel in the room, they painted the walls white, installed open shelving, and kept window treatments to a minimum. Bright colors are scattered around the room for youthful appeal and to add a twist to the home's neutral, sophisticated palette.

Kids' Closet

To keep the room as open as possible, the doors were left off the closet. The homeowners installed a closet system with a variety of clothing storage options, giving their children easy access and encouraging good organizational habits.

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