Before + After – Our First Rental

You might remember that last summer was an insane whirlwind for us.  We had another baby, finished a flip, bought and sold another one, bought and renovated two rental properties, and started another flip.

the insane summer of 2014

I sometimes question our judgment in undertaking all of these projects at once.  ;)

The rentals kind of got lost in the shuffle and were never blogged about (along with the 9th flip) – so it’s time to change that!  The first rental we purchased was a condo, and the second one was a single-family home.  For some reason I feel like talking about the house today, so let’s start there.

First things first – why we bought a rental instead of a flip.  Well, as you might recall, we occasionally send out mailers in neighborhoods that we like, scouting for anyone interested in selling their house to us.  The owner of this house reached out to us, saying that she liked our note and asking if we would take a look at her house.  Yay!  We loved the location of the house – it’s in a great school district and in a really awesome neighborhood – and the house itself.  So we bought it.

For the most part, the house was in great shape – and while you know we love to flip houses, this house was just begging to become a rental.  Quick cosmetic fixes would also go a long way towards making the house sweet and charming (and rentable), but if we wanted to resell this house we would have to put in some serious money, like for a second story addition or even just scraping the house and starting over.  Houses in this neighborhood are either tiny and affordable or huge and expensive.  This house wanted to stay tiny and affordable.  :)  Also, we’ve been wanting to start buying rentals so that we can have some passive income over the years.

So that’s why we bought a rental.  But now, onto the good stuff – the before and afters!  Most of the changes we made may appear small, but I think they add up.

First up – the front of the house.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

The brick was great, with no signs of foundation damage, and the existing color scheme was cute.  All it needed was a tiny bit of landscaping and some fresh paint on the trim.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

The house has a pretty classic layout inside, almost identical to our 4th flip, with an entry into the formal living and dining rooms.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

With a new chandelier, fresh paint and some recessed lighting, these rooms don’t look markedly different but now they’re bright and clean!

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

A pair of French doors (not pictured above) in the formal living room lead into the den.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

The room was in basically good shape, but there were pet stains on the hardwoods near the fireplace that had bleached the wood and created gaps between the boards.  I was afraid that the floors were toast, but our flooring guy assured me that they could refinish the floor and no one would be the wiser.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

Hallelujah, he was right.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

The kitchen can be accessed through those French doors above, or from the dining room.  Let’s head back to the dining room and check out the view from there.

The kitchen was a total hot mess, but it had the potential to be really cute.  All of those glass-fronted cabinets have a ton of charm!  The black and white checkered floor was adorable, but it was in terrible shape and was missing quite a few of the stick-on tiles.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

We painted everything, swapped out the lighting and hardware, tiled the floor, added new appliances, and upgraded the counters to granite.  I’m so glad we kept the cabinets since they are pretty charming, and the finished product turned out great.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

Here’s the original view from the other direction.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

(Note: I try not to post photos with the owner’s belongings in them, but I didn’t have another “before” shot from this angle.  My apologies to the former owner!)

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

Also, I’m kicking myself for forgetting to take a photo where you can see the gas range and hood – it’s just on the opposite side of the fridge, and you’ll just have to trust me that it’s there.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that the laundry is in the kitchen.  Having the laundry in the kitchen isn’t ideal, but there wasn’t another spot in the house to put a washer and dryer, so in the kitchen they stayed.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

However, if they were going to take up valuable real estate in the kitchen you can bet they were going to be put to work!  We opted to add a countertop above the washer and dryer for extra counter space.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

We crossed our fingers that including fancy new front-loaders in the rent would take the sting out of that arrangement a bit.  Luckily, that gamble worked.

The two bedrooms and bathrooms are all on the other side of the house, accessed through a hallway that flows off the formal living room and the den.  The first bedroom you encounter is the master.

It was dark, and I’m pretty sure the fan would have started slinging blades at us if we’d turned it on.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

With some new paint and hardware and a non-lethal fan, the master bedroom started feeling a lot more welcoming.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

It’s a big plus that the master bedroom has it’s own bathroom – however, that bathroom is TINY!  We expanded an identical bathroom in our 4th flip, but since we weren’t tackling any major renovations on this home that option was out.  So, we made the best of what we had to work with.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

The tile was in good shape, and I thought the wall-hung sink was pretty cute.  However, the medicine cabinet above the sink and the vanity light were heinous.  So, we switched out the light, painted, and added a sheet mirror to bounce around a bunch of light and make the space feel as big as possible.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

Just down the hall from the master bedroom, towards the front of the house, is the guest bathroom and second bedroom.  The bedroom had had a bit of a hard life and desperately needed a little love.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

After receiving the sprucing the bedroom deserved, the focus is finally on those great windows instead of the grimy walls.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

The guest bathroom was already pretty great.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

The retro tile was really cute and in awesome shape, so we really just added new paint.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

The bigger transformation is on the side of the bathroom that houses the vanity.  Those mirrors were incredibly weird and awkward, as was the placement of the lighting.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

We solved those issues with a giant sheet mirror (these things can be lifesavers!) and by consolidating the dueling light fixtures.  Those changes turned out to be just what this bathroom needed.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

The last stop on this tour is the backyard.  It already had a fabulous fence and a two-car garage, so we were happy campers.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

We just repainted the garage, mowed the lawn and called it a day.

Our Second Rental - A Single-Family Home - It's Great to Be Home

How do you think our little rental turned out?  Do any of you own rental properties?

Before + After – Our 10th Flip’s Kitchen

After every renovation there’s always a certain part of the house that’s a little hard to leave behind.

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

It was the backyard in the 4th flip, the great room in the 2nd flip, the master bathroom in the 8th flip . . . and then this kitchen in our 10th flip.

kitchen - 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

The kitchen used to be really isolated from the rest of the house, which felt pretty depressing.  Here’s the tiny little snippet you used to be able to see of it from the living room:10th Flip - Before

That wasn’t going to fly, so we opened up that wall and let the kitchen hang out with the cool kids in the rest of the house.  Here’s that same view now:

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

So much better!

Figuring out this kitchen made my head spin at times.  It’s long and narrow, and acts as the only link between the family room and the rest of the house.  And nothing says “enjoy your breakfast” quite like a powder room right next to the breakfast nook.  :)

before and after floor plan

The goals for this kitchen were to brighten it up, modernize the whole space, and make it flow with the rest of the house.  With some serious juggling, I think we accomplished all of that.  In the end, we got rid of the powder room at the end of the kitchen, opened up the wall to the garage conversion (now the game room/family room) as I mentioned above, widened the opening between the kitchen and the formal living room, added a full bath near the front of the house in what used to be kitchen space, and added a laundry room and powder room right off the kitchen.  Whew!

Switching things around and opening up walls may sound like things that cost more money than they’re worth, but I think those changes were worth every penny.  There’s not much use in prettying things up and changing finishes if the basic function of the space just doesn’t work.

Removing the wall between the kitchen and the game room made all the difference in the world, both to the kitchen and the game room.  I remember that Jason and I were driving somewhere in the car when all of a sudden a light bulb went off in my head – we absolutely had to remove that wall.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before!  Seriously, we had looked at that space a dozen times before realizing the wall needed to come out.

Duh.

Anyhoo, the kitchen used to feel cramped and dark, but now it gets tons of light from the huge windows in the game room.  And the game room used to feel exactly like what it was – a garage conversion.  Now the two spaces feel open, and like they were always meant to be this way.

Before:

10th Flip - Before

After:

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

See?

So, once we decided to make all of those changes to the floor plan of the house, we had to figure out how to lay out the kitchen.  You might remember that I agonized (to put it mildly) over the floor plan of this kitchen, and you guys helped me figure everything out (more than once!).

Final Kitchen PlanWe decided to use the pantry/double oven/fridge space seen below for a full bathroom (accessed through a fourth bedroom/office at the front of the house), and open up the remainder of the wall so that the kitchen and formal living room feel more open to each other.

10th Flip - Before

We had to find new locations for all of those functions, which was a bit of a brainteaser, but the end result is worth it.

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

On the opposite wall, you can see where the majority of the cabinet space, the sink and the stove top used to be:

10th Flip - Before

Here’s that view once the cabinets went in – remember, we scooted the kitchen towards the back of the house (and the game room) and turned what used to be the front of the kitchen into an extra bathroom.

Custom, Modern Kitchen Cabinets

And here’s how that view looks today!

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be HomeThis was our first time doing stained kitchen cabinets (although I guess we did do stained lowers here!), and I hope I get a chance to do similar finishes in our next projects.  I’m kind of in love.

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

Did this kitchen turn out how you thought it would?

Check out the rest of this renovation here.

Before + After – Our 10th Flip’s Master Bedroom + Bathroom

You might recall that the master bathroom was a source of stress at various times throughout this renovation.  :)

However, now that everything is said and done I can say that all the freaking out and second-guessing was worth it.  Whew!

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

Originally, the bathroom was very pink and somewhat cramped.

10th Flip - Before

It also functioned as a guest bathroom since it was accessible through a door in the hallway – probably not the private master bath that most people envision.

10th Flip - Before

(The door to the “master bathroom” on the left in the foreground.)

So, when it came time to re-think the space, we jumped at the opportunity to make the bathroom more private by closing off the door while also expanding the bathroom by taking in a coat closet and part of a hallway off the entryway (see below).

10th Flip - Before

I never would have thought of expanding into this space – it was my mom’s idea – and it made all the difference for this little bathroom!  You can see these changes reflected on the floor plans below:

before and after floor plan

During the demolition and re-framing phases it all looked a little like this:

demo, framing & plumbing

I was really concerned about the master bathroom feeling dark, since it doesn’t have any windows to let in natural light.  Because of that, I made sure to include two recessed LED lights (one in the shower and one in the main part of the bathroom) and sconces with two bulbs each.  All of that light bouncing off the white walls, mirrors and glossy subway tile make for one happy and bright bathroom.

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

And here’s a straight-on view of the double vanity.  The drawers have tons of storage, and I think the rope on the captain’s mirrors plays nicely with the wood tones of the vanity.

master bathroom

Just through the doorway is the master bedroom!

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

You can really see in the master bedroom how we stuck with a palette of whites and rich browns and black throughout the house – all of the fixtures are black or oil-rubbed bronze, the window frames are bronze (almost black, really), and all of the hardware, door levers and hinges are black.  Those little details make me happy.

Do you see the plethora of doors that used to lead into the master bedroom?  It had direct access to two bathrooms – so strange!

10th Flip - Before

The master bedroom itself is really a testament to what a little freshening up can do.  We painted, swapped out the windows and light fixture, and restained the floor to take the room from this…

10th Flip - Before

…to this!

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

I hope you’ll agree that it’s changed for the better.  :)

Pssst!  Hi!  If you’re just joining us from Centsational Girl, welcome!  If you’d like to catch up on the rest of this renovation just click here.  And for you regular readers, I contributed to a post for my blog buddy, Centsational Girl – you can check it out here.

Before + After – Our 10th Flip’s Office + Attached Bathroom

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

Last week you got a little glimpse of the office / 4th bedroom that we added to the flip – are you ready to see the full enchilada?

Pardon me, I have TexMex on the brain.

But back to the office – remember how the flip had 3 living areas when we bought it?  That just seemed crazy, so we switched things up and converted the formal dining room into an office, and turned the formal living room into the new dining room.  Here’s how it looked originally:

10th Flip - Before

And the entrance to the office is through the 5-lite glass door – I love that door and saved it during demo, it was originally an exterior door located to the right of the fireplace:

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

Inside, the office is light and bright, and would be an excellent guest room with the addition of a roman shade or frosted film on the glass door.

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

(I’m adding a “Read More” link to my posts to help the pages load quicker, due to the number of photographs.  So click below, there’s more!  :))

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Before + After – Our 10th Flip’s Dining + Living Rooms

Now that you’ve seen the outside, want to scope out the inside of the flip?

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

One of the great things about ranch homes is that they typically lend themselves to today’s modern, open-concept floor plans.  Most of the rooms line up with each other, so tweaks like widening doorways and taking down walls are pretty much all you need to bring these vintage homes into this century.

before and after floor plan

You can see in the floor plans above how we switched up the layout of this house just by changing a few walls.  First, we decided that having 3 living areas in this house was a bit redundant, so we turned the formal living room (with the bay window) into the formal dining room, and simply added a wall to turn what was originally the formal dining room into a 4th bedroom/office.  Then, we widened the doorway between the dining room and living room, as well as the doorway between the living room and kitchen.  Now, the floor plan is open and bright, and makes more sense for the size of the home.

Here’s how the front portion of the house looked when we bought it:

10th Flip - Before

And here’s that same view today:

"After" photos of 10th flip - It's Great to Be Home

Isn’t it crazy how you can add a few 2x4s and drywall and, voila!  You have a new room!

demo, framing & plumbing

(I’m adding a “Read More” link to my posts to help the pages load quicker, due to the number of photographs.  So click, there’s more!  :))

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