transformation month

Before and After: A Couple Gave Their SoCal Fixer-Upper a Light-Filled New Look

published Sep 15, 2019
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About this before & after
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September is Transformation Month at Apartment Therapy! That means every day, we’re sharing a new before & after to show the power of transformations at home. Head over here to see them all!

When Andrea Jensen and her husband were house hunting, they narrowed in on a Southern California area they loved. However, “the neighborhood came with a steep price tag,” Andrea writes, “so we knew whatever we bought in our price range would require a lot of work.”

They ended up purchasing a home that was built in 1978 and had not been updated since. “It still had the same dirty wallpaper, linoleum, and popcorn ceiling. The floors were worn out, and the windows leaked,” Andrea writes. “The carpet was covered in stains, and there was water damage in multiple places.”

As soon as the couple got the keys to their new home, they began the renovation process. In the family room, they scraped the popcorn ceiling, retextured and painted the walls, and added new trim and lighting.

In the kitchen, they ripped everything down to the studs because of black mold. To save money, they kept the room’s original layout. They hired professionals to install the cabinets and countertops, floors, windows, and exterior doors, and a friend put in the backsplash. But they tackled the rest themselves, installing the drywall, sink, appliances, hardware, open shelving, and LED lighting.

The cost of completely rebuilding and outfitting the kitchen and family room came in at around $30,400. All in all, the couple got through the major parts of the renovation within just a couple months of moving in, but Andrea says she likes to think of it as a work in process and continues to add to the rooms.

Andrea loves the space’s new brightness and airiness, and says it feels like it has doubled in size.

One thing she would do differently if she could renovate all over again: opt for lighter floors. “Dark floors with a light dog was not a good idea,” she writes. Oh, we totally get that!

Thank you for sharing, Andrea!