Before & After: A ‘Crayola-Colored Nightmare’ Victorian House Gets an Incredible Transformation

updated Sep 11, 2019
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Credit: Dana McMahan

Freelance writer and Apartment Therapy contributor Dana McMahan purchased this run-down, 132-year-old Victorian house with her husband three and a half years ago. While the architectural bones of the house were stunning, the home needed a lot of work. They renovated it from top to bottom, including a small carriage house on the property. They live in the two bottom floors of the main house, and rent out the third floor as a guest suite. They also rent out the carriage house.

As you can see from the before photo, the kitchen was an incredible mix of colors before Dana and Brian remodeled the space. In fact, many of the rooms were painted with strong colors that weren’t quite Dana’s taste.

Credit: Dana McMahan

The foyer before the remodel had a dark paint color.

Cash the dog clearly enjoys the foyer after the remodel. Soft gray paint colors adorn the walls, and fun antique furniture pieces add function.

Credit: Dana McMahan

The only room in the home that didn’t get a fresh paint job was the living room, which already fit the style Dana was going for: “The main house feels more elegant by virtue of the architectural details so I went with a dark and moody glam feel.”

“[The living room is] the only room we haven’t painted and I wish I knew the color because I love it.”

Credit: Dana McMahan

The house has tons of architectural features, including eight fireplaces. None of the fireplaces are functioning, but they are visually stunning nonetheless.

Dana painted the sitting room in Benjamin Moore’s “Gentleman’s Gray, though she’s recently repainted the fireplace another color! Painting the entire room like this gives a fun modern twist to the space, and can be a great way to add a visual punch to a room when you haven’t quite finished furnishing it yet. “Of course furnishing this many rooms (a dozen, not counting both Airbnbs!) after coming from a one-bedroom, 900-square-foot bungalow takes time,” writes Dana. “We still don’t have nearly enough art or plants but things like replacing the roof took priority!”

Credit: Dana McMahan

The dining room before had a two-toned emerald green color palette, with an interesting wall treatment pattern below the chair rail. Combined with the antique table and chairs in the dining room that Dana’s mom found at a yard sale, it had unexpected Christmas color vibes.

After the remodel, the dining room is a more elegant space, but still manages to add fun into the decor mix with the large portrait of their dog Cash hanging above the fireplace.

Credit: Dana McMahan

Above, the master bedroom before the remodel.

After, more Benjamin Moore “Gentleman’s Gray” paint adds color and a soothing canvas to the bedroom, while the custom-made drapes from fabric bought in Paris add a one-of-a-kind flair.

Credit: Dana McMahan

The bathroom before was another two-toned room, with dated tiles and vanity.

New floor tiles, Benjamin Moore’s “Chrome Green” wall paint color, and a new vanity, medicine cabinet, and linen cabinet help elevate the bathroom’s look after the remodel.

Credit: Dana McMahan

The third floor was rough when they moved in. Always intended to be a guest suite, which they rent through Airbnb, there was quite a collection of old flooring and wallpaper in the space when they purchased the house.

After the reno, black and white checkered floors and a vintage stove from Habitat ReStore give a vintage vibe to the kitchen.

Credit: Dana McMahan

Another portion of the third floor before the renovation is show above. Bricks were revealed, architectural elements added in, and fresh modern furniture purchased to give the space a cozy feel.

You can see all of this amazing home’s transformation in Dana and Brian’s house tour.