Before and After: This 1912 Bedroom’s Cheery Redo Gives Original Features a Brighter New Look

published Mar 8, 2023
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Children's Room & Nursery
Closets & Storage
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Suite area with built-in dining nook, dark wood wall paneling, and dark wood flooring.
Credit: HGTV

Sometimes when you move into a new home, you luck out and everything inside is just perfect. Other times, you move in and know you need to renovate absolutely everything. But most often, homes fall somewhere in between, with a mix of areas that are exactly right and areas that need… a lot of work.

That’s where homeowners Kaitlin and Jennifer found themselves on the most recent episode of HGTV’s “Married to Real Estate.” After requesting a home with character and charm from HGTV hosts Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson, Kaitlin and Jennifer found a winner in a 1912 Craftsman house in Atlanta. While the lower floor was renovated to mesh original character with modern needs — and was exactly what Kaitlin and Jennifer had hoped for — the upper level of the home was in need of a little more help.

Credit: HGTV

Two of the bedrooms were in great shape — bright, spacious, and cozy. But there were three “bunk rooms” in odd sizes that still had all of their original dark wood wall paneling, built-ins, and moulding. Egypt envisioned new lives for the two smallest ones as both a walk-in closet and an office (projects that Egypt and Mike also pulled off in the span of the episode). The largest one, though, was a full bunkhouse suite that came with a large living space, built-in pub table, kitchenette, and a small bunk room that would have been useful for boarders back in the day.

Credit: HGTV

The suite certainly made a big impression on Kaitlin and Jennifer (and not in a good way). “This is really spooky,” Jennifer said immediately upon entering, and Kaitlin added, “there’s 100 percent chance a ghost lived here.”

Egypt encouraged the couple to look past the dark coloring and envision the space as an ensuite bedroom for their six-year-old daughter Oakland. “It’s amazing what paint can do,” she said, noting that a lot of the original built-ins would look brighter and fresher in a crisp white color. And those same built-ins would be useful for creating storage as well as play areas for Oakland’s favorite activities.

Once Kaitlin and Jennifer were on board with the reno plan, Egypt and Mike got to work. With the help of his team, Mike tore out the old kitchenette — it would become a full bathroom in the “after” — and also bumped out one wall of the suite to make room for a bed. Many of the original built-ins stayed in place, but Mike did remove some of the doors blocking access to the shelving as well as the old pub table. He also did away with the desk and bed in the bunk room, making space for Egypt to transform it into a practical closet.

Credit: HGTV

With white paint on the woodwork, a woodland-printed wallpaper installed strategically in various nooks throughout the space, and a teal-painted ceiling, it’s hard to recognize that this bedroom is even the same space. Now, instead of an overly large space that lacked purpose, the suite is designed for practicality. The main living area has become the bedroom; the kitchenette has become the bathroom; and the old bunk room is now the closet.

Credit: HGTV

Egypt integrated plenty of kid-friendly details into the design, like reupholstered benches in the old built-in dining nook that surround a round table, giving Oakland extra space for creative play. The existing shelving, now painted white, is perfect for holding books and displaying favorite toys.

Credit: HGTV

The bunk room now looks way bigger thanks to removing the bulky built-ins and replacing them instead with shelving and rods that better meet Oakland’s storage needs. (A built-in desk ensures that this closet pulls double-duty as a homework space, too.) And the new white paint job actually highlights the old features that were once lost in the dark brown-on-brown color scheme, like the sweet scalloped crown moulding.

When Egypt and Mike revealed the redesigned space, everyone — Kaitlin, Jennifer, and Oakland — was thrilled with the transformation. “This is the reason I would have wanted to buy the house if it looked like this,” said Jennifer, noting that in particular, she loved the color scheme and how the wallpaper was used in splashes to create focal points rather than covering the whole room.

“This space had really great bones to work with, and I think it would have been blasphemy to knock everything out and just put drywall,” Egypt said. “We just really had to modernize it a bit, integrate it so that you still had all the original character.”

In the end, the bedroom redo encapsulates just what sold Kaitlin and Jennifer on the house to begin with: an elegant combination of new and old, packed with lots of charm.

“Married to Real Estate” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV.