A Modern, Comfortable Renovation in Buffalo

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Modern, Comfortable Renovation in Buffalo

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Raelyn Woltz and her fiancé Jon
Location: Buffalo, New York
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years Lived In: 2 years, owned

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The house had been vacant for two years when Jon and Raelyn bought it…and it needed a lot of work. Not just to make it look better, but also to make it more livable. “We spent a little over a year planning and working on it ourselves (and a ton of help from family!). We gutted the entire first floor down to the studs and reworked the floor plan to accommodate a modern family.”

An example of a big layout change can be seen in the first floor’s only (tiny) bathroom; they combined it with the former pantry to make more room. They also added a door so they could access the master bedroom directly. And they removed doors to the kitchen when they renovated (for some reason there were five!). “I drew up a few floor plans and we really took our time deciding on how we would actually use the space, and what made the most sense for our investment.”

Their renovation of this house did more than just update the aesthetics of the structure, though; it ended up reinvigorating the neighborhood. “During the renovation we had a lot of passersby who saw us working that stopped to tell us the home meant a lot to them, that this was the home they hung out with all their friends and family. It made us feel good — I think our house has an inviting vibe to it. With that being said, it’s only fitting that it’s always crammed full of people. Jon and I really love to entertain, and on a slow night never have a crowd less than six. We love cooking, listening to records, watching Netflix, roasting coffee, and throwing the ball for Milo. We also got engaged here!”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Our style is modern, eclectic, and comfortable. There are Scandinavian, coastal, and mid-century modern influences throughout our home. My fiancé has more of an industrial and functional style, and I love mixing in the textures, colors, and plants to make it a little softer.

Inspiration: We pull a lot of inspiration from places and interiors we see when we travel. My fiancé is a technology teacher and I’m an interior designer, so we are always scoping out the interior and furniture we see when we are out and about. If we see an idea or concept we really love, we put our spin on it and incorporate it in our home.

Favorite Element: I have two favorite elements! I really love our open shower and our growing plant “wall.” I’ve always loved outdoor showers, and Jon was into the idea of growing out plants instead of getting a glass partition. It will continue to get better with time.

I also really love the mosaic I made behind my sink. We didn’t have a backsplash for a few months because I could not make up my mind. A good friend of mine took a ride up to Toronto with me to check out some tile stores, and as we were walking through our third one, the 10th Street subway station esq tile was born! It’s something that’s unique to the home, but not too personal.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was physically all of the work that Jon and I did. We (he) did about 85% of the renovation ourselves, which took time, dedication, and a lot of stamina. We took our time and took breaks when needed so we didn’t totally burn out. Second to that was getting our styles to mesh so we were both happy. We are both really opinionated so we had to compromise on most things. I would like to think I won most of the time though!

Proudest DIY: Really, the entire house is a DIY. Jon made all new custom window and door casings, we converted a shed that was attached to the back of the house into our master closet, covered the popcorn ceiling in the living room with new trim, the concrete countertops, mosaics…

Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest indulgence throughout the first floor is the trim work. Since the house was in such disrepair when we purchased it, we really wanted to bring back the charm that it once had. The character of the trim work really balances our more modern style to make it cozy and inviting.

Best Advice: Plan it out! I’m used to putting together full itineraries for my client’s renovations, but it’s so so different when you are going through it yourself. There were times where we got held up because we couldn’t make a decision or agree on something quickly, which was stressful.


Kitchen —Behr Calligraphy
Living room — Benjamin Moore London Fog
Bedroom —Behr Falling Snow
Bathroom — Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron

Sofa — Room
Trunk — Flea Market Find
Sconces — Lamps Plus
Cabinets — IKEA
Rug — Joss and Main
Wicker Chairs — Old Pottery Barn
Pillows — Old Target

Dining Table — Jon made it
Chairs — Houzz
Skull — a hand me down from my father
Light — World Market
Frank Lloyd Wright Statue — Room
Bowl — Hearth and Hand Target

Stools — Room
Cabinet — Craigslist Find
Pendants — No longer Available
Faucet — Delta
Art — Cody Weiler

Bed — I forgot!
Mirror — IKEA
Sconces — Lamps Plus
Rug — Houzz

Vanity — Jon made it
Sink — Kohler
Faucet — Signature Hardware
Hanging Planters — IKEA
Baskets — IKEA
Sconces — All Modern
Mirror — IKEA
Planters — AC Moore
Towels — Vera Wang
Ladder — IKEA (discontinued)

Thanks, Raelyn and Jon!

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