Before & After: Every Room in This House With ‘Endless Knotty Pine and Old, Smelly Carpet’ Got a Refresh
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Name: Tina Serafini, Jeremy Witteveen and our dog Talulah
Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Size: 1,900 square feet
Years Lived In: 9 months, owned
My husband and I live in Chicago and own a photography studio specializing in interior design and architecture photography. I was born and raised in Chicago and my husband moved here in 1999 from High Point, North Carolina. For that last few years we’ve been thinking about investing in a second home. A lot of our friends have been successful at Airbnb and were inspiring us to do the same.
After visiting my husband’s family in North Carolina Christmas 2018, we were hired to photograph a new restaurant that opened in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. While talking to the owners—one moved from California and the other from New York—they told us what a great city Winston-Salem is and how there’s an amazing art community there. We were sold! Winston-Salem was perfect for our investment property, plus we would have a place to stay while we visited Jeremy’s family.
We started looking and our realtor found this little gem of a mid-century ranch. Because of the market, we made an offer sight-unseen. Upon visiting it for the first time we were horrified. It was a mix of mid-century and mid-80s design—with endless knotty pine and old, smelly carpet throughout! Even so, we fell in love with the home and knew that it had a lot of potential. We closed in April and started renovating in late May. We did all of the demolition and a lot of the renovations with the help from Jeremy’s family and friends. We chose a local contractor to paint throughout, knock out a wall to open up the dining room and living room, and to renovate the two bathrooms and kitchen. It took three months to complete.
Since we knew that we wanted to rent this home on Airbnb, it definitely influenced our choices on purchasing furniture and accessories. High Point, North Carolina is known as the “furniture capital of the world” and it definitely helped when purchasing furniture. The furniture markets generate lots of samples that find their ways to secondhand stores. They’re otherwise in perfect condition and cost far less than brand new. There are so many amazing antiques and thrift stores there as well! I was able to find quality at unbelievable prices.
We really had a lot of fun renovating this home and loved the way it turned out. We wanted to make a space that reflected our love for art and travel—but yet was comfortable as well. We are finding it harder and harder to leave the house each time we visit.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: My style is hard to articulate but if I had to describe it, I would say modern, and a little farmhouse and boho influences, too. I tried to unite these styles by keeping to a color scheme of white, blue, green, and orangey-red.
Inspiration: Our biggest inspiration for this home was our love for France. We’ve incorporated a lot of our own photography and finds from our travels throughout the house. We also loved that the home was built in 1959 and wanted to incorporate a mid-century vibe, too.
Favorite Element: Our favorite room is the sunroom, hands down! It was the selling point for us. When our realtor sent us the listing, our first reaction was “Yikes! This house need a lot of work! What is he thinking?” And then we saw the last photo of the sunroom and we both instantly agreed, “YES! We need this home!”
Biggest Challenge: One of our biggest challenges were both bathrooms. Not only were they stuck in the mid-century but the layouts of both were really weird. The master bath was SUPER tiny—you could actually wash your hands while on the toilet! We had to make the big decision of knocking down the closet in the master bedroom so that we could make the bathroom bigger. Since this was an investment property and we were using for Airbnb, we thought it was okay to do it for the time being since people don’t usually use a closet when they stay—at least we know that we don’t. And, we plan on adding one in later.
Proudest DIY: When we first looked at the house, our realtor suspected that there was a fireplace behind the floor-to-ceiling mirror in the living room because there was a fireplace directly underneath in the basement. We were suspicious and wondered why on earth would someone cover up a fireplace? And, if so, what’s wrong with it? As soon as we got the keys, we went to the house and took a sledgehammer to the mirror and discovered that there was indeed a fireplace! And it worked! We decided to paint it white and re-use the mantel from the fireplace in the basement, which is a gorgeous slab of solid wood.
Biggest Indulgence: One of my favorite things in the house is the wallpaper in the guest bathroom. This wallpaper makes my inner plant lady VERY happy. I also wanted something that would make an impression and stand out when people are searching Airbnbs. I always look for something in a home that makes me think “Oooh, I want to stay there!” I hope this does that for people.
Best Advice: My best advice would be to buy secondhand items as much as you can. There are some really great quality items out there for really reasonable prices. Plus, buying vintage furniture, artwork, and accessories gives your home much more personality and fun stories to tell others about.
PAINT & COLORS
- We used Benjamin Moore Snowbound on all of the walls; We used Benjamin Moore Porpoise on the floor in the sunroom
- Navy Sofa – Resale shop but available at Target
- Edloe Finch Soren Mid-Century Lounge Chair — No longer available
- Area Rug — vintage
- Bar cart — Vintage purchased at Habitat
- Art of man smoking — Canvas of our photo
- Leanne Ford — Project 62 Pendant from Target
- Dining Table — Resale
- Dining Chairs — Resale
- IKEA vanity
- Ceiling Light — West Elm
- Floor and shower tile — Floor & Decor
- Bed frame — No longer available
- Canvas print of the Louvre — Our photo
- Side tables — Resale
- Zinus platform bed frame — Amazon
- Dresser — Vintage
- Blue chair — Resale
- Botanical Ferns wallpaper — Etsy
- IKEA vanity
- Sconce over vanity — West Elm
- Ceiling light — West Elm
- Floor tile — Floor & Decor