Our Best Renovation Decisions, Part II

In catching up on posts that I promised but never delivered on, I realized I never shared Part II of our best renovation decisions.

Not sure what I’m referring to? Let’s recap real quick.

In July of 2015, we bought a house. The house was old and abandoned and scary and sad. Nevertheless, we saw potential and made it ours, lovingly nicknaming it the #StrelkovBungalow. Since then, we’ve spent two years (!!!) gutting and renovating said house – and blogging about the fun (and not-so-fun) adventures here on the blog.

As you can imagine, lots of mistakes and regrettable decisions can happen in 2 years. I wrote all about that here and here. Today, however, I’m continuing my list of positives: the many projects and decisions we’re actually proud of and would, without a doubt, recommend to others.

Catch up with the first half of the list in Part I; otherwise, settle in for Part II.

No. 6: Floor Plan Redesign

It’s hard to explain with words just how drastically the floor plan has changed since we first bought the house. The original layout made zero sense, and one of these days I will put together a proper before & after post, so you can see the transformation for yourself.

We didn’t actually build onto the house, just made better use of existing square footage by maximizing every inch of space. Just a few of the major floor plan changes we made include:

  • Adding a third bedroom;
  • Adding a second full bathroom;
  • Making a proper master bedroom suite, with a large en suite bathroom and walk-in closet;
  • Relocating the kitchen and dining room to the front of the house, next to the living room;
  • Adding lots of storage and closet space, including a mudroom, a storage closet within the mudroom, a linen closet, and walk-in closets in two of the bedrooms.

Along with a proper before & after post, I’m also working on a guide to redesigning an existing floor plan so it works for you and your family. So stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t feel confined to or constricted by your existing floor plan. You don’t necessarily have to add additional square footage to a house to get a layout that works with your lifestyle; sometimes you just have to get creative in maximizing what you already have. 

To see more before & after photos, check out:

Our Best Renovation Decisions, Part II

No. 7: Same Light Gray Paint Throughout Most of the House

Paint is a sensitive topic around here – not going to lie.

Choosing paint for every room in the house was one of the most stressful parts of our bungalow renovation – if only because I hated the colors I originally chose, so we ended up repainting the entire thing.

Fun stuff, let me tell you.

Needless to say, the decision to ultimately paint most of the house in the same color was the result of a mistake. Despite that minor detail, I am glad we eventually arrived at this decision – even if we did take the long way to get here.

You see, it’s not uncommon to need to touch up a scuff mark here and a scratch there, and when each room in your house is a different color, well, the touchup process can be a major headache. Having the same paint in multiple rooms takes the guesswork out of touchups, saving you not only time but also money because you’re not having to buy multiple half-gallons of paint just to cover a few scuff marks.

Most people are a bit surprised when I tell them the majority of our walls are one color; it’s just not something they notice right away. The lesson here is that there are a million ways to add personality to a room and distinguish one functional space from another that doesn’t involve paint. 

To see some of the paint colors I originally chose, check out:

Our Best Renovation Decisions, Part II

No. 8: Floor-to-Ceiling Cabinet in the Kitchen

One item on my house wishlist that we weren’t able to accommodate due to limited square footage was a pantry in the kitchen. However, we made up for it with the next-best thing: a floor-to-ceiling kitchen cabinet next to the fridge, currently serving as our pantry.

Sure, it may not offer the square footage of a walk-in pantry, but it’s still better than nothing! I especially love the versatility of having pull-out drawers on the bottom to store items like bottled water, paper towels, etc.

The lesson here is that with any size house, you will always have some sort of constraints and limitations. Take the time to think through alternatives, and you’re bound to discover an option that is just as good. 

To see more photos of the kitchen, check out:

Our Best Renovation Decisions, Part II

No. 9: Installing Drawers Instead of Doors in the Base Kitchen Cabinets

So I already mentioned my affinity for drawers in the kitchen, but let’s elaborate on why they’re a good idea.

Not only do drawers give your kitchen a custom appearance, they’re super helpful in maximizing every inch of cabinet space. IKEA offers several size options, from 5 inches to, I believe, 60 inches – and I’m so glad we splurged for them instead of regular doors.

You can even customize your design to feature drawers inside drawers, where the outside of the cabinet is one seamless panel, but once you open it, you have multiple smaller drawers within that space. It definitely helps in having a dedicated space for every item in the kitchen.

The moral of the story is that when you’re remodeling, go ahead and splurge for as many “extras” as your budget will allow – they truly do add make your space more functional. 

To see more photos of the kitchen, check out:

Our Best Renovation Decisions, Part II

No. 10: Single Basin Kitchen Sink

I dedicated an entire post to why single basin kitchen sinks are the best, so of course I had to add it to the list of our best renovation decisions.

Here are just a few reasons why a single basin sink is better than a traditional double-basin one:

  • It’s stylish;
  • It makes for easy kitchen cleanup;
  • It offers plenty of room for washing large items like cookie sheets and pots and pans – or even little kiddos!

You can read about each of these features (and more) in greater detail in “Making the Case for White, Undermount Kitchen Sinks.” All in all, installing a single basin kitchen sink rather than the traditional double-basin option has been a decision we most definitely do not regret. On the contrary, I recommend it to anyone who is planning a kitchen renovation.

The lesson here is to think outside of the box, and you just might discover a new (and maybe even better!) way of doing things.

To see more photos of the kitchen, check out:

Our Best Renovation Decisions, Part II

If you’ve ever tackled a remodeling or renovation project, what were some of your best decisions? Please share in the comments section, below.



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