Two Contemporary Renovations


One comment I get over and over again is:

Why don’t you show more reasonably priced houses?

And, I understand that comment.

Interior Design to me is:   Dreaming. Wishing. Inspiration. 

When I show an interior that is over-the-top or has an out-of-this world budget, it’s not that I mean to imply this is what I can afford (it’s not!) or what I think your house should look like.   It’s just that people with big budgets can afford to hire talented interior designers and the effect is (sometimes) visually stunning.  And often, it’s those big budget houses that allow us to dream, wish, and get inspiration from. 

Still – I personally appreciate a great design with a smaller budget.   I also love smaller homes.   I love to see a tract home turned into something unique which is probably why I faithfully watch Fixer-Upper each season and why Lauren Liess’ new HGTV show will be so popular! 

And…that’s why when I found these two houses shown here today, I thought you would enjoy seeing them too.

Unique?  Yes. 

Good design?  Yes.  

Affordable?  Well, kind of.  Location adds to the cost and has nothing to do with quality.

What also caught my attention is that both houses are contemporary. 

The tide has turned (unfortunately!) and contemporary is back in fashion – big time.  Driving this trend are the younger Millenniums and Generation Xers.  These younger sets don’t want French design or English Country Manor (also unfortunately.)  Instead, they want modern, slick, colorful and and lots of pattern.

And when I saw these two houses, below, they ticked all those boxes.

BEFORE:   The first house in Houston that caught my eye was this Mid Century Modern house – which was in dire need of a renovation.    What’s really nice about this particular house is it is a single story – and for families with young children, it’s great to have the babies close by.  Also, single story houses are especially appealing to empty nesters who no longer want to climb a lot of stairs.  This house has a front courtyard with no front windows, which makes it seem rather forbidding and uninviting.   And it looks, very tired and worn.

The house was built in 1960 and is 2600+ sq. feet.  It recently sold  after it was listed for only two months! 

And here is the house today!  What a nice change!!!   Look how much more friendly and inviting the house seems now with the new front window installed in the dining room.    And notice how the double front door with glass planes lets even more light into the house.   Instead of a solid brick wall – there is now a slatted wooden fence that adds to the openness.  A fresh coat of light gray paint, new landscaping, and a cleaned up sidewalk creates a much improved curb appeal.   

Impact Design Group.

BEFORE:   Another view shows the front wall hidden behind an overgrown accent tree. 

I think these were the original owners – it’s hard to maintain a house over such a long time.  Notice how the brick needs cleaning, but who does that, especially if you are elderly?  Sometimes it just takes a young couple to shake things up – like paint the brick, or have it power washed.

The large ornamental tree in front of the house was removed – letting in more light inside and opening up the house to guests.   This closer view shows the slatted fence and the refreshed courtyard with new modern lanterns. 

Who wouldn’t want to move into this house now???  I would!     It’s so inviting and the Mid Century Modern is a nice change from the Georgian and Colonials which are the most popular architectural style in Houston.

The courtyard shows off the modern fountain.   Now (pregnant pause)  I think I would not have chosen a modern fountain, myself.  I would have picked out a more classic styled fountain.  You don’t have to overdo the Mid-Century look, you can mix elements which makes it more interesting.  Or, maybe it’s just this particular fountain that I don’t care for? 

What I do love is all the new windows that were installed in place of the original ones, which while functional, were undoubtedly, dated.    The black trim is a nice accent.  The trend today is metal doors and windows, but those are so expensive – no one on a budget can afford them;  these, less costly, windows are a nice alternative.  And I love the new door with the panes.  This is a focal point inside the house - so many rooms look out to the courtyard.  Love!

The lot is extra large and a pool would be a great addition later.  But for now – notice there is another courtyard which the house wraps around.   Inside, the former breakfast room has now become the utility room – and that window in the breakfast room was removed, seen on  the left side here.

New doors and new siding, along with gray paint and darker gray paint on the doors – all which update the back yard.    There is also a new roof which makes the house look almost newly built.   The small accent tree was removed. 

Notice the breakfast room window which was removed.

There’s a new terrace or a newly resurfaced terrace and whomever styled this house did a great job!  New lanterns were also added here.

Another view shows how large the lot this.  The house could easily be added onto at a later date.  Inside these doors is the master bedroom.

BEFORE:  The front doors lead to a hall that runs left to right.  And down this step is the carpeted great room.  Paneled and beamed with 60s styled prefab wood, there is a nice brick fireplace.   The wall on the left that separates the great room from the kitchen has been removed.   The dining room is off to the left of the front door, it faces the street.

Today:    The dining room is off to the side of the front door and overlooks the street and  the courtyard.   The step down has been removed – all rooms are now level.  There is new gray hardwood floors throughout the house, which is beautiful.  This floor is so trendy,  but I absolutely love it. 

NOTE:  Be careful when buying the new wood floors.  Some of the choices have fake wood patterns and it looks awful!!!

From the kitchen – here is view of the great room.  The shelves were removed which is a new edit and it opens up the room.  The paneling and beams were also removed.  All new French doors open the room to the back yard.  The fireplace was painted with a smear technique and a new rustic mantel was added.  I like that they mixed the elements and not everything is Mid Century Modern. 

Myself?  I would have installed a large lantern or iron chandelier here instead of a fan.  But this is Houston and it gets really hot here.  And obviously, the builder is a man.

A close up of the refreshed mantel.   I use those kinds of urns a lot in decorating.  They are not expensive and they are a nice accessory – plus they are large and give a lot of look  for the money. 

Before:  The kitchen with the dining room to the right.  The breakfast room is to the left, but it was turned into a laundry room.  The kitchen was opened to the Great Room by removing the wall between the two rooms. 

Before: The breakfast room with the large windows that looked over the backyard.  These windows were removed when this was turned into the laundry room.

Today:  Looking from the Great Room back to the kitchen,  now open with the wall removed.  The dining room is also now open to the Great Room since its walls were removed.  And the opening between the front hall and Great Room was expanded.  Today, with no stepdown, the opening is much larger.

The view from the kitchen to the Great Room.  Through the door at the right is the laundry room.

I love the subway tile - it is classic and will always look nice.  Always.  Plus, it won’t date or age as fast as all the trendy tiles people are using today.  Those trendy tiles will be so out of style in five years.  Be careful!!!!  Subway is a safer way to go.

The counters are Quartz and Dolamite – a mixture of two colors.  Well, I have to say, I’m still a white marble girl but so many people are using the faux marble and it does look good and is a viable alternative to marble, which needs TLC.  Marble has to be resealed every couple of years and the faux marbles don’t. 

The layout of the kitchen is very pretty with the stove between the two windows.  I would not have put in the upper cabinets at all and I would have run the subway tile to the ceiling which would have been really dramatic and great looking.  But this design is still very nice.  Certainly not worth changing except, I would change out the pendants, which is a personal choice.    Despite my critiques, I do really love this kitchen  - well done!

After:  The breakfast room is now a large laundry room/mud room.

Before:  The dining room.  That chair is … 60’s cute!   I’ve never seen one like that before.  The dining room was very large – and the renovators decided to divide it into two rooms.  They removed the side window and added a new window at the front – which opened up the room to more sunlight and created a much more pleasing fa├žade.

AFTER:  The newly divided dining room.  The front section is now a sitting area which seems like a waste – I do wonder why they didn’t make it a small library, at least?  The room can be closed off with barn doors with glass, so no light is blocked out if the doors are closed.  I’m really not sure why they chose to divide the room at all.  They could have added bookshelves along the back wall and made it all one, nice large dining room/library.  I will say this - the barn doors do add a nice architectural element.

A beam was added here where the window was removed.  Very nice staging.

The sitting room in the front part of the dining room.   This is the newly installed front window – which adds to the curb appeal. 

Before:   The master bedroom overlooks the back courtyard.  Look at that TV cabinet!!!  It matches the King Henry XVIII chair.   Most interesting.

OK.  I ASSUME that is the TV cabinet!  Any other ideas?

BEFORE:   The master bathroom has yellow foil wallpaper typical of the 60s.

Today:   The room was made roomier with the newly raised ceiling.  It accounts for an extra foot which adds to the luxe factor.  The bathroom door was moved to the center of the wall and a modern barn door was installed. 

NOTE:  The barn door has taken the place of the old  sliding doors.   Will this be a trend or is it here to stay?  I think it’s here to stay.

Sorry to say – but I really can’t stand that bed – it looks so heavy and SQUARE!!!   LOL.  But in general, the staging is really nice, and staging is such a necessity. 

Looking out towards the back terrace.

One more time.   Yes – we’d be proud of that barn door too!

The bathroom was reconfigured and since then, seems much larger.  The center vanity was moved to the back wall.  The shower stall is classic white tile which won’t age as opposed to the trendy tiles of today, which to me – are so unattractive.

Before:  The front bedroom that overlooks the courtyard.

Today – with the new windows, this room is now the study.  It’s carpeted, probably to save a little money.  But – how much do you really save?  Instead of the beautiful wood floors found all over the rest of the house, why have carpet here? 

Wall to wall shelving would make this a great library but the new owners could add that later.  Boy, I really want them to have a library!!!  LOL.

Before:   The bath was in the blue and white, which I actually like!   The former owners were big Mark Sikes fans. 

AFTER:   The  same layout, but all new cabinetry and notice the concrete tile floors.  I do love concrete tile, but in 5 years it will scream 2020!!

Do you think that concrete tile is just another passing trend?  Since concrete tile has been used for the past 200 years, I think it’s a safe bet it’s here to stay.

This mid-century modern house was recently sold, but if you want to read more about it – go HERE.

Our second house today is called a tear-down, but the owners chose to renovate it instead.     Built in 1940, this house is now a sale pending after being on the market for just a few days.  It is located in trendy Garden Oaks – which is one reason why it went to contract so quickly.

The front view of the house – shows that there is a large side yard, which is used instead of a back yard.

The garage is now gone, replaced by the front entry.

The back yard looking towards the street and the side yard.

The house now has 1,540 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.

AFTER:   Quite a difference!!!!   Now white, with a new driveway for cars, the side yard is open to the street through a modern, very contemporary fence.  The garage is gone and that space was used for the entry.  Another huge change is the roof was raised and pitched.  Love the front lights.

This is the modern Farmhouse look – a combination of contemporary and charming. 

The side of the house is used as the back yard.

Before it was staged – this shows the side yard.  The floating deck is placed over the gravel.  Cute house across the street. 

And another view of the floating deck, now styled.

This view shows the doors open to the living room.   The bedrooms are at the back.   I think the master bedroom/bathroom was added on to during renovation. 

Looking into the house. 

The back yard.  Since the bedrooms are at the back of the house – the side yard is used instead.  Although, the new owners could install a French door instead of a window so that the back yard is open to the bedrooms.

Inside.  The new roof is raised and has exposed shiplap.  Although the ceiling is new, it looks old and it initially fooled me!  It’s just hard to believe this is not original.  A loft was added – reached by an iron ladder.    The French doors open to the side yard on of both sides of the living room.  The kitchen looks out at the front street.   The front door is to the left of the ladder.

The view towards the other side – open to the side yard.   Notice the exposed duct work which adds to an industrial feel to the house.

The loft.  This area is small, but would make a good study or - with shelves along the sides – a library.   Hmmm.  I want them to have a library too!

Can you tell that I have books all over my house and I’m constantly looking for a solution to that problem????

I love the styling.  Great job!!! I do think I would have added two French doors here on this side, not just one. 

The view from the kitchen, over the marble counter.  Love those glass pendants!

I found this one below that might be the same pendant.  Be sure to check dimensions, always.

To see – go HERE

This view shows the French doors out to the side yard.

The kitchen counter has the same shiplap as on the ceiling – which adds a warm texture.

I believe this is Quartzite on the counters.  Love the stove – another industrial touch.  Wood shelving instead of cabinets.    White subway tiles – flanked by two front windows.

The  farm sink and contemporary faucet are nice touches – luxe. 

Against this wall is the pantry and refrigerator which looks built in because the cabinetry surrounds it.  Why everybody doesn’t treat refrigerators this way just astounds me!  It looks so much better than….this:

In another house – the cabinetry was built around the refrigerator – BUT it wasn’t built out enough so that the appliance looks huge and out of place!!   If done correctly, this wouldn’t be an issue but for some reason, carpenters don’t do this enough, although it is becoming more common.  This is something to watch for when renovating your kitchen!!

AND, here is the house without the staging that shows how VITAL staging is when selling or renting a property.  Without the staging, I wouldn’t have looked twice at this house.  It looks so plain and so uninviting without the staging.  But, by spending the money, which is recouped by a quick sale – the house is so much more appealing with the staging!!! 

Such a difference!!!

I love this table.  They used a console to save space, but I found one that was very similar, and on sale!!

I love this French table HERE.   Notice how pretty it looks when you mix antique-look furniture in with contemporary styling?  Love the mix.

And here is the view from the outside, the side yard.

The master bedroom.  I believe this was added onto the house during the renovation – creating an extra bedroom and bathroom. 

The master bath has a shower with two sinks and a window!  Love the light.

The second bedroom is in the house’s original footprint.  Very cute styling.

And the original bathroom – renovated with subway tiles – shelves were created out of the extra space.

The vanity sink.  Cute mosaic tiled floor.

The third bedroom, also in the original footprint.  Again, very cute styling!

Both these renovated houses appeal to me and I could see downsizing  (although the  first house wouldn’t be a downsize!) and moving here.   Living in a single story house appeals to me so much at this stage of life.   And I like the contemporary styling as done here – very light contemporary!!!  


I can’t help it, I’m still a Francophile for life.

Now, why can’t I find THIS house for $350,000 somewhere in Houston?  I’m not asking for much!    Those floors!!!  Those chairs!!!   Sigh.

Those floors alone probably cost $350,000!!!!!