I’ve seen it all: crack baggies hidden behind historic Craftsman trim, edible underwear in the attic (No lie and it was still in its original packaging!), houses crawling with German roaches, toilets that dump their nasty contents into the dirt crawlspace, and foyers with giant gaping holes in the floorboards. The later example I like to call “the open floor plan.” It’s when you plunge to your death through the open floor. Then once, we found a platinum ring with sapphire and diamonds tucked behind a mantel place. These are the rich amenities that come with many of the houses we’ve purchased to renovate. In fact, it’s how we started our renovation business–by buying houses that had been treated cruelly and, in many instances,unusually. The trick is buying the most abused residence for the lowest possible price. But you must ensure that it is endowed with great lines and bones and then chisel away the bad to find the castle underneath. That often requires a large chisel–carving away decades of grime, bleaching away a horrid stench, and demoing out debris left behind by previous owners. After the massive surgery of removing the poor house’s malignancy, then you can begin to redress the home in redolent finery.
Finding a way to design the interiors with pleasing paint pallettes, flowing floor plans, and spiffy kitchens and baths is what turns dumps into showplaces. It’s not easy or cheap, but at the end of the day it’s worthwhile and the roach morphs into a graceful butterfly.
From this skill we’ve built a business of renovating people’s homes. Happily, most people that hire us do not have the aforementioned nasty issues, but they need skilled designers and project managers that can find a way to renovate a bathroom on a budget or build a custom kitchen that doesn’t require limb amputation. And the basic principles of removing the old, dated fixtures and replacing them with either salvaged restored pieces or unique new pieces makes the new space shine.