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When you find the perfect house —it’s got a beautiful view, a great lot, lots of space for three growing girls, and in the desired location —but it’s lacking charm and style, what do you do?

This is what my some of my interior decorator clients purchased last year. Right away they knew they wanted to make some changes. But they were unsure of what to do and how to pull it all together in a cohesive way. This is where I came in.

At first glance, the biggest issue was era. Many houses built around the year 2000 have a few common denominators, mainly oak trim, oak cabinets, laminate, and lots of beige carpet. A couple of other obvious items to be addressed were wall colors, the fireplace, and the den/dining room area

The nice thing about a project like this is that fixes are mostly cosmetic. The new dining room, which had been used as an office, was the first change. We were able to replace and trim out the wall so that the new dining space now has a more open feel, and we gained a view. A closet in this room was sized down and a custom dining hutch built to fit the space. Homeowners tackled the floors, demolishing the old carpet and kitchen tile.

We replaced the entire main living spaces (with the exception of the bedrooms and hall bath) with engineered hardwood that would hold up much better than carpet with children, a dog and two cats. This also gave the living/dining/kitchen a bigger feel, with the flooring one solid plane.

The living room is open to the kitchen so we decided to paint everything a soft gray. Next was the decision about trim. Simple shaker style was the winner, but natural? Or white? Homeowners chose white to brighten the space. The fireplace hearth was removed and resurfaced with a large metallic gray tile. The old laundry room off the garage was moved downstairs and cubbies and cabinets were built to create a workable mudroom.

The kitchen had the most visible changes. The raised eating bar was removed from the island and a recycled glass solid surface counter was installed throughout, with undermount sinks and new faucets. The homeowners purchased black stainless appliances that included a new hood vent, which replaced the old vented under-cabinet microwave. A modern glass subway tile replaced the old laminate backsplash. We kept the cabinet boxes and painted them dark gray while my cabinet maker installed a new bank of upper cabinets above the existing to reach to the ceiling, as well as new soft-close doors and drawers. We also removed the curved corner shelves.

The result? This house went from an outdated home with good bones to a much more contemporary space that will stand the test of time.

Check out our Home Remodel section for more ideas.

" This house went from an outdated home with good bones to a much more contemporary space that will stand the test of time"