If you’ve ever seen Chip & Joanna Gaines on Fixer Upper, then you know how amazing a home renovation can be. Of course, that’s tv. Is reality as easy as reality TV makes it seem? Well, I explored just that this week. Often times, we have clients that just can’t find what they are looking for in their budget. Sometimes when they can’t find the perfect house, the answer is to make the perfect house. I’m referring to a “Fixer Upper”. Is this as easy as Pinterest makes it seem?
To find out, we asked someone who has actually gone through this process. Chelsea and her husband Ed are newlyweds and our first time home buyer clients from Ballston Spa. Chelsea was kind enough to share her experience and some before and after photos of her home renovation……Wait til you see the before and afters below!! Thank you Chelsea!
“When my husband and I first started working with Christine we were originally looking for land to build our first home. Neither of us like to move (who does?) and thought “hey, this way we’ll get everything we want upfront and won’t have to worry about add-ons or changes down the road”, easy right? Not so much. What we were looking for at the time wasn’t available unless we were willing to go pretty far outside of town, and even then it still felt we would be on top of our neighbors. Fast forward a few weeks and Christine was showing us some existing homes for comparison and we put an offer on a house. Believe everything you hear about home buying “everything happens for a reason” because it does, and it did for us – that home fell through and we ultimately ended up with our unexpected dream home on a quaint road in Ballston Spa.
We had seen pictures of the home online before Christine brought us to see it in person, and to say my husband and I were skeptical would be an understatement. This goes to show the importance of seeing a home in person because we were pleasantly surprised to find the online photos did not do this home justice – it was full of natural sunlight, beautiful wooded backyard, full porch, and several rooms not even represented in the pictures.The inside was not perfect, no, but everywhere we looked we saw potential and had ideas of how we could make the house our own.
Because the inside was a bit dated and needing some sprucing up, it was much lower in our budget and the best news – it left us room to do some renovating! The main thing we wanted was to knock out the wall between the family room and kitchen/dining area to open up the space. By opening up the floor plan, we also wanted to update the flooring and make it consistent throughout to give it a nice flow.
We were able to keep our existing cabinets but make them look completely new just with a fresh coat of paint. We picked new cabinet hardware to match the pendant light fixtures, and added new granite counter tops, a subway-tile backsplash, and an island.The dining area had two sliding doors, one of which was rotting, so we replaced it with a new window (and who needs two sliders anyway?). The contractor added recessed lighting in both the kitchen and family room, and we weren’t originally planning on it but ended up replacing the kitchen appliances to a stainless finish set (and we’re SO happy we did).
It was super easy to work with the contractor and understand our options – nothing we picked was ‘over-the-top’ yet after about five weeks and a modest budget (that we did keep) we found ourselves with a brand new downstairs living area. It feels brighter, cleaner and more open – we are absolutely thrilled with the result and are now saving towards our next project!
The lessons we learned in our experience is that if you find a house in a setting or neighborhood you like but the inside isn’t great – it can be fixed! Small things can make a big difference, and you don’t need to do everything at once. For us we found too working with a contractor was definitely the best option… my husband is handy and there’s a lot he can do, but when your kitchen is torn apart and you’re living out of your den for a few weeks, sometimes it’s best left to the professionals to come in and get the job done”
This remodel was done by PLP Construction. Their website is here.
Now that you’ve seen these awesome before and afters, click HERE to see one of our listings in Saratoga school district that has the same potential but with very little work needed! It’s just waiting for it’s very own Chip & Joanna Gaines!! Open House Sunday the 21st!!!
About Lauren: Lauren is a blogger, mother and is licensed real estate agent residing in Saratoga Springs, NY. After joining Christine Marchesiello as her Executive Assistant, she continues to avidly blog in her own lifestyle blog, as well as sharing posts here. The new series titled “Lauren Explores” will consist of periodic blog posts documenting her exploration and findings of a variety of areas and locales in New York.