OK, I’ll admit it; the house we’re about to look at was never a great piece of architecture. But it did have its own character which was reflective of the mid-century suburban neighborhood in which it was built. My issue with the house is not that it was remodeled, but that it was remodeled in a way that simply regurgitates every design cliché from the last decade of house-flipping television programs and decorating magazines. This same aesthetic is imposed upon all kinds of houses with varying degrees of success, and I personally think this look is already very dated. I have nothing against the practice of flipping when it is done thoughtfully (which isn’t very often). I wish that more flippers would work with the intended style of whatever house is being transformed rather than making it parrot whatever design fads the television is currently spewing. </rant mode>
Some, I realize, will like the new look and think that I’m being hyper-critical. No problem, but I’d appreciate it if you could let me know in a comment what it is you like about this transformation and why you find it appealing… maybe I’ve overlooked something.
First, we’ll take a look at the exterior of the house before its transformation. Sadly, I have no “before” pictures of the interior, but I’d guess that it was rather non-descript. The kitchen or bathrooms may have offered some vintage charm, but could have been boring, too. Following the “before” photo of the exterior, we’ll check off current TV-mandated “upgrades” one by one:
The house before it was renovated:
Yes, it’s a bit bland, but has potential. If I were going to flip this house, I would first banish all white paint from the exterior and go with a darker trim color. A darker roof would also help, preferably a gray one. The brick isn’t a great color, but I’d work with it when choosing a trim color as painting brick just leads to more paint in the future. The garage doors, which aren’t original, could be improved with something playfully mid-century in inspiration – and with some glass panels to relieve the monotony. I do like the recessed porch. Scroll down to see the new look…. Photo courtesy of Google Street View.
Painted brick and mandatory cedar “shutters” and posts – CHECK!
No, it’s not horrible, but it could have been better. I do like the new roof color very much. The painted brick will be a maintenance problem in the future, although a weathered look might look good. I like the fact that the recessed porch was emphasized, but think that the effect would have been stronger if the board and batten had been limited to the entry wall and not extended to the side walls… it’s rarely a good idea to make a color or material change at an outside corner. The cedar posts look lonely and beg for some balancing pilasters; their spacing is awkward. I just have a standing hatred for fake “shutters”. Photo source: zillow.com
The living room window has gone from large to just big and with lots of fake muntins. I don’t mind the board and batten surrounding it but see no need for it to extend to the side walls; it erodes the massing of the blocks on either side. The new garage doors at least are relieved by some glass, but the fake hinges and fake handles do not add any refinement. Photo source: zillow.com
Semi-open concept plan, shiplap walls, can lights, French doors and “plank” flooring – CHECK!
Sigh. I wish there were more photos of this space. Photo source: zillow.com
White kitchen with over-sized subway tile, “designer” lighting, center island, “plank” flooring and granite countertops – CHECK!
Did I forget to mention shiplap, can lights and a French door? The effect would be better if the island and base cabinets were topped with the same material. Photo source: zillow.com
Stainless steel appliances – CHECK!
Making a giant production out of the range hood is another “look” which is starting to look tired. Photo source: zillow.com
Crown molding with cheesy “cheater” corner blocks – CHECK!
Gotta have crown molding – even in a hallway. The French door is the same one that is seen in the kitchen – not sure that a swinging door with small glass panes is a good idea in this location… Photo source: zillow.com
“Barn door” with exaggerated hardware – CHECK!
Let’s be honest here; is this a product of an actual necessity or an actual fad? A pocket door would accomplish the same and look less faddish. Photo source: zillow.com
Powder room with shiplap, cedar ceiling, large subway tile and requisite vessel sink – CHECK!
I forgot to mention the large-scale pattern on the tile floor. Photo source: zillow.com
MORE “barn doors” – just to make sure you notice them – CHECK!
The wall space behind these things is utterly useless for hanging artwork or placing furniture. Photo source: zillow.com
Big Box-issued “dome light” for bedroom, crown molding and carpet – CHECK!
Fewer updates were made in the bedrooms… the original HVAC grilles are still intact. Photo source: zillow.com
Another “barn door” – CHECK!
…and more wasted wall space. Photo source: zillow.com
Master bath with large subway tile, shiplap, “designer” light fixtures, crown molding, loud tile floor, white everything and granite countertop – CHECK!
I actually like the floor tile, but it looks too busy in this particular space.The shower might need a door on it if keeping the floor dry is an issue. Photo source: zillow.com