Before & After: Renovating a Small House from the 1920s

by hookedonhouses on May 1, 2012

3005 Belvidere before renovation

If I had seen this house when it was for sale in West Seattle–even with its fabulous city views and reasonable price tag for the area–I would have kept on driving. Fortunately there are people with better imaginations than I have, and better renovation skills, because now that it has been remodeled from top to bottom, it’s a real charmer.

You’ve got to see this “after” to believe it. Here’s how it looks now:

I couldn’t help but smile when I saw it. I’ll bet this house, which was built in 1926, has never looked happier.

The entire project (purchase, rehab, and resale) was managed by Will Heaton & James Dainard, owners of Heaton Dainard, a full service real estate investment firm in Bellevue, WA. Here’s how the living room looked before they got to it:

And now:

The Dining Room before:

And now–a much cheerier space to eat in:

They opened it up to the kitchen, which used to look like this:

But now looks like this:

The house had 3 bedrooms and 1 bath to begin with. Now there’s an additional bedroom in the finished lower level and 3 full baths in the house. It was pretty scary upstairs before the reno:

The new master suite:

This is one of the three bathrooms in the house, and it’s not even the biggest one (the master has a large marble bath), but I think it’s charming:

The views of Seattle from the house ain’t bad, either:

It last sold for $300,000. They expanded the living area from 1,400 square feet to over 2,200 by finishing the lower level and expanding the second floor, and now it’s back on the market for $629,000.

Like it? For more photos and information, check the listing by Heaton Dainard. Many thanks to Meredith for telling me about it!

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The Decor Girl May 1, 2012 at 6:58 am

This is an awesome transformation. Just goes to show what a little clean up and fresh perspective can do. Ahh, the timeless white kitchen cabinets are perfection. Love the orangey yellow on the walls, a great current choic. Well done.

Nikki@ProjectHome May 1, 2012 at 6:58 am

Oh, that warms my heart! What a great job and so cozy.

Melanie Malaviya May 1, 2012 at 7:05 am

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Everything except the massive steel stove and hood!

margret robbins May 1, 2012 at 7:10 am

My gosh Julia,
you never fail to deliver an interesting read. I need half your talent and I will be good.
regards
Margret

Kathy Strader May 1, 2012 at 7:10 am

Just love it! So nice to see this.

Tara Dillard May 1, 2012 at 7:16 am

And more touches you didn’t even mention !

From the new garage door to the top gable window. WOW.

Painting the terrace level the color of the siding is best on houses without the ‘issues’ of this one.

Views would have been impossible if they hadn’t renovated the landscape too.

Row of evergreens along the drive wall with dwarf conifers will be problematic soon. Historically correct for bad landscaping.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Earth Ocean Sky Redux May 1, 2012 at 7:22 am

Great rehab. I wonder if the people at Heaton Dainard would care to share with us how much $ they have into the renovation. Not that we want to pry, but I think it’s always interesting to see what costs what. I’d guess they easily have $200,000 into it. I’d also like to know how the property taxes will change when it’s sold; I assume the house will get reassessed at the time of the sale. Right now the listing says the taxes are only $542! As a New Yorker living in the county with the highest property taxes in the nation, this really caught my attention. I’m packing my bags. :-)

Jane May 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I was wondering if anyone else caught those property taxes! What a beautiful reno and a beautiful view. That will be sold very fast I would guess!

Angelica May 1, 2012 at 7:54 am

How GORGEOUS is this? *sigh* Love it!

Kris May 1, 2012 at 7:59 am

This is the dream I think we all have for our houses. Great find, Julia.

I’m so impressed by what they did with this house. I live in a 1926 bungalow, which we purchased in 2003 as a foreclosure. Hubby and I were 23 at the time, with a new baby. Needless to say, we have put in a lot of sweat equity but we’re still a long way from completion. This gives me ideas. Love the built-in in the dining room and the bright kitchen.

Patty May 1, 2012 at 8:03 am

Wonderful they were able to save the original coved ceiling in the living room and arched entry to the dining room!

Sarah @ housecrazy May 1, 2012 at 8:11 am

what a fab re-hab! The exterior colors are just perfect! I too am curious to know the costs associated with this reno and what the profit margin will be!

Dixie Redmond May 1, 2012 at 8:40 am

This house is lovely. I would’ve gone right past it, too.

Rachel May 1, 2012 at 9:23 am

i lived in seattle for many years…as soon as i saw the photo of the house, before i had even read the blurb, i knew this was a seattle home. :) they did an amazing job, makes me nostalgic! thanks for sharing this one!

Lisa May 1, 2012 at 9:27 am

now thats what I call a transformation! Yes, I agree with you..it looks very very happy now..good one, Julia!

Shannon Fox May 1, 2012 at 9:58 am

Living in a 1920′s cottage in Oregon. Looked a lot like that from the outside. All overgrown. Brought back memories!

What a beautiful restoration they did!! It’s a real stunner.

Sheila May 1, 2012 at 10:02 am

Now that’s a renovation! Well done to the owners. Love the new front door and railings, white Shaker woodwork, bathroom sink and wall colors and ALL those new windows! Lovely.

Jackie Toye May 1, 2012 at 10:04 am

Dont know if I’d want my stove facing the Front door? But it’s a lovely home. Great moulding, colors and space. Love it

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints May 1, 2012 at 10:09 am

love it. just looks happy right?

Dean May 1, 2012 at 10:17 am

Wowza! Beautiful renovation and the new price is totally reasonable considering what’s been done and the location/view.

Amy @ The Button Casa May 1, 2012 at 10:20 am

I love this house! It looks so sweet and fresh now. I’m usually pretty good at seeing potential in houses but I’d have passed this one over too…unless I had the budget and manpower to fix it. This was definitely best left to the professionals and they did an amazing job.

Mayra May 1, 2012 at 10:22 am

WOW! It’s great that the owner saw the potential of this house. It is beautiful & cozy!

Spring May 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

What a lovely home! My husband gets annoyed whenever we drive through Seattle suburbs because I tend to drool on the window – the houses are so cute.

Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet May 1, 2012 at 10:55 am

They managed to design my dream home! Seriously! I may have to make a journey up to Seattle…

Michael May 1, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Magnificent remodel. Really incredible. When can we move in? :)

Miss E May 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I am just now starting my search for a bungalow style home in the Dallas area. There are so many that I would just love to snatch up in such terrible conditions and make it sing! As a designer my problem is always finding the balance of the stopping point versus “keep on going” with remodels. What a cute fixer-upper. Love these types of posts- keep ‘em coming Julia!!!

Abby R May 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm

As a Seattle resident, this makes me really happy!

Mrs. Pear Tree May 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I am amazed, and know not what to say! I’m curious what kind of profit was made on the latest sale, given the extensiveness of the renos.

Trish @TheOldPostRoad May 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm

THAT is AMAZING. Wow. The exterior alone is quite a transformation – with just paint and some pruning shears!

Lisa T. May 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I love everything they did. Such a dramatic change!

Could you get info on some of the colors? I loved all of them inside and out.

Kim May 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm

What an amazing transformation. It doesn’t even look like the same house. I love everything about it.

tracy May 1, 2012 at 3:23 pm

What a transformation! Love the color in the living room. Any chance someone knows the name of the color?

Holley May 1, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Love it!

Veronica May 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I love before and after pictures…it gives me hope for our house project (finishing the basement) that it will some day be a beautiful ‘after’ picture!

Jane May 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I’ll bet this turned out to be mostly a labor of love rather than profit but consider the free word of mouth advertising for the real estate investment company ( Heaton Dainard).

After all, they help clients find and flip properties and this one only shows the potential of even sad homes ( before) turning to happy ones (after) with those who have the knack for seeing the potential in an apparently ugly home.

What a gem! And a smart move for the company.

Brandy May 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Wow, this company did an A-mazing job! If I lived in Seattle, I’d hire them for sure!

You find the best places to highlight, Julia! Thanks for keeping the blogosphere interesting for abodeophiles like myself. :-)

cbean May 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

This might be my favorite of all your posts. It’s lovely inside and outside. I could see myself living there. Sigh. (:

Karen May 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Wow, that’s impressive. Someone likes to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. Like you, I would have kept on driving if I had seen the ‘before’.
Karen

Richella at Imparting Grace May 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Now, THAT’S the sort of house that warms the heart! Although I love all kinds of house, large and small, I think a house that’s brought from another era into this one with grace and charm is the most wonderful of all! You’re right–this house looks happy. And I can imagine that happy people will be living in it!

Becky May 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Yes! This post illustrates perfectly why those of us who are “hooked on houses” are so compelled by possibility … and by the prospect of making beautiful, happy spaces for today from the damaged, forlorn rooms of yestereday. House as metaphor for life and hope. :)

Christina from Dallas May 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Fanstastic! What a transformation! If you only went by what it looks like now as compaired to what it looked like before (just on the outside) it would be amazing. But, with all the changes inside it turns into fanstastic! Wow can’t believe the house price doubled too! But it seems worth it.

Penny May 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Beautiful, but they totally skimped on the light fixtures… :(

S.BUSH May 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Wow….this really turned out very nice…great work to all involved…..

Rebecca C. May 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm

And I thought I was the only one to say that a house looks happy! What an incredible transformation. These are the kind of houses I love to see. Buying houses that just looked depressed and fixing them. Way to go.

Serena May 2, 2012 at 12:32 am

Just checked the listing.. and they have beautiful photos! Thanks Julia

E. George May 2, 2012 at 2:26 am

What can I say but absolutely beautiful. You did it again (you know that thing you do) that has us all drooling and taking notes (must do lists) and we Thank You. This is a family home and then some. I hear that it rains a lot in Seattle (who cares I think it’s beautiful). Regards Esther from a cool and wet Sydney. PS I’ve been looking at a book called Architecture of New Orleans they have some great looking homes and gardens you just don’t get to see what they look like inside (pity).

snaggy May 2, 2012 at 6:48 am

Want !

Cheryl Stoy May 2, 2012 at 7:19 am

Well done! I’m with you, I would have kept driving. Thankfully, creative juices flow through different veins in all of us.

Elvira May 2, 2012 at 8:56 am

Charming renovation! It’s a real home, although I believe it’s staged for the sale and that’s why they don’t have any window dressings nor many lights.
I love all those windows but having the neighbours’ windows right opposite I’d like some sort of curtains.
The front yard landscaping is perhaps the only thing I’m not keen on. Someone mentioned conifers that will soon need pruning – I agree.

Great find, Julia!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com May 2, 2012 at 9:30 am

Gorgeous. Though I did prefer the original kitchen. I love all things vintage.

Karen May 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

Impressive restoration. The living room is stunning with a lovely fireplace. I wonder the total cost as well. The only thing that I would change would be the location of the stove and hood, especially since it opens to the dining room. That could just be me and my personal taste preferences too. I probably would have another landscape plan too–live and learn. I love everything else though. That must be a mistake on the property taxes and if it isn’t well it will definitely be going up soon.

Marion Marchetto May 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

I grew up in a house extremely similar to this one except that it was built in the late 1930s and located in Connecticut. Seeing the ‘before’ version of the rooms brought back terrific memories for me. Even the narrow driveway and steps up to the front of the house are almost exact duplicates! Love the new look though. Ironically, my mom always wanted to cut the wall between the kitchen and dining room and make it look like the ‘after’ picture. Thanks for this one!

Trenton, NJ Antiques May 2, 2012 at 10:56 am

Nice transformation.

AB May 2, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Now this would have made a great show on HGTV. I wish they’d create a long 1 hour series (Drab to Fab!?) and devote to total renovations like this.

I’m sure a lot of heart and soul and imagination went into the process–and I’d enjoy seeing it.

HollyM May 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Wow! This is a gorgeous reno! Nicely done, indeed.

Laura May 4, 2012 at 7:44 am

Wow!

This is the type of inspiration that keeps me going on our little yellow cape -because I know the beauty is there, I just have to transform it into something lovely. (If only I didn’t have to make all the mistakes along the way :( Oh, well. Living and learning.)

Thanks for sharing,
Laura

Mrs. LIAYF May 25, 2012 at 10:38 pm

We live in West Seattle and LOVE what they have done to this house! There are a lot of smallish 1920′s houses here that are well-loved and cared for, and this one fits nicely into the neighborhood. My only change would have been to install a down-draft venting on the stove so not to block the view of the lovely kitchen.

Grand D September 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm

very nice job.

Menahil December 8, 2012 at 10:38 am

Whoa! Love this space, it’s just soo pretty, love the sitting room, and the bathroom really is soo cute and charming!

Rebecca May 16, 2013 at 10:42 am

Love! the kitchen/dining room being opened up! What a difference that made. One thing I do not get..with the fabulous re-do on the outside..why o’ WHY did they leave that ugly cement wall by the drive! I know it is a retaining wall, but SURELY they could have least “dressed” over it in some way?? To me it was a total eyesore on a beutiful exterior!

Pam May 17, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Very inspiring! Julia – your site is great. I recently inherited a home in Alabama that is not in a historic district, but built by my grandparents 50 years ago. They did not even build it from a house plan so you can imagine there’s nothing built to code but I’d like to see what could be done to save it. I’m totally overwhelmed by all the resources online. Where should I start? Is there a beginner’s book?

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