Back in the home improvement groove

When we visited properties late last year with our Texas Realtor, we entertained the idea of buying a fixer upper. After all, we knew we could pull off a project like that after what we accomplished with old church in southern Wisconsin that we turned into a home.

But memories of the dust, the mess, the back-aching work stopped us from buying an uncut gem. Instead, we settled on a condo.

As I shared last week, the condo still had more than its fair share of dust (click here for that story), but at least the electrical wiring and most of the plumbing is in operational order.

Still, the carpeting was horrifying, the kitchen backsplash ho-hum and the place hadn’t been painted in more than 15 years. Rather than take up those projects ourselves, my Beloved tracked down a couple of truly excellent contractors who swooped in the days after we closed to lay new flooring, install a new backsplash and paint every last thing from ceilings to trim. Ah, the power of paint!

Since before-and-after photos are so satisfying, I thought you might find our projects interesting.

condo carpet before

BEFORE: Wear and tear on the carpet was evident.

We replaced the tiling in the kitchen, entryway and bathrooms and the carpeting elsewhere with a luxury vinyl plank flooring, designed to be attractive and long-wearing.

condo flooring after


The tile looks like distressed wood with a mix of beige and brown and gray and black to coordinate with anything.

condo backsplash before

BEFORE: The former kitchen backsplash matched the tile flooring and wasn’t different enough from the granite countertops.

I hated the kitchen backsplash and briefly considered a sparkly tiny tile, but I shook off my Las Vegas fantasies and ultimately choose an almond subway tile.

condo backsplash after

AFTER: Kitchen backsplash. Ahh.

Originally, the walls were taupe and the trim was off-white, a very straightforward choice. The effect was drab.

condo living room before

BEFORE: This is how the living room looked on our first showing. The paint job was unremarkable (and the furniture was clunky and further boring).

After painting the entire church in one color scheme which drew attention to the architecture instead of the room colors, I knew I would do that again in this condo. I decided to switch the dark and light of the original paint job by painting the thick, beautiful trim a darker color than the walls. This had the added benefit of saving money on the paint job because we had the ceilings painted the same light color as the walls.

I adore the is-it-gray?-is-it-green? vibe of the trim color. It calls attention to the most interesting architectural elements of the room–the doors and windows. And the windows become beautiful frames for the view of the lake. The trim color is part of Sherwin-Williams Nurturer collection. It’s called Sensible Hue. That darker color on the wainscoting is Illusive Green. The walls and ceiling were painted in Oyster White.

As a lake home, the condo needed a calm and watery theme (rather than Spanish Revival or whatever was going on before). Heck, if a Minnesota Transplant can’t figure out how to outfit a lake home, who can?! These paint colors coordinate with the blues and greens of the furniture and accessories we invested in.

I’ll be sharing images of some of the rooms after they’re completely furnished, which we’re still working on. But here’s a peek at part of the living room.

condo living room after

AFTER: Now, that’s better!


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