Before & After: A Whole House Update for Under $55k

When Chloe inherited her grandfather’s house she knew it would need some tender loving care. Working with her family to rethink the layout and rid the space of the less than desirable ’60s elements, she came up with a shockingly stylish space on a budget.

From Chloe: I inherited this home in 2009 from my grandpa who built it in 1965. The house was originally intended to be a garage, which would have been larger than their house at the time, but my grandma made the call of making the structure their new home. It went through a few mauve and baby blue looks, a pastel phase, layers of paneling, linoleum and wallpaper, an addition of a bedroom, laundry room and carport. Needless to say, it needed an update. Since life had pointed me in this unexpected direction, I had the rare opportunity of making a house a home and renovating it to my style.

My family, myself and a handful of contractors worked on the renovations for close to three years. My mom, who grew up in the home, drew out a new floor plan to allow for more flow and function. She turned what was once a converted carport, then a living room, into a dining room, walk-in closet and laundry room. We also decided to convert what was the old laundry room into a second, much-needed, bathroom off of the bedroom. After we had a new floor plan, we hired local contractors to put up the studs, rewire the electric and install drywall. I found new, larger windows at a discount store in Paris, IL called The Window Outlet. I saved a substantial amount of money going this route compared to buying new.

The windows, window trim and pretty much everything else was installed by my ever-so-patient dad. He and my mom guided me through the entire process and I feel like I’ve learned quite a bit of useful tools for future projects by going the DIY route. When our recommended tile guy did a horrible job, we hired a contractor to rip everything out and instead of hiring someone else to install new tile, I bought a tile saw at Lowe’s, watched a couple of YouTube videos and tiled the marble bathroom myself. This wasn’t without getting a few pointers from my parents who had done this before. The new tile turned out better than I expected and I’m super happy with the learning experience and result.

As a photographer and designer, light is important to me. So, when choosing paint colors (Sherwin-Williams & Martha Stewart Colors) at Home Depot, I had a neutral palette in mind. The walls are kept minimal with a few engineering prints from Staples (at around $7 each!) The artwork in both bathrooms is my own art from my college thesis exhibit and some random collage work I did one day while feeling weird. I pulled a couple of old pieces in from the old barn that also sits on the 7 acre property, including the coffee bar table which is really a rake and shovel holder. The iron fireplace in the bedroom and the coffee table is from an antique store in Covington, Indiana. I made the dining room table out of a box of oak flooring from Menards, a sheet of plywood, an evening or ten perusing Pinterest and some legs from The couch is a steal from Craigslist. The flooring is engineered hardwood from

The kitchen cabinets and master bathroom vanity are Martha Stewart from Home Depot. I am probably missing something, because it seems like a lot in my mind, even now, but everything was bought with a budget in mind and we somehow kept the entire renovation under $55k.

Overall, I feel like the most important thing that was changed, other than new electrical wiring, is new windows and lighting. We had recessed lights installed in the kitchen and living room since that area was very dark before. The white cabinets ended up lighting up the room substantially, but the under cabinet lights and new lights above the bar were the icing on the cake. The extra windows in the dining room allowed for a charcoal paint and the now nonexistent paneling in the bedroom made the space instantly airy. I am incredibly happy with the result of the renovation. It was an unreal experience that made living in the house even more enjoyable.

Thank you, Chloe! Readers, you can see more on Chloe’s blog Moth Haus.


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