I'm a sucker for a good Before & After.
So it's no surprise, I'm totally crushing on this suburban Minneapolis ranch renovation featured in Traditional Home Magazine.
And who wouldn't?
It's loaded with style, livability and an endless supply of inspiration for anyone craving a fresh start once the kids transition forward. Take a look!
Redefining the Nest
Like so many other phase three homes, Susan Brunn's 4,000 sq. ft. ranch reno was inspired by a major lifestyle change. After transitioning from wife, mom of two, and pet owner, to single empty-nester, her house no longer fit her day-to-day.
"Here I am, 15 years later, I'm divorced, my children are grown and out of the house, and my animals have died. So it's down to me", says Brunn.
It's an all too familiar situation. Susan loved her house, and the setting. But it was designed as more of a family home. And today her life revolved around her work, entertaining clients and friends, and the occasional house guest.
Here's how Susan and her team used a tried and true formula of remodeling to transform an outdated family house into an empty-nester's dream!
Step One: Restyle The Exterior
It all starts with a look. And a feel. Brunn hoped to create a cozy "Hamptons" look-alike vibe for the exterior, so architect Jeff Murphy updated the look with cedar-shingle cladding. Architectural details at the back of the house add interest and offer a welcoming retreat (above feature photo).
Step Two: Reimagine How Your Living Space ....Should Live
The design team changed the home's entire layout by reconfiguring both levels, creating a wonderful flow between rooms and living areas:
*The main floor ceiling height was bumped from 8' to 9' 4" to add an open, spacious feel.
*The previous family room was converted into an elegant dining room (below) with French doors leading to a balcony.
*A wall that divided the outdated, formal living room (below) from the kitchen was removed,
in order to open the space and create a warm entertaining area (below).
*A 'Something's Gotta Give' inspired kitchen (below) now offers a walnut dining ledge, center island and a cozy side seating area.
*The previous dining room area was completely redefined and transformed into a stunning wine/music room (below) that now houses her grand piano.
*The rarely used lower level, just off a to-die-for pool and patio (below), was transformed into a fabulous new living area which created an inviting "social space"-- including Susan's office, guest baths and bedrooms, family room, second kitchen, mud room with entry and wood- burning fireplace!
Editor's Note: This transitional space is on my personal wish listfor my next phase three home. Love how the lower level offers guest and entertainment flexibility when needed, yet can be sectioned off from the main living area when not in use---ideal for the phase three lifestyle.
Step Three: It's All In The Details
Simple upgrades and finishing touches take any reno from wonderful to WOW! Here's how they did it:
*Large full-length double-hung windows with transoms were placed throughout the house to fill the home with light.
*Beamed and coffered ceilings and trim work on mantles and doors offer the proper weight, scale...and feel, for this renovated home.
*Fireplaces, each with their own personalities--limestone, two-sided gas burning and wood burning in the lower level--add elegance and architectural interest to the entire remodel.
*French doors and balconies now open the home to the beautiful outdoor spaces.
*Cubbies, bins and cabinets throughout both floors offer much-needed storage.
Whether you rethink your existing home, build from scratch or just restyle your current decor, phase three is the perfect time for a fresh take on your home and lifestyle. Hope this inspires you to create the nest of your dreams...
All photos: Traditional Home Magazine. Photography: Werner Straube. Original feature written by Amy Elbert, produced by Elaine Markoutsas.
Check out Traditional Home for more fabulous Before & Afters and design ideas for your next phase three home project.