One of the most fun parts of blogging is getting to open the curtain for a big reveal! I feel like I should have some sort of reveal music or invite Vanna White to wave her hand over these photos. This is one of my favorite "before and after" posts ever!
My sister and brother-in-law live in New York City where, for the past year-and-a-half, they have been true city dwellers in a tiny, 400-something square foot, Upper West Side apartment. They loved the adventure of tiny city living, but recently my brother-in-law got an offer to begin doing some work at a church on Long Island in exchange for a place to live--a brick house that is owned by the church. They gave up metropolitan life in exchange for a car, a commute, and more space.
While the blessing of a larger space was great, the house itself needed a bit of updating before it would feel like home, so they called Jeremy & I to come help them do some updates on a small time table and a small budget. Not only do we love our sister and bro-in-law to death, but we also loved the challenge and welcomed something different.
800-ish square feet
Built in the 1940s
2 bed, 1 bath
Not very well taken care-of
Hideous peach paint
Moldy ceiling tiles
The time frame:
We had 4 days to do any major construction projects and renovations. Some painting was already done when we arrived.
The space is a rental, so they didn't want to commit to too many changes (no knocking down or building walls, no new drywall for the ceiling, etc.)
Awkward layout/tiny kitchen
I can't wait to share more details about how we did a few of these things...like the "shiplap" and the beadboard ceilings, and I also want to share some tips and tricks for making the most out of a rental space, but for now, here is a full reveal!
Disclaimer: the church previously used this space to house some temporary residents in a recovery program and also as a storage space, so there is lots of huge furniture in the "before" photos, and that's why!
One of the biggest challenges we faced in this process was the issue of the drop ceiling. Because this is a church-owned rental space for Sydney & Tim, they couldn't justify installing drywall ceilings, but the existing foam ceiling tiles were pretty nasty. The pictures don't fully depict how stained and gross they truly were. Replacing them with tin ceiling tiles or some other pre-fabricated option would have been astronomically expensive. Enter: a hair-brained idea I had one day...what if we just cut down sheets of beadboard? It was a fraction of the cost, and it made a huge impact. While nobody would CHOOSE drop ceilings over drywall, when you have to work with what you got, the beadboard was a fantastic option. I will do a blogpost soon about how we did that exactly.
Another way we added drama to the space without spending big bucks was by making an electric fireplace look built-in with some plywood "shiplap" nailed behind it. It gives the illusion of a built-in without making a structural change to a short-term property. I know that fireplace has already come in handy many times in the cold of a New York winter!
Take a closer look at those nasty ceiling tiles below.
After (no before pics of this because there was too much furniture in the room)
I love this reveal because the truth is...it's a normal, small, awkwardly situated home that we were able to make into something beautiful without breaking the bank. If we can do it...so can you!