Before & After House Renovation Story

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This Before-and-After House Renovation story details the transformation of my brother’s outdated home through wall repairs, kitchen overhauls, and more.

Home renovation can feel like a colossal task, especially when dealing with an outdated house that needs a whole house makeover. Where do you even start? 

From peeling paint to load-bearing walls, it’s a maze of decisions and actions. 

living room before renovation
house living room and kitchen makeover

Luckily, I documented the journey to help you navigate your renovation project. 

Read on to get the step-by-step tutorial on how we renovated my brother’s new home.

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links or referral links for your convenience. It is a way for this site to earn advertising commissions by advertising or linking to specific products and/or services. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Whole House Makeover: The Starting Point

The Big Picture

First, we had to prioritize. 

This home needed a fresh coat of paint, wall repairs, a revamped kitchen, and much more. 

wall between kitchen and living room

We also had an outdated breaker box and a cramped laundry room, which needed immediate attention.

layout of laundry room with water heater

So we sat down and talked about the priorities, what needed to be done before something else could be done, and what we were doing vs. what would be hired out. 

This brought us to the first thing that had to happen: demoing the kitchen so we could remove the wall. 

outdated kitchen with white cabinets

The Load-Bearing Wall

Before any magic could happen with an open floor plan, we had to address a critical issue—the load-bearing wall separating the kitchen from the living area. 

drywall removed to remove load bearing wall

A load-bearing wall must be supported from the roof line to the foundation. So, we had to address this before it could be safely removed. 

After determining that we were lucky, the crawl space supports were right where we needed them to remove the wall. 

We then removed the wall using roof jacks to support the weight of the ceiling while we removed the wall and installed a beam. 

installing beam for load bearing wall

SIDE NOTE: You can build a temporary wall next to the wall that will be removed instead of using these types of roof jacks. We were lucky that my dad had them, so we could use them instead of building the temporary wall. 

I also wrapped the beam with plywood. You can see my tutorial on creating a faux wood beam, but this time, I used plywood and cut the sides at 45-degree angles to give me a clean finish.

house living room and kitchen makeover

Updating the Walls

The walls were like swiss cheese, full of holes and inconsistencies. 

Also, we had new drywall installed in the kitchen/laundry area due to water damage and doorways being moved. 

removed drywall from walls

To patch the wall, we used a drywall joint compound to fill in all the holes to prepare them for a new coat of paint.

living room in the middle of renovation

Some rooms had paint that was peeling away. 

Which meant we had to scrape off the old paint, a tedious and necessary task. 

After scraping, we primed the walls to prepare them for fresh paint.

bedroom walls with paint cut in around the edges

Then, we apply the joint compound to make the walls smooth again. 

At this point, we primed and painted all the ceilings and walls. 

SIDE NOTE: If you are curious, I have a full tutorial on the basics of painting a room

Electrical and Plumbing Upgrades

A Modern Breaker Box

The electrical box was like something from a history textbook. And we brought in a professional for this one. 

hole in drywall for new electrical box

They replaced the old box with a new, more efficient one with adequate breaker slots.

Moving The Water Heater

The laundry room was so tight you could hardly reach the washing machine. 

The culprit? 

A poorly-placed water heater. 

So, the water heater was relocated to a closet in the hallway. But along the way, we discovered that the chimney needed to be removed because it was falling apart and to give us more space in the closet. 

We discovered that this unplanned side project was a good thing because the water heater wasn’t vented correctly into the chimney, causing the heat from the vent to melt away the furnace’s venting pipes. 

melted furnace pipe from water heater

SIDE NOTE: All water heaters must be vented with a double-wall vent pipe from the water heater to above the roof line. But check your local code to see all the requirements.

The laundry room was breathable and functional after the water heater was relocated into the closet.

updated laundry room
closet with waterheater

The Kitchen Plus Flooring

After tearing down the load-bearing wall and ensuring the house wouldn’t come tumbling down, it was time for the kitchen makeover. 

adding new floor in kitchen

This involved a whole new kitchen design.

demoed kitchen ready for cabinet

I have a tutorial on how we designed and built the kitchen cabinets, plus there is a workbook you can purchase to help you plan your kitchen renovation. 

kitchen with DIY cabinets

My brother decided to install a quart countertop on the custom-made kitchen cabinets. 

kitchen makeover
DIY kitchen cabinets

And we also installed new LVP flooring throughout the whole house. The flooring is Lifeproof Hockley Oak from Home Depot. 

new LVP flooring in hallway

If you are wondering how to install LVP flooring, I have a full tutorial on installing luxury vinyl plank flooring, so check that project out. 

The Other Projects

Doorways and Windows

Did you know there’s a right way and a wrong way to construct a doorway? 

We found out that someone before us didn’t properly brace a doorway. Each doorway now has a proper header and support, making them functional and safe.

Here’s a quick diagram of how a doorway and window should be braced. 

Typical framing for a wall of a shed.

We also removed the tile sill around the windows and installed a new sill, similar to how we installed new window jambs to our windows. 

sill of windows with foam

Plus, we installed a simple modern trim around the windows

simple bedroom makeover

Closet Makeover

The closets got a functional makeover with custom-built systems, allowing for better use of space.

old closet in bedroom

I share the full tutorial in another post called How to Build a DIY Closet Organizer.

updated bedroom closet

The Main Bathroom

The house has two bathrooms, but my brother wasn’t ready to tackle the one yet. 

outdated bathroom

So, we gave the main bathroom a quick makeover by replacing the old tile floor. You can see how I like to tile a bathroom floor in this project linked. 

Plus, we installed an Ikea vanity to update the area and painted the walls.

updated bathroom

The Grand Reveal

Finally, after months of dust, noise, and non-stop work, the house started to look like a home. 

My brother has moved in, and while a few things are left to be done, the transformation is incredible, and I have to share it with you. 

living room with wall breaking up kitchen
layout of old kitchen
house living room and kitchen makeover

Lessons Learned and Tips for Your Own Whole House Renovation

Renovating an entire house is a massive task, but the outcome can be hugely rewarding. 

It’s about knowing your priorities, planning well, and sticking to the plan while also being flexible enough to adapt when things don’t go as planned.

And if you’re curious, this whole house renovation cost less than $30,000, which included a new kitchen, water heater, bathroom update, closets, flooring, and so much more. 

Thanks for sticking around! My brother’s house has come a long way. 


Are you interested in seeing the full before and after house renovation in real time? Check out the video below that documents the whole journey!

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