We moved into our fixer upper Suburban Split in 2005 when our two oldest boys were almost three and one and a half. We had run into some health issues with the boys in our Town Traditional and we decided that a fresh start was needed so we put the town traditonal on the market and it sold…real quick!
The day of our open house we spent on a 100 + acre farm of Jason’s family for a family reunion where our two boys ran around with their cousins and some farm animals 🙂 and the grownups sat around and drank tea. It was pretty great…hot (90 degree July day) but great. We got home to find out an offer had already come in and we had three weeks to move!!! Yikes! At this point we had not even started looking for a house and we were not even sure where we wanted to live. But now we knew we wanted more land and a yard big enough to have a play set for the boys. So we found the Suburban Split.
Once again we bought another big fixer upper. This house was smoke filled and pet stained. Here we go again :). We gutted the house…. new porch, new windows, new roof, new kitchen, new bathrooms, new laundry room, new floors, new trim and doors, a new fireplace, new stairways, a new paver patio, new landscaping and lots of built ins.
I never really liked split levels but the large yard, great neighborhood, quick move in date, and low price won in the end. While living in this house we further refined our style and realized that it is possible to give any house character…even a boring 1969 split level one :). I had forgotten how much I love to garden and, in this house, was reminded of the small vegetable patch I had when I was a little girl living in a row home in the city. We watched our two toddlers grow up in elementary school and had two more kids…a girl and a boy. We stayed there eight years until we grew out of the house and started longing for another “older bigger fixer upper”.
Here’s some of what we did. Once again we were bad about taking before pictures so we’ve scrounged together what we could. I blame it on not wanting to remember how bad it was :).
Now you can see why we had to have this place right?:) Talk about curb appeal!!! We drove around for weeks trying to find other houses like ours that had these ugly yellow bubble glass octagon windows but ours was the only one. We found out later that the women who built our house special ordered them because she loved cruises and wanted to feel like she was on a cruise ship!!!
We planted a lot of plants and the kids enjoyed it as well!
We took down all the bushes and trees that were up against the house. We changed out and moved the old columns so they were not blocking the big bow window and looked more substantial. We painted the whole house white including the brick and added some forest green shutters and new landscaping. The octagon window up top and the one below were changed out including the rest of the windows and the roof.
Foyer and Stairways
Here is the inside view of our front door with a really ugly green laminate floor. We already took out 2 black iron railings that divided the foyer from the step down living room and changed out the front door transom and painted.
Here is the view up the stairs with the original iron railing and before we added wainscoting.
Here is what the foyer and stairway looked like after we were done. Jason added 2 new half walls with built in bookcases and columns. We changed out the newel post to an old one we found at a salvage store and added new railings and wainscoting. There is also a new closet door and front door and a new dark brown carpet runner for the stairs.
Living Room Before
This was really a great room to begin with….we loved the vaulted ceiling and huge bow window but it still was missing something…
We added a huge Mendota gas fireplace with a blue stone surround. In my opinion a house isn”t a home without a fireplace…where would you hang the stockings at Christmas :). We also added lots of built ins to give this room more character and that WOW factor we were looking for. We hid a flat screen TV behind the doors above the fireplace.
We painted the dining room a rich dark forest green and lowered the windows to bring in more natural light and added a new chandelier.
This room orginaly had original dark wood cabinets from the 60’s and yellow mustard appliances. It was also laid out in an L shape with a closet pantry. We gutted the kitchen and made it a galley style. We put down new wood floors, new white kraftmaid cabinets, black granite counters, new stainless steel appliances and new lighting.
For the family room we laid new dark carpet, added new columns and wainscoting to the stairway, tiled the entrance to the patio and added new glass sliders.
This bathroom had a black and white color scheme going on. Black toliet, black and white stripped wallpaper, and black mold. It also had lovely pale blue shag carpet on the floor. We put in new tile, new walls, new wainscoting (can you tell we love wainscoting;), new toilet, new lighting…the only thing we kept was the sink!
Here is a mid renovation picture. There was ugly yellow paneling in this room when we moved in. We re-drywalled, added a new window, a new sink and cabinets, and tiled the floor.
We painted this room a few times….I just could never seem to get the color right :). New carpet, new trim and doors, new lighting and custom window shutters.
On the far wall we built a shelf with hooks out of an old door turned sideways. We brought this with us to our new house!
Here are some mid project demo pictures of the master bathroom being gutted. It had a major shower leak…yellow tile everywhere including a yellow toliet and sink. The precious owner liked to smoke in here the most looking out through a yellow octogan inoperable window. Enough said this room was gross…. I am pretty sure we took half the bathroom out the first night in the house right after the dumpster arrived. We then closed the door and let it sit for 2 years while we tackled other projects. As you can see this was a family affair. You can never start renovating too early :).
We put in new white tile subway tile all around the room. New ceramic tile on the floor and shower walls. There is a new toilet, console sink, and polished nickel hardware throughout room.
Again we painted and added new carpet, doors and trim.
Big Boys Rooms
Jason added wainscoting and a chair rail throughout the room. We painted, added new carpet, doors and trim.
We added tall wainscoting to this room and put a shelf all around the room. We added a built in bookcase and bench. New carpet, paint, trim and doors. The hanging light we moved in from the old master bathroom and refreshed it with a coat of paint.
We put in new double sink base and linen cabinet. We re-grouted the whole bathroom, put in a new toilet and painted. Since this was the kids bathroom we were ok with keeping the original blue tile.
Here are some before pictures. We took down all the bushes surrounding the house and added a new stone retaining wall and paver patio. We took down over twenty trees, planted grass, and landscaped the entire yard.
Thanks for checking out our house tour of the Suburban Split! Please check back to see what we are up to in our new house, Lehman Lane:).
Don’t forget to Pin our Suburban Split level house tour!!!