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32 Architects Reveal Budget Breakdowns For Projects Ranging From $1.5K to $910K

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32 Architects Reveal Budget Breakdowns For Projects Ranging From $1.5K to $910K

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Dwell’s Budget Breakdown series reveals the true cost of renovating or building from scratch—from a kitchen makeover for $42,000, to a compact home built for under $250,000, to a major apartment renovation for $910,700. These detailed accounts from architects, designers, and homeowners lift the curtain on the price of lighting, insulation, labor, and more. Read on as we break down the budgets of 32 inspiring projects.

A Portland Couple Design and Build a Compact Home For $222K

Scott Mooney and Lauren Shumaker’s compact backyard home is located in the back half of their 5,000-square-foot lot in the Richmond neighborhood of Southeast Portland.  

Scott Mooney and Lauren Shumaker’s compact backyard home is located in the back half of their 5,000-square-foot lot in the Richmond neighborhood of Southeast Portland.  

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Small, secondary homes are popping up everywhere in Portland, Oregon—including in the backyard of Scott Mooney and Lauren Shumaker. Spurred by the city’s generous accessory dwelling unit (ADU) incentives and a desire to reduce their environmental footprint, the couple—he an architect and she a construction engineer—designed and built an elegant, 624-square-foot backyard home with sustainability at its core. Designed over weekends and spare evenings, Scott and Lauren’s “labor of love” came together after eight months of work with help from builders Kevin Smith and Taylor Thompson of Taylorsmith Sustainable Construction. 

One Couple Give a 1969 Airstream Globetrotter a Dreamy Makeover For $19K

The husband-and-wife duo behind Colorado Caravan transform a 1969 Airstream Globetrotter for $19,180. They removed overhead storage and wall cabinetry to make the interior more spacious.

The husband-and-wife duo behind Colorado Caravan transform a 1969 Airstream Globetrotter for $19,180. They removed overhead storage and wall cabinetry to make the interior more spacious.

Over the past two years, Denver couple Kerri Cole and Patrick Neely of Colorado Caravan have been renovating vintage Airstream trailers, transforming them into sales offices, bars, and even hotel rooms for motor lodges. Neely, who originally was flipping houses and fixing up vintage cars, recently made his segue into transforming other structures like shipping containers and eventually Airstream trailers. His wife Cole, a talented designer, handled all the aesthetics. Currently, the space is used as the couple’s sales trailer and showroom. And if the mood strikes them, they also have the option of taking it on the open road.

A Tired RV Is Refreshed and Relisted For $21K

A DIY couple in Phoenix give a 2004 Jayco camper a contemporary upgrade and put it back on the market.

A DIY couple in Phoenix give a 2004 Jayco camper a contemporary upgrade and put it back on the market.

Phoenix, Arizona–based couple Steve and Trina Sholin have brought their house-flipping skills to the tiny home movement in the form of masterful RV renovations. Their most recent project? A 350-square-foot, 2004 Jayco Designer RLTS-33 ft Fifth Wheel that was worse for wear until the duo gave it a total makeover for a total of $21,345. Now the charming home-on-wheels is available for $27,000—a great value considering the love the couple poured into it.

A Weekend DIY Turns a Neglected Garage Into a Backyard Hangout For $13K

Ben Carstensen's screened porch is just a few steps from the back door and deck, making for easy circulation between the different areas.

Ben Carstensen’s screened porch is just a few steps from the back door and deck, making for easy circulation between the different areas.

A year after Ben Carstensen moved into his 1925 bungalow in Portland, Oregon, he had a mission: to get his backyard ready for the summer. The focal point of the backyard redesign is his conversion of half of the detached garage into a screened porch. At 540 square feet, “the garage was large, and underutilized,” he says. “I used it as a woodshop and for storage, but I didn’t need all of that space.” Since the backyard is on the smaller side, Carstensen needed a solution that would expand its footprint, as well as an “additional outdoor space that could be utilized even on a rainy Portland day,” he said. “The screen porch approach was the answer.” Over a long weekend in May 2018, he and his parents tackled the project. They framed up a wall to divide the garage in half, then removed the interior and exterior wall cladding on the screened porch side in order to replace it with screening. The result? “The absolute best space to relax in during the evening,” said Carstensen, who likes to hang out there with his two dogs on the regular.

A Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van Turns Into a Chic Tiny Home For $27K

Jack Richens, the expert van renovator behind This Moving House, pulled out all the stops for this incredible conversion. White and light wood cabinetry, along with a cheery blue tile backsplash, give the kitchenette a bright and airy feel. 

Jack Richens, the expert van renovator behind This Moving House, pulled out all the stops for this incredible conversion. White and light wood cabinetry, along with a cheery blue tile backsplash, give the kitchenette a bright and airy feel. 

“Short of pouring foundations, converting a van is a lot like building an entire house,” says Jack Richens, the custom van renovator behind This Moving House in Oxford, United Kingdom. Richens recently transformed a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van with a 177-inch wheelbase into a chic, 91-square-foot mobile home with a kitchenette, cozy sleeping berth, lots of nooks and crannies for storage, and additional heating and insulation so that the van can weather winter in the mountains during ski season.

A Bay Area Warehouse Becomes a Live/Work Space For $124K

Michelle Morrison and her two greyhounds pose with her brother and roommate, Michael Anthony Morrison—an artist who is also responsible for much of her art collection.

Michelle Morrison and her two greyhounds pose with her brother and roommate, Michael Anthony Morrison—an artist who is also responsible for much of her art collection.

With one foot in the tech design industry and the other firmly in the art world, producer and community organizer Michelle Morrison started saving to purchase her own home before she turned 30. She was dreaming of her own industrial live/work space, and after 10 years in San Francisco, she started to look in Oakland for a warehouse space which she could convert. After searching for months and being outbid on multiple spaces, she finally upped her budget as much as she could afford and hit the jackpot—winning a 1,300-square-foot former coffee and produce warehouse in Oakland’s waterfront warehouse district. The space was exactly what she was looking for—something she could break down and build back up. Feeling empowered by her purchase, Morrison set her sights on an even loftier goal: to convert the space into her dream home with just a $125,000 budget. With Siol Studios and Elliott Build in tow, the results came in on time and exactly within her budget—and she was able to move in just seven months after closing.

A 1950s Duplex Receives a Striking Makeover For $190K

"Reinforcing the degree of abstraction of the project, the choice of the minimalist furniture and lamps echoes the palette of textures composed of concrete, wood, and steel," says Naturehumaine.

“Reinforcing the degree of abstraction of the project, the choice of the minimalist furniture and lamps echoes the palette of textures composed of concrete, wood, and steel,” says Naturehumaine.

Emilie Geoffrey and her partner Antoine were in the middle of hunting for rentals in Montreal when it dawned on them that it would be more cost-effective to buy and renovate a duplex in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and rent out the second floor. Emboldened by their calculations and the opportunity to craft a space exactly to their liking, the couple purchased an old, two-story duplex that sat virtually untouched since its construction in 1953. To breathe new life into their dated duplex, Emilie and Antoine reached out to Naturehumaine, a local architecture firm the couple loved for their distinctively modern and minimalist design approach.

Weekend DIYers Renovate a Dated Catskills Retreat For $201K

New York City–based couple Danielle and Ely Franko share the renovation budget for the Hunter Greenhouse, a 1971 Catskills home that they purchased in 2016 and now rent out as a snug holiday home. The house has two levels, and a lofted lounge in the front section of the upper floor.

New York City–based couple Danielle and Ely Franko share the renovation budget for the Hunter Greenhouse, a 1971 Catskills home that they purchased in 2016 and now rent out as a snug holiday home. The house has two levels, and a lofted lounge in the front section of the upper floor.

Tired of the hectic city grind, and yearning to be closer to nature, urbanites Danielle, a dermatology physician assistant, and Ely, who works in software development, purchased a 1,522-square-foot house in the mountainous Tannersville village in Greene County, about a two hour’s drive north of New York City. They had made their purchase on impulse, and didn’t even realize how close the house was to North-South Lake and Kaaterskill Falls, two of the biggest hiking attractions in the Catskills. The Frankos spent two years renovating the house, and now they rent out the Hunter Greenhouse through Airbnb, so others can enjoy their efforts, and this beautiful part of the world.

An Architect Builds a New Chicken Coop For Less Than $1.5K

Designed for his son’s school in Tucson, Arizona, architect Gideon Danilowitz builds a low-cost chicken coop suitable for the desert climate.

Designed for his son’s school in Tucson, Arizona, architect Gideon Danilowitz builds a low-cost chicken coop suitable for the desert climate.

Tucson, Arizona–based architect Gideon Danilowitz took the required 40 hours of volunteering at his son’s school very seriously—so seriously, in fact, that he designed and helped build a new chicken coop for the school. He sought to provide plenty of shade for the birds while allowing breezes to enter and further cool the space. The simple materials and thoughtful design of the 160-square-foot structure, combined with the efforts of the local parents, resulted in a sophisticated structure that takes advantage of what the desert has to offer. 

A Tired ‘80s Home in Japan Gets a Bright Remodel For $164K

The Suita House by Alts Design Office has 911 square feet of floor space spread across two levels.

The Suita House by Alts Design Office has 911 square feet of floor space spread across two levels.

The two-level, wooden Suita House in Osaka, Japan, was built sometime before 1981, in accordance with now-outdated earthquake resistance standards. Since its owners—a couple with two young children—needed to upgrade to meet the current regulations, they decided to give the property an interior overhaul and transform it into a brighter, better-ventilated home that’s more suitable for modern living. Osaka has a high earthquake risk, so Koka City–based architecture and design studio Alts Design Office performed structural renovations and repairs to ensure the house would hold up well if tremors impact its foundations in the future. They then worked to bring in more light, and to modernize the floor plan.

A Stunning Apartment Revamp Mixes High and Low For Under $100K

Fitted with a new black-framed window unit, the light-filled living room in BLV Apartment features a sofa and coffee table from Beitili.

Fitted with a new black-framed window unit, the light-filled living room in BLV Apartment features a sofa and coffee table from Beitili.

Architect Efrat Weinreb and her husband were strapped for cash after buying their first home in Tel Aviv, yet the couple were confident they could still give their dated apartment a chic, modern makeover without breaking a strict budget of $100,000. Achieving the apartment of their dreams, however, would be no easy task. Their two-bedroom, 974-square-foot unit required a complete overhaul that not only meant costly demolition and new plumbing, but also home decor shopping. Fortunately, Efrat, founder of WE Architects, drew on her professional experience and online shopping savviness to keep their budget in check.

A San Diego Couple Make Over Their Craftsman Bedroom For $29K

Ashley and Ross Goldman document their $29,400 master bedroom renovation on their DIY blog The Gold Hive. 

Ashley and Ross Goldman document their $29,400 master bedroom renovation on their DIY blog The Gold Hive. 

Ashley Goldman, the voice behind the design blog The Gold Hive, and her husband Ross Goldman have been restoring her 1915 craftsman bungalow in San Diego, California, for the past three years. Room by room, they are transforming their home into a polished blend of craftsman character and modern pieces. This master bedroom renovation is the third remodel in their home inspired by an online design challenge. The One Room Challenge is a biannual event in which 20 design influencers are selected to transform a space in just six weeks and document the steps along the way. To transform the master bedroom, the couple focused on re-configuring the layout to provide better functionality, while filling the space with a curated collection of furnishings and accessories.

A Creative Couple Rehab a Vermont Cabin For $18K

Enterprising couple Jenny McClary and Allie Leepson give their snug Vermont cabin a DIY makeover—and it's currently available to rent.

Enterprising couple Jenny McClary and Allie Leepson give their snug Vermont cabin a DIY makeover—and it’s currently available to rent.

In 2017, Jenny McClary and Allie Leepson, a couple based in New York City, bought a small cabin in Vermont on a whim. They had been looking for property in Joshua Tree, but after being outbid several times, a short trip to Wardsboro in the southern part of the state led them to this 1982 gem. Although the home had been sitting on the market for a year, the couple recognized good bones when they saw them. The interior just needed a few small tweaks to give it a more modern look. “Our goal was to turn this traditional Vermont ski cabin into a well-designed space that’s more than just a place to take your snow boots off in,” the couple say. After purchase, the couple spent 4.5 months replacing flooring, swapping out hardware, painting, and wiring new lights in order to achieve a more streamlined style that’s still cozy. Most importantly, they left the predominant knotty pine paneling in place, and not just because it was in good condition. “It gives the home that rustic, Vermont charm,” say the couple, who run a creative studio called The 1909. “We love the way it picks up light in the late afternoon. We also think it makes our cabin smell amazing.”

A Cramped Eichler Kitchen Gets a $49K Refresh

In San Jose, California, interior designer Cathie Hong opens up a dim, confined kitchen to better serve a young family.

In San Jose, California, interior designer Cathie Hong opens up a dim, confined kitchen to better serve a young family.

A 150-square-foot kitchen in a 1963 Eichler home in San Jose, California, has been transformed into a bright, functional, family-friendly space. Renovated once in the ’80s, the previous kitchen had an L-shaped design that the owners wanted to replace with an island and breakfast counter for better circulation. They needed additional counter and storage space while keeping the kitchen open and uncluttered. Interior designer Cathie Hong of Cathie Hong Interiors met their requests by changing the footprint and orientation of the kitchen, opening up the cramped shape to comfortably accommodate an island. Working with Santa Clara–based builders Arnold’s Custom Homes, Kitchens & Baths, Hong removed all the original cabinetry, appliances, pantry, and wood paneling, and replaced the old window with a dual-pane window.

A Prison Bus Becomes a Couple’s First Home For $26K

A young couple converts a 31-foot, 1989 Chevy B6P bus that was formerly a prison transport vehicle into a charming tiny home. 

A young couple converts a 31-foot, 1989 Chevy B6P bus that was formerly a prison transport vehicle into a charming tiny home. 

When Meag and Ben Poirier were living in Maine in 2016, they snapped up a 31-foot-long bus on Craigslist for $8,000, planning to convert it into their first home. The bus, previously a prison transport vehicle and a mobile command center for the Sherriff’s Department in Fairfax County, Virginia, had a storied history, and its previous owner had planned to transform the bus himself. After turning down several other potential buyers who wanted to strip it for parts, he was thrilled to connect with the Poiriers. For the next two years, the Poiriers spent most weekends working on the bus themselves, converting it into a 165-square-foot home.

A Humdrum Bathroom Gets a Retro-Chic Facelift For $17K

A client’s childhood love of terrazzo and minimalist living inspires a contemporary transformation of a dated master bath by Design Bar Detroit.

A client’s childhood love of terrazzo and minimalist living inspires a contemporary transformation of a dated master bath by Design Bar Detroit.

Charmed by the Instagram feed of Design Bar Detroit, a client reached out to the interior design studio with a vision for a bathroom renovation she coined “’60s Italian Dystopia.” A well-traveled individual unafraid of experimental design, the client sought a modern remodel that would highlight terrazzo—a material she’s loved since childhood—and complement her minimalist lifestyle as well as the aesthetics of her loft. “The design was truly a meeting of the minds between us and the client,” says Lisa Backus and Andrea Richardson, the founders of Design Bar Detroit. Completed for just over $17,000, the renovation stripped the 40-square-foot master bathroom to its studs and introduced new materials and fixtures to create a “bright, highly custom, modernized master bathroom with increased lighting functionality.”

A SoCal Couple Revamp Their Fixer-Upper For $63K

Not afraid to get their hands dirty, a creative couple on a budget transformed their Mission Viejo bungalow into a chic abode for their growing family. 

Not afraid to get their hands dirty, a creative couple on a budget transformed their Mission Viejo bungalow into a chic abode for their growing family. 

By the time lifestyle blogger Janelle Burnett and her husband George were ready to remodel their 2,000-square-foot bungalow in Mission Viejo, California, she was already two months pregnant. Undaunted, she rolled up her sleeves and—with lots of help from Google and YouTube—dove headfirst into a gut renovation that finished just in time for the couple to welcome their daughter, Sienna. Despite not having any previous experience, the couple transformed their home on a budget of just $63,000. From the entrance foyer and living room to the four bedrooms, the dynamic duo breathed new character into the dated home.

These Transitional Homes For At-Risk Clients Cost Less Than $200K

Florida firm Process Architecture’s series of modern, affordable, low-maintenance homes help HIV/AIDS clients and LGBT homeless youth get back on their feet. 

Florida firm Process Architecture’s series of modern, affordable, low-maintenance homes help HIV/AIDS clients and LGBT homeless youth get back on their feet. 

Orlando–based design firm Process Architecture is making a case for the healing properties of architecture—for less than $200,000 per house. Tapped by Aspire Health Partners, Florida’s largest behavioral health nonprofit, the firm designed and built affordable transitional housing to serve high-risk HIV/AIDS individuals and LGBT homeless youth. “This new affordable housing model is not only functional, but also serves to satisfy both psychological and aesthetic purposes for individuals pursuing drug-free, productive lives,” explain the architects. The prototype, nicknamed the Aspire House, was funded through the HUD program HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV-AIDS).

A Denver Kitchen Gets a Beautiful IKEA Makeover For Just $7.8K

A poorly designed kitchen in a 1940s Denver home receives an affordable renovation with IKEA products and DIY touches.

A poorly designed kitchen in a 1940s Denver home receives an affordable renovation with IKEA products and DIY touches.

Tabitha Shakespeare, founder of Colorado–based fashion and lifestyle blog Tabitha Lane, recently remodeled the 100-square-foot kitchen in her 1940s home using mainly IKEA cabinetry and appliances. Shakespeare didn’t like the look of the old space, but what really bugged her was the lack of separation between the living area and the kitchen. “In the end I decided to gut the whole kitchen and start from scratch. I knew from the beginning that I wanted an IKEA kitchen because the pricing and storage options are unbeatable. Since it’s such a small space I wanted to make the most of it,” says Shakespeare. She sourced all the cabinetry and appliances from IKEA, and she was able to complete the remodel for just $7,830.

A Cozy Studio Tops an L.A. Garage For $220K

Spurred by a recent state law aimed at easing California’s housing shortage, a Los Angeles family turns to architect Martin Fenlon to add an ADU to their backyard. 

Spurred by a recent state law aimed at easing California’s housing shortage, a Los Angeles family turns to architect Martin Fenlon to add an ADU to their backyard. 

When California lawmakers made it easier and more affordable for homeowners to build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), it didn’t take long for a Los Angeles family to join the effort to relieve the state’s housing crisis. The clients, a young couple with two small children, turned to local architect Martin Fenlon to create a compact and sustainably minded studio apartment atop their detached garage in Los Feliz, a hillside neighborhood where they have lived for over five years. Working with a tight timeframe of just a little over a year, Martin crafted the 350-square-foot addition—named Rodgers ADU after the clients—for a total cost of $220,722.

A Design Duo Give Their San Francisco Loft a Modern Makeover For $70K

Homeowners Kathryn Heller and Kevin Short tackled much of the work themselves to refashion a dated home into the ultimate, 700-square-foot city loft. 

Homeowners Kathryn Heller and Kevin Short tackled much of the work themselves to refashion a dated home into the ultimate, 700-square-foot city loft. 

When they first set foot inside their Mission District loft in 2015, Kathryn Heller and Kevin Short knew they’d found what they were looking for, though surface impressions were deceiving. “The interiors were ugly, stained, and completely outdated,” the couple tell Dwell. “The previous tenant had smoked cigarettes inside for nearly a decade, so it was particularly dreary and felt like a time capsule from the ’90s.” Even so, with such a great location and no structural or exterior problems, the couple—she’s a designer and he’s an architect, both at Tiny Monster Design—knew that they had found the perfect blank canvas in the loft. “We both had had that urban loft fantasy, and this space was our opportunity to not only live it, but also design it,” say the couple.

A 1972 Airstream Sovereign Is Transformed Into a Family Home For $23K

Arkansas couple Colleen and Zach Cashio spent two years overhauling a 1972 Airstream Sovereign—where they now live with their sons, Ezra and Harvey, and their Australian Shepherd Luna. 

Arkansas couple Colleen and Zach Cashio spent two years overhauling a 1972 Airstream Sovereign—where they now live with their sons, Ezra and Harvey, and their Australian Shepherd Luna. 

Before embarking on their DIY renovation, the Cashios knew that the Airstream would become their full-time home—so it would have to be practical and family friendly. For $23,000, they transformed the tired-looking camper into a home with room for the boys to play with their toys; a bedroom that’s separate from the living area; and a large kitchen that fits an apartment-sized fridge, a 24-inch oven, a 24-inch cooktop, and a microwave.

A Midcentury Glass House Is Revitalized For $299K

Rescued from demolition, a cantilevered home in Michigan becomes a refined retreat with a magnificent indoor/outdoor connection.

Rescued from demolition, a cantilevered home in Michigan becomes a refined retreat with a magnificent indoor/outdoor connection.

This single-family residence in Bloomfield, Michigan, known as the Treehaus, embodies the iconic style of midcentury modernism. Owner Shane Pliska, president of interior landscaping company Planterra, stumbled upon this home in 2012 when it was headed for demolition. Although it was appraised at $0, Pliska appreciated the natural beauty of the site and the simple, modern architecture the home represented. For the next few years, he strove to carefully restore the home to its modern roots. The process began with a mystery, as Pliska sought to uncover the original architect of the residence. Midcentury-modern massing led many to believe it was the work of the great Mies Van Der Rohe. Through exploration, Pliska discovered it was the work of Edwin William de Cossy, a creator of “Sarasota Modern” architecture and one of famed architect Paul Rudolf’s collaborators.

A Creative Couple in Minneapolis Build a Multipurpose Backyard Studio For $18K

The 195-square-foot, shingled Fish Scale Studio includes a library, reading nook, and workstation—and it’s DIY inside and out. 

The 195-square-foot, shingled Fish Scale Studio includes a library, reading nook, and workstation—and it’s DIY inside and out. 

Creative couple Michael and Christina Hara built a kid-free retreat just steps away from their back door, thanks to a recent amendment to the Minneapolis building code that lets accessory structures under 200 square feet circumvent the traditional permitting process. The Haras carried out the project, called Fish Scale Studio, over eight months. They did all of the design and construction themselves—for just $18,275—in order to carve out “space for creativity and respite from our chaotic, toddler-filled house,” as Michael explains.

Built For Under $10K, a Cabinet Room Expands a San Francisco Loft

Rather than relocate, architect Rebal Knayzeh devises a flexible, mobile bedroom with built-in storage space.

Rather than relocate, architect Rebal Knayzeh devises a flexible, mobile bedroom with built-in storage space.

Architect Rebal Knayzeh and his wife loved their 1000-square-foot, open-plan loft in San Francisco, but as their newborn grew into a toddler and his toy collection swelled accordingly, they became pressed for more space. After weighing the cost of relocating against that of adding square feet, Knayzeh devised a clever solution in the form of a hybrid “cabinet room.” The 75-square-foot cube provides a bedroom for the child, entertainment space for the adults, and much-needed storage space for everyone.

A Garage Becomes a Renaissance-Inspired Studio for $102K

A Toronto garage is transformed by Anya Moryoussef Architect into an airy four-room studio for just under $102,000.

A Toronto garage is transformed by Anya Moryoussef Architect into an airy four-room studio for just under $102,000.

In the backyard of a downtown Toronto home, local design practice Anya Moryoussef Architect has transformed a single-car garage into a multifunctional, light-filled workspace that cleverly belies its compact 325-square-foot size. The client—a former architect who now works from home as a screenwriter and art director—set high demands for the small space. He requested not only a workspace and a separate sitting room, but also plenty of storage for his art collection and scripts, as well as room for his golden retriever, Ollie.

A Maui Couple Build an Off-Grid Tiny Home For $45K

Custom-built from the ground up, a 360-square-foot tiny house on wheels is an affordable, off-grid paradise for a family of three in Hawaii.

Custom-built from the ground up, a 360-square-foot tiny house on wheels is an affordable, off-grid paradise for a family of three in Hawaii.

Fed up with the lack of affordable housing in Maui, Zeena and Shane decided to take matters into their own hands by designing and building a custom tiny house from the ground up. “Rather than paying a chunk of our income into something we would never own, we decided to take the risk to build something specifically for us,” Zeena says. “It also helped that my husband comes from a family of carpenters, which influenced our decision greatly because we had the tools and skills to complete this project.” A self-described “labor of love,” the tiny house took the couple two years to complete between their full-time jobs. The ambitious design/build was also made all the more challenging by the couple’s concurrent wedding planning. To stay within their tight budget of $45,000, the newlyweds did all the work themselves with help from Shane’s father, a master carpenter.

A Brooklyn Brownstone Gets a Vibrant Renovation For $910K

When a Brooklyn-based couple sought to renovate a brownstone in Crown Heights, they knew exactly which architect they wanted for the job—Alexandra Barker of BFDO Architects.

When a Brooklyn-based couple sought to renovate a brownstone in Crown Heights, they knew exactly which architect they wanted for the job—Alexandra Barker of BFDO Architects.

When Brooklyn couple Thomas and Jon found a rundown brownstone in Crown Heights, they knew who to call for a renovation: Alexandra Barker of BFDO Architects. A modern, seamless approach was key, they told her, but they didn’t want to lose any original details during the update, either. In all, the renovation would yield a 2,000-square-foot home, where Thomas and Jon would have two bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms to themselves, and the basement would hold a rental apartment. It would cost $910,700 to get it all done, which is surely a pretty penny, but Barker’s team and the couple found ways to cut costs where they could.

A Dreary ’70s Abode in Southern California Gets a Gut Renovation For $196K

In the home’s new kitchen and principal bathroom, interior designer Corine Maggio of CM Natural Designs creates bold moments via a high-contrast palette warmed with wood. 

In the home’s new kitchen and principal bathroom, interior designer Corine Maggio of CM Natural Designs creates bold moments via a high-contrast palette warmed with wood. 

Before the overhaul, this 1973 home in Encinitas, California, was dominated by a lackluster kitchen still outfitted with the original, dark wood cabinets. The team gutted it in a complete remodel, which also included opening up the main level, installing hardwood floors throughout, and refinishing the fireplace in the living room. A 500-square-foot addition to the second floor now hosts a principal suite, including a bathroom and custom closet, with new stairs connecting the two levels.

A Raleigh Colonial Is Reinvented For $260K

A suburban colonial home in Raleigh, North Carolina, is filled with light and garden views after a renovation and addition by the architect homeowner Don Kranbuehl. 

A suburban colonial home in Raleigh, North Carolina, is filled with light and garden views after a renovation and addition by the architect homeowner Don Kranbuehl. 

In order to convert his 1981 colonial into a sun-drenched home, architect Don Kranbuehl started by removing the garage. “The goal was to transform a closed-in, inward-looking colonial box into an open, transparent volume connected with nature,” said Kranbuehl, a principal at the firm Clark Nexsen. The subtraction of the little-used attached garage made way for a two-story, 1,200-square-foot addition. Kranbuehl then proceeded to conduct a complete renovation of the 2,100-square-foot interior. The first floor of the addition is now home to a cedar-wrapped work room. Newly opened-up living spaces are lined with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the garden. Kranbuehl installed a master suite on the second floor of the addition, and then connected it to the other second-floor bedrooms and a staircase via a steel bridge.

A 1920s Guest House Bathroom Gets a Bold Revamp For $34,800

In a 1925 home designed by modernist architect Rudolph Schindler, a tiny bathroom gets a big and bold renovation. 

In a 1925 home designed by modernist architect Rudolph Schindler, a tiny bathroom gets a big and bold renovation. 

In 1925, Austrian-American modernist architect Rudolph Schindler designed the Levin House in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. Located just across the street from Richard Neutra’s Lovell House, the home and its former servants’ quarters (today used as a guest house) display Schindler’s characteristic use of multiple complex planes, striking colors, and warm, textured materials. Stephanos Polyzoides restored the home in 1984, and Taryn Bone of Bone Collective Studio recently renovated its guest bathroom.

This Hip Multifamily Pad in Austin Cost Under $515K

Nestled in East Austin, Texas, Maude Street House by Murray Legge accomplishes the unique task of bringing three units under one roof.

Nestled in East Austin, Texas, Maude Street House by Murray Legge accomplishes the unique task of bringing three units under one roof.

Some say two is better than one, but when it comes to design, three is the magic number. As a self-proclaimed design enthusiast, writer Alejandro Puyana has built several single-family residences across Austin. But when he found this property in the eastern part of town, he realized that more is oftentimes merrier. “Alejandro had very specific ideas about the basic elements he wanted to include in the house,” says architect Murray Legge, who worked on the project with Puyana. “From the beginning, he wanted to do two houses on the lot: A primary dwelling he would live in, and an auxiliary dwelling unit (ADU) that he could sell.” Legge says the client also wanted to include a kitchenless guest suite for friends and family to stay at when they visited. Indeed, placing three living quarters on one lot is a big feat, not to mention a costly one. However, Legge and Puyana worked together to keep costs down. In total, the renovation cost $512,750, with the main house costing a little over $331k.

Related Reading: 36 Stunning “Before and After” Modern Home Renovations

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