Case Study: Open Floor Plan Rehab Before & After
Hey everyone! Melissa here back with another before and after. This one is all about the best way to work with an open floor plan rehab. Well.. the best way to open up a floor plan, that is! I'll just start by saying this house was super outdated, but we'll talk about that further down.
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Alright, let's talk about this open floor plan rehab!
The Entrance Before
This house was seriously outdated. I mean, it looked like it hadn't been touched since it was built. The entrance hall was super narrow and dark with this huge hall closet blocking off most of it. That had to go.
You guys probably already know this from our other videos and blog posts, but I can't stand narrow and dark floor plans. It just makes the whole house feel smaller than it actually is. One of the first things I had my contractor do was take out that closet so that we could knock some walls down.
The biggest part of flipping an open floor plan rehab is working with the support that the house already has. We ran into this problem. Right behind where the closet used to be was a crucial support beam that we couldn't remove without harming the integrity of the house.
To the right of the entrance hall was this long, weirdly shaped dining room / living room combo. This room was cut off from the main living room for some reason. I couldn't figure out why. Other than the fact that this room had another major support beam that we couldn't remove. So when we went to make this an open floor plan rehab, we had to do a few creative things.
After Opening the Entrance
When we took down those two support walls we had to be sure to keep a support column where the hall used to be. In addition to that, we bumped down the arches between the dining room and the living room to 18 inches.
We had to do that to keep the support on the house when we were making it an open floor plan rehab. Other than that, we tried to keep everything open and inviting for people as they walk into the house. I mean, with that narrow hallway and those walls gone, you can actually see the rest of the house when you walk in! Imagine that, hahaha.
Just like we do with all of our rehabs, we changed the floors and painted the walls. We laid down the wood look vinyl we like to use, and painted the walls that nice bright grey color. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but the reason I like using that light grey is for three reasons:
- It's neutral for the buyers
- It brightens up the house
- And it makes the room feel bigger than it is.
Rooms feel much larger and more open when they're more well lit. That's why we added lots of can lights in this property as well. To really transform a small and closed off house into an open floor plan rehab, you have to make it feel light and bright. When there's more light, it feels like there's more space. That's exactly what we did to this property's entrance hall. And, let me tell you, it looks 100% better than it did.
Dark Living Room & Kitchen - Before
This The living room wasn't bad, it just wasn't updated. Just like the front room, the living room in this house was dark and narrow. The first thing to do to make it an open floor plan rehab was to knock down the wall between it and the dining room. Check!
The next thing was to update the layout and design of the room. This living room had a lot of dark paneling on the walls that made it feel much more closed off and dark. The ceilings in the living room were the only really high ones in the whole house, and they looked really nice. Other than the large dark beams.
One major problem in this entire house was just how dark everything was. The living room lead into the kitchen which also had dark wood paneling everywhere.
The countertops, sink, and fixtures were outdated for sure. One of the big things that we replaced was the cabinets. I know I talk a lot about just sanding them down and repainting them in the Flip Pilot group, but these weren't in the best condition. I always suggest keeping the original cabinets and repainting them as long as they're in good shape. These...weren't. They had this super outdated trim around them that couldn't be sanded off without making them all look off.
There were also cabinets above the sink that made the rest of the kitchen feel cut off from the living room. This kitchen didn't have much storage space, but this kitchen was pretty small so it wasn't a huge problem. There was a little pantry shelving unit in the breakfast room right off of the kitchen that helped with the storage space problem. The problem was that the whole space felt very small and cut off.
New Open Living Room & Kitchen
Now the living room doesn't feel closed off from the rest of the house. Right when you walk through the front door, the living room is easily accessible. Knocking out those walls really helps!
We took out all of the paneling and dark wood colors, replacing them with clean and simple wall textures. The biggest transformation was the fireplace. The original one was yellow brick and fit against the wall in a weird way. I built it all the way up to the ceiling, replaced the yellow brick with nice tile, and had my contractor build a new mantel.
He's so creative! There was some left over marble tile from the bathroom tub surround. My contractor took it and made it a hearthstone for the new fireplace. It looks really good. I love the way the fireplace transformed!
I know I've talked about making the fireplace a wow factor a lot in the past. This property is no different. If you look at your houses like a work of art, you'll be able to make it pop too. When we changed this to an open floor plan rehab, the new open living room needed a focal point. Boom! That's where the fireplace comes in. When you first walk into this house, it really catches your eye.
On to the kitchen! Like we said, this kitchen was super dark and drab looking. The rehab wasn't difficult. We updated everything. We added a new under-mount sink, new granite countertops, new hardware, etc. The one thing we replaced (that we typically don't) was the cabinets. These cabinets were old and outdated and couldn't be salvaged.
So we replaced them with new ones. As far as style goes, I did what I usually do and painted the top ones white and the bottom ones darker. I used a new dark paint that I'm not sure if I like as much as the other darker gray color. This one was more of a blue gray. It didn't look bad, just not my favorite color.
We took out the cabinets above the sink and replaced them with some awesome pendant lights we got from IKEA. Check out our IKEA haul video on our YouTube channel!
The Master Bedroom (And It's Weird Hall)
Before we can take about the master bedroom, you have to understand the original floor plan of the house. There was a hallway in this house that ran from the back bedrooms all the way to the master. The problem with this hallway was that it was the only thing connecting the master bedroom and the adjoining one.
This was definitely a weird layout. In fact, the hallway wasn't just connecting the master and adjoining room, it also functioned as a shared walk-through closet. It was very strange. Because this was both the master closet and another bedroom's closet, the second room isn't technically a bedroom. We had to do some creative thinking when it came to this.
Two Separate Bedrooms!
Needless to say we closed the hallway off. Originally, the opening to the master closet was in the hallway. We closed it off and added double doors to that lead to the master bedroom and closed off the entrance to the original hall. Now the master bedroom stands on its own! Whoo-hoo!
The "bedroom" that was connected to the hallway is now closed off with its own door. Yay! We ended up building a closet in that room as well. At first I was hesitant to do that because I was afraid it would make the room too small. We bumped the wall out by 5 feet for the closet. In the end it was perfect. It's an average room size now, definitely big enough for a full bedroom set!
Teeny Tiny Shower - Before
Ok, so, the master bathroom is small. There's not much we can do about that. That's just how the house is. I can work with a small bathroom, the problem was the shower. This house had a walk in master shower, which is fine. I normally like to at least have a shower/tub combo in the master bath, but there just wasn't enough room for it. No, the real issue with this shower was how narrow it was.
I don't know what it is about this house, but everything was super narrow. As a small person, I had difficulties getting in and out of the master shower. If I can't do it comfortably, then there's a problem. The ceiling of the shower was really low, and the entrance to it was really slim. Once you're in the shower, though, there's a nice enough amount of space. Like, the shower itself didn't feel as small as it was once you were in it.
Making The Master Bath Feel Bigger
This bathroom was a challenge because it was so, so small. If there were room to add a tub, believe me I would have. Since there was very limited space to work with, I had to get creative. I had my contractor bump up the ceiling of the shower and add a can light to make it feel larger than it is.
Additionally, I took out the cabinet shelves above the toilet to match the rest of the open floor plan rehab. After exchanging the old cabinet with open shelves, we moved on to the floors. Like I said in the before and after video for this property, I decided to turn this bathroom into a wow factor. I did that with these awesome Floor & Decor tiles! These printed tiles are great. They really work to make little rooms like the master bath an accent in the house.
How to Create an Open Floor Plan Rehab - Wrap Up
Making an open floor plan isn't hard. The best tricks I can give are:
- Use light colors on the walls
- Bump up the ceilings when you can
- Add can lights!
The more light and bright you can make the house feel, the better. When you're working with these older floor plans it's very important to upgrade it for the current housing market. In fact, we talk a lot about that in the FlippingJunkie group on FaceBook. You should join! Come network with active real estate investors like yourself! :)