The transformation is officially complete on our Los Altos fixer upper! We spent all of our free time from January through September last year updating the exterior with the help of wonderful vendors like Sierra Lumber, ELS Home Builders, Atlas Pavers, and the Kuzak’s Closet crew.
When I first laid eyes on our little house I was not impressed. It was hidden by a jungle of landscaping, there was no garage, the driveway was crumbling, and the antenna on the roof was almost as big as the house itself. All of the fences were rotten and the laundry room was outside. We had the opportunity to see the house early on a Saturday morning and that first visit was only about 20 minutes long. We left under a cloud of disappointment and shock at the asking price. The next day we woke up with a different mind set and after we revisited the house for a longer visit and we decided to take the risk and just go for it.
Here she is before…
The interior remodel took three months, kicking off in September of 2017. We moved in just before Christmas of 2017 and kicked off the exterior projects at the start of 2018. For the first three months of the year it felt like we lived in a diamond in the literal rough. Our bright and new white house was surrounded by mud and the weekends were filled with the dust of landscape projects.
We cleared the lot ourselves at the start and although it was dusty and left the lot looking bare, it was nice to have a clean slate to work with. Before we started the curb appeal was a bit lack luster…
Our lot is 7,000 square feet and it started to feel like it once the lot was cleared and the house could really stand out. We kept the original structure and opted not to increase the size because it would involve way more time and money and we didn’t want to open that can of worms.
We were not planning to replace the windows but once the interior turned into a complete gut-job we decided it was the optimal time to swap them out. Our contractor Evan from ELS Home Builders took me window shopping and we opted for black trimmed windows by Marvin Intergrity. He encouraged me to choose single pane windows to help the house look and feel larger and he was right. Once they were installed it was obvious the house needed to be painted a bright white to compliment the windows. It was a completely different direction than my original plan to paint the house a dark navy blue.
So many whites! I had a ton of samples from the interior paint selection process. We opted for decorators white on our interior walls with super white on the trim (Benjamin Moore) and on the exterior we chose super white on the body with chantilly lace on the trim.
Once it was painted it really started to look and feel like a new house. You can also see what I meant about my earlier diamond in the rough comment…
Choosing a company to install the paver driveway was one of the longest processes I went through during this remodel. I must have met with 12 companies and the bids were all over the place. Some companies followed up endlessly and others I could never reach again. System Pavers was my top pick and helped me develop the design that we ultimately went with but I didn’t move forward with them because their bid was $30,000 more than the next highest bid. Yep, $30,000 more. Insanity!
Many of you followed along on Instagram and helped me choose materials. I often asked for a vote and your votes helped especially with choosing the paver stone. My gut told me to go with “A” and you also voted for “A” so thank you for that!
Atlas Pavers did the work and they completed the project within 18 days. They did a good job, we had some issues but in the end I was glad that someone else was doing it vs. Billy and I trying to get it done in our non-existent free time. We widened the driveway to allow for side-by-side parking which increased the parking quota from 2 to 4. We widened the steps on the porch and wrapped the porch in matching pavers.
On the home stretch!
What an improvement!
With the driveway in place we moved on to the front landscaping. Tammy from Kuzak’s Closet created the design plan and she ordered all of the plants for us. Prior to becoming a professional organizer in 2009 she owned a landscape design firm called Garden Spaces. Billy and the guys worked with me on weekends to create a walking path out of blue stone and they also helped with irrigation and planting. It took about three Saturday’s but doing it ourselves really helped keep the budget in tact. Billy owned and ran a landscaping business prior to coming to work at Kuzak’s Closet as well so it was fun for him to get back to his roots. It’s really his yard and as corny as it sounds I think of him every morning when I roll up the window shades. In some cases when I roll up the shades I think of him because he is literally in our yard tending to his plants but also because of the memories I’ll always have from the process of working on it together.
Each piece of blue stone had to be cut to fit into the path so it was a long dusty process. The path matches what we did in the backyard (I’ll share that in my next post) and I love the uniform look.
Once the path was in place the plants arrived and we scheduled long planting day.
When the plants came off the truck Kevin asked Tammy if she had any vinegar and oil because it looked like we were planting a giant salad. Ha!
So many holes to dig!
Once the truck was unloaded and the plants were organized we took a deep breath and got to work planting.
I waited a few months before having these after photos taken because I wanted to give the landscaping a chance to fill in. Kate Skogen from JetKat Photo took after photos for me (she also took the interior photos) Time helped it look more mature but I’m really looking forward to what it will look like in 2-3 years from now.
I’m so glad we went with a black and white theme after all. It’s very crisp and allows the colors from the landscaping to really shine. It’s also been really fun to accessorize with black and white details.
Chris installed a Nest Hello doorbell and although I’m not an early adapter to most technology I do love seeing who comes and goes from our front porch. Over the process of remodeling my friend John would stop by during the day to check on our progress and we would often chat through the door bell.
Sierra Lumber built our new fences and our deck (I’ll share photos in my next post). Tim was the foreman on our job and I absolutely LOVED HIM! He has a great visual eye and made changes as the projects came together, one change was the arbor above our gates. They look quite naked now but once the white rose vine that we planted grows up and blooms it will be perfection! Patience!
I opted for modern planters from West Elm and CB2 and I love how they contrast against the classic white shiplap. These photos were taken in December and the planters were on their way to winter but you get the idea of their potential once they fill out in the spring.
Billy’s yard! Ha! He asked John to take a photo of him to send to Tonga, gotta love it!
Just to recap where we started…
And where we ended…
What a beautiful transformation! I love a good before and after and this is even more special because it’s my own. Harper loves all of the changes around here too! She is helping me write my next blog post featuring the changes we made to the backyard so stay tuned for that!
Photo credit for the beautiful afters goes to Kate Skogen from JetKat Photo.