Before & After: Full Home Renovation

When I browsed through the images of this New Milford, CT home renovation from architect and designer Donald Billinkoff, I was very pleased to see how he redesigned the space to integrate into the natural surroundings. Built in 1968, the original home was a bit stuffy, with small windows and heavy carpeting, but Donald’s decision to tear down walls and install huge windows has totally transformed the character of the space.

To keep the budget in check, Donald  sourced almost all of the furniture from Target, Ikea and similar retailers; left floorboards unfinished, cement walls exposed, and chose simple, industrial lighting elements. Not only does this keep costs down, but the organic, understated look compliments the home’s surroundings. Overall, this home is a stunning example of how to utilize raw materials and natural light. —Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read the full post after the jump . . .

Time: 6 months of design planning, 8 months of construction

Basic Steps: Of primary concern was opening the house up on the interior so space flowed from room to room but also to open the house to the surrounding landscape. Having never been renovated, the house was quite dated: bathrooms had olive green fixtures, wood valances had florescent lighting behind them, floors were covered in carpet, etc.

My advice: Establish a budget that includes a contingency. There are always unexpected expenses when you renovate. Also, a well-developed set of construction drawings with detailed specifications reduce the contractor’s ability to add costs for things he claims he did not expect. Everyone involved starts a project with good intentions, but a clearly defined scope of work and a detailed proposal from the contractor will go a long way toward keeping everyone happy all the way to the end of the job.


Click here to download a PDF with the sources.

  1. Yonghui says:

    amazing. i love it even more that most of the furniture were from ikea & target! my kind of budget.

  2. Alisha says:

    AWEsome. Fave part is the rip out of that clausterphobic hallway wall! The windows and new floor make a world of difference. Love it.

  3. kathryn says:


  4. A Day in May says:

    What a difference! And to have so many floor to ceiling windows like that would a dream. Well done!

  5. Leila says:

    Also rather horrified by toilet with a view! I’d end up leaving the blinds down all the time, which defeats the point in building the room like that. Imagine the possibilities for guests inadvertently wandering into the garden and spotting you on the loo!

    Love the house though, and unlike most people here I love the fireplace. I’d have kept the original kitchen cupboards though.

  6. Susan says:

    Drop dead gorgeous! A little Frank Lloyd Wright and a lot of personality. Especially loving that aqua chair and ottoman. ..oh my! Gimmee…;)

  7. Danielle says:

    Wow. Absolutely gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing!

  8. hannawebster says:

    This is really beautiful. All the changes you have made are really awesome. These are looking really tremendous.

  9. Eleanor says:

    This is so impressive. My in-laws have a sprawling home that they built in the early 70s using a lot of the same materials, colors and textures in the ‘before’ pictures. Whenever I’m there I wonder how one would go about doing an update of the space. This is it!

  10. erin says:

    Wow! Major facelift! Question: I am wondering if the old fireplace was completely demolished/rebuilt or just given a new insert/facade?

  11. dmh says:

    Amazing house, but that furniture is not from MOSTLY Target and IKEA. I think that sectional might be from IKEA, but that’s about it. Misleading.

  12. preveena says:

    wow! wooow!woooow! Thats an amazing trasformation. So much life you brought into the house, and the amount of light is brilliant. The colours, tones, so extremely believable (you know what i mean). I am still in awe.

  13. Jasmine says:

    Holeeeeeeeeeeeeee wowie wowie wowza! Seriously stunning. Amazing renovation & the decorating choices are superb. Love. So. Much.

  14. Lorna says:

    I wish that the before and after pictures of each area were taken from the same angle. For example, the before pic of the hallway is of the wall side of the hallway, the after pic is from the window side so of course there is more light. This is a little like comparing apples and oranges

  15. Absolutely amazing decoration. Really very nice changes about all projects.

  16. John Fulton says:

    Awesome … Speechless … Great Work

  17. Anne Mehla says:

    You have done such a great job… i love your color combination

  18. Luke says:

    This is a beautiful renovation. I love the design, use of white in the kitchen & how the hallway wall was knocked out and made into glass windows. It looks so much brighter, absolutely stunning!

  19. Kim says:

    Ya, the Saarinen Womb Chair for $3,871.00 –totally not Target –unless I’m missing something at my local Target® ??????

  20. You did a good job, I like your designs and the layout of furniture.


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