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. Dawn says:

    I think I’m in love.

  2. Claude Remains says:

    Absolutely amazing! I think the only word that springs to mind is WOW!! I love the whole minimal/eclectic vibe.And there’s sooooooo much light.When can I move in?

  3. Heidi says:

    In LOVE. Where is the house?

  4. Jesse says:

    Absolutely amazing, really inspiring. They did a great job! I love all the windows……..

  5. Janet says:

    omgosh! i love this home. I am so glad they left the ceiling stained. Beautiful with all the new white.

  6. Amanda says:

    Seriously, this deck is AMAZING! I love the kitchen transformation too!

  7. Allie says:

    This is awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Bridgette says:

    a stunning renovation.

  9. sara lim says:

    incredible makeover!

  10. Emily says:

    Ah I want to cry! Amazing transformation. Wow.

  11. Gillianne says:


  12. AManda says:

    Pretty, but looks like it was pretty easy to work with. What great bones.

  13. Moriah says:

    Is that a Della Robbia sectional?

  14. cheryl says:

    Oh my goodness! Wonderful!

  15. Vanessaa says:

    Oh good, I’m glad they left the ceiling the way it was. The windows make the house and what a beautiful design job. This looks like a house from The Ice Storm (an Ang Lee film). Lucky family!

  16. kate says:

    ridiculously awesome. just awesome.

  17. Tara says:

    Wow. Speechless. Fantastic job!

  18. amy says:

    What a beautiful renovation! Incredible light!

    I was in awe of how economically this project was furnished! ” …he sourced almost all of the furniture from Target, Ikea and similar retailers”. However, the pdf of sources suggests otherwise.
    The majority of furnishings are custom designed, and other pieces are from higher-end retailers such as B&B Italia, Fullhouse Modern and MOMA.
    No wonder it looks so good!

  19. kelly says:

    Amazing. I love it!

  20. Jennica says:

    I love this beautiful home…job well done!!! Can I ask where you got the white roller shades?

  21. Annie says:

    It’s beautiful even if there is nothing “budget” about it. (And extra points for being right near Buck’s Rock camp, a very happy place!)

  22. A says:

    Mind. Blown.

  23. julia says:

    oh my goodness the windows. would love that kind of natural light. love love love..

  24. Cindy says:

    I love everything about this. Everything!!!

  25. Ross says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Light and space and Nature! YES!

  26. Ashley says:

    I love everything about this BUT the cinder block fireplace. For how put together everything else is, that looks like that isn’t finished yet. In all honesty though, that won’t deter me from day dreaming about living there for the rest of the afternoon.

  27. Hanna Kate says:

    that porch is AMAZING, not to mention the rest of the house!

  28. kalanicut says:

    The light-filled rooms are stunning. Thanks so much for sharing this one!

  29. Beautiful! So stunning. I love how open and accessible everything is.

  30. k says:

    Beautiful! And Drat! — Of course, the source list reflects it is actually NOT mostly sourced from IKEA, Target, etc..

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      the source list reflects the majority of objects that weren’t from those other box stores, which are harder to track down.


  31. gina says:

    is that a real dog in the second to last photo? :)

  32. The house is lovely and all the windows add a nice sense of interior and exterior. My goodness there are SO many places to sit, I want it all.

  33. Claire says:

    Amazing job. Helps when the house has great bones to begin with. LOOOOVE the ceilings.

  34. jessi mathew says:

    really beautiful! love it.

  35. Wendy says:

    That teacup/saucer wall may be the greatest thing I have ever seen.

  36. Heather says:

    Absolutely amazing! Thanks for this post. x

  37. austere says:

    beautiful… but what stunning views too– golden green.

  38. Pam says:

    This is my favorite home you’ve ever showcased, renovated or otherwise. Love the use of every single square inch of space, nothing is wasted. Love the introduction of light and views. Love the super long table where people can gather without being on top of each other…the furniture pieces…EVERYTHING!!! I absolutely share their aesthetic 100%…but not their budget :)

  39. WOW this looks spectacular! Dream house.

  40. sherrie says:

    Amazing what a difference light makes! Great remodel.

  41. hpearen says:

    Remodel is spectacular! But the bottle of Veuve in the “before” picture seals the deal- Billinkoff is amazing.

  42. unsightly says:

    This is incredible, but am I the only one creeped out by the Bathroom With A View?

  43. Liza says:

    love the bathroom with the view!!!!!!!!!! just think, sitting on the toilette looking at nature, doing what comes naturally!!!!!!!

  44. Marie says:

    Beautiful remodel. However, I wanted to put on two sweaters and wool socks just looking at all those windows! Obviously, the folks involved in this project have never lived through winter with all that glass! I don’t care about triple-pane windows, yada yada. The heating bill is going to be astronomical AND inadequate to keep the rooms as warm as we Americans expect them to be. If this were in Europe, well, no big deal. Hot and cold spots in the home are expected and one is looked on as completely mad to expect their whole body to be warm at the same time. Lovely, lovely remodel, but methinks it will be a very expensive home to live in.

  45. Jill says:

    Love everything about this house! Especially the super long dining tables, expansive windows with a view, and that amazing deck. This would be a dream to live in!

  46. Mia Moran says:

    That is pretty amazing!

  47. Isabelle says:

    Talk about the ugly duckling turning into a swan.

  48. nell says:

    love, love, all of it except I can’t come to grips with the fireplace–but otherwise perfect. Any chance we could see before and after floor plan–would love to see a comparison of the walls removed.



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