before and after

Before & After: Salvaged Home Renovation

by Kate Pruitt


As a relatively indecisive person, gut renovations terrify me. It takes me so long to settle on one throw pillow or floor lamp that I doubt I would make it past the first stage of planning an intensive project like this full-home renovation from designer Jayme Guokas. From top to bottom, Jayme scraped down and completely rebuilt this Philadelphia row house into a warm and stylish industrial-modern abode.

It’s no surprise that Jayme is a builder by trade; a love of simple materials and natural textures fills this home, and the salvaged materials, built-in furniture and cast concrete imbue the space with a raw, understated beauty. I would love to walk through this home and see all the small details that Jayme has added. This is clearly a labor of love, and it has yielded amazing results. — Kate

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Time: 3 years

Cost: The house itself cost $30K in shell condition. The project cost $85K; I kept costs low by doing most of the demolition, carpentry, cabinetry and finish work myself (and with the help of friends!).

Basic Steps: My goal was to reduce the structure to its “bones” (i.e., exposed brick, floor joists, and structural columns) in order to have an open, minimal, and modern space and still highlight the history of the 1880 building. Poplar boards were used for most of the walls and stained white. Stairs and built-in cabinets throughout the house are made of marine-grade plywood. Cast concrete elements (counters, windowsills, a sink) add to a warm and inviting modernist aesthetic.

My sustainable-building ethic meant using reclaimed and locally sourced materials whenever possible, including: reclaimed interior doors throughout the house, reclaimed flooring, locally milled wood, and ribbon slate tile from a local slate quarry. Light fixtures, appliances, and some faucets came from Ikea. My advice is to keep your head up! It’s easy to get discouraged rehabbing a run-down row house. They are often very old structures that have layers upon layers of shoddy repairs. It also pays off to diligently insulate and air-seal all exterior walls and make an energy-efficient home. — Jayme

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