before and afterDIY

Before & After: A Plain Jane House Gets a Mind-Blowing Makeover

by Maxwell Tielman

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I consider myself a more or less competent person. I’m very good at some things and just okay at others. I’m not exactly Julia Child, but I’m able to whip together a moderately good meal if need be. I wouldn’t say that I’m a flawless home renovator, but I can paint a room without getting too many splotches on the floor. As far as most home-related things are concerned, I’d say that I am, if I’m being slightly generous, pretty decent. That is to say—I’ve never burned my house to the ground. Yet. Most people, I would imagine, are in this boat. But then there are those select, seemingly perfect human beings who, for some unexplained reason, are darn near perfect when it comes to the home. Throwing off the bell curve with their inexplicable household witchcraft, these divine souls perform scripture-level construction miracles and make all of us normals look like lowly peons by comparison. Prepare to meet, dear readers, the Hermione Grangers of home renovation: Heidi and Joel Allen, an adorable couple living in British Columbia.

One oftentimes hears of energetic young couples purchasing foreclosure homes and sprucing them up. You know, with a fresh coat of paint and some joint compound. When Heidi and Joel purchased their tiny foreclosure home, however, they decided to take their project to the next level. Literally. What was once a run-of-the-mill suburban ranch house became an absolutely stunning modern home, complete with a lovely shingled exterior, wide windows and two carports (things that effectively quadrupled the home’s original value). The real kicker? The couple did most of the work themselves. (Mind. Blown.) Continue after the jump for all of the amazing renovation photos and a  look at Heidi and Joel’s process. —Max

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“My husband and I purchased the cheapest, run-down house in an older, but well-kept neighborhood,” Heidi writes. “The basic, rectangular house was in desperate condition with peeling vinyl floors and holes in the drywall where the previous owners tried to bypass the city’s electrical meter. It was the ⅓ of an acre lot, and the potential to build up a storey to get a lake view, that convinced  us to take on this project.

“With my husband and I having a keen interest in design, an architect father, and some experience with construction, nothing seemed too big of a challenge for us. After many late night discussions and deciding that a tear-down and subdivision of the lot wouldn’t make financial sense, we decided on an extensive renovation. The plans included a lake-view master bedroom and ensuite, a larger bumped-out entryway and kitchen, and two new carports, adding almost 800 square feet of living space.

“With the project nearing completion, the old house is now completely hidden within the new form and finishes! Being thrifty, we managed to refurbish old, greyed cedar by planing and ripping wider boards into narrower clear cedar slats, that were used to screen the carports. The rest of the house is finished with a combination of cedar shingles, which we stained silver grey for a coastal driftwood look, and dark grey acrylic stucco. We chose to go with black windows instead of the white or beige that is typical in this area. The black windows combined with black trim give a clean architectural look. We also replaced the old asphalt shingle roof with a silver metal roof.  The new style could be considered West Coast Modern, featuring lots of natural wood and clean lines. We are very happy with the result and our neighbours are ecstatic with the transformation.” heidiallenba_7 heidiallenba_8 heidiallenba_9 heidiallenba_10 heidiallenba_11 heidiallenba_13 heidiallenba_14 heidiallenba_15 heidiallenba_16 heidiallenba_17 heidiallenba_18 heidiallenba_19 heidiallenba_20 heidiallenba_21 heidiallenba_22 heidiallenba_23 heidiallenba_24 heidiallenba_25 heidiallenba_26 heidiallenba_27 ba_heidiallen_form_3 heidiallenba_28 Sources:

  • Western Red Cedar shingles treated with Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Semi-transparent stain in Silvergrey colour.
  • Clear cedar slats treated in Arborcoat Transparent stain in Natural colour.
  • Acrylic stucco with a fine sand finish in dark grey.
  • Dual-glazed vinyl windows with black exterior finish from Starline Windows.  
  • Custom Front Door made by Windowland Construction, Salmon Arm BC Canada.
  • Galvalume metal roofing with R-Panel profile.

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  • I would LOVE to see more pictures of this house, and get a peek at the interior before and after! Awesome!

  • Wow! So incredible! It doesn’t even look like the same house, I kept having to scroll up and down to compare, mission definitely accomplished

  • Wow that’s amazing!!
    I was wondering, does the final budget include the cost of the foreclosed house? I hope so! Otherwise, such an expensive reno must have a killer lake view!

  • wow, this is amazing! i consider myself to be able to see the potential in lots of things, but all i see when i look at a house like this one used to be is boring and blech. but no more, thanks to these visionaries!

  • really, really love those black windows…i can’t imagine the house with white. and the architecture has such beautiful balance between the vertical and horizontal…really love the different materials separating the two, and the contrast of colors. the more i look at the photos, the more I love! and, I ditto monique…would love to see the inside!

  • well done ! An inside view would be great, the exterior is stunning ! Sooooo the inside is not ready for photos yet ….. look forward to it !

  • Awesome. Is the larger carport in the front of the house or back? I can’t figure it out…

  • That is breathtaking, very well done. Poster child for exterior remodeling if ever there was one.

  • Wonderful, a proper family affair (if the pictures are anything to go by!)
    I’d love to see what this groovy pair have done with the interior.

  • This is real vision! What inspirational people Hiedi and Joel are. I think i need their help redesigning or Church which is a ugly old gym.

  • WOW!!! Now that’s a before & after!!! Beautiful!!!! Yes, I agree – interior shots would be nice too :-)

  • I seriously do not even know how you were able to conceptualize this transformation from the house you started with. AMAZING! And it’s great to see something posted from BC (I’m from Vancouver). Congratulations on an fabulous job.

  • My jaw is hanging open. At first I thought, why even keep the old house–just start from scratch, but when you see the transformation in the pictures, it’s incredible. And the budget really blew my mind. Love the wood and black together. Love everything. Send us pics when you finish decorating the inside! I’m sure it will be amazing. Enjoy.

  • Well done Heidi and Joel, looks fantastic, I’m proud to be your aunty in Ireland….!!! xx

  • I am glad to see you inherited some of your father’s talent. I always loved the first house your Dad designed for your Aunt Viki and Uncle Jack on Bowen Island. Congratulations and a job well done. It was also nice to see your Grandmother hard at work also. LOL

  • Max, you ruined my dinner. I am SO hungry, but I can’t pick my jaw off the floor. I live in a similar raised ranch-style house that has some architectural character. But this extreme makeover demonstrates that rare “vision thing” to the Max. (not sorry about that at all) What a coup, to bring this project to D*S. Thank you.

  • Amazing transformation! The first “after” Picture is flipped 180 on accident, you can see it is the back of the house, but it is not the same orientation as the other pictures of the new back of the house.

  • Wow! Simply amazing. The fact that they did much of the work themselves inspires me to tackle some of the smaller projects in my home.

  • Being stuck in a major renovation project like this too, this house redo really shows me some light at the end of the tunnel!
    love the outcome! you really did a wonderful job! Thanks for sharing!

    all the best, Katharina

  • this place looks amazing! but…i have a question…you did all this for $200,000?? Is that Canadian dollars…which is even more impressive!! in my neck of the woods (Washington DC metropolitan area) you couldn’t do half of that work for $200k. bravo!!

  • The “Before” house looks like a lot of neighborhoods in my hometown. An update for the better that’s for sure.

  • In the first before/after image, the after was flipped vertically. It made it a littke confusing brfore I realized that it was the back of the house.

    I hope when these homeowners are finished eith the inside, they’ll give us a peak. Yhe transformation on the outside is nothing short of amazing! it is incredibly inspiring!

  • Hope to see a Sneak Peek of the interior of this project in the future! Kudos to that couple and their family for a job well done!

  • Wow, sorry for all the typos! That’s what I get for trying to leave a response from my phone. This reno was so awesome, it couldn’t wait until I got home!

  • Ditto on all the “Wow!” comments, and the budget?!! Very exciting.
    Are there any interior views? Looks like a beautiful area, pretty site, and an stunning design! Great job!

  • Wow…just wow!!!! Blew me away!!!!! Been thinking of. Been thinking of moving away from the Vancouver area as it’s so pricey and look at what you have accomplished!!!!! So amazing great work.

  • All of that for only $200,000? That’s blowing my mind. I’m assuming some of the work was heavily discounted because of family/working relationships? That’s an incredible final number for such an extensive renovation!

  • Stunning! Most would have just demolished and built new however because you chose to work with the existing you have something so fantastic and unique. Interior shots please?!

  • BRAVO! And I can’t wait to see the interior .As a transplanted Canadian I am loving all these renovations from my home country.

  • Teresa, I love the passage of the seasons too!! What a SPECTACULAR renovation. Seriously unbelievably. I echo everyone’s comments about the crazy low budget (keepin’ it in the family!) and wanting to see inside!

  • wow and only for 200,000 dolas, that would have cost half a million in england for both land and build. always wanted to build my own bespoke house after my first time watching grand design, my interests in interior design has gone up too. lovely built, and even though its mordern and somewhat scandinavian which i love, it radiates warmth and cosiness.

  • That is incredible!

    I cannot believe the difference. It looks more like you have re-built the house rather than renovating it.

  • The design you did really fits well with the surrounding terrain. such a great job! I’m wondering how (if) it inspired your neighbors and if they followed suit? I live in an area where bi and tri levels are prominent. I’ve often wondered about doing a Reno.

  • I don’t know what’s more stunning the house or the landscape. All kidding aside love what they’ve done to this house and I love Salmon Arm. It “fits” right in.

  • the outside is a fantastic makeover…would love to have seen the inside transformation as well.

  • Let’s see the inside plzzzzz. Especially the b4 and after staircase area.