Updated: Aug 24
For this one, we will be taking a step back from the ongoing renovations at the Camellia Project and look back at our previous project, the Blouin Project.
I find the best way to learn anything or grow in any significant way is to always be slightly in over your head. I don't mean to act irresponsibly or take unnecessary risks, but it is hard to experience significant growth unless you venture outside your comfort zone.
We definitely ventured outside our comfort zone when we purchased and began rehabbing this one.
Prior to this project, our remodeling experience was limited to painting, replacing light fixtures and some simple carpentry. Nothing that required plans, permits, inspections, multiple 30-yard rolloff dumpsters and months worth of work.
Before we started the project, the Blouin Project was a 1930's cottage with a large, architecturally designed, modern (in every sense of the word) addition on the rear. It was obviously well built but could use some love.
The paint was faded and peeling on the exterior, and the landscaping was bordering upon haunted house status. Then there was the old, dirty metal awning over the front door that was annoyingly askew, a sheet metal covering that ran the length of the driveway on the right side of the house (blocking sunlight from entering windows in five rooms), a kitchen roughly the size of a walk-in closet, fixtures and paint that needed updating and a subfloor that was suspiciously spongy in certain areas.
Through all of that, we could see the potential for a beautiful, highly functional home, so we moved forward with the purchase. Below is a sneak peak at the finished project for comparison.
Early in the process, we decided to bring in professionals to help with the design, and that ended up being possibly the best decision we made throughout the process. I can't stress enough the importance of a high quality set of plans for any major remodeling or construction project. If you skimp on the plans, you will pay for it in the end.
Our designer was a company called Mireworks. If you are in the greater Baton Rouge area, you should definitely check them out: /https://www.mireworks.net/
They walked us through a few layout options and helped us weigh the pros and cons of each. We initially wanted to keep the kitchen in roughly the same spot but remove walls and add an island, etc., but we quickly came to the realization that if you are going to move plumbing five feet, it really doesn't cost all that much more to move it 25 feet.
It was then that we decided to radically change the entire layout and function of the kitchen, moving the sink some 25 feet from it's original spot on an interior wall to a wall with a window that was once the dining room. Once that broke the dam of our hesitancy, other changes quickly followed: giant island, quadruple-width cased opening, wall of cabinets and an oversized range, among countless others.
Before and after photos from roughly the same positions. Note the absence of several walls.
I can say with certainty that we would not have had the vision or the confidence to make such a major change without the assistance from qualified professionals.
So the moral of today's story is proper planning is foundational to a successful project - hire qualified professionals, not a discount designer.
Next time, we will talk a bit about where we were before we took on this project and the beginnings of our real estate investing journey. Then, we will get into the current project, the namesake of this site, the Camellia Project.
In the meantime, if you would like help buying or selling your next home or investment property, get in touch with Sally or check our SoldWithSalBR on Facebook. Or if you'd like to talk to us about real estate questions, renovations, Baton Rouge or pretty much anything else, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.