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A Look Back On The Exterior We Started With… (and a list of the renovations we tackled!)

exterior renovation

This week marks the start of revealing the GBOGH house afters and to really get an appreciation of how far this house has come, we have to take a stroll down memory lane…starting with the exterior! It really is crazy to look at these before pictures. Even I forget how different it looked!

I remember seeing this home for the first time and thinking “holy sh*t, this might be the tallest home I’ve ever seen”. Then Ben came that next day and he goes, “Soph, this home looks like it’s from Harry Potter”. Ever since he said that, I can’t get it out of my head. hah! 

It really was love at first sight though. The character of this home is just not something you see anymore! To give you an idea on this home, this neighborhood is about 10 minutes north of Milwaukee and is covered in homes that have this type of character. The neighborhood has the cutest downtown area and because it has this cute downtown area and is close to the city, investors have been eating up homes wherever they can get them. 

If you’ve seen us talk about Mr.Seller before, you know how much he loved this house and he wanted to make sure this house wasn’t going to be torn down and replaced with a modern new-built home (no hate – but those homes do stick out like sore thumbs in this neighborhood ;). I believed it was just as important to salvage this house and my goal through the entire renovation was to “keep the character”!! I think I’ve said this about 2304209x through this renovation.

Okay, let’s get into it…

exterior renovation before and after

The home is on a corner lot. This is what you see on the side street. The small room on the left is a 3-seasons room that was attached to the home with a single door through the dining room.

For the renovation, we were looking at putting an edition onto the home. We played with a few different scenarios but ended up doing a two-story renovation right on top of that 3-seasons room. 

Here’s another look at what it looked like…

exterior renovation design

The roof was actually in really good shape and we were told by multiple roofers that it didn’t need to be replaced and was in excellent condition. That was a relief because we were going to be hit hard with the windows. We have ended up replacing (basically) every.single.window in this home.

I actually have a post coming out later this week going over exactly how much we spent on those new windows. I had NO idea how much windows cost and I think that’s a really good thing to know whether it’s for your home or for a home you look at buying in the future.

Landscaping was another big thing we needed to tackle.

home exterior reno

On the other side of the house is the sweetest little courtyard. I wish you could step inside it because it really does feel like you’ve escaped to another part of the world. Coming down from that door, there is a sidewalk that leads to the garage. We don’t have a lot of land to play with over here so I knew we needed to use this space as effectively as possible. I didn’t like that the patio over there took up a good amount of the yard but also wasn’t big enough to actually do anything with it.

I also kept envisioning adding a place where parents could come home from work, drink a glass of wine, and watch their kids play outside. 

exterior home renovation cost

The front porch was home to some really special features. The front door is a beautiful curved, solid wood door. They just do not make doors like that anymore!

On the sides of the doors are these small windows that I have called the “character windows”. It was little moments like that that I wanted to keep so badly for the character of this home.

bsl studios

You see that greenish “metal” above the bay window? That’s now home to one of my favorite features in the home. 

Here’s the complete checklist of everything we wanted to accomplish out here…

Exterior Checklist2 04

Tomorrow at 4am in the morning we’re doing the big exterior reveal! I expect all of you to be on BSL at 4:01 ;). hah! Just kidding, but it will be ready for you right when you get up.

You’ll be able to see everything on that list come to real life. Like I said, I can’t believe how much the home has changed from these before photos!

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let’s keep in touch…


Every week, you’ll be getting all the latest from Sophia! From what she’s loving, what she’s cooking, what she’s decorating and so much more!

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