Project Overview
  • Quick and inexpensive living, dining and kitchen remodel of 1950’s Coconut Grove home
  • Bonus surprise:  add new and simplified media center
  • Project timeline:  10 days
  • Total cost:  $7500

Friends Andi and Dave bought a cozy 3/3 home in Coconut Grove a few years ago and have been wanting to do some updates ever since.  But they are avid sailors with busy careers, so haven’t found the time.  In September, they asked us what we could do for a quick and inexpensive remodel of the living, dining and kitchen space while they were away at a regatta in New Jersey.  The only catch is that we would have a week and a half for the job!  


As you can see from the before photos below, the house had outdated moldings, textured stucco walls, a mishmash of older recessed lighting, dimmers, plugs and HVAC registers.  There was also an unused false fireplace hidden behind a couch, a large opening in the ceiling where the old AC return had been, and 50’s era porcelain tile on the window sills.


Dave and Andi know our previous work, so they trusted us with design and materials choices.  Our proposal to give them what they were looking for in an updated, modern feel included the following:

You can see photos of the progress below.  Refinishing and sanding is the most time consuming and detailed…it’s easy to underestimate the time and skill this requires.  Everything else was relatively straightforward, although painting well also comes with experience.  Of course we encountered the typical problems you have in older housess.  In this case, we found that some of the existing recessed lights were connected to large central transformers…an old system from the early days of LED lights.  Rather than just connect to the existing system, we removed the transformers and wired directly to the new lights, which come with integrated transformers.  Of course this was extra time, but we try to build time in for the inevitable issues that come up.


As hopefully you can see from the photos, the house has a cleaner, lighter modern look.  The color is uniform and light, but not overpowering.  The trim and fixtures are modern and simple and the feel is more pleasant.

We had additional budget and time, so we decided to give a little surprise for Dave and Andi’s return.  Their media system was AT&T Uverse-based, cluttering the living room with 5 separate components, 3 remotes, and multiple cables.  We replaced AT&T with Comcast for high speed internet including the cable modem and wireless antenna, increasing their wireless download speed from 24 to 175 Mbps.  On the opposite wall, we installed PowerBridge recessed cable management outlets to run cables behind the wall, hung their television on a Sanus super-low profile fixed TV mount, connected an Apple TV HD, and set them with YouTube TV.  Result, one cable modem/wifi antenna and one small Apple TV box.

Next Steps

What’s next for Andi and Dave?  We discovered a mix of galvanized and copper plumbing, electrolyzed and leaking, so we recommended a plumber, and they are already underway changing that out.  Beyond that critical need, they’re considering to change the kitchen cabinets and floor tile, possibly reconfiguring bedrooms and closets.  But that will come with time.  Meanwhile, they’re pleased with our work and enjoying what they have.