This post is to illustrate how you can transform a pretty rundown property into an amazing vacation rental, giving you a before and after look at each of the units. We will also discuss any major alterations we undertook, although the main focus was to take everything down to the subfloor and drywall to give it a “like new” appearance.
In planning the kitchen remodels, we looked at whether there was the opportunity to improve the usability and layout of the space. Removing the old appliances and cabinets provided the opportunity to adjust the layout in two of the units to provide a more open feel, and eliminate excess cupboard space. The light fixtures also needed to be removed since most were from the 1980s. We did demolition on the kitchens ourselves which was pretty straightforward, with our contractor installing the new cabinets and the electrician handling the track lighting.
Removing the decades old vinyl flooring required the use of a Sawzall, a flat chisel blade and a ton of patience – one unit featured four different vinyl layers that took about five hours to remove! We set these units up with all new appliances, sinks, counter tops, garbage disposals, tile backsplashes and cabinets for both low maintenance in the near future, and to ensure they exceeded guest’s expectations.
Unit A: We removed the cabinets facing the dining area, the cabinets adjacent to the stairs and the light fixtures.
Unit B: This unit required the least modifications to the layout, although we did extend the island overhang and installed a Whirpool Microwave over the stove. Getting rid of the carpet in the dining area allowed us to have consistent flooring throughout the kitchen/dining area. The light fixtures were also removed in this unit.
Unit C: We removed the cabinets and counter facing the living room and opened up the angled alcove to accommodate a fridge. We also removed the wood burning stove and chimney, replacing it with a gas fireplace in the living room area. The light fixtures and vinyl flooring had to go as well.
The biggest change in all of the units was removing the old flooring to make way for luxury vinyl tile. We also needed to relocate the fireplace in two of the units because they were affecting the layout we wanted. Furnishing these with the proper couches, entertainment centers, TVs, etc really makes the difference in guest experience! New trim, baseboard heaters and outlets were done in all the units as well.
Unit A: The wood flooring was unfortunately too beat up to be worth saving, and took a lot of patience to remove including hand pulling ~1,000 old nails from the subfloor. The wood stove was removed since there was another fireplace inset already in the living room to house a new gas unit.
Unit B: This unit was pretty simple as we replaced the carpet with new flooring and redid the fireplace.
Unit C: We replaced and moved the fireplace to have it actually be a part of the living room, otherwise this unit was straightforward with new flooring, trim, outlets, etc.
It’s a little hard to see in the fist photo, but the upstairs hallway featured a double sink with a shower that was open to the hallway… The ideal setup for privacy! We pulled the sink out of the hallway and walled in the bathroom to create a space that is actually usable.
The program for each of the four bathrooms was a new bathtub, toilet, vanity/sink, tile, flooring and fan. We also like to install Gilchrist & Soames dispensers for hand soap, lotion, shampoo/conditioner and shower gel to allow for bulk purchase of these items, while still providing a quality product for guests.
Similar to the living rooms, the major work in each of the seven bedrooms was new flooring, baseboard heaters, light fixtures, curtains, blinds, closet doors and outlets.
This upstairs bedroom of Unit A had been walled off with blankets hung across the openings – a little too college for a rental property. We ended up walling this previously non-conforming bedroom off from the hallway, creating a new closet and a true bedroom in the process.
There are a lot of decisions to be made leading up to and during the renovation process, so having an organized approach will make life much easier. Being prepared to handle things that don’t go quite right such as hidden water damage or delayed deliveries of building materials is a must. We have found that staying in phone/email/text communication with everyone involved in the project is a must to stay top of mind, and ensure that things come together.
Inspired to tackle your next project?