Bungalow Remodel – Before and After (Bloomington IL Architectural Photographer)

Nathan and I recently flipped two houses: one was my first home in Phoenix, AZ and the other was his first home in Bloomington, IL. In both cases, the transformations were so amazing, I wanted to share some before-and-after images with you!

First up is Nathan’s IL house, a little 2-bed, 2-bath, almost 100-year-old bungalow in west Bloomington, IL. When Nathan bought this house in 2004, the prior owner had just completed his own complete flip. Nathan lived in this house less than a year, before moving to Arizona for a job. Since then, it’s been tenant-occupied. After ten years of wear, tear, and neglect, it needed a major face lift.

For the exterior, some new trim paint, new window/door casings, and a power-wash made all the difference. (The advent of spring didn’t hurt, either.)


Inside, it needed new paint, lighting, and flooring throughout.

Under the carpet, we discovered the original hardwood! We decided to attempt restoration, utilizing the woodworking skills of Nathan’s brother, Ross, who also built our heirloom dining room table.

20140526_BlogPost_OaklandBeforeandAfter_WoodFloorBefore1When Ross first sanded it down, we were a little concerned we’d made a bad decision. Sanding just couldn’t eliminate the dark oxidization stains from decades of less-than-stellar care. After applying several test patches of stains in various shades, we choose a dark finish, both to contrast with existing kitchen cabinetry and disguise the stains.

20140526_BlogPost_OaklandBeforeandAfter_WoodFloorBefore2 It worked! Phew. Ross applied two coats of varnish, then covered the floor for the duration of construction. The final coat would go on after everything else in the interior was finished.


Here are “before” shots of the guest bedroom:


We opted not to refinish the wood in this room, since it was painted (why on earth would someone do that??) and uneven/sunken around the edges.

Here is the guest bedroom, “after:”


The biggest problem in the bathroom was the peeling wallpaper. So, other than new paint, new lighting, and fresh caulk, we pretty much left it alone.


Since we were on a roll, we decided to do some light remodeling to improve the resale potential, including reconfiguring the master bedroom and finishing the basement.

Prior to this project, the master bedroom was more of a 2nd floor loft: a large, open landing at the top of the stairs, and no closet – just a free-standing shelving unit with clothing rods.

Here is the master bedroom, “before:”


It felt cramped, wasted too much space on the landing, and lacked storage.

To make the master more of a “suite” and more appealing to women in particular (we need closets), we moved the door to the top of the stairs and added a new dividing wall there. We tore out the old dividing wall as much as we could (non-functioning chimney goes right up through the middle of the room), and constructed a long closet in the former loft area.


This is the result:

20140526_BlogPost_OaklandBeforeandAfter_MasterAfter Much better, right, ladies?


The main bedroom now feels more spacious and practical.

In order for a basement to be listed as “finished,” it must have finished floors + finished walls + finished lighting. The prior owner of this house improved the basement; he added a full bathroom, recessed lighting, and paint, but left the concrete floors untreated. During this remodel, we decided to add flooring so we could include “finished basement” square footage upon resale. The banister also needed repair, and the stairs needed new gray paint.

Here are basement before-and-after photos:

20140526_BlogPost_OaklandBeforeandAfter_BasementBefore 20140526_BlogPost_OaklandBeforeandAfter_BasementBefore2The impact of new flooring and paint is amazing, even in stairways!

20140526_BlogPost_OaklandBeforeandAfter_Hallway 20140526_BlogPost_OaklandBeforeandAfter_Stairs

We were just so thrilled with the final results! It looks like a new house! And apparently, locals agreed; we were deluged with interest when folks saw the final images:

20140526_BlogPost_OaklandBeforeandAfter_Entry 20140526_BlogPost_OaklandBeforeandAfter_WoodFloorAfter4 20140526_BlogPost_OaklandBeforeandAfter_WoodFloorAfter3

After listing the house briefly on MLS, in the end, we decided to rent the house again instead of selling. The market here is not great for sellers. Maybe down the road a bit. In the meantime, we will probably manage/maintain the property a bit more methodically this time! It will help that we actually live in the same state now! 🙂

Stay tuned for Part 2: The Phoenix 1950s Ranch Flip! The “Before” photos are buried in our boxes pending our upcoming move…so it may be a bit before I get to that. 🙂


P.S. Huge thanks to our contractors/suppliers!

  • Carpet: Flooring Depot
  • Hardwood Restoration: Ross Ambuehl
  • Parts/Supplies: The Old House Society (floor vents, replacement wood, etc.)
  • General Contractor: Marfam Remodeling and Handyman Service/Mark Fishman

About Mosaic Collective, LLC

I am Holly Baumann Ambuehl, founding member of Mosaic Collective, LLC, which was founded in early 2017 and is based in Central Illinois. I own and operate Mosaic Collective with my partner in business and life, my husband, Nathan. Mosaic Collective, LLC houses our rental property, my consulting contracts (with the nonprofit and public sectors on various work), and also my commercial and portrait photography business, which has been doing business as Holly Baumann Photography since 2008 long before the formation of our LLC. My blog posts feature client work, but I just love to write, so I also write about owning a business, food and drink, travel, and sometimes, my personal life! I am always honored when clients trust me to capture their vision, and equally so when my readers converse with me about what I've photographed or expressed here. I hope we'll have an opportunity to collaborate professionally and/or become friends. I'd love to hear what you think! - Holly
This entry was posted in Architecture, My Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Thanks for reading! What are you thinking?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s