Turning a House into a Homestead

Bringing in Your Own Style

You found a house. The location is good, the bones fit your needs, but the style just isn't you. So now you're going to take that house and make it your home, increasing its value in the process.

I'm no expert, but I've learned some valuable lessons while remodeling and overseeing construction on six of the eight houses my husband and I have owned. Watching HGTV doesn't truly prepare you for the journey on which you are about to embark. 

Begin by mentally preparing for your project to take longer than expected. They all do, yes, yours too.

If your remodel is too vast to get done before moving in, do it in phases. Starting a project is exciting, but when nothing is in its place and contractors are continually in your space, tensions will rise, and fatigue will set in. So give yourself a break. Pause between phases to regain some sense of normalcy. 

Before starting phase one, develop the plan that all your phases will follow. "That's super important because it's easy to get off track and off-budget," says Lora Enriquez, an agent with Keller Williams Realty of The Woodlands and Magnolia, who has spearheaded the design of several of her own homes. 

The plan should include color pallets and the overall design style you ultimately want to achieve. If you struggle with this, let a professional help you. Visualizing a completed concept is a gift that shines with either training or trial and error, which can prove costly.

Remember, you aren't starting from scratch. You are building off of what already exists. Time, logistics, budget constraints, imagination, and regulations will dictate where you go from there. Don't kid yourself. In this real-world setting, some compromises will have to be made.

In the summer of 2020, my family moved to Texas and bought a property well-suited to our overall wish list, a private, picturesque setting adjacent to The Woodlands' commercial center. It has amenities my husband loves, but a house that, by itself, I would have passed on. Since then, we have been re-sculpting it into our homestead. 

When we bought the house, Lora Enriquez was the listing agent. "I love it!" she said upon revisiting. "The improvements you've made are on trend with what the market is looking for. Everything you've done has increased both its livability and value."

The key is to develop a design that suits your family's unique style while conforming to broad norms that allow your investment to appreciate. We've only completed three of our seven phases, yet we've already moved away from its original 1999 farmhouse vibe toward a more mid-century-inspired, liveable elegance.

Even with a plan, understand that unforeseen things will go wrong. Especially now, with supply chains continually disrupted, adjustments will have to be made. Be reasonable, or you'll be miserable. If you start by finding good people that will work with you through these challenges, you can transform that house into your homestead.


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