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‘Dream Home Makeover’ Is Back With a Burning Question: What Would Your ‘Bucket List’ House Look Like?

Shea and Syd McGee of "Dream Home Makeover"


The Netflix home renovation show “Dream Home Makeover” is back for Season 3, starring Shea and Syd McGee as they help families reimagine their humble abodes for the better.

And in the season premiere, “A Dream Kitchen Come True,” the McGees meet a couple who needed a near-death experience to realize it’s time to stop settling—and to finally live in the home they’ve always wanted to have.

San Marcos, CA, couple Cindy and Rob Braniff have decided some big life changes are in order. After Rob suffered a near-fatal heart attack, the Braniffs decided to take a look at Rob’s bucket list and check off as many boxes as they possibly can, ASAP.

First on his list was to move to a house with a view of the ocean. And as luck would have it, there was one available only nine houses down from the home where they were living at the time, so they snapped it up and moved right in.

One couple’s ideal ocean view


Their new house is lovely, but the kitchen looks really basic and doesn’t take advantage of that ocean view. So in come the McGees to remodel the kitchen and make the house everything the Braniffs had ever dreamed of.

“This project has tons of potential,” says Shea. “The square footage is great. We just need to shift the floor plan around and incorporate colors that feel light and airy and coastal.”

Kitchen: Before
Kitchen: Before


Check out what they do, which might open your eyes not only to kitchen improvements you’d like to try, but also to visions of what your own “bucket list” house might look like someday. (Better yet, why not now?)

Colored grout is out

White tile with yellow grout
White tile with yellow grout


The countertops in the Braniffs’ kitchen all consist of square white tiles with yellowed grout. When the team brought in a specialist to clean them, he reported that “the grout was actually colored that way.” The yellow was intentional!

Shea’s first decision is to get new, custom quartz countertops. Not only is the weirdly colored grout out, but so are the countertop tiles connected by grout, which gets dirty no matter how hard you try to keep your kitchen spotless.

A large kitchen island can work as a dining area, too

Removing a small prep island
Removing a small prep island


Peninsulas are generally for dining, and islands are usually for prep—but of course, islands can be used for dining as well, if designed properly.

Shea says they can expand the kitchen exponentially if they remove the existing bar-top peninsula and island, then create one new, multipurpose island to go in their place.

“We’ll remove the existing island and peninsula and install one large island with enough space for a farmhouse sink, a dishwasher, and room for several people to sit and gather,” she explains.

Once in, it’s clear that this new layout really opens up the space.

A raised foundation makes renovations much easier

Plumbing installed in about a foot of solid concrete
Plumbing installed in about a foot of solid concrete


Shea wants to move the sink to the island, but encounters a problem: They’re going to have to jackhammer through the solid concrete foundation that’s supported with tension cables in order to move the plumbing.

Many homes are built with raised foundations with a bit of crawl space underneath. It’s much easier to relocate sinks and other appliances in those circumstances.

The builder says he can drill through the foundation, but it’s going to add about $4,500 to the budget, soaking up all the contingency funds they have available.

Shea agrees to this, but implores, “No more surprises!”

Install backsplash tile up to the ceiling for a more elegant look

Backsplash tile that extends to the ceiling
The backsplash tile that extends to the ceiling.


On the backsplash, Shea decides to go all out—or, rather, up to the ceiling.

“Taking the tile to the ceiling is a higher-end look,” says Shea. This is especially true in kitchens with open shelving rather than cabinets, since cabinets create an obvious endpoint for the tile. But with open shelving,  “you don’t have a clear stopping point for the backsplash tile. And so it feels more consistent to bring it all the way up.”

Get the right height for pendant lighting

Pendent lighting at the right height
Pendant lighting at the right height


“The typical height that we hang pendants above an island is between 36 and 42 inches,” says Shea.

“But in this kitchen, the height of the light is all about maintaining the view,” says Shea. “It’s something that I wanted to see in person to make sure it wasn’t too low that it would block the view or too high that it would look awkward.”

Shea has Syd stand on the island and hold the lights at various heights. She decides that 33 inches, or four chain links, is the perfect height.

Is this makeover a dream (home) come true?

Remodeled island
Remodeled island


The answer is an unqualified yes. The show doesn’t focus on budgets, so we’re not sure how that went, but the Braniffs are absolutely thrilled.

“There are no words. I didn’t even expect to be so overwhelmed,” says Cindy. “This kitchen looks twice the size. This is tying up our California dream with a big bow.”

And in turn, the McGees are grateful for what they learned from the Braniffs.

“They are great examples of how you can’t wait for what you want to come to you,” Shea concludes. “Even if it is just down the street.”

The post ‘Dream Home Makeover’ Is Back With a Burning Question: What Would Your ‘Bucket List’ House Look Like? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

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