In “No Demo Reno,” designer Jenn Todryk does room renovations without tearing down any walls, and as such, her budgets are usually somewhat humble. Yet in the episode “More Money More Pressure,” she receives a whopping $200,000 to work her magic.
She still has a tight time frame, however, to renovate a kitchen, living room, and primary bedroom and bath.
“It’s a huge project, and I only have eight weeks to get her done,” she explains.
Meanwhile, she also takes on a somewhat smaller project: the renovation of a laundry room, with the goal of completing it for $10,000 in two weeks. Once you see what Todryk does for projects big and small, it will prove that more money does not always make things easy. Here’s what happens, with plenty of lessons to inspire your next home project.
A brick wall adds character
Rebecca and Neil Anderson bought their house specifically for the neighborhood, but it wasn’t exactly what they wanted. In fact, it was their third choice. Inside it’s dark, traditional, and basic.
But there are some things they like about it, including the floor-to-ceiling brick wall in the kitchen with an arched alcove for the stove.
“It’s such a special feature, and it’s not like this little baby feature,” says Todryk. “It’s so grand.”
Then you can see the wheels start turning in Todryk’s head.
“I can use this when I’m picking colors,” she says. “Everything needs to work with this space.”
She explains she’ll coordinate countertops, hardware, backsplash, and cabinet colors with the brick wall, so that all these features complement this stately feature.
Bottom shutters maintain privacy but let the light in
There is a huge, 6-foot-tall arched window in the kitchen, and it’s always been covered by massive, dark wood shutters, because the Andersons thought it was easy for outsiders to see in.
Todryk finds an intriguing way to let the sunshine in without sacrificing privacy. She removes the massive shutters that cover the entire window, then adds new shutters that slide across the window and go only halfway up. No one can see inside, but plenty of natural light can still come in.
A sneaky way to save money (and stress) on flooring
Todryk is spending so much on the Andersons’ other rooms, that she has to find ways to save in the living room. She does this by sanding down and staining the original dark oak floor. That way, she can lighten the color and the whole look and feel of the room, without having to pay for new light oak floors. She figures she’s saving about $30,000 by doing this.
Spruce up a small space with fabulous tile
Over at the Blakes’ home in Allen, TX, Todryk sees that their laundry room is little more than a closet. Yet it’s a very important space, because it leads from the garage to the rest of the house, and the Blakes pass through it several times a day.
“Truth be told, I picked the floor tile first,” says Todryk. “I saw this tile, and I’m like, ‘This is so fun!’ I feel like it’s very happy and lively, then I built off of that.”
Once you see the result, you totally understand her choice.
“I love that this floor is now a showpiece, and it’s very focal, and it’s something that demands attention, because they’re going to use this door every day as they come home from work and leave,” Todryk says. “Now there are no boring neutrals. It’s like bam!”
Stack appliances to save floor space
There are a lot of doors for such a small space in the laundry room. There are at least three leading in and out, as well as washer and dryer doors. When they’re all open, the small room gets crowded.
To make the most of the space, Todryk stacks the washer and dryer and builds a cabinet and countertop beside them, the perfect place to put your keys and car detritus when you walk in the door.
It also contains a built-in cat bathroom that is nothing short of genius (more on that next).
Hide the litter box
The only place the Blakes can find for their cat Sophie’s litter box is in the office off the laundry room, and Todryk understands that working on cleaning and folding clothes while smelling cat poo is unacceptable.
So she has the laundry room counter equipped with what’s basically a tall drawer containing a litter box, with a big hole cut out of the center so Sohpie can come and go as she pleases.
“When they’re cleaning it, they can just pull it all the way out, scoop out the poop, and then just shut it and forget it,” says Todryk.
How do Jenn Todryk’s no-demo renovations turn out?
Believe it or not, Todryk and her crew finish both projects in the allotted time, for the allotted budget—and the homeowners are thrilled.
The Blakes love the new laundry room. “It has so much character,” they say. That’s probably the first time anyone has used “character” to describe a laundry room, and it fits!
As for the Andersons, Rebecca exclaims, “You absolutely nailed it! It exceeded our expectations—we’re just so happy!”
Her husband, Neil, agrees: “She created the space we needed that we didn’t have before.”
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