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Renovation Station: Everything You Need to Know about Updating Your Home

Three couples share their DIY home hacks, plus real estate pros give tips on what you should refresh

By Wendy Manwarren Generes

DIY Tales

John and Megan Colucci’s home in Bressi Ranch

Knocking down walls or reconfiguring floor plans may be the most dramatic kinds of home renovation, but even the small stuff, like a paint swap, can make a bold statement. Prepping to go into remodel mode? These locals share their stories and tips for surviving home renovations, no matter the size.

Personal Touch

John and Megan Colucci bought their home in Bressi Ranch 10 years ago. “It was halfway done, so we didn’t pick any finishes except flooring,” says Megan. “It was heavy, dark, Tuscan, and not our style. We wanted to remodel, but we wanted to wait until our three kids were older.”

DIY Tales 2

The Coluccis’ home: before

Two years ago, the couple decided it was time to change everything. John is a general contractor who owns Castle Builders, so they installed new floors, reworked the layout of the kitchen, redid the countertops, painted the house, and remodeled the bathrooms.

John also added custom woodwork—from coffered ceilings and built-in shelving to tongue-and-groove walls and decorative molding. “It took the longest to finish,” Megan admits. But it’s their favorite part.

DIY Tales 3

The Kadolphs’ remodeled great room in their Bonita home

Space Case

Jeremy Kadolph, founder of Local Sunwhere, an online apparel shop of his own designs, spent three months working weeknights and 18-hour days on the weekends with his wife, Ruthie, to redo the kitchen and living area of their Bonita home. They opened up the space, turned a cabinet into a kitchen island, redid the floors, replaced countertops, added crown molding, installed lighting, and converted their electric stove to a gas one.

“I had never renovated,” Jeremy admits. “I watched YouTube videos and sort of winged it.”

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The Kadolphs’ home: before

Turns out that winging it suits the couple, so they took on more. Jeremy created a primary bedroom, walk-in closet, and bathroom. He and Ruthie, a mortgage loan officer, installed tile on the floor and walls themselves.

With more time at home during quarantine, Jeremy built a custom vanity for another bathroom. Up next? Converting the pool house into a guest cottage.

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The living room at the McFarlins’ Carlsbad home

Style Swap

Clint and Melissa McFarlin didn’t have a lot of options when they bought their Carlsbad home. They found one that checked most of the boxes—desired neighborhood, good school district for their two kids, a pool—but it didn’t fit their midcentury modern aesthetic, so they planned to make some changes.

Melissa, a senior art director with Chopra Global, painted the house charcoal gray. Clint, the lead UX designer for Axon, used his green thumb—and SketchUp, a 3D modeling program—to make a landscaping plan to

hide the parts of the house they don’t love and highlight the parts they do.

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The McFarlins’ home: before

The pool bathroom was next. The couple hired a plumber to get the shower working, but did the rest themselves. They installed new fixtures, retiled the floor, removed rust from the shower stall, and painted it a poppy red.

Inside, Melissa and Clint thought they’d leave the living room untouched, including the original flagstone

fireplace. “But the ceilings are lower in there and it felt dark and cabin-like,” Melissa says. So they painted it using two coats of primer and a good white paint. “It makes it feel modern, but still vintage-y.”

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