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Welcome to the Red House!

Let’s go on a tour of our latest renovation project, our ‘new’ old mid-century home! Located in SW Michigan, this house is getting a second lease on life.

Kim and Scott in front of the 'Red House' mid-century ranch // via Yellow Brick Home

Meet Our ‘New’ Old House

Last week, after a bit of uncertainty and lots of back-and-forth, we closed on a new property that’s immediately adjacent to our Michigan Tree House. The purchase was definitely not something we had in the cards for 2023, but we couldn’t be more excited to get started and share the process! If you happened to read our goals for the year post, this move directly contradicts goal #2 to ‘focus on smaller projects’ but it perfectly aligns with goal #5 to ‘be open to what happens next’.

The nearly four acre property surrounds our existing property and another small adjacent property on three sides. Roughly three of the acres are natural forest that we intend to preserve for decades to come. Watching the sun set through the woods to the West on a warm summer night is one of our favorite Michigan past times and owning this land will allow us to give the land the love and care that it deserves. Oh, and the house is pretty dang charming too!

Kim and Catfish inside the entryway of the new 'Red House' renovation project // via Yellow Brick Home

We purchased the home from a family estate and they’ve been incredibly trusting of our intentions to bring the house back to its full potential. The entire family grew up in the home and on the land. One of the sons even lived in our neighboring Tree House with his wife back in the 90’s! So when the property was being prepped for sale, they approached us before it hit the market to see if we were interested. We toured the home a couple of times, got a guided tour of the property and gave it lots and lots of thought. We came to agreeable terms and finalized the transaction last Friday. After the paperwork was completed, one of the family members gave us tearful hugs and thanked us for our intention to care for the home as her family had for so many years. It was a touching transition and we thanked the family and let them know that we’ll be doing our best to polish up this little jewel.

So, all that said, let us introduce you to ‘Red House’! It’s a working title for now, but it’ll stick until we make some big decisions down the road.

The Living Room

The main common area of the home is almost fully open and includes the living room, a dining space and the kitchen. (More on the kitchen and dining portion later) The living room has two show-stopping features that immediately had our creative brains spiraling out of control with potential options. We’ve never renovated a mid-century home before, but our brains are swirling with ideas and inspiration.

Catfish looks out the front door of the 'Red House' renovation project // via Yellow Brick Home

This wall of 1950’s wood paneling is flanked by a bank of 6 nearly floor to ceiling windows that are in surprisingly good condition. The windows face east and absolutely flood the space with light. We’ve not been inside the home at sunrise yet, but can’t wait to experience morning coffee looking out over the yard.

We’ve also got plans for a huge wall of built-in shelving opposite the window wall to store records, books and tchotchkes. Also, there will be a fireplace in this home some how, some way. We just haven’t figured out the logistics yet.

The living room at the 'Red House' features a huge bank of windows and a solid wood plank wall that will be maintained and lovingly restored // via Yellow Brick Home

Below is the view immediately inside the front door. We’ll swap out the wall AC unit in favor of an all new forced-air HVAC system with central air conditioning. The long-term plan also includes a few options to introduce even more natural light into the home, but that’s a down-the-road project.

The view of the living room immediately inside the Red House's front door // via Yellow Brick Home

The Kitchen

The home’s kitchen has a lot going for it and also a lot of opportunity to maximize the floor plan. We’re thinking that the peninsula separating the kitchen from the living room area will be removed to make space for a dining table and we’ll do everything we can to mediate beam/support wall to open things up even further.

The view of the Red House kitchen from the living room // via Yellow Brick Home

The range wall will also get some attention in the form of a shift. Directly behind the current range and pantry closet are the steps that lead down to the basement. They’re very steep and very narrow. We’ve got a few impactful changes in store to make things safer and easier to navigate. We’re also hoping to eliminate both of the intersecting soffits that give the room a slightly odd feel. The whole goal is to open things up as much as possible without altering the home’s main structure.

The Red House Kitchen // via Yellow Brick Home
The Red House Kitchen // via Yellow Brick Home

The Second Bedroom

The second bedroom is the larger of the two by far. At 13′ x 17′, it’s roughly double the size of the 10′ x 10′ of the soon-to-be primary bedroom. This space will act as the combo guest room/bunk room/play room of the home and will feature at least two beds. We’re still working on the layout, but we’ll get there for sure!

The Red House's second bedroom // via Yellow Brick Home

The current closet is all one open space inside, but we’ll frame a wall between the two doors so the left side with the double doors can remain open for use and the right side can be locked and remain ‘owner use only’ should we decide to airbnb the home down the road.

The Red House's second bedroom // via Yellow Brick Home

This room’s wall AC unit will also be removed in favor of the central HVAC system mentioned earlier. This will eliminate yet another penetration in the wall and lend a more cohesive vibe to the space. We can’t determine how Catfish feels about the plans so far, but we’re confident that she’ll get on board soon enough!

The Red House's second bedroom // via Yellow Brick Home

The Bathroom

The large bathroom will see the most significant floor plan shift of the whole project. Currently, a massive jetted tub dominates the space. Removing it will allow us to carve out an en-suite half bathroom in the adjacent primary bedroom and make the space much more suited to our needs. Plans also include a standard size tub, moody elements and maybe even a larger window.

The Red House's bathroom // via Yellow Brick Home

The bump out next to the toilet is currently the back side of the primary bedroom’s closet. We’ll shift things a bit to maximize space in the bedroom, while also maintaining a usable closet.

The Red House's bathroom // via Yellow Brick Home

Until we’re ready for a full bathroom gut, we’ll retain the standing shower and existing vanity for functionality. This is the home’s only bathroom after all – with the exception of the freestanding concrete block shower in the unfinished basement, but that’s a story for another day!

The Red House's bathroom // via Yellow Brick Home

We can’t wait to take in the view of the forest through this window every morning. Kim is itching to move the vanity directly under the window so you’re faced with this peaceful view as you brush and wash up. Things are already starting to green up in Michigan, so every subsequent visit will see our perspectives shift!

The view of the woods outside the Red House's bathroom // via Yellow Brick Home

The Primary Bedroom

At one point in the home’s life, the second bedroom was converted to a main floor laundry room for ease of use. Our planned changes to improve the safety of the staircase will allow us to move the washer and dryer back downstairs and convert this space back into a bedroom. The room is small at around 10′ x 9′, but we hope that the shuffling of the current bathroom will allow us to open the space up to an even 10′ x 10′.

The Red House's current laundry room/future second bedroom // via Yellow Brick Home

We love the windows throughout the home that allow beautiful natural light in on almost all sides. This room isn’t large and it won’t be much larger once the shift is complete, but we’re no strangers to small spaces. We actually prefer a small, well-considered floor plan for a lot of reasons, so this room has us as excited as any!

The Red House's current laundry room/future second bedroom // via Yellow Brick Home

The Red House's current laundry room/future second bedroom // via Yellow Brick Home

A Generous Timeline

We can’t wait to get started, but we’re giving ourselves a flexible timeline of 2-3 years to complete the interior and exterior renovation. This timeline likely doesn’t include much progress on the wooded portions of the property or the barn in the lower portion of the yard. Oh yeah! Did we mention there’s a barn?

Kim and Scott in front of the 'Red House' mid-century ranch // via Yellow Brick Home

The potential of this little home is simultaneously overwhelming and exciting. We can’t wait to get started and we promise to bring you along with us the entire way. What questions do you have about the Red House? We’re happy to fill you in on anything we might have missed!

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  • Brenda3.14.23 - 6:06 AM

    So excited for this project!!!  ReplyCancel

  • Jess3.14.23 - 7:03 AM

    So excited to follow this! Are all of the windows original, or is it a mix? We have a mix at our cabin, and we’re itching to restore the truly old windows and replace the vinyl with something more period-appropriate.ReplyCancel

    • Kim3.14.23 - 8:51 AM

      It’s a big mix. We already have a few windows on our list to replace!ReplyCancel

  • Jen3.14.23 - 7:11 AM

    What an incredible adventure you are embarking on! I’m so excited to watch this unfold. This almost seems like the property that could convince you to move our of the city??? Possible or city life for life? 😝ReplyCancel

    • Kim3.14.23 - 8:53 AM

      You’ll have to ask us again in a few years, haha. I’ve always been a city girl, through and through. Having this corner of Michigan feels like a happy medium when we need to connect with nature.ReplyCancel

  • Robin in NoCo3.14.23 - 8:17 AM

    This is exciting! Midcentury houses are my jam.ReplyCancel

  • Miruska3.14.23 - 8:33 AM

    Congratulations! The house looks like it has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to see what you do with it. I am here for all of it. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel C3.14.23 - 8:35 AM

    I’m so excited to watch all this unfold! Thank you guys for being so intentional with your renovations. I never get tired of following along.ReplyCancel

  • Renee3.14.23 - 8:55 AM

    I love your renovations and can’t wait to follow along with this one! Have fun guys!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry3.14.23 - 10:15 AM

    Congrats! What an exciting adventure! Can’t wait to see the journey :)ReplyCancel

  • Lauren3.14.23 - 11:13 AM

    Congratulations! There is so much potential (and I’m swooning over those living room windows) – I can’t wait to follow along! If I understand correctly, you’re making the smaller bedroom the primary one, and the larger bedroom will become the guest space/playroom. I’m curious, why aren’t you making the larger room the primary bedroom?ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.14.23 - 11:37 AM

      Correct! The larger room offers enough floor space for multiple beds. The smaller room does not. As much as we’d like the extra space for ourselves, we think it’ll be better used for guests and kiddos. Also, we love a small, cozy bedroom!ReplyCancel

  • Jamie Marabillas3.14.23 - 11:14 AM

    Will you finish out the basement?ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.14.23 - 11:35 AM

      No plans to finish the basement as of now. There’s currently a neat little workshop with a walkout door that we’ll definitely utilize! We’ll rework some of the areas to open up the central space below the kitchen and allow for a mechanical room and lots of storage. It’s pretty rough for now, but definitely solid!ReplyCancel

  • Bex3.14.23 - 11:27 AM

    I’m so excited for this one! It reminds me of old 70s decor books, so warm and cozy!
    I’m also in love with that wooden hexagonal flush mount in the kitchen! Hope it finds a way into the new design.ReplyCancel

  • MC3.14.23 - 11:37 AM

    I’m excited for you guys and I know it will be loved, taken care of, and refreshed with good decisions.  I love that you do so much work yourselves and hire out where needed. When you are ready, can you share a layout? Maybe the current and one with the changes you are thinking?  I know not everyone thinks in 2D but it definitely helps me!ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.14.23 - 11:52 AM

      We’ll definitely share the floorplan soon! Keep an eye on our IG stories for sure. We’ve been sharing some VERY informal sketching sessions from time to time. :)ReplyCancel

  • Katherine3.14.23 - 11:44 AM

    Have you guys decided on what type of flooring you will have throughout?ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.14.23 - 11:51 AM

      Likely mid-tone hardwood for the main areas and bedrooms, but nothing 100% yet!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny3.14.23 - 11:50 AM

    This is so freaking exciting! So glad I’m going to be here for the whole ride. Just a shoutout to think of a heat pump for your heat and AC. Wave of the future, so efficient, and I think I just saw a story on the PBS Newshour how they are taking over in New England ( where it gets hecka cold). Congrats, so excited for you!!!ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.14.23 - 12:11 PM

      Thanks for the heads up! We’re working with a trusted HVAC contractor, so we’ll definitely ask if it makes sense for us.ReplyCancel

    • Julia at Home on 129 Acres3.14.23 - 12:44 PM

      I want to second this. With the size of your property you could also do geothermal. More expensive up front but definitely worth it in the long run. (The best decision we made when we moved to our farm.)ReplyCancel

  • Wendy3.14.23 - 12:25 PM

    Congratulations!  I have a suggestion for a post idea – how do you think through and pose for your couple and family self portraits?  They look natural and beautiful!ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.14.23 - 12:50 PM

      Thanks for the kind words! Kim is a professionally trained photographer, so we’ll generally get the camera set up on a tripod, then use the timer to take 4 or 5 rounds of 5 quick shots with angle/pose adjustments made between each round. Then we’ll look at all 20-25 photos and pull out the 1 or 2 best shots. Kim then edits them in photoshop to look their best. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda3.14.23 - 12:42 PM

    I can’t wait to see  y’all flex your design muscles in a new style! ReplyCancel

  • Lynda3.14.23 - 1:17 PM

    Congratulations….again.  What a great project for you both. The house possesses such great potential. Cannot wait to see how you transform it into something beautiful. ReplyCancel

  • Jenny3.14.23 - 1:42 PM

    It’s like a bitty MI version of @baumhousemodern! Can’t wait to see how you layer in those mid-century elements + small space functionality. What fun! ReplyCancel

  • Julie3.14.23 - 1:47 PM

    It’s wonderful to see what you guys are open to, and I’m so excited to follow along. I love to make my own plans out of other people’s projects, and then get pleasantly surprised when you blow me away with better and more creative ideas!ReplyCancel

  • Jane3.14.23 - 3:07 PM

    Will love to see you take on MCM! These 1950s houses are my favourite, but do have some tricky bits. Will be cool to see how you manage the staircase problem. 

    Would love to hear more about your financing or method to it … there is a house I would love to buy if it ever comes on the market similar to what you guys had, but it took me so long to even think about buying my first house I don’t know how this kind of thing works!ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly3.14.23 - 4:12 PM

    So excited to follow along on this journey with you! ReplyCancel

  • Sarah3.14.23 - 4:43 PM

    This is so exciting and I can’t wait to see how you guys tackle it! Will Tree House become the primary AirBnB property one Red House is all finished?ReplyCancel

    • Kim3.14.23 - 5:06 PM

      That’s sort of where we’re leaning, but we may rent this one for short term as well!ReplyCancel

  • AmandaKB3.14.23 - 8:21 PM

    I’m so excited to follow along with this! The house is great and it will be so relaxing and peaceful to stroll through the 3 acres of forest through every season of the year. Congrats!ReplyCancel

  • Amy3.15.23 - 7:28 AM

    What’s so exciting it that you will be working with the 1950’s paneling and windows because you want to, not because you have to, and that means we all get to ride along and watch how thoughtfulness and patience are great qualities to have when loving a Mid Century Gem.  You might start a new wave of magic.  So excited to watch this all unfold, so inspired! ReplyCancel

  • Kerri3.15.23 - 8:50 AM

    For the kitchen peninsula, it beam removal gets too spendy and the peninsula would need to remain, I think it would look great as the back wall of a corner built in banquette!  You could totally make it a cool 70’s style feature! ReplyCancel

  • Lisa3.15.23 - 9:37 AM

    Just adding to the other comments that I am so excited to see what you do.  Whatever it is I am sure it will be thoughtful and AMAZING.  We have had the opportunity to stay at Treehouse and it was gorgeous.  If access to the woods could be made accessible by both properties that would be so cool.  ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.15.23 - 9:46 AM

      Hi Lisa! We have some plans in the works for sure. Stay tuned!ReplyCancel

  • Susan3.15.23 - 10:33 AM

    We’ve also been looking at older homes. How do you evaluate the work that will need to be done? We are concerned that after buying we would end up with a huge renovation – windows, plumbing, electric, etc. We also don’t know how to evaluate if there is asbestos or lead paint. Any tips you have, would be much appreciated.ReplyCancel

    • Kim3.15.23 - 11:13 AM

      Hi Susan! We have renovated enough homes and have worked with enough contractors to be able to spot a lot of stuff up front. Your home inspection will also help a lot with those questions! When determining if we could afford to purchase this home, we also made sure we had enough funds to put directly into up front renovations. We actually have a post coming up where we’ll be sharing the first wave of projects that aren’t so glamorous, stay tuned!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle3.15.23 - 11:41 AM

    Congratulations!! So excited for you guys! ReplyCancel

  • Shavonda3.15.23 - 3:35 PM

    Omg yesssss! Congratulations on this home friends. It’s gonna be so so good!!! I literally can’t wait to follow along🥰🥰🥰ReplyCancel

  • Jenny3.15.23 - 5:26 PM

    On my wish list for watching this and living vicariously, I hope you stay with that wonderful classic mid century red exterior color! It’s time that color came back and you guys are just the right people to do it 😊ReplyCancel

    • Kim3.17.23 - 10:50 AM

      It matches the trees in the fall, too ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Becky3.15.23 - 9:01 PM

    Like many others, I’m so excited to follow along on this new project! I’m curious to hear what direction you’re leaning for trim/millwork in this house. It looks like there’s currently a mix of painted and stained wood. Will you go with the smaller profile traditional to MCM or a little hunkier like your other homes?ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.16.23 - 1:18 PM

      Great question! Time will tell. We need to figure out flooring, cabinetry etc and those choices will likely inform the decisions for millwork.ReplyCancel

  • M3.15.23 - 9:31 PM

    So exciting! Have you considered a conservation easement on part of the land?ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.16.23 - 1:17 PM

      We’re not familiar with the term, but we’ll look into it!ReplyCancel

  • Jenn3.15.23 - 11:38 PM

    YAASSSS i’m so excited to follow along!!ReplyCancel

  • Max3.16.23 - 12:24 PM

    Omg so excited to see what magic you both bring to this home! selfishly a big part of my excitement is due to my having a midcentury home as well and curious to see how you tackle some of the things that are giving me pause ( like the super wide short windows in the bedrooms. How how how is one supposed to do window treatments for them without it costing $$$$$$$??????). And just generally love your meticulous style and looking forward to seeing it applied to a different style of house!ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.16.23 - 1:21 PM

      Thanks for the kind words! We’ll bring you along for the whole adventure and hope you find some inspiration along the way.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica3.23.23 - 8:23 AM

    Is this going to be a rental for you guys or your permanent residence?ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.24.23 - 8:38 AM

      We’re not entirely sure of the logistics yet! It’ll serve as a vacation home for us as we renovate. Once it’s done, we’ll likely Airbnb it at least part time.ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa4.3.23 - 7:58 PM

    “The Red House” it is, well done you two, for stepping up.ReplyCancel

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Our Pen Pals have direct access to first looks, a peek behind-the-scenes, and exclusive interviews showcasing members of the #YBHDIY community. We can’t wait to connect with you!

Kim and Scott

We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

Join us as we renovate and nurture vintage homes across Chicago + SW Michigan!

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