Courtney Michalek knows 5728 Surrey Square Ln. isn’t for the faint of heart. The homeowner and listing agent designed the traditional Devonshire ranch to be her personal home. So she took the tired 1960s-era house and filled it with color.
Before Surrey Square Lane, Michalek had never renovated a house. Her husband, who grew up doing home renovations, found the property and encouraged her to visit. Michalek took her best friend, interior designer Daniel Arenas, with her to the first showing. She loved the neighborhood and the fact the house sat on a private cul-de-sac. She liked the one-story layout and knew the home needed some TLC. “I was like, ‘oh, my gosh, we could really do some great stuff here,’” she says. “It needed someone to come in and bring it into its full glory,” she says. So, in 2021, they bought the house.
Then she and Arenas began mapping out the renovations. Originally, Michalek just planned to redo the kitchen, but then “it turned into pretty much touching everything in the house.” Most of the changes were cosmetic. They arched interior doorways to give the house a more regal look and added wainscoting to give the place more character. She expanded the front door, built steps up the front walk, installed new lighting, and made other “minor changes that you can do that can really just transform a space.”
The biggest thing was color. Michalek loves colorful spaces and wallpapers and wanted them throughout her home. As a real estate agent, she was tired of looking at sterile gray and white walls. “So many people, when they go into a house, they’re so scared of even painting a wall,” she says. “And I just wanted to show that, ‘listen, you can do all of these things.’” If someone really doesn’t like a color, like the dark green office, they can paint over it, she says.
Throughout the process, Michalek says Arenas helped her rein in her outlandish ideas, like the all-coral primary closet, and make them look cohesive. The final product is “colorful and fun and happy.”
In all, it took only a few months to transform the house. But living in an under-construction house was a bit scarring. “I think I swore at the time that I would never do another one,” Michalek says. “But now it’s all been forgotten and I’m ready for the next one.”
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