Modern Renovation at Central 9th
When our Homeworks agent, Monica Dennis, decided a few years ago to purchase a property and renovate it, her hunt ultimately landed on a bungalow that had great bones in an area with a lot of potential.
The brick home in question sits at 900 South and 400 East, a location very intentionally chosen by Monica: “I had always wanted to tackle an old-home remodel, and I was seeking an investment property…this one checked so many of my boxes. When it popped onto the market, I was so excited about the neighborhood. This portion of 900 South was very ‘up-and-coming’ at the time, and I wanted to be a part of that neighborhood revitalization process.” We chatted with Monica a bit to get the “before” photos, the process, and the stunning results.
“There are so many interesting small businesses here now—incredible food, local shopping, and Liberty Park are all a literal stone’s throw from the front door. It’s perfect.”
What was your favorite feature of the property when you found it?
The natural light, without question. Even before the renovation—which added a perfect polish to everything from the windows to the walls and flooring—it was flooded with sunlight. It’s a south-facing home, and when I first walked in, it felt so nice and bright. Even with the dated carpet, textured walls, and general griminess, it had a good vibe.
What was your favorite part of the remodel/overhaul process?
I’m a big fan of the problem solving that comes along with renovating a 100+ year old home. In this case, it forced me to dig in and determine how to best utilize a floor plan that wasn’t designed for modern living (and with only minor tweaks, as I didn't want to make any major structural alterations). The kitchen was a considerable challenge, and I spent hours and hours drawing and redrawing it. At the end of the day, I think I got a few things wrong, and there are some different choices I’d make if I were to do it again, but the creative problem-solving and overall transformative processes were so satisfying to be a part of for me. I loved it.
What does the design process look like for you?
I love imagining how something can be improved, whether it’s a home or yard or whatever. It’s inspiring to bounce ideas off of others, to really get the creative process moving and encourage everyone involved to consider how the space in question could function differently (or better) and benefit from any modifications.
Are there any original features you chose not to mess with in the remodel?
Yeah, there were a few. I decided to leave the original crown molding (for obvious reasons), the five-panel doors, and the transom windows, which I love. And because I DID fiddle with the fireplace (by uncovering it), I was able to restore the original brick fireplace.
Do you have a favorite room in the house?
I have two! The kitchen, for sure—it was such a drastic overhaul and improvement from where things started. I love the functionality and feel of it now. I’m also pretty delighted when I’m in the living room. Those curved walls (which are also found on the dining room wall) are a small, but beautiful detail, and the entire space is just cozy and bright.
Tell us your favorite places to frequent beyond the front door. Any neighborhood gems?
So many, I can’t name them all. But Liberty Park is just a block away, and I’m often there walking or reading or picnicking. I also frequent Thyme & Place for new plants, Manolis for the best brunch or dinner, and Normal Ice Cream (for the obvious riches). But no matter which direction you take from the front sidewalk, you’ll run into some incredible small business that’s worth visiting.