Frankfort foreclosure fixer-upper transforms into finely detailed dream home (PART 1)

April 07, 2010

It takes a keen eye to spot a diamond in the rough worth saving. But it takes even keener skill to cut and polish that flawed stone into a glimmering gem. Randy and Brooke Moll had the vision to transform a foreclosed residence into a 10-karat caliber home, and Distinctive Remodelers had the resources and expertise to make it happen.

The Molls, who had resided in an Orland Park home for the past eight years, weren’t necessarily looking to move. But when a foreclosed home in Frankfort was brought to their attention by a real estate broker relative, they were intrigued. The Moll family, which includes seven-and-a-half-year-old boy and girl twins and a five-year-old son, had dreamed about eventually living in a wooded neighborhood, but little did they know this dream would come to fruition sooner than they had imagined.

The foreclosed home, an English Tudor style residence in Frankfort’s Butternut subdivision, promised plenty of elbow room, an ample yard for their kids to romp around in and a fantastic bargain, but at a stiff price in terms of sweat and labor needed. Damaged from the elements and outdated, it would require a complete reinvention. The basement, in desperate need of a gutting, had nine inches of standing water and mold along the walls. The cramped kitchen would have to be opened up and thoroughly modernized. The first floor master bath called for a complete redo, as did the sunroom, staircase, upstairs bath and many of the floors. To accommodate their kids, the second level also required an additional bath and an extra play area for toys.

“We believed the home was salvageable and worth the investment, but we wanted an expert to evaluate it before we purchased. So we asked an old friend of ours, Mike Carroll, to check it out,” said Randy, a sales manager for an investment information company.

Mike, president of Orland Park-based Distinctive Remodelers, carefully surveyed the bank-owned property. He gave his thumbs up that the project was worth their investment — provided the Molls hire a mold remediation expert first and agree to structural changes that would be needed to renovate the home to their wishes. The Molls took the plunge, closed on the fixer-upper last August and enlisted Distinctive Remodelers for the heavy lifting necessary.

“Remaking that basement was difficult after the damage it sustained, as we had to gut it down to the concrete walls and studs. But the most challenging aspect of the job was probably the kitchen remodel,” said Mike. “Our goal was to make it about 25 percent larger, so we needed to remove a wall to open the kitchen up to the adjacent great room.”

Mike and crew installed a two-tiered island, painted and glazed custom cabinetry, granite countertops, high-end stainless steel appliances — including a Wolf cooktop with a custom range hood, refrigerator built into the cabinets and a concealed dishwasher — and oak hardwood flooring.

“The new kitchen is wonderful, but it actually makes the great room even better, with improved visibility between the two areas,” said Brooke, a marketing consultant who works from home. “Mike’s team removed an obsolete fireplace in the great room and in its place created a contemporary fireplace surrounded by distinctive rocks. We were able to create a space that is functional and perfect for entertaining our large family and friends.”

The master bath, meanwhile, benefitted from an upscale walk-in shower boasting custom tile, multiple body sprays and showerheads, a built-in soap and shampoo holder, custom vanity topped with granite, a separate claw foot bathtub, and new skylights.

Mike and crew converted the existing sunroom into a four seasons room by adding slate floors, installing heat runs, implementing a sliding glass door and replacing the old windows with new energy efficient upgrades. What was once a plain first-floor den was upgraded to an exquisite home office adorned with French doors and built-in black birch bookcases. And the timeworn oak staircase was sanded down and refinished and accented with a new wrought iron spindle railing.

Throughout the entire home, new carpeting and hardwood floors were added, the doors were swapped out with two-panel solid core birch substitutes. Old trim was replaced with new crown molding, oversized casing and baseboards. New oil bronze finish hardware, lighting fixtures and ceiling fans were installed, and the walls were painted in fresh, eye-catching colors. In addition, Distinctive Remodelers cleaned up the overgrown landscaping, crowned the house with a cedar shake roof, repaired the rear cedar deck, and eliminated a staircase that led from the garage to the room above it.

Ask the Moll children the spot they love best and they’ll tell you it’s upstairs in the all-new bonus room, perfect for playtime with its nooks and cubbies under the roofline. Plus, not only do the boys get their own bedrooms and a completely renovated bath, but Mike and company created an all-new bedroom over the garage and three-quarter bathroom just for Randy and Brooke’s daughter.

“This was absolutely one of the largest projects we’ve ever done in terms of scope, time and budget,” said Mike, whose firm completed the job in March. “What impressed me was the level to which the Molls did their homework. They scouted this property carefully and created a vision for exactly what they wanted. We worked together throughout the entire process, and I valued their input and fresh ideas.”

Randy, who is excited about incorporating a media room, home theater and guitar studio in the new basement, said he’s “completely thrilled with the outcome. It turned out much better than Brooke and I imagined. We knew that the foreclosed home we bought had good bones, but we took a leap of faith when it came to how the finished product would look.”

Part 2 to follow

About The Author

Read All Stories By Walsh Communications

Lynn Walsh is the President at Walsh Communications, LLC. Walsh Communications is a full-service public relations, marketing and advertising agency for home builders and real estate-related industries.

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