NEW RENOVATION PROJECT | The BayView Barnhouse!!!

DIY PROJECT, The Barnhouse

I feel like I have been living a double life, because those that follow along on @ISPYDIY Instagram know the that the new renovation I’ve been designing has been consuming SO MUCH of my life right now, but I have not told you all about it yet. Introducing, my latest and possibly greatest renovation: The BAYVIEW BARNHOUSE! I had been looking for another house to “flip” for awhile (I use “flip” loosely because we don’t want to be lumped with the bargain bin quick flippers, but that is a conversation for another time…)  The minute I walked in the door it was pure love! I’m excited to be working with with my contractor buddy, Mike, who owns 3rd Coast Real Estate & Renovation and was the contractor on our last project, the HGTV pilot house. I loved how the house turned out, so thought, “let’s do this again”!  I was brainstorming a catchy name for this renovation, Bay View of “BayView Barnhouse” is the neighborhood in Milwaukee where the house is located and I was first inspired to call it the Barnhouse because of its striking red exterior. Now the Barnhouse concept is a big part of the design direction, and I’m hoping to differentiate it from the farmhouse style, by giving more of an Old World feel (more on that later!)

As we dive in to a series of posts about the Bayview Barnhouse, I thought the best place to start was the before photos! The prior residents were “collectors” and there was A LOT of stuff to clean out before we could see its true potential, but I was immediately drawn to the high ceilings and some of the original characteristics. The house was in bad shape, so I will just show the highlights here (pics after the massive cleanout). As the process continues, I will break down each of the rooms with more detail, but for now, I just want to show you some of the characteristics I love about this house and some bits that need creative solutions.
Barnhouse General Bits:
– The house was built in 1875 as a single family home.
– The house is 1750 sq. ft.
– The house had been converted into a duplex by the time we first viewed it.
– We are converting the duplex back to a single family home, with 3-4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.
– The lot includes a great size yard for the city neighborhood.

I love the board and batten treatment on exterior. We are so excited to revitalize this original feature of the house along with the huge porches. There has been a hot debate on social media about the exterior color: keep the red or paint it another color, like black. I’ll hash it out in a future post dedicated to the exterior of the house.
The high ceilings were a major selling factor for this kitchen. The house is 1750sq ft but the spaces feel a lot bigger because of the ceiling height. The plan is to add beautiful open shelving and lighting that accentuates the high ceiling height.
More BEFORE pictures after the break! 

I love the original hardwood floors that are found in many of the older homes in this neighborhood. The original floors are too damaged to save on the 2nd floor, but the plan is to sand and refinishing the wood floors on the ground level. In addition, that arch gives a beautiful original design foundation to build off of. It is so unique! Although we are opening up some of the walls, I also wanted the home to have a cozy feel and the arch is high and wide enough to still afford great sight-lines without having completely open concept floor plan.

So, really gross bathroom…I am showing you one because it will be super fun to reveal how beautiful the end result is in comparison! These are going to be completely gutted and a 3rd bathroom is being added. I can’t wait to detail that whole design process like picking the tile and fixtures!
I love the bay windows on both levels. The plan is to build a dining space off of the bay window on the 1st floor with a possible built-in banquette. The 2nd floor bay window is a little tricky to design around. I hope to create a little reading nook where you can sit and soak up the sun as it pours in this south facing window all day long.
I love that there is a 3rd floor walk-up attic space in this house. Bonus room with endless possibilities! It could be used for a family tv room, kids bedroom or playspace.
Things we need to find creative solutions for:
– Textured walls and ceilings
– Space-sucking radiators
– New flooring for the kitchen (the carpet was the first thing to go, YUCK!)
– Bathroom off of the kitchen
– Additional bathroom
– Chimney going through center of whole house

It is so amazing to be able to share this whole process with you! I wasn’t able to say a lot during the process of my last reno because it was for the HGTV pilot. Although that was a great experience, it has been so fun to see how many of you are invested in this process with me. I love having all of your input from Instagram polls so far! I plan to post a lot more about each room and thoughts during the process of this renovation here on the blog so stay tuned and welcome to the BayView Barnhouse!

And if you have any questions I would love to hear from you in the comments! xx Jenni




  1. Leslie Nunez says:

    It will be great fun to follow along with you and see what you create! I can hardly wait!!

  2. says:

    The barn house is so cute!!

  3. Vritika says:

    It is such a wonderful space you got there. Hope you’ll do wonders with it, Jenni 🙂

  4. Michelle says:

    I am soo excited what you will do with this place! I am really looking forward to seeing your ideas 🙂

  5. Dianne says:

    This is my new favorite blog! I would love to be in your place! But, I will have to make do just watching. Thanks for posting!

  6. Rachel says:

    Holy cow! I know exactly where that house is! I bet it will be beautiful when you are finished with it. The market in Bay View is hot, hot, hot, so you’ll have no trouble finding a buyer when the time comes. Best of luck!

  7. Ellen B says:

    Bay View is a wonderful area! We lived there a number of years about 45 years ago. Have fond memories of taking our 2 preschoolers on a lot of walks around the neighborhood. That house looks familiar. Don’t suppose you can share the name of the street. Especially enjoyed jaunts to the lakefront and Humboldt Park loaded down with favorite lunches, diapers, etc. We probably looked like a caravan.

  8. Patricia says:

    I grew up in an old farm house, 1880’s, with a huge front screen porch. It will be fun to see what you do to the space.
    Good luck

  9. sherry says:

    I was raised is a farm but not this big.????‍♀️

  10. Mike says:

    That chimney is cream city brick. You should keep it as a design element. We still have ours and love it.

  11. sandy smith says:

    lived in Bay View same house for 43yrs. Also have the creamcity brick chimney throughout our house. You’ve peaked our interest! we’ll be watching…thanks

  12. tiffany says:

    Your blog is awesome! I love all the DIY stuff! I am renovating my home as well at the moment and it IS crazy hard. LOL can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

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