When Rhonda and Wayne Winn first walked into their future condo, they saw potential where others might have seen only a time capsule.
But Wayne, owner of Home Town Restyling in Hiawatha, and Rhonda, a retired interior decorator, have a combination of skills that enabled them to transform a 35-year-old condo in northeast Cedar Rapids into a stunning home.
After buying the condo in February 2019, they immediately got to work replacing its floors, demolishing a wall in the living room and gutting the kitchen and bathrooms. The redesign took until August, when the Winns moved in.
Even though the big projects took time, the Winns didn’t miss the opportunity to add small details, like V-shaped corner drawers in the kitchen, which saved Rhonda from one of her design pet peeves.
“I did not want a ‘Lazy Susan,’ so I asked staff to come up with another option,” she said.
Drawers on both sides of a large quartz kitchen island allow for plenty of storage, and the handles are carefully positioned so guests won’t bump their knees.
The Winns also selected a single-height island that offers tons of space for food prep and seating, which works well when the couple is entertaining.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“I cook a lot,” Rhonda said, noting that her new induction oven presented a learning curve.
“I didn’t realize you had to have a pan on it for it to turn on,” she said. “I cooked hamburgers in the oven on one of our first nights.”
Other details include attractive sliding barn doors leading into the laundry area and bathrooms and a sun tube to let in natural light.
“It would be pitch-dark in the bathroom without the sun tube. Plus, it took two workers about four hours to put it in, whereas putting in a skylight might have taken four days,” Wayne said.
The gray tones in the kitchen and bathrooms complement the gray vinyl tile that covers most of the main floor.
“You’re going to see gray in style for a while,” Rhonda said. “You can make anything work with gray.”
The neutral tone allowed the Winns to use much of the decor they had in their previous home, including green accents in the kitchen and living room.
In moving from a house, the Winns worried about finding a condo that offered privacy, but this property had exactly what they were looking for. Large windows in the living room and master bedroom overlook a private, wooded backyard, where the Winns can see deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife.
“I’m a farm kid, so moving to a condo in town would have been a challenge,” Wayne said.
They’re planning to build a screened-in deck and an outdoor cooking area to embrace the location and provide another entertainment area.
A guest bedroom and bath complete the main floor. Downstairs are two more bedrooms, a full bath, a bar and a cozy living space.
The door surrounds and baseboards throughout the condo are dark walnut. The Winns originally planned to replace them with a more modern white. Instead, they decided to blend the old with the new.
Replacing all the wood would have been pricey, and keeping some of the home’s original elements keeps it from looking cookie-cutter, they decided.
Wayne said he intended to stain the sliding barn door leading into the master bathroom to match the dark woodwork but ended up liking the contrast between the two colors.
“The look is kind of growing on me,” he said.
In all the bathrooms, the Winns chose extra-tall vanities and acrylic shower panels, which Wayne said are more attractive and more functional than standard fiberglass showers.
“The finish is impeccable, and it gives you patterns and colors to choose from,” he said.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Wayne also pointed out the pattern of the wallpaper in the downstairs bathroom, which has the funkiest look of any of the home’s wall coverings. It’s the only design touch Wayne chose.
“I let him pick it out,” Rhonda said. “It’s pretty wild.”
Despite their differing tastes in wallpaper, Rhonda and Wayne are thrilled with their home and with the location they chose.
“There were two neighborhood parties in the first two months we lived here — the people are really friendly,” Rhonda said.
Their remodeling project got all the neighbors’ attention and had them thinking about their own potential renovation projects.
“They were chomping at the bit to see the finished product,” Wayne said.
The scope of the renovations might have overwhelmed most people, but when you own a company that completes around 700 remodels a year, you tend to be a little more relaxed about such projects.
“It’s what I do every day,” Wayne said.