On the outside, not much of this house has changed. But if it is true that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, then this whole house makeover that fashions every available square inch of space is no longer a diamond in the rough. Thanks to a top-to-bottom makeover, it gleams with renewed freshness and functionality.

In an age of do-it-yourself remodeling, it may seem odd for homeowners to hire an architect with no actual addition planned. However, the vast potential of the outdated house required a focused eye to oversee dramatic changes to the kitchen and four bathrooms while other rooms were being reshaped.

The sizes of the kitchen and two of three existing bathrooms were enlarged a bit to improve usability. In the basement, a foyer off the garage and a large laundry room work together as a service entrance. A study was rebuilt in the attic to serve various functions over time- from playroom to guest room to master bedroom-, all made plausible by a newly-built bathroom there.

Stylistically, the house has a beach bungalow vibe with colors of the sand and sea. Nature-inspired glass and stone pebble tiles line bathroom walls while flecks of color in blonde countertops recall beach glass on the shore. The pale ash wood I recommended for the kitchen cabinetry has the intended effect of sun-bleached driftwood. Here and there, crisp cabana-striped rubber and cork floors underpin the freeform shapes of other materials.

In matching the den’s existing paneling in several key areas—with dramatic results in the three-story stairwell—the owners and I proved that we did not need outside sources for inspiration in polishing up this gem.