Just because a home is a new build does not mean it lacks character. Sure, the “one size fits all” approach to builder-grade homes doesn’t always work, but it’s fortunately an easy fix. Case in point: Brett and Kara Phillips of High Street Homes made a few key changes to a modern turn-key home in Texas, transforming it from a house for the market to a house for a family with specific needs, tastes, and desires.

As Brett and Kara explain on their blog, three quick and easy things had to be addressed: paint, lighting, and the fireplace surround. The duo tells us more:

For those who don’t know, what is a “builder-grade home”?
A builder-grade home is a new construction home that is generally turn-key. While move-in ready, they tend to lack character and customization in the selections and finish out.

What did you do to transform this property from builder-grade to custom?
The home was quite modern. The homeowners appreciated the clean lines, but they didn’t feel it represented their aesthetic as a whole. Adding new lighting fixtures, fresh paint to strategic surfaces and refacing the fireplace surround helped us create a warmer, more timeless design that better reflects our clients’ traditional tastes.

If someone could only afford to implement one change — from your tips: lighting, paint, fireplace —  what would you suggest to have the biggest impact?
We suggest asking yourself what your room’s focal point is. The answer to that question will help guide your design priorities.  In our client’s’ home, for example, the focal point was the kitchen, so that’s where we started. We added pendants to add dimension and created just the right amount of softness through the addition of linen shades. To bring more color and interest, we painted the island in a “scholarly” chelsea gray that lends a subtle elegance to the space.

See the before and after in the slideshow below, and catch more details on the transformation at Phillips House Co