These before-and-after photos of a Birmingham home renovation will blow you away

Read Time 3 Minutes


Swanson Home after renovation

So you need a new home. Now it’s time to face the age-old question: do I buy, do I build, or do I renovate? One Birmingham family walked us through their decision-making process and how it turned out in the end—plus, don’t miss the “after” photos of their stunning renovated home!

So You’re Making a Move

These wicker baskets over the lights are so creative and gorgeous. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Whether you’re moving cities, states, or just right down the street, moving can be quite a headache. This local family is no stranger to the process.

Meet the Swansons! This family of 5 just renovated a home in Birmingham after making the move from Atlanta. Mary Swanson is the owner of Tulipano, a high-end women’s boutique in Mountain Brook that offers in-store styling for its customers. Her husband, Kris Swanson, is an Account Manager for Arch Mortgage Insurance.

Mary is a Birmingham native and always knew she wanted to move back to the area. When it came time to start looking, finding a home that fit their family’s needs was more difficult than they anticipated.

Homes Shouldn’t Be “One Size Fits All”

Natural light was a priority for the Swansons, so they included a ton of beautiful windows when drawing up their plans. Photos via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

A house can be cookie-cutter, but a home shouldn’t be. Homes work for the families that live in them—and that’s exactly what you get when you play a role in designing your own.

Whether you need a large mudroom for all your little athletes, a big backyard and deck for Fido, a large outdoor entertaining space for hosting friends and family—you get to pick exactly what you want, where you want.

Finding the Right Fit

The natural wood paired with white walls and neutral furniture is a beautiful and classic look. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

The Swansons searched and searched for the right fit for themselves, their three kids, and their chocolate lab, Arden—but they weren’t having much luck.

“We had looked for a while, and it was just like the three bears—it was too small, or it was the perfect house but didn’t have a yard, or it was at the top of our budget and needed to be redone.”

Mary Swanson

After finding this ranch-style house and talking through plans with Tison, Co-Founder of Slate Barganier, the Swansons were sold.

Their family dog was adorable and so friendly—and can we talk about these front doors? Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

“When we walked out the door, I was like, that’s it.

That’s our home.”

This project was a cross between a renovation and a new build—they renovated the original structure, but built a sizeable addition onto the back of the home.

This Can Be a Long Process—How Do You Get Started?

Whether you’re interested in renovating an existing structure, adding on to your home, or building new—the Alabama native team at Slate Barganier does it all.

If you look at the side of the house in the “before” photo above, you can tell where it cuts off. While the Swansons did renovate the original structure, they also added on—as you can see here. Photo by Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

These guys have extensive expereince in the homebuilding game, and they work with you from start to finish. We asked the experts for the top 5 things people need to know before building in Birmingham, including an overview of the process from start to finish. Check out what they had to say!

You can find out more about the team and their work, and contact them when you’re ready to bring your dream home to life.

Words of Wisdom from the Swansons

The open floor plan throughout the whole living area was something the Swansons wanted for their house—but this much space in a one-story can be hard to find. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

I asked the Swansons to tell me what advice they would give a friend who was about to embark on the same journey they’re wrapping up.

I think you have to go into it really open-minded and just know that it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s not the one contractor, it’s not the painter—it’s literally a puzzle, and you just have to be patient.”

Mary Swanson

They encourage taking a laid-back approach to the whole process and picking people you trust to execute your vision. And have fun with it! The Swansons went in nervous about the whole project in the beginning. However, they said they ended up having a great time watching it come to fruition.

If you’re considering building, adding, or renovating, give Slate Barganier a call today! If not, you’re still going to want to follow them on Instagram for some serious home inspo.

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Beth Cunningham
A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.
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