Just to be clear, I have ABSOLUTELY no idea what I'm talking about. Very little experience. But I can hold my own in Photoshop so I knew when we found this home in New Mexico, it was pretty clear it needed some serious work and between Pinterest and Houzz I was able to see its potential. The off-center front door opened and nearly hit the narrow, steep staircase and blocked the entry into the dining room and kitchen. So if you had guests for dinner, you had to open the door, step up the stairs to invite them all in, and then shut the door to proceed to the dining room. Needless to say the flow was lacking and the house was dark and needed updating. But the street was beautiful and kind of hidden with large lots and it was GREEN. So I knew I could make it work. Worst house on the best street is what they told me on Fixer Upper. I do what I'm told.
One thing I noticed that was very different from the houses I loved and the one we were purchasing was that the pop-ups (that's a very technical term. remember that one) upstairs ended where the first floor roof ended, which made the house much less interesting to look at and like the bottom floor was going to buckle at any moment. The house screamed for light, too, so I knew I had to add as many windows as possible to make the small interior feel much (much) bigger.
I had a few houses pinned on Pinterest that i loved, so after seeing this house, I knew which options were not possible/going to cost a trillion dollars and which ones were possible/going to cost thousands of dollars. I found these two that seemed to have a similar shape. I realized that with my current home, I could transform it into one straight out of an East Hampton catalog! (It seems to me that East Hampton would have at LEAST one catalog somewhere, yes?)
I spend the next month or so trying to find architects in the area that were affordable and whose style I loved, but this process was by FAR the most taxing and difficult. After we were told by multiple companies that they were had too many other projects (I could be wrong, but this felt more like code for "don't waste our time on your tiny house"), we tried companies in Phoenix, who said exactly the same thing. It was really frustrating. Then I tried getting someone to just draw a picture of the house I was imagining so I could give that to a contractor. Still nothing. I was desperate, but since my own artistic abilities haven't really improved since kindergarten, my houses are still drawn with a square under a triangle with swirly smoke coming from a chimney. I even tried asking around about design programs I could buy and even zoomed in on "Fixer Upper" to see what in the world she uses (no luck)! Finally, I decided to use what I could and try it on my own. Here was the result of literally copying and pasting pieces of the above two images onto the "exterior before" image in photoshop. Plus a little color changing.
My entire purpose for creating this was to see if what I wanted to do to the house would actually do to the curb-appeal what I wanted it to. I think its safe to say the answer is a resounding YES.
Essentially what I'm saying is try not to be overwhelmed at this process like I was. Start on Pinterest or Houzz, find images that feel like home to you, and keep them. Then use Photoshop (or any other copy/paste program) to morph your dream home and your actual home, together. And let me know how it goes or if you need any help!