Before & After – Sanibel Home Improvements

I’ve been selling Real Estate on Sanibel and Captiva Islands now for more than seven years, and this is something I see buyers struggle with all the time…

Envisioning the finished space!

Let’s face it, most homes and condos on Sanibel and Captiva were built in the 1970’s and 80’s and many haven’t been updated in a while. In fact, it’s quite common to see some of these properties with the original kitchen and appliances still in use! Even though some of these original features may be kept in immaculate condition, you’ll likely wish to update the space and make it YOURS.


This is where most folks have trouble looking past the old and outdated features in a home, and envisioning their finished product. Even seasoned renovators can get thrown off by a particularly ugly paint color or awkward feature. I do my best to help my customers see the potential in homes as we walk through them, pointing out the features that could be easily updated at minimal cost. You’ll be surprised at how small changes can make a huge difference in improving the overall look and feel of the home.

I’ve found that before and after photos of other home renovations help people to open their minds, and see the Sea of Possibilities! Below, I’ve included a few examples of before and after photos that I share with customers and an explanation of what changes the homeowners made to update the space and make it fit their needs.

Before & After

Home Improvements on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Let’s start with the easiest update you can make in one of the most important rooms in the house… Your bedroom! In the example below, you can see that furniture arrangements, paint and lighting make all the difference in helping a space feel larger.

Before, the headboard on the bed was covering the window, thus eliminating some of the natural light flowing into the room, which made the room appear darker and more enclosed. Simply changing around the furniture, updating the window shutters and applying a fresh coat of paint helped make this bedroom feel more spacious, at little cost to the owner. Again, minor changes can dramatically improve any room.

Sanibel Home Improvements

Another example comes from the same property. As you can see, the owners also updated the Great Room without making huge renovations. They updated the space with island-style furniture, replaced wall-to-wall carpeting with light tiles, and replaced a few fixtures such as the tropical “palm leaf” ceiling fan.

A fresh coat of paint, with a pop of “red” really help to liven up the space. The inclusion of a large, white built-in shelving unit adds character to the room, creating a cozy and casual atmosphere. You don’t have to be an interior decorator folks! There are plenty of great resources to get you started, such as Coastal Living Magazine and HGTV Magazine, which have great decorating tips for a number of different tastes.

Sanibel Home Improvements

Speaking of living rooms, I get excited when I walk into a home on Sanibel or Captiva and see the potential to accentuate the beautiful views outside. I’m not just talking about waterfront views, though of course that’s an extremely desirable feature. However, golf course and nature views are just as pretty and important to showcase in a home here on Sanibel and Captiva.

The home below underwent more renovation than just a few furniture updates here and there, however, it’s a great example of how to highlight one of the best features in your house – the view! The homeowners replaced the original hand-crank windows with large sliding glass doors to provide unobstructed views. Removal of the pool cage also helps bring the view inside. Of course you can see they’ve made other changes, such as opening the space to the kitchen and laying down beautiful new flooring. These renovations greatly improved the appearance and value of this ground-level home.

Sanibel Home Improvements

Last but not least, our before and after photos would be incomplete without kitchen renovations! Below, we can see that updating kitchen appliances, cabinets, counters and lighting makes all the difference. For instance, replacing the black appliances with new stainless steal ones greatly improved this kitchen.

This kitchen is a good example of contrasting darker colored counter tops with light-colored cabinets. The contrast helps to break up the space, which as you can see in the after image below, makes the space feel larger.

QUICK TIP: Don’t rip out old kitchen cabinets that are still in good condition. Instead, try painting the old cabinets, changing their color and bringing new life to the space.

Sanibel Home Improvements

On a larger scale, this kitchen underwent similar updates as the one above, including new appliances, cabinets and countertops. As you can see, the kitchen in the before photo feels enclosed with the same sand-colored wood paneling throughout the room. The updated kitchen shows a fresh coat of white paint over the original paneling is accented nicely with new cabinets, and a colorful tile backsplash is used to “break up” the colors within the space while keeping the counters light and bright. Nicely Done!

Sanibel Home Improvements

How To Update YOUR Space

Like I said, some of these home improvements were as simple as a few furniture updates and fresh coat of paint, while others took some more work to alter the existing structure and fixtures within the space. But all in all, it’s easier than you think to improve the appearance and feel of some of Sanibel and Captiva’s older and outdated properties. You can turn any property into your own space, all you need is a VISION. 

We’re happy to help you with your vision, and making it become a reality. In fact, we provide our buyers with a list of recommended vendors to help with projects of any size. Our list includes anyone from interior decorators to help update with colors, layout and furnishings, to builders and contractors who can help you with total home renovations. The companies on our list have been used and recommended by our clients – so you can rest assure, knowing we’re recommending quality people to get the job done.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are looking for a recommendation now!

Susan McCallion About Susan McCallion

Meet "Your Favorite Redhead." Susan was exposed to real estate while young with her parent's 8 Re/MAX offices in Connecticut! In 2008, Susan and Jim became permanent Sanibel residents, starting McCallion & McCallion to bring a fresh approach to real estate.