Woodland Heights Renovation

Just over a month ago, I helped Christof and Megan buy an amazing house in Woodland Heights.  Now they are in the middle of doing what many of us dream about: a diamond in the rough foreclosure, a great neighborhood, and major renovation plans.

Click on photo to learn how this house also provided sheep for a family in Kyrgyzstan

I asked Christof about the process of going through a major renovation.  Here, he shares his answers and unveils the master plan for the house.

Christof & Megan with their incredibly cute and well-behaved daughter

MeWhat was it about this house that made you decide to buy it over all the other houses for sale in Richmond?

Christof: This house had, by far, the most character per dollar of any house we saw during our house-hunting process. Also, the curved wraparound porch, and beautiful old Sycamore were selling factors.


MeTell us about the process of re-designing so many aspects of the house… Why did you decide to add the bathroom downstairs and change the floorplan the way you did?  What were your priorities (maximize space/resale value/personal needs/historic integrity)?

Christof: The rationale for introducing a powder room in the center of the ground floor was a necessary, balancing, response to our decision to take out the old, full bath next to the kitchen. It didn’t make much sense for us to have a full bath on the first floor anyway, it needed tons of work, and we wanted space for a pantry… so we pulled it out.


Original Floor Plan

Renovation Floor Plan

Floor plans shown above are courtesy of Brian Ward, general contractor on this project and owner of Greenleaf Renovations.

Christof: Our priorities all along have fairly focused on livability. So many people view their homes through the lens of resale value. We’re not taking that approach. We knew we wanted a walk-in pantry, open kitchen, large island, and smooth flow from the living room through the dining room to the kitchen. Our secondary concern was historical integrity. We’ve purchased old pine lumber to replace any holes in the wood floor, used reclaimed wood for as much framing as possible, and decided to restore the porch to its original glory with a railing and spindles to recapture some of the romance of the original Victorian look.



Me: What have been some of the biggest challenges to this point?

Christof: Some of the biggest challenges have been getting the yard in order. The huge Sycamore and surrounding vegetation cost a lot more to handle than we thought. But, on the other hand, now that they’re all trimmed up it’s much more exciting and beautifying than we expected so it all evens out.


MeWhat part of the house are you most excited about?

Christof: The most exciting part of the house right now is the kitchen. It looks like it’s just going to be awesome.  There are three additional areas that keep our minds spinning at night. The first is the possibility of fully restoring the wraparound porch. This has the potential to add value to the home and make the home much more useable for entertaining. Secondly, we are excited about the possibility of adding a second-floor balcony off of the guest bedroom/study. This is definitely one of those “aim for the moon” concepts right now, but it’s still within the realms of possibility and so… we keep dreaming. Third thing would be the “loft” – aka attic. We would like to finish it off and are preparing the space for additional work after we move in.


Great attic space just waiting to turn into living space

New Master Bedroom closet framed out


If you are thinking of buying or selling your Woodland Heights/Westover Hills home, contact me!  I live in the neighborhood… know it, love it, and I’m excited to help you with all things Real Estate.

Keep visiting the blog for more updates on the progress of this home in the coming weeks!

Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Compass Realty. He gives a microloan to somebody in a developing country every time someone in Richmond buys or sells their home with him.  Learn why here.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com


  1. lovely home! what a fun project they have on their hands!!

  2. Who’s the contractor?

  3. Brian Ward from Greenleaf Renovations is the contractor and he comes highly recommended.

  4. BEAUTIFUL house!! I can’t wait to see photos of the finished project!

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