The Modern Split

The Modern Split

Split Level Homes Have Potential

… to be amazing!

This house came to us by word of mouth, actually, through one of our friends. The house was her parent’s: the place she grew up and called home. As one of 6 children, our friend shared memories of her joyful, busy, and boisterous childhood. The walls of their house told it’s story; and during the pre-purchase walkthrough we witnessed it for ourselves. Mrs. R apologized profusely for the mess. There were boxes of kids crafts and games throughout the home. Each carpet stain seemed to tell a story: precious moments. Despite the fact that this house needed a good amount of work and updating, to me, it wasn’t so much about the house as it was about home. Home is where your family is, where memories are made and this home was beautiful.


carpet stains living room before renovation


After making them a cash offer, allowing us to buy their home as-is, they didn’t know where to go next. Uriah is licensed Broker, so he showed them several houses until, at last, they found it. Closing on the date of their choice made the transition extremely smooth and now this family is happily settled and making new memories in their new place. We still keep in touch today.

The Work Begins

Almost immediately, we decided to remove walls.

… to the engineer’s specifications, of course.

how to remove wall open layout

Demo day is always fun

demo day renovation tear down walls open living

The Entry

In an attempt to create functional spaces, we installed these built-in’s just inside the entry.

builtins entry split level raleigh

After Built-in Install at Entry

Finished Product – Drop Zone at Entry

Living / Kitchen / Dining

Opening the rooms to each other, removing divisions of space, result in a larger feel. The base molding got a nice upgrade in this room as we went with the 8 inch option. Is anybody else in love with that honey comb entry light? It gives me all the feels.


We re-worked the stair treads so they come straight out rather than turning, as you see here:

awkward stairs

The order of images below resembles the existing layout with the dining room on the left, kitchen on the right and a wall dividing the two spaces. Of course, that wall came down, too.

Kitchen/Dining After

We did everything in our power to maximize the functionality of this tiny kitchen: upgrading to drawers where ever possible, including a trash bin drawer. Unfortunately there wasn’t any room for a pantry or pantry cabinet. (we paid for that later – big mistake) To compensate, we installed additional cabinetry on the back end of the island.

Kitchen After

modern kitchen grey herringbone pattern chevron marble quartz

The Most Beautiful Backsplash

We mixed metals in the design of this kitchen, incorporating matte black and antique brass into both light fixtures and the clean-lined modern cabinet hardware. Sparkling white quartz with a waterfall island edge was a major splurge in this amazing kitchen reno. I think I’m still drooling over it. You?

The Master

The Master suite had a face lift, too!

In keeping with the mixed metal theme, antique brass mirrors mixed with these matte black sconces pair nicely with the grey niche tile in the master shower and dark grey slate tile on the floor.

Master Bathroom After

Don’t mind the lack of decorative pillows, someone else decided they liked them and took them home … rude.

Master Bedroom After

Hall Bath

For this hall bath, the vanity and toilet swapped places and we turned the vanity against the adjacent wall. This made the space feel bigger.

Hall Bath Before

Hall Bath After – The “hi” sign should always go over the toilet.


The lower level of this split held another living room, office, laundry, and bathroom. The versatility of this downstairs space was endless.

Oh hey, what’s up Bessy.

Downstairs Den After

home office modern split level flipping houses raleigh

Home Office Space

Please excuse my bad handwriting – I’m working on it.

basement bathroom how to flipping houses

Basement Bathroom Before

Let me just tell you about this bathroom. It was small to begin with, but it just kept getting smaller and smaller! In order to properly water proof and bring the basement square footage up to code, we had to frame so far away from the exterior wall, there was hardly enough room for the toilet! Thankfully, it all worked out.

modern bathroom remodel mixing . metals subway tile vessel sink wayfair industrial reclaimed wood

Basement Bathroom After

One of my favorite things about this bathroom, design wise, is the vanity. It was a custom made by a local woodworker and the wood is from a tobacco barn right here in North Carolina! Additionally, I love how financially practical the materials are in here. Subway tile is one of the cheapest tiles you can find, penny tile was only used on the floor and niche, and the mirror, light, and vessel sink are from Wayfair!


Time to move to the outside! Let’s see what changes occurred on the exterior of the Modern Split.

Back of House Before


Back of House After


Carport and Deck Before


Carport and Deck After

Deck After – Sense a Theme?

Last but not least, the front!


The Modern Split Front Elevation After

The Modern Split was a massive project, but we were grateful to have had opportunity to take it on and hope it honored the family we bought it from. The renovation lasted 6 long months, but it was worth it to produce this beautiful home for our local real estate market.

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  1. Jessica

    Amazing job!!!! I have to ask how you redid the outside? Did you limewash the brick?

    • katelynndortch

      Hi Jessica! You may! But no, no limewash here. Just paint. 25% of French Grey by SW to be exact 😉

  2. Katie

    What type of siding did you go with on the exterior? We have to replace our cedar siding. We are torn between getting cedar again vs. getting a Hardie board type siding.

    The house looks amazing! So glad to find some split level inspiration!

    Thanks 🙂

    • katelynndortch

      Hi Katie! Oh, I love cedar. We went with Hardie Board. You could still do accents of cedar, depending on the style of the house!

      Glad you like the split level renovation! It was our first SL Flip and we love how it turned out. 🙂 Really appreciate your comment <3

  3. Austin Mansfield

    I love that you all took on a split level and didn’t take away the ‘split’ look!! I know you mentioned the brick was 25% french gray– is it safe to assume the remaining 75% was water?

    More so.. I love the color on the Hardie Board. Did it come from the manufacturer pre-finished or is this a SW color as well?


    • katelynndortch

      Hi Austin,

      Thank you for your comment and for appreciating our spin on this split-level reno 🙂 In answer to your paint question… No they add 25% of the color to the base of the paint at the paint store. If you wanted to do something like this, say at Sherwin Williams, you would pick a paint can for the appropriate application (indoor / outdoor) and finish (semi-gloss, satin, etc.) then take your paint swab of choice (usually this will be a dark color that you want a lighter / complimenting shade to) and tell them you’d like 25% of that color. Hope that helps!

      The Hardie board was actually just primed when we bought it (a yellow-ish color), not prefinished.

  4. Paula Bickham

    Hi! All I can say is wow, what a fantastic job on conceptualizing what the house could be and restoring it to functional space. I was raised in a split level home. My parents died recently and I have to decide to either remodel or let it go as is. Your amazing and beautiful outcome is very impressive and giving me ideas for what I might do if I keep the house or remodel for resale. I live in WV and this style house is everywhere in our valley. Thank you. I bet it went quick on the market. Good luck with future flips!

    • katelynndortch

      Thank you Paula! It was hard to find inspiration with this one because split levels, in my opinion, are a bit difficult to get to look attractive to the majority of buyers. (they are generally harder to sell) I’m so sorry to hear about your parents – I know that can’t be easy. Part of what we love is to continue the legacy of the families we buy houses from and bring the home back to life. I hope you are able to do that. We would, but we don’t work in West Virginia. Wishing you the best <3

  5. Paula Bickham

    What is the name of the backsplash you used in th kitchen? Thank you!

    • katelynndortch

      It’s called Dart White Carrera and Thassos by Ivy Hill Tile, purchased from Home Depot. Hope that helps!

  6. Bev

    Hi did you do anything different with the overhang – extra trim or just fresh white paint besides replacing the columns? We are trying to rennovate our exterior split as a DIY for budget reasons (Paint/change out columns ) -so all help is appreciated – would love your advise on ours- its slightly different on the outside than this one.

    • katelynndortch

      Hi Bev!

      This house already had a fairly good sized overhang, so we did not add to it, just replaced what was rotten, caulked and painted with fresh white trim. For the columns we simply wrapped the existing ones in the wood you see. 🙂 hope that helps!

  7. Chrsitne Cates

    Wow! Beautiful transformation! Can you give me any information on the front door? I think this had the greatest impact! Gorgeous!

  8. Paul Smith

    How about the Chimney Wrap? I was kinda hoping for a better before and after pic of the chimney. Is it just framed and then sided with Hardie board?

  9. Annika K

    Lovely! I have a split but the kind with a 1 car garage under the 2 story part. You home looks a lot larger- do you know the year it was built and the SF’s esp in the kitchen/dining/lr? I love that it has a master bath… that is SUPER! GREAT reno!!

  10. Brie Miller

    I know you have mentioned 25% French grey for the brick- is it the same color for the siding? Love this look and about to paint our split next month.

    • katelynndortch

      The siding was French Grey by SW 🙂


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