Graffiti kitchen 7

This view of the kitchen shows the three red pendant lights, several of the five canned lights (the original kitchen had only two lights, one over the sink and a chandelier) and the black glass tile on the front of the island. (Photo by Larry Fisher/QUAD-CITY TIMES)

Larry Fisher

Whoever said you can’t tell a house by its cover could have had Ruby Phillips’ home in mind.

Built in 1960, it is the 900-square-foot Bettendorf ranch house in which she grew up. After her parents passed away in 2009 and 2012, respectively, she purchased it, but with the aim of making it her own, a reflection of her own personality.

 “As much as I loved my parents, I didn’t want to feel like I was taking over their lives,” she explained.

So she set about redoing the house, and the inside is quite different from what it used to be.

Walk in the front door and the space that was once the living room and kitchen with a wall between them is now one large area.

The floor is contemporary stranded bamboo planking, with bright colors on the walls and funky details such as the refrigerator painted by a graffiti artist. (We learned about Phillips’ home when we put out the call in January for colorful appliances.)

Some ideas were hers and some came from Dean Kugler of Red Box Design, a Davenport design-build firm known for its contemporary, often-surprising looks.

The makeover is an inspiration for anyone wanting to shake things up a bit. And it was done on a budget.

The major change was removing the wall between the living room and kitchen, “so it didn’t look so small and dark,” Phillips said. After that, she re-did everything — new ceiling, floor, paint colors, kitchen cabinets, appliances, lighting, the works. She chose stranded bamboo flooring because it is sturdier than hardwood.

Another change was the installation of wider molding, finished in white, and new white doors.

Although the overall idea was hers, she was happy to get Kugler’s help and recommends consulting a professional. People who work in home-building have a greater knowledge of what materials are available, how to put them together, what works and what doesn’t work, and space needs, she said.

“It was fun to work with somebody who could help me this way,” she added.