Jeff and I purchased a duplex in Central Tacoma last year with plans to renovate the property and occupy one of the units.  Originally built as a single family home in 1900, this American Foursquare was subsequently converted into a duplex, likely in the 1940s.  The building was in serious disrepair when we purchased it so we had to take it down to the studs before starting the renovation.

Duplex Renovation in Central Tacoma – Before and After
Part 2: Upper Unit

The scope of work ultimately included significant foundation work, a new roof, all new plumbing and electrical, new HVAC, new drywall and insulation, new fixtures, new finishes and major structural repairs to the garage.  It was a lot, but we finally finished the project earlier this year and wanted to share some before and after photos.

Exterior Updates

To recreate the original look of the house, we resized the windows, added shutters and chose a crisp and classic exterior paint scheme.  We also replaced the roof and gutters, moved the downspout to the corner of the house and added a fence to create private outdoor space for the downstairs unit.

Again, to recreate the original look of the house, we brought the front doors back in line with the front façade.  We also added a fenced deck over the ground floor bump out on the back of the house (not original) to make it feel more integrated.

Interior Updates

The upper unit has been completely updated with new hardwood floors, new wood replacement windows, new millwork and new fixtures.  This is the living room.

All new kitchen with quartz counters, stainless appliances and subway tile backsplash.

A French door in the kitchen upstairs used to lead onto the roof of the ground floor bump out.  No railing and only a ladder for access to the ground.  We added a proper deck with stairs to the back yard.  We also enlarged the kitchen to create a small eating area.

This is the deck that we added off the kitchen of the upper unit with stairs down to the back yard.


The bedroom in the upper unit features new hardwood floors, new lighting, new millwork and new window treatments.

The bathroom in the upper unit has been completely updated.

The shared laundry area has been completely updated.  It’s accessible from the ground floor unit directly or from the back yard (for use by the occupants of the upstairs unit).

More Exterior Updates

The two car garage has been completely rebuilt with a new roof and new siding.  The concrete driveway is new as well.


We added new fencing to create a private back yard with new landscaping and concrete work.  The stairs lead to the upper unit deck.  The French door leads to the shared laundry room on the lower level.

We’re planning to submit the property for inclusion on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places.  One of the benefits of inclusion on the register would be a 10 year abatement on our property taxes, but it’s also a great way to honor and protect the architectural integrity of the structure.

Mark Pinto is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere Chambers Bay, specializing in residential real estate in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, University Place and Lakewood.

Mark Pinto: (253) 318-0923

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