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How One Family Transformed a Collapsing House into a Dream Home

Hello! As a mother of two in her 40s and a homemaker with a decade of parenting experience, I cherish my time at home. I enjoy housekeeping and am keenly interested in interior design and landscaping. For me, tidying up and decorating my house is a therapeutic escape from the weariness of parenting.

My hard-working husband runs a 24-hour gimbap restaurant, and I have self-proclaimed “eccentric” daughters aged ten and five. We have lived through the challenging times of the pandemic. Trapped in our apartment in the world on pause, we yearned for an escape and set out to find a countryside home that could bring us closer to nature.

Given the practical necessity of staying close to our eldest’s school and tutoring center, we opted for a second home to enjoy our weekends and school holidays in solitude. It has been two years since we embarked on this journey. It gives me great pleasure to introduce our countryside home, which has been transformed into a personal retreat for creating family memories.

Home Details

  • A single-family house
  • Land: 495 sq. meters (about 5,381 sq ft), Building: 76 sq. meters (about 759 sq ft)
  • Roof replacement, exterior wall construction, structural reinforcement, and complete interior remodeling
  • Costs: Approximately 80 million won (excluding garden landscaping) (about $67,000)

The Remodeling Journey


The home had been abandoned for a while when we first came upon it, making it look nearly like a ruin. The interior was so lonely that I felt uncomfortable even taking photos before the remodeling. There wasn’t a single aspect of its exterior that I liked.

However, when we first visited the house at the end of November, I was very drawn to the way sunshine showered the yard, which was about the right size—neither too big nor too small. The view of the mountains from the yard and the stone walls scattered throughout the village resonated deeply with my emotions. Ultimately, we decided to renovate the house, which involved buying the bamboo grove behind it. As a result, we purchased a run-down home with a building space of 76 sq. meters (roughly 759 square feet) on 1322 sq. meters (approximately 13,514 square feet) of land. Inspired by the sunny yard, we named the house “HaegaBit,” a pure Korean word meaning “where the sun shines.”

| The House, Rafters, and Loft

When we began the demolition for remodeling, we were surprised to find the rafters under the interior ceiling in pristine and beautiful condition, fulfilling our dream of preserving them. However, our children were so enamored with having a loft that we decided to remove some of the rafters to create the loft space they desired.

Reflecting on it now, I sometimes regret not preserving the rafters and keeping the house as a single-story instead of adding a loft. Significant disagreements and communication breakdowns during building the loft’s staircase resulted in higher expenses and the necessity to redo a large portion of the work. Despite these challenges, the kids love having their own room in the loft. Ultimately, we’ve produced a house that makes everyone happy by respecting the original rafters and offering the delight of a loft.

Exploring the Spaces

| Exteriors

The most significant change to the house’s exterior was the replacement of container walls with brick for durability, complemented by a black roof that added gravitas. We also built a deck with camping chairs, creating a cozy spot to enjoy the yard.

| Entryway

Entering the house, you are met by an inviting entryway with lights, a mirror, and wood-toned storage.

| Living Room

We designed our “HaegaBit” house with a book café in mind. We aimed to create a space where we could curl up with a cup of coffee or tea and read a book anywhere. The arrangement of seats, couch tables, and bookshelves around the room provides leisure and relaxation.

In the living room, we utilized an immovable pillar as a space divider, arranging a table space on the left and a cozy area to enjoy the large window on the right. Combining a full-frontal bookshelf with a wood-toned desk creates the serene atmosphere of a quaint café.

This is the area on the right of the pillar. My husband and I, together with our children, can freely sit down to read books and share delicious treats. We make the living room enjoyable and relaxing, almost like visiting our own café.

| Kitchen

The kitchen is not a living space, so I made it simple. Since it’s well-ventilated, I didn’t install a hood. I was worried that bugs might come in through the hood since we live in the countryside. In the two years we’ve lived here, not having a hood hasn’t been inconvenient; in fact, it’s made the space around the kitchen sink look cleaner.

The kitchen interior is decorated with a wood-toned cabinet that goes well with the rafters, emphasizing a cozy atmosphere. Since this is a second house, there aren’t many kitchen items. I hung kitchen shelves in the available space and displayed my favorite teacups. A wood-toned cabinet that complements the rafters in the kitchen interior emphasizes its cozy atmosphere. This is a second house, so there aren’t many kitchen items. I hung kitchen shelves and displayed my favorite teacups in the available area.

| Bedroom

The bedroom will be the next I’d like to show you. I debated whether to keep the rafters in this room, too, but I covered them in the bedroom because I wanted to create a warm atmosphere and thought it might be disorienting to gaze at the rafters when lying in bed.

The bedroom has been expanded into a portion of the living room to provide additional space. Here, I usually read books and sip tea. When I sleep with the kids, we all put down a topper to sleep together.

| Mezzanine

This is a mezzanine space, which is the children’s hideout. The yellow walls give it an even more cozy and warm feeling.

Since the kids truly desired this area, I arranged it to be an excellent place for them to play. The kids enjoy drawing artwork on the table in front of the window.

| Bathroom

This is the bathroom of our second house. I made it dry so that the children can use it easily.

I had initially wanted to install a brick tub, but I had to give up on this dream due to cost constraints and communication issues with the contractor. Instead, I installed a slightly larger tub. Thanks to this, my children always enjoy playing in the water-filled tub whenever they come here.

| Yard

This house’s yard was the perfect size for the little, intimate garden I’ve always desired. I’ve planted, relocated, and killed a lot of plants and trees in the last two years, but I believe I’ve learned a little bit about creating a garden where various flowers bloom throughout the year.

The main mood-makers in our home are the big cornus and plum trees on one side of the yard; everything else, including the other trees, flowers, grass, and stone pathways, is my own self-landscaping. Everything was planted, tended to, and relocated by myself. As a result, the garden and yard, bathed in sunlight, are gradually becoming more lovely after many trials and errors by a novice gardener.

As a result, everyone who passes by our house comments on how lovely it is. When the children come to the countryside house, they spend a lot of time playing in the yard before going inside, so they are more familiar than their peers with the names of the flowers that bloom at different times of the year. I think that is the happiness of a homeowner with a yard.

The side is used as a mini camping site, and the backyard has a view of the bamboo forest.

Wrapping up my housewarming party

더 많은 정보 알아보기 (▲ 이미지 클릭)

I consider the house to be my workplace, buddy, and haven. I spend a lot of time working for my family at home. A clean and organized house makes me feel comfortable, like a good friend, allowing me to take comfort and read a book or drink tea. It doesn’t pull me up, even if I lie down, because I feel tired and can’t stand up. The comfort of such a home gives me the strength to get back up again after confronting the outside world daily. I want to create a home like that for my children, so I am busy taking care of two homes today.

Thank everyone who has toured our house. I hope you all have a warm day.

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