AFTER: 823 Cordova St.

BEFORE/ Single Hollywood Heights resident Wim Bens moves into in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom 1,400-square-foot Neo-colonial style home built in the 1930s. Inside the house are two closets, about 2 square feet each, which is “fine for a bachelor with three pairs of shoes,” he says.

AFTER/ Over the last few years, Wim Bens formed two special relationships. First and foremost, he met Brenda, who worked in the Orlando, Fla., branch of his company, TracyLocke. “We dated long distance for a while, but luckily she got a promotion and moved to an apartment on Gaston.”

When they decided to marry and move into Wim’s home, they also committed to a lofty remodeling project that would give them more space. That’s where the second relationship, with Lakewood-based Bella Vista Company, came in. “We talked to several remodeling companies, and when it came time for Bella Vista to show us their work, instead of showing us a brochure, they put us in the car and took us to see three projects they had completed within a block of us. We were sold.”

BEFORE: 823 Cordova St.

The Benses’ remodeling project took about 5 months, Brenda says, during which time they lived in her apartment. They added 1,200 square feet, including a second floor with a master bedroom, master bathroom, master closet (which is “ginormous”, Wim says) and a living room. “While we [were] at it (the most dangerous words in remodeling, Wim notes) we replaced the decks, doors and windows and added a patio; we widened the archways and, obviously, added the stairs.”

They also added some new flooring (because when else are you going to have all the furniture cleared from the floors, Wim asks), and Bella Vista did a great job melding the old and new elements in the home, he says. “The 80-year-old wood blends seamlessly with the 4-year-old wood, for example,” Wim says.

The couple, who married at the Dallas Arboretum about a year ago, have one cat and no children, but they need the added space because they both have “space-intensive hobbies,” Brenda says. She runs a jewelry company ( and he is a brewer (

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