Renovation Raiders: Stealth Remodeling

See how Amy Matthews and her crew beat the clock and take rooms from drab to fab in these exclusive before-and-after and behind-the-scenes photos.

  • Renovation Raiders: The Mission

    Here's the premise: In HGTV's Renovation Raiders, licensed contractor Amy Matthews and her crew of expert accomplices undertake total room makeovers that are themselves challenging enough. But to make things more interesting, there are two additional challenges: (1) In each renovation, one of the homeowners is unaware that the makeover is taking place and is in for a big surprise, and (2) to pull off the big surprise, the entire remodel must be completed in just one evening, while the homeowners are dining out.

  • Renovation Raiders: The Dream Team

    The Renovation Raiders crew includes team leader Amy Matthews, licensed contractor Jim Huber, and a team of construction and installation specialists chosen for their individual skills.

  • Renovation Raiders: \"The Boss\"

    Amy Matthews is the team leader and mastermind behind each \"renovation raid.\" Here Amy does some materials prep work at the team's warehouse headquarters in the pre-build phase for a basement-to-library conversion.

  • Renovation Raiders: \"The Fixer\"

    As co-conspirator and right-hand man, licensed contractor Jim Huber plays a critical role in each \"raid and remodel.\" Here, at the warehouse headquarters, Jim distresses a portion of a wood mantel for use in a rustic living room makeover.

  • Renovation Raiders: The HQ

    In a Mission: Impossible-style covert operation, the Renovation Raiders crew does strategy and prep work at their warehouse headquarters. The makeovers are done in a super-compressed time frame, i.e., a full room renovation in just a few hours. As such, the job has to be pre-planned to the most miniscule detail and executed with speed and precision. Practice and planning takes place here.

  • Timing, Precision and Plenty of Muscle

    A scale replica of each space to be converted first gets mocked up in the warehouse so that the crew can work out all the details of the remodel before they arrive at the actual space.

  • Basement Makeover: \"The Mark\" and \"The Accomplice\"

    Amy Matthews poses with homeowners Jeff and Karen Cavett in their newly renovated basement library. Jeff, who was \"the mark\" in this particular caper, is an English teacher and book aficionado who always wanted a home library. Jeff's wife Karen conspired with the Renovation Raiders crew to give him the office and library he had wanted for years. Karen's job was to take Jeff to dinner to keep him occupied while the room renovation took place. Total time allotted for this remodel: five hours.

  • Basement Makeover: Before

    In their reconnaissance prior to the remodel, Renovation Raiders Amy Matthews and Jim Huber found quite a challenge with this 600-square-foot basement space that was drab, sparsely furnished and poorly utilized.

  • Basement Makeover: After

    After the remodel, the basement houses a new office/library that includes these built-in bookshelves, painted in a muted green and attractively lit. The shelves were constructed as discrete modules so that they could be arranged and installed quickly within the team's incredibly tight time deadline.

  • Basement Makeover: Before

    In order to convert this space into a new living area and library within the span of five hours, the remodel was broken down into individually timed construction phases, with little or no room for error.

  • Basement Makeover: After

    The new basement living area features a flagstone fireplace with gas logs and flat-screen TV mounted and framed above the mantel. An exposed-wood archway, comfortable seating and casual but sturdy furnishings all help give the space a welcoming and informal feel designed to suggest the atmosphere of an English pub.

  • Basement Makeover: Before

    What had been originally intended as a \"library\" was, in reality, little more than this prefab shelf unit tucked away in an alcove, and stacks of books scattered elsewhere about the basement.

  • Basement Makeover: After

    The new library bookshelves offer ample space to attractively house an impressive book collection. The custom wall of shelves incorporates a pivoting section, replacing a door that was located here previously and allowing access to a concealed storage area.

  • Basement Makeover: Before

    In the basement's living area, the arrangement and spacing of the furniture is not conducive to TV viewing, entertaining or family conversation. In the awkwardly arranged space, homeowners Jeff and Karen often sat across the room from one another while watching TV.

  • Basement Makeover: After

    The new seating arrangement brings family and guests closer together where they can enjoy a much cozier and friendlier space.

  • Basement Makeover: Before

    What was nominally the home-office portion of the basement contained this lone desk and little else. The desk served mainly as a place to stack clutter.

  • Basement Makeover: After

    The finished work area incorporates a more stylized desk and coordinating chair. Recessed spots highlight the new built-in shelves and their contents along with the new wood floor and green and yellow motif. The new desk is on casters so that it can easily be moved aside, giving the space more flexibility.

  • Co-Conspirators

    Host Amy Matthews and contractor Jim Huber take a moment to reflect on their handiwork in the Cavetts' newly remodeled basement.

  • Redo in Blue: The Homeowners

    Newlyweds Amanda and Jeremiah Rangel wanted to have a living room and dining room that suited their lifestyle and their aesthetic as a couple. An underlying objective was to create a relaxing space that's free of media-related distractions: no TV, no A/V system, no computers. For this Renovation Raiders makeover, Amanda was charged with keeping Jeremiah out of the house while a major renovation was (unbeknownst to Jeremiah) taking place.

  • Redo in Blue: Living Room, Before

    Amanda wanted to surprise Jeremiah with a living space that they could both be proud of. Before the renovation, the living room was lackluster, the furniture was worn and hand-me-down, and the mustard-colored walls were bare and in need of fresh paint. Enter the Renovation Raiders.

  • Redo in Blue: Living Room, After

    The re-imagined living room is a calming oasis. The walls are painted in a tranquil blue and the end wall and fireplace are reworked in a rustic treatment. New furniture, an area rug and accents tie the elements together thematically.

  • Redo in Blue: Living Room, Before

    The supreme challenge with this makeover — aside from completing it in the span of a few hours — was the reworking of a load-bearing wall, replacing it with an open staircase. A temporary support wall had to be pre-built off-site in sections and brought in to provide the necessary stability during the rebuild.

  • Redo in Blue: Living Room, After

    Where there was once a solid wall, now there is an open staircase that dramatically opens up the space and allows the living area to merge visually with the adjacent dining room.

  • Redo in Blue: Living Room, Before

    The Rangels' cat may have enjoyed this living room but, for human inhabitants and guests, the space left a bit to be desired. The fireplace, which had once been wood-burning, had been modified with an electric-heat insert. Functional, perhaps, but not very romantic.

  • Redo in Blue: Living Room, After

    The new space features retro-fitted window trim and all-new window treatments. The fireplace is restored so that it is once again wood-burning and is upgraded with a free-hanging mantel and cleaner look.

  • Redo in Blue: Living Room, Before

    Guests entering the Rangel home via the front door were in for a less-than-stellar first impression.

  • Redo in Blue: Living Room, After

    The renovated living room is visually striking and the newly opened-up space is welcoming and ideally suited for entertaining.

  • Redo in Blue: Dining Room, Before

    The dining room was seldom used for its intended purpose. The table was too big for the space and remained pushed to one side.

  • Redo in Blue: Dining Room, After

    To tie the living room and dining room together, both areas had carpeting removed and replaced with wood floors throughout. The dark-stained floors provide an attractive contrast that offsets the walls and trim.

  • Redo in Blue: Dining Room, Before

    The little-used dining room was essentially wasted space and contributed to the disjointed feel of the home.

  • Redo in Blue: Dining Room, After

    The newly remodeled dining room is a natural extension of the remodeled and redecorated living room, and is both functional and beautiful.

  • Renovation Raiders or Reservoir Dogs?

    Amy Matthews, Jim Huber and the Renovation Raiders crew are prepped and ready for their next undercover reno. The mission this time around is a new kitchen for a new mom.

  • Renovation Raiders Behind the Scenes

    The cameras roll as Amy and electrician Tim Snyder discuss the placement of the new water and electrical lines for the kitchen remodel. When finished, the design for this kitchen — which Amy describes as country chic — will blend traditional and contemporary elements and evoke a relaxed, Southern feel.

  • Renovation Raiders Behind the Scenes

    Renovation Raiders Ed Mauer, Amy Matthews and Andy Corbin lift out an old granite countertop during demolition of the old kitchen.

  • Renovation Raiders Behind the Scenes

    Jim Huber does some caulking and cleanup after installing a new kitchen backsplash.

  • Renovation Raiders Behind the Scenes

    Amy does some touchup work on a new paneled wall installed as part of the kitchen makeover.

  • Tick ... Tick ... Tick

    In a timed practice run for the actual remodel — staged in a scale model of the real kitchen — the clock winds down as Amy Matthews and designer Kara Wheeler add accent pieces and final touches in the country-chic kitchen.

  • Country-Chic Kitchen Conversion: Before

    Stephanie Angolkar is a new mom and a hard-working attorney. With a new baby, the Angolkars' home improvement ambitions — of which this dated kitchen is a top priority — have been put on hold. Stephanie's husband, Milind, conspires with the Renovation Raiders to surprise Stephanie with an amazing new kitchen.

  • Country-Chic Kitchen Conversion: After

    Dark-stained cabinets replace the outdated cabinetry. The kitchen's adjacent dining area adds new wood paneling and bench seats painted crisp white.

  • Country-Chic Kitchen Conversion: Before

    Lime-green wall paint, a dated chandelier and a dinette set placed in the middle of the room are just some of the elements that are on their way out as part of this kitchen makeover.

  • Country-Chic Kitchen Conversion: After

    The new seating area, placed away from the main kitchen workspace, offers a more relaxed space for dining. White fabric slipcovers for the chairs coordinate with the white wood paneling and drapes.

  • Country-Chic Kitchen Conversion: Before

    A linoleum floor from a bygone era, drab window curtains and old granite countertops have the homeowners dreaming of better things.

  • Country-Chic Kitchen Conversion: After

    The bold contrast of the dark cabinets with white quartz countertops, white subway tile and spring-green wall paint makes for a cleaner and crisper look in the newly remodeled kitchen.

  • Country-Chic Kitchen Conversion: Before

    The old kitchen space suffered from the triple threat of a poorly laid out workspace, dated appliances and a drab appearance.

  • Country-Chic Kitchen Conversion: After

    Replacing and relocating the appliances freed up this wall, adding to the new kitchen's more open and airy feel.

  • Country-Chic Kitchen Conversion: After

    The redesigned kitchen offers cleaner lines, superior ergonomics and a look that effectively combines the traditional with the modern.

  • Details, Details

    New farmhouse sconces in a vintage style contribute to the rustic and relaxed feel in the remodeled kitchen's dining area.

  • Details, Details

    Coordinating farmhouse pendant fixtures provide ample lighting for the kitchen proper.

  • Details, Details

    Paring down cooking utensils to a few readily accessible essentials can help simplify both functionality and storage in a streamlined kitchen.

  • Details, Details

    The built-in bench seating painted in stark white is augmented by well-chosen, colorful accent pillows and seat covers that tie in with the dominant spring-green color.

  • Details, Details

    The white subway tile and quartz countertops pop against the dark wood cabinets. A few well-coordinated kitchen accessories bring the little touches that complete the look.

  • Country-Chic Kitchen Conversion: After

    Formidable deadlines notwithstanding, head renovation raider Amy Matthews takes some justifiable pride in this impressive kitchen makeover.

  • Mission Accomplished

    Amy and Jim pose with homeowners Stephanie and Milind in their newly renovated kitchen and dining space.

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