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Completing Unfinished Projects

A family gets some help in making their house ready to sell.

Ellen and Chris DeVrieze are ready to pack up their family and move across the country. They have outgrown their house of four years and are ready to sell. That could be easier said than done, as the house is mired in unfinished projects in the kitchen, dining room and living room.

They enlist the help of the Designed to Sell team to complete the renovations and get more money out of the sale. The first visit came from real estate expert Donna Freeman, who gave her candid opinions on where there focus should be in order to sell the home. The first thing she notices is the dirt instead grass and the cluttered front porch — not a good first impression of this house.

Moving inside, she realizes that the whole place is a mess, starting with the kitchen. The backsplash on the sink is dirty and has holes in it — evidence of one of Chris's unfinished projects. The rest of the house is more of the same. There's lots of work to be done.

That's where resident designer Lisa LaPorta comes into the picture. She and the homeowners will team up with her group of carpenters to turn this house around before the open house. As always, she comes up with a three-step plan to make it all happen:

Step 1: Tackle the to-do list of all those unfinished projects.

Step 2: Break it down — open up the house to make it feel larger.

Step 3: Remove all the clutter.

The work is hard and the crew gets behind as usual, but somehow they pull it off.

The "after" kitchen is more open, now that the cabinet has been removed. The new tile work flows nicely into the dining area and complements the cabinetry.

Speaking of cabinets, the set that was removed has been reused as a buffet that also provides for extra storage. The extra light coming in is a bonus.

Before, the dining room was disjointed from the kitchen and needs to be refreshed. Adding tile that matches the kitchen will go a long way in opening up the area.

The wall now boasts new trim, an inexpensive way to add value to a room. The warm paint color and the tile that matches that of the kitchen pulls it all together.

The living room is the first room people see upon entering this house, so some time needed to be spent here, LaPorta says. Finishing the casing and molding that Chris had already started is a given for this room.

Now, the molding project is complete, and new window treatments, an area rug and accessories make for a more open but cozier space. The living room can now actually live up to its name.

Ellen and Chris DeVrieze have finally finished what they started, changing the house from a fixer-upper to a turnkey. And it's all thanks to the expertise of Freeman, LaPorta and team.

Here is the cost breakdown:

counters and barstools $483
furniture $575
window treatments $539
flooring $120
decorative accessories $217
paint and supplies $40

Total: $1974

Products from Linens 'N Things:

living-room valance, S. Lichtenberg & Co., Inc.
RN# 16798 / Sage / Embossed Velvet Ascot valance 40" W x 22" L
velvet tab top drape with tie back 41" x 96" for dining room, Brentwood Originals
RN# 20159 / Sage/ 738790109206
decorative curtain rod for dining room, Spoolrod 60" - 108" ESP/ 028295079259
three decorative curtain rods for living room, 028295079259 and 028295079235

Products from Anna's Linens:

window treatment valance for master bedroom, T. Victoria--RN #19725 / Black / Granada: solid shaped chenille valance with 3" bullion fringe 52" x 17" / X613 BLACK / 822830
window treatments for kitchen, T. Victoria--RN #19725 / Olive / X616OLIVE/ Antique Rose: Shaped valance with loop braid trim 52" x 17"/ 822850
embossed velvet valance for bathroom, S. Lichtenberg & Co., Inc.
RN #16798 / Sage / Embossed Velvet One Panel 40" W x 84" L

embossed velvet drapery panels for bathroom, S. Lichtenberg & Co., Inc.
Sage Green/ Item# 814694

Products from Lowe's:

vinyl tiles for kitchen, Eurostone, 12" X 12" / 166222
kitchen paint, Ralph Lauren's Tangier Island NA05 (matched in Lowe's brand paint)
kitchen valance rods, 180419
two green barstools, Empire Counter Barstools, 202391
two 29" kitchen barstools, Natural, 52644
jute rug for living room, Moss, 948
antique candelabra lamp and shade for living room, Bronze, 212903
potted living-room plant, 8-foot palm, 101592
gardener planter green pot, 7969
floor tiles for bathroom, Eurostone, 12" X 12" Pewter, 166220
two tension shower-curtain rods, Chrome, 26595
shower liner for bathroom, 215610
shower-curtain hooks for bathroom, Chrome, 190298

Product from The Home Depot:

large tree for living room, three-gallon Dracaena

Product from Pride Enterprises:

kitchen countertop, Nevmar Arp Plus Laminate, Papier Soleil Textured, model# PR2001T

Products from Coaster Company:

dining-room table and four chairs, Rooster, 5051 table, 5052 chairs
living-room coffee table, Rustic Oak Table Set, 4081

Products from T.J. Maxx:

Bed in a Bag ensemble for master bedroom, Black and Rose, 049575
art for master bedroom, 48" wall decor, 064499

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