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Adding Life to an Empty House

Stuart Herr needs help selling his house so he can move into the new house with the rest of his family.

Stuart Herr's family has already moved on to their new house, so now he has to get the old house ready to sell pronto. To do that, he's going to need help. That's where the Designed to Sell team comes in.

Real estate expert Shannon Freeman pays a visit to the house to assess the situation and decide what needs to be done to sell this home quick. Starting with the outside, she finds that the house has charm but no character. Character equals money, she says.

The kitchen is dark, some cabinets have broken knobs, and the wallpaper is dated, but it has good basics, Donna says. The flooring is fairly new, plus the tile on the countertops is a nice neutral color.

The bathroom is not in great shape. It's not as clean as it should be, and there's too much clutter on the counter. Designer Lisa Laporta thinks it's worth spending a little extra from the budget here, since it's the only bathroom.

The guest room is dull and has no clear definition. Lisa wants to turn it into a den and bring in more natural light by cutting a hold in the wall and having a French door installed. The door will also provide access to that great backyard.

Lisa agrees that this house could use some lightening up. She wants the $2,000 budget to be spent sprucing up the kitchen, bathroom and guest room. Here's how she lays out the game plan:

Step 1: Give it life. Add character and warmth to areas buyers find lifeless.

Step 2: Make it shine. Update old features and appliances to give the home a crisp new feel.

Step 3: Lighten it up. Maximize the home's appeal by bringing the outside in and brightening the dark spaces.

Contractor Jim Collins, along with carpenters Brad Haviland and Nick Ralbovsky, are on board to add some life to this house. A major part of that (and a major part of the budget) will be adding a French door to the guest room to provide access to that great backyard. Let's take a look at the results of their hard work:

The kitchen looks brand new, thanks to fresh paint on the walls and cabinets, new window treatments and a new stove. Now it's sure to be a major selling feature.

The bathroom is now a vibrant space. Warm paint, an eye-catching shower curtain and matching window treatments, new mirror, light fixture and accessories did the trick.

And what about that guest room? What was once a wasted opportunity is now the main attraction. New furniture provided purpose and style, accented by attractive lighting, accessories and window treatments. The new door leading to the large backyard is the exclamation point.

Cost Breakdown

French door and supplies $702
appliances $289
furniture $144
window treatments $327
lighting $49
decorative accessories $417
paint and supplies $70

Makeover Information

Total: $1,998Products from Lowe's:

four white faux wooden blinds for the kitchen, 103934
three semi-flush ceiling pendants, two for kitchen, one for den, Midnight Bronze, 170582
gas range, FGF316BS, 172776
two shower curtain tension rods for bathroom, Polished Chrome, 13997
shower curtain hooks, Zenith, 135489
wall mount light fixture for bathroom, Portfolio Lighting's 4Lite Vanity Bar, 251756
three cabinet handles, chrome pull, 59261
two faux wooden shutter blinds for bedroom, one 29" and one 35", 103934 and 88000
Georgian entry door lock set and single-cylinder deadbolt, 108971 and
zinnias for exterior, 18281
valance rod for bathroom, Levolor's Bird Cage, 216285

Products from Target:

four valances cut from pillow shams for kitchen, Target Home's King Sham, 060071640
Waverly drapery panel shower curtain and valance for bathroom, 068031647 and 068030699
Basic mini blind for bathroom, 068020519
vase, 084032147
picture frames, 065074142
hand towels, 064010126
bath towels, 064010123
two chair cushions, 067090194
beige pillows, 067081017
two green pillows, 067080965
table runner cut into valances for bathroom, Sage with beige stripes, 068031647
lamp, 074000644
lampshade, 074080045
napkin glued to lampshade, 067021379

Products from Orchard Supply Hardware:

four Levolor valance rods for kitchen, 070042133316

Products from HomeGoods, a TJX Co.:

two Lavender vases, 046450 and 044517
Lavender bowl for kitchen, 039361

Products from IKEA:

set of three baskets, Hakebo, 80059237
two chairs, Hastveda, 80075483
two vases, Florera, 00067632
three picture frames, Lilla, 00055747
set of three photos, Trilling, 60070373
side table, Hishuct, 80063084
two plants: dracaena, 80038136 and chrysalid, 90038126

Products from Mervyn's:

chrome towel bar for bathroom, 735612113014

Products from Contractors' Warehouse:

prehung 10 Lite French door for guest room, Challenger 3068, 393298

Products from The Home Depot:

materials for French door: lumber, wood for railings, hinges, stucco patch, molding and concrete
paint for kitchen walls, Ralph Lauren's Masonry Gray TH05
kitchen cabinets, Swiss Coffee
spray paint for kitchen-cabinet handles, Rust-oleum Brushed Nickel
Bher primer for kitchen
paint for bathroom walls, Ralph Lauren's Tangier Island NA-05
bathroom cabinets, Swiss Coffee

Product from Linens 'n Things:

mirror in bathroom, 088922003323

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