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Three More Really is a Crowd

The Cook family needs to sell their home before their triplets arrive.

Melissa and Zach Cook need to find a larger home before their triplets are born. They already have a 2-year-old son, so space is tight as it is. They want to make maximum profits from the sale, so they enlist the help of the Designed to Sell team to help make that happen.

Real estate expert Shannon Freeman pinpoints some areas that need special attention, starting with the front of the house. Its unfinished look is not welcoming to potential buyers.

Once inside, Donnais pleasantly surprised by the foyer, but the first room she enters appears to have no distinct purpose (though she is told it is a playroom). It has ceiling damage, and the great bay window gets missed because the room is so cluttered with toys. There is also a bar area that is being underutilized. That could be a strong selling point, she says.

Another room that is ambiguous is the office/guest room, which currently serves as a dumping ground for clothes and other items that don't yet have a home. The door won't even open without a hearty shove because the things inside are packed right against it.

Donna wants this room to have a specific designation. Since Zach has been planning to install closet doors in there anyway, it is decided that this room will become a nursery.

The master bedroom just needs some basic polishing, decluttering and rearranging, while the master bath needs a major overhaul. There is also an extra sink/vanity area in a hallway connecting the bedroom and bathroom that is not being used wisely.

Designer Lisa LaPorta agrees with Donna's assessment and lays out a plan to turn this house into a moneymaker:

Step 1: Dress it up. Turn confused spaces into functional and inviting rooms that will appeal to buyers.

Step 2: Clear it out. Scale down the overcrowded rooms to play up the home's square footage.

Step 3: Scrub it down. Clean up the dingy and grime to make it sparkle for the open house.

Lisa doles out projects to her usual crew of contractor Jim Collins and carpenters Brad Haviland and Nick Ralbovsky, who are anxious to get the work done in time for the open house. Let's see how they did:


Playroom/Living Room

The space in the playroom is not being used wisely. Toys are strewn about, the bar is not being used, and it's starkly decorated.

Office/Guest Room

This room is supposed to serve as an office/guest room, but it's really a catchall for clothes and other odds and ends.


This vanity area between the master bedroom and bathroom is an unfinished project that needs updating.

Master Bathroom

Out-of-style wallpaper in the master bathroom is half peeled off, the color scheme is drab, and it begs for a good scrubbing.

The tired vanity area inside the bathroom needs some sprucing up. The mirror that is supposed to be mounted above the sink is just sitting on the floor, and a color scheme is nonexistent.


Playroom/Living Room

This room that had no identity other than for housing toys is now a wonderful adult parlor, thanks to the new chairs, window treatments and bar stools. A fresh coat of paint and new decorations and a light fixture add the finishing touches.

Office/Guest Room

The former office/guest room/dumping ground has been reborn an airy nursery. The Cooks used furniture, accessories and mirrored closet doors that they had in storage, so this transformation took nothing from the $2,000 budget.


The connecting area from the master bedroom to bathroom was unattractive and unusable before, but is now a beautiful vanity area that's sure to impress prospective buyers.

Since the sink wasn't being used anyway, Lisa opted for a whole new piece of furniture.

Master Bathroom

LaPorta's favorite transformation is in the master bathroom, which was a dirty, grimy mess. Now it is a classy master suite that adds true value.

As for the bathroom vanity, subtle, inexpensive changes make all the difference in the world.

The house is a hit with open house visitors. Comments include "stylish yet relaxed," "classy" and "good color scheme." The Cooks ended up raising their asking price by $20,000 because of the great interest.

Cost Breakdown:

furniture $1200
hardware $290
light fixtures $130
window treatments $100
accessories $215
paint and supplies $60

Total: $1,995

Products from The Coaster Company:

two leather chairs, 8841
coffee table, 3044
sofa table, 3046
two barstools for den, 2493

Products from HomeGoods:

"map" art, 091368
"flower" art, 097933
ceramic bowl, 610539
large pillow for den, 051763

Product from The Home Depot:

Levolor valance rod, 070042143232
faucet for master bathroom, Widespread Series 7000 570-460G, 019934447140

Products from Target:

lampshade, 074080548
three red pillows, 067081080
two paisley pillows, 067080978
three valances for den, 068030288

Products from Linens 'n Things:

Mahogany Wood Buffet 22" lamp for den, 082803182466
Pewter candlestick set for bathroom, 401785430028

Products from Lamps Plus:

large ceiling light fixture, 78277
small ceiling light fixture, 40970

Paint colors used:

for master bathroom, Valspar's Cliveden Sandstone 94-3B
for den, Ralph Lauren's Devonshire NA-22

Products from Lowe's:

mirror for master bathroom, HW Home Style, 178968

Products from Wal-Mart:

towel bar for master bathroom, Home Trends, 004766915664

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