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Getting Closer to Family

Our team of experts works to inflate the bottom line of a family's house.

Renee and Jib Heintz have outgrown their two-bedroom starter home and are ready to move cross-country to be closer to family. But first they have to sell their current home — and the sooner, the better. They have enlisted the help of the Designed to Sell team to help them inflate their bottom line.

Real estate expert Donna Freeman is the first team member to provide her input. From the outside she thinks this house looks like a fixer-upper. She is immediately struck by the bright purple trim, drab front porch and lifeless flower beds. Inside, she is pleasantly surprised to find mostly minor problem areas.

Designer Lisa LaPorta arrives next and agrees with Freeman's assessment. She formulates a three-step plan to breathe new life into this place. The focus will be on the curb appeal, kitchen and bathroom.

Step 1: Finish the job. Tackle that wear and tear so the home doesn't feel like a fixer-upper.

Step 2: Find neutral ground. Tone down the home's color palette to gain widespread appeal.

Step 3: Stop traffic. Spruce up the curb appeal to catch buyers' attention.

Carpenters Steve Hanneman and Brooks Utley lend their helping hands to the project.

Curb Appeal

Before: Though the plum trim on this house is fun and playful, it doesn't necessarily mean multiple offers and top dollar. Designer Lisa LaPorta says the landscaping is where the color should be.

After: Building the front porch structure and toning down the paint did wonders for the curb appeal of this house. Fresh green landscaping and accent pieces provide the finishing touches.

So where did the $2,000 go?

columns and lumber $600
landscaping $320
tile $392
flooring $94
window treatments $75
lighting and accessories $376
paint and supplies $111

Total: $1,968


Before: The kitchen lacked style and grace. The paint and countertop (which had a chip in it) did not go well together, the flooring was yellowing and dated, and window treatments were needed.

After: The new version is pulled together and packed with selling power. Warm paint, window treatments and accessories add valuable charm, and the new faux tile stone flooring completes the look.


Before: This bathroom was a renovation waiting to happen. The tile dominated the room and needed to be replaced. Fresh paint, flooring and accessories also made the list of required improvements.

After: Now buyers will spend big for this brand new feel. Retiling the shower and floor livened up the space. Fresh wall paint, a dramatic new shower curtain and eye-popping accessories top it all off.

Products from Lowe's:

columns and end caps for entryway, 17452 and 20370
doorbell cover, 114085
Portfolio 13" alabaster light fixture for kitchen, 161851
two faux wood blinds for kitchen, 84684 and 49857
12" Eurostone vinyl tile flooring for kitchen and bath, 185390 (model 00085; color: Grey Stone)
two shower rods, 13997
shower-curtain liner for bathroom, 135411
two Zenith shower ring packs, 135489

Products from The Home Depot:

Hampton Bay matte nickel finish wall-mount lantern for exterior, 725916814366, model 394636
counter end caps for kitchen, 048118310307, color: Glacier Grey
paint for exterior columns, lattice and trim for kitchen and bathroom, Home Depot's Swiss Coffee
paint for kitchen walls, Ralph Lauren's Muslin, NA12

Products from HomeGoods:

basket for kitchen, 30604
eight place mats, 39362
four napkins for kitchen, 88310
vase for kitchen, 04340
towels for bath, 286712 and 286726
vase for bathroom, 91262

Products from IKEA:

custom-made valances from table runners for kitchen, Lydia, 17929

Products from Discount Tile Center:

tile for bathroom shower, 3" x 6" White Beveled Brick, Subway Tile

Products from The Great Indoors:

curtain panels for bathroom, Peri Homeworks Collection (Style: Goblet Pleat Panel; Princess Model: 4873A; Color: Chrome)

Products from Ruiz Nursery:

exterior plants, Trumpet Vines, Phormium, Fountain Grass

Products from Nick's Nursery:

exterior plants, Clivias and Calla Lillies

Products from Target:

exterior plants: ferns, 084050292 and annuals, 084060804
two foam planters, 084150223

Products from Dunn Edwards Paint Stores:

paint color for exterior shutters and mailbox, Pratt & Lambert's Burnished Mahogany
paint color for bathroom walls, Dunn Edwards' Fine Grain, DE-6213

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