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Big-City Exit

A California couple needs help selling their home so they can move out of the city.

Alan Fish and John Murray want a change of scenery, but they first have to sell their house. The Designed to Sell team brings in their expertise and $2,000 budget to help garner top dollar from the sale.

Real estate expert Shannon Freeman kicks off the assessment process, noting a wonderful landscaping job out front. She is disappointed in the interior, however, describing it as a thrift store because of all the clutter strewn about.

Designer Lisa LaPorta agrees with Freeman and lays out a plan to get the home into better selling shape. She wants to focus on the living room, dining room and the kitchen.

Step 1: Pack it up. Clear out the clutter to add valuable footage to the home.

Step 2: Break the mold. Modernize the home's decor to boost potential offers.

Step 3: Connect the dots. Make the rooms flow together so buyers will be tempted to tour.

Carpenters Steve Hanneman and Brooks Utley lend their expertise to the project. See the results of the team and homeowners' hard work below.


Before: The nicely sized living room was uninviting and lacked cohesion due to a bad furniture arrangement and scattered clutter. The fireplace (at right), typically a wonderful selling feature, was all but ignored.


After: Now it's a classy, open space. The updated layout, complete with new furniture and accessories, shows off the size and fireplace. Fresh paint, window treatments and lighting add perfect finishing touches.

Cost breakdown for this project:

furniture $1025
French door $262
lumber and hardware $208
lighting and accessories $215
paint and supplies $95
flooring $127
window treatments $68

Total: $2,000


Before: The oversize table and overly bright, outdated chairs had taken over the dining room, which could prevent buyers from even noticing that it exists.


After: Now it's a serene setting for a sophisticated soiree. The smaller, round table creates a better flow, while the fresh paint job, curtains, lighting and accessories add warmth.

Products from The Coaster Company of America:

coffee table, 3788
sofa table, 3789
lamp set, 1516
mirror, 8639
dining table, 3655
four dining chairs for living room and dining room, 3652

Products from IKEA:

two love seats, Varnamo, 70089895
area rug for living room, Lydum, 70086172

Products from Lowe's:

vinyl flooring, Eurostone 12 x 12 tiles in Shalestone, 185389
three semi-flush light fixtures, Portfolio, 170582
wall-mount faucet, Gooseneck, 140760
cabinet handles for kitchen, chrome pull, 59261
drapery panels for living room, Designables' Achim Contemporary, 137509
paint for living room, kitchen trim and ceilings, Swiss Coffee

Products from The Home Depot:

32" exterior slab 10-light French door, 43532

Products from Kmart:

kitchen window treatments, Essential Home Modern Fusion panels in Dakota-Terracotta style, 07200019688

Products from Pier 1:

kitchen table base and chairs (purchased online from third party)
48" glass top for dining table, 820056

Products from HomeGoods:

wicker plates for kitchen, 717964

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