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Former Rental Overhaul

Can our team of experts help the Brown family sell their house so they can be closer to family?

Danielle and Eric Brown are longtime renters who bought the house they used to rent, but never really felt like they owned the place. They are ready to sell and buy a house out of state. The Designed to Sell team signs on to help.

Real estate expert Shannon Freeman is on the scene first and is immediately impressed with the exterior, noting in particular the well-groomed landscape. Once inside, her tune changes. She compares the interior to a college dorm.

Designer Lisa LaPorta steps in next and is charged with formulating a plan to get this house in better selling shape. She wants to focus the team's efforts on improving the living room, kitchen and bathroom.

Step 1: Match the book to its cover. Make the home's interior just as inviting as the exterior so buyers won't be disappointed.

Step 2: Graduate in style. Use proper design to turn this college dormitory into a top-dollar home.

Step 3: Leave the past behind. Bring the basics up to date so the home has that move-in ready feel.

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


Living Room

Before: The living room seemed "temporary" to real estate expert Shannon Freeman. The furniture was shabby and the light fixtures looked like something that should be in a hotel, apartment or a dorm room, she said.


After: Now, the living room has graduated with style, thanks to new furniture, window treatments, lighting and accessories. The updated mantel and fresh paint really play up the fireplace, which was largely ignored before.

Here is how the costs broke down for this project:

countertops $314
furniture $633
flooring $92
hardware and accessories $498
lighting $226
lumber and paint supplies $169
window treatments $58

Total: $1,990

Products from The Coaster Company of America:

coffee table for living room, 5421

Products from Lowe's:

Portfolio living-room chandelier, 76901
Portfolio wall-mount light fixtures (one for living room, one for kitchen), Leaves, 155401
Heritage living-room mantel, 6", 163237
Armstrong Meadowstone vinyl floor tile for bathroom, Midwestern Fantasy, 219769
Portfolio light fixture for bathroom, 129304
towel ring, Signature Bathware, Astina, 124065
five cabinet knobs for bathroom, 90764
countertops and edge kits for kitchen, Labrador Granite, 201969, 201995, 65433, 65579

Products from The Home Depot:

Price Pfister bath faucet and fixtures, 8B5-8PBC
bath countertop, 048118392600
Saratoga Slate vinyl tile for kitchen floor, 317150
cabinet cleaner/ refinisher for kitchen, Restor-A-Finish by Howard Products in neutral, 088682160014

Products from Michael's Furniture Warehouse:

living-room sofa with pillows, Cinnabar Loveseat, 5791635C

Products from Kmart:

Home Essentials dining-table set, Lafayette style, 072000827642
Martha Stewart window valances for living room, Persian Paisley style, 07665763995
throw pillows, 73879083206
Martha Stewart shower curtain for bathroom, Wide Stripe style, 63676502774

Products from IKEA:

two wicker chairs for living room, Agen, 50058376
window valances for bathroom, Blenda, 10071775

Products from Target:

two window valances for kitchen, Fieldcrest Classic style, 068032098

Products from Marshalls:

vanity mirror for bathroom, 002911661

Products from The Linen Outlet:

bathroom towel, 819078

Products from Big Lots:

living-room art, 2133450098006

Products from Spectra Paint Centers Inc.:

paint for living-room walls, Pratt and Lambert's Safari
paint for living-room paneling, Pratt and Lambert's Tarragon
paint for kitchen walls, Pratt and Lambert's Caramel Tint, 2087-B1
paint for bathroom walls, Pratt and Lambert's Muffin Tan, 2277-B1



Before: The kitchen felt dated and drab. Most buyers are looking for new, contemporary features, and the frilly curtains in this room are a good (or bad) example of what not to do.


After: Now it feels current. The new countertops and flooring did wonders, as did the lighting, window treatments and fresh paint. The toned-down cabinets give it a more current feel.

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