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Return to Childhood Neighborhood

The Jacksons are ready to pack up their boys and move closer to dad's childhood home.

College sweethearts Roni and Doug Jackson have been raising a family on Chicago's South Side, but now they are ready to pack up their two boys and move closer to Doug's childhood home in the city's historic Hyde Park neighborhood. They enlist the help of the Designed to Sell team and their $2,000 budget to get this place in good selling shape as quickly as possible.

Real estate expert Bethany Souza starts her evaluation of the Jacksons' property at the entrance, where she sees the children's artwork in the window. Once inside, she's impressed with the high ceilings and light, airy feel. Once back down to earth, though, her focus goes directly to the chaotic dining area that's filled with children's toys. The formal living room has lots to offer, but the furniture and decor are crowding its best feature, the fireplace.

Fortunately, design expert Monica Pedersen is on hand with a plan to get this spacious home on and off the market in a flash. She wants to play up the dining room with new lighting and furniture. Then it's off to the family room, where she'll focus on the fireplace. Clearing the clutter and scaling down the furniture will give the illusion of space and the reality of a fast sale. Here's the plan:

Step 1: Stage it for grownups. Create a sense of sophistication in the space to appeal to more buyers.

Step 2: Clear the clutter. Excess pieces crowd the space, making it seem smaller than it really is.

Step 3: Company's coming. Appeal to buyers by showcasing the home's entertaining spaces.

Carpenters Chad Lopez and Robert North are ready to renovate this home for a speedy sale.

Before, the family room was cluttered, and the oversized sectional sofa made the space seem smaller than it is. The best feature in the room, the fireplace, lacked architectural impact and got lost in the mix.

For specific product information, click on the After photo(s) of the room.

Now, the first thing you see when you enter the family room is the fireplace. A new mantel adds architectural interest and a coat of warm taupe paint throughout opens up the space. Simple cornices above the windows add to the room's understated, classic look.

Cost breakdown:

furniture $941
window treatments $359
lighting $329
shelves $147
paint and supplies $135
accessories $55
building supplies $22

Total: $1,998

products from Cost Plus World Market:

basement window shades, 000000344568

products from JC Licht:

paint used in basement, Mosaic Tile, 1517
paint used in dining room and family room, Stone House, Benjamin Moore, 1039

products from Ikea:

curtains used in dining room, Loomcraft, 473665
shelves used in basement, 50071311
dining chairs, Hendriksal, 40054487
chair covers, 50000088 and 40077021

products from Wal-Mart:

photo frames in basement, 003223199887
photo frames in family room, Walnut, 006660601139
lamp and shade in family room, 005027670039, 002201175731

products from Lowe's:

curtain rod used in dining room, Acorn, 133291
dining room chandelier, Victoria, 97506

products from Wicke's Furniture:

sofas used in basement
dining-room table

products from Hancock Fabrics:

fabric used on cornice boxes, Folio Chocolate, 001149939

products from The Home Depot:

trim for lighting in basement, eye trim, 046335815087
trim for lighting in basement, recess trim, 046335809024

Real estate expert Bethany Souza said a formal dining room in a house this size is a must. With such an explosion of kids' stuff in the space, potential buyers might have trouble visualizing anything else.

For specific product information, click on the After photo(s) of the room.

New paint in a warm taupe hue and matching drapes set a chic backdrop for the new dining table and chairs. An existing bookcase gets a coat of matching paint to complete the look that isn't playing any games with potential buyers.

Cost breakdown:

furniture $941
window treatments $359
lighting $329
shelves $147
paint and supplies $135
accessories $55
building supplies $22

Total: $1,998

products from Cost Plus World Market:

basement window shades, 000000344568

products from JC Licht:

paint used in basement, Mosaic Tile, 1517
paint used in dining room and family room, Stone House, Benjamin Moore, 1039

products from Ikea:

curtains used in dining room, Loomcraft, 473665
shelves used in basement, 50071311
dining chairs, Hendriksal, 40054487
chair covers, 50000088 and 40077021

products from Wal-Mart:

photo frames in basement, 003223199887
photo frames in family room, Walnut, 006660601139
lamp and shade in family room, 005027670039, 002201175731

products from Lowe's:

curtain rod used in dining room, Acorn, 133291
dining room chandelier, Victoria, 97506

products from Wicke's Furniture:

sofas used in basement
dining-room table

products from Hancock Fabrics:

fabric used on cornice boxes, Folio Chocolate, 001149939

products from The Home Depot:

trim for lighting in basement, eye trim, 046335815087
trim for lighting in basement, recess trim, 046335809024

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